Media Nutritionist Attends The Symposium for Professional Food Writers

I love that I love what I do.

As I contemplated what to pack for The Symposium for Professional Food Writers, I read in the program that jeans were acceptable. “Jeans?” I exclaimed out loud. Wearing jeans to a business function makes me a little nervous. I think it’s the dietitian in me. My husband’s reaction was “You guys just sit around on couches talking about writing, don’t you?” I retorted a little defensively, “Actually, we take notes in a conference room setting while listening to expert speakers. At night, though, I suppose we do sit around sipping wine on couches as we discuss writing.” He laughed.

Panelists at The Greenbrier

Left to right: Heidi Swanson, Dori Greenspan (whom I am now completely smitten with), Nancie McDermott, and Fred Thompson

I found out, the panelists would sit in cushy armchairs.

Besides attending sessions and imbibing, we were treated to delicious Southern specialties.

The Greenbrier chocolatesThe Symposium Coordinator gifted each attendee with a box of chocolates. Due to the non-stop flow of sweets during my stay, I did not need to dip into these until the flight back home.

The view from Howard Creek Lodge at The Greenbrier overlooking the mountainsMonday night we shuttled to Howard Creek’s Lodge and enjoyed wine on the patio overlooking the serene mountain view.

Breadbasket at The Greenbrier at Howard Creek’s LodgeI selected a piece of cornbread from the breadbasket.

Mixed greens salad at Howard Creek’s Lodge at The GreenbrierThe first course of this family-style Southern cowboy dinner consisted of mixed greens salad, house-cured West Virginia charcuterie, and Panzanella salad with capers and petite pickles.

Dinner at Howard Creek’s Lodge at The GreenbrierI served myself thyme-braised chicken with a colorful array of potatoes, pan-fried trout (only ate a couple of bites), a blend of caramelized carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips, and collard greens braised with mushrooms and topped with an oozing egg. I’ve never had collards prepared this way and I loved them!

Apple cobbler at Howard Creek’s Lodge at The GreenbrierAs if I needed any more food (no, I didn’t), I took a few bites of apple cobbler with gingerroot ice cream and wished I had room for more.

S’Mores at Howard Creek’s Lodge at The GreenbrierS’mores fixings were displayed near the campfire. As tempting as they looked, I couldn’t conceive of putting one more morsel of food into my very full stomach.

Fried pork rinds at The GreenbrierFried pork rinds appeared during an afternoon break. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try these house-made snacks. Airy, salty, crunchy, and chewy.

Sushi at The Greenbrier

The next evening’s dinner transported us to Japan, England, and India. I began with sushi and sesame noodles and ended up leaving a few pieces of sushi.

Indian stews, Yorkshire pudding, and a pasty (mini beef pot pie)Then I passed through the hot line for Indian stews, Yorkshire pudding, and a pasty (mini beef pot pie).

Dessert in drawer at The GreenbrierThe desserts displayed in drawers caught my attention.

Dessert plate at The GreenbrierI chose a raspberry macaron, croissant pudding with blueberries, a brownie that I left untouched, and took a bite of an apple bar.

Photo and gift from The GreenbrierAfter returning to my room I discovered a thoughtfully wrapped box and folder with a photo of our group.

Pepper mill from The GreenbrierThe box held a carefully crafted pepper grinder. How timely! I needed a new one.

Chef SaltAndrew Schloss offered us jars of his high quality Chef Salt. I had previously tried the Bombay Curry flavor on salmon (which I loved), so this time I chose the NY Steak variety. The smell of it alone will make your mouth water and want to bite into a juicy seared filet.

As I head back home, I’m grateful for the week I was able to spend here. I’m also looking forward to getting back to my life at home and smothering Steve and Scarlet with kisses. I’m eager to sit at my own desk and get back into my kitchen to practice all I learned. Until next time, Greenbrier.

Estimated calories: Sunday (894 dinner, 100 wine), Monday (dinner 1012, wine 100), Tuesday (dinner 945, snack 77)

For more details about the food I ate at the Symposium, visit my Facebook page:

Breakfast buffet

Light lunch

Breakfast buffet

Lunch on the patio

The Last Supper

Last breakfast


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  1. Kimberly H.
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Once again, you make me jealous and hungry at the same time! What a beautiful setting and cuisine!

  2. Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Funny! When I saw that jeans were acceptable business casual attire, I was super relieved!

    • Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      That is funny. Maybe someday my food writer side will club the dietitian side when the nervousness erupts.
      Thanks for stopping by, and such a pleasure meeting you!

  3. Posted September 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink


    my old stomping grounds, did my culinary apprenticeship there with rich rosendale many years back, its really a true definition of great food and professionalism…

    glad you enjoyed!!

    • Posted September 23, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Well hello, chef! (Readers, in case you’re reading this, James is the chef owner himself!)

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I understand that The Greenbrier offers quite the culinary apprenticeship!
      Splendid restaurant you have there, too. I look forward to returning.


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