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This week on The Delicious Story, we find ourselves in a van named Brooklyn somewhere in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our experience is a virtual one, but for Martie McNabb this is the real deal—the home where she spends her time while on the road in search of her next place to set up shop.
Martie is also on a mission to support franchisees throughout the country by hosting Show & Tale events. You’ll learn more about the interesting twists and turns the led Martie to this point during the interview.
Martie and I met by way of our shared work as personal historians and photo organizers. She launched her businesses Memories Out of The Box a dozen years ago, right about when I began Storied Gifts. Those of us who do this work know how difficult it is to brainstorm with others in our industry and to market what we do to the public, so we connected immediately.
During her years in business, Martie realized that helping others curate and tell their stories could be a way to teach and open up conversations around the importance of preserving life stories in general. The events have proven useful for not only personal historians but also to provide potential benefits for estate planners and financial advisors (since we all help to preserve legacies).
As we nestle comfortably into the well-appointed Brooklyn, Martie explains the circumstances and decisions that led her to take a leap, selling her home after almost 20 years and downsizing her stuff to head off on an adventure.
Imagine realigning your relationship so radically with your place, your space and things. It would be a substantial transition for anyone, and for Martie there is a special irony in the experience given her work. Can objects be placeholders for stories more important than the items themselves? Martie has witnessed this to be true. She explains how Show & Tale events unfold and some of the stories people relate about possessions that are important to them.
The format for Show & Tales is simple. Themes are promoted in advance, and people gather to tell stories with their item in-hand. The objects run the gambit from cherished heirlooms to tattoos and pets. Every theme brings interesting people with interesting things to tell. Martie describes one woman’s story about an egg carton and memories of her grandfather that almost brought me to tears.
Thinking of things and the stories that are connected provides a way of flipping our relationship with collectable (and hordable) objects. Maybe the things themselves are just the props for the underlying memories of greater value. These days, with minimalism trending on the rise, realigning our attachment to things by means of story can be a useful tool to determine why we carry things with us—plus the strategy to keep the story and let the object, itself, go.
Martie and I did move on to talking food, and she’s the first to concede that the traditions of her childhood and early adult life didn’t revolve around meal preparation or entertaining. However, that did not stop her from deciding to host dinner parties for friends over the span of many years when she owned a 4-story walkup in Brooklyn (the place, not the van).
You’ll be inspired by the introspective reasons that inspired Martie to open up her home and reach beyond her initial comfort levels. There were many lessons learned about guests and the proper balance between serving tasty dishes and being present with the people attending, too.
Her takeaway lessons from hosting are brilliant, with great ideas and reminders for anyone. There is also a friendly nod to the importance of being a considerate guest when you’re fortunate enough to receive an invitation. Whether you entertain a bit or a lot, you probably already know some of the usual guest faux pas. (Hint: RSVP anyone?)
Toward the end of the interview I got off on a tangent with the idea of sharing a virtual lunch with Martie, and we will set a date to try it. I cut the conversation from the podcast audio, however, so as not to distract from Martie’s wonderful interview. Still enamored with the idea, though, I did a bit of research. In a time when we see tech as keeping us isolated, can it truly connect us as well? And virtual dining…is that already a “thing?”
Here is one charming story over at “Oregon Live” by Roberta Gannon Swanson telling us how her family found a way to carry on their family dinners via Google Hangouts, even though they live thousands of miles apart. I love how they organized their gatherings so that the participants could be in various stages of a meal—some sharing the preparation of their meal while others sipped wine toward the end of their dinner—and they still made their virtual dining work remarkably well.
Their experience seemed especially lovely because they kept to the monthly commitment, and were able to connect not only for special events but also keep everyone updated on daily life—much like the impromptu conversations that take place around the table on any given day.
An article over at VCDaily details a number of ways that virtual dining is and could become even more of a thing of our future. Restaurants might form relationships with other restaurants in sister locations and offer to cater virtual meals. Imagine dining with that close friend and catching up while you’re in Cedar Rapids and your friend is in Australia via an HD screen with strong Wifi connectivity. The meal served is similar on both ends, and you spend time catching up and talking about the dishes served as well as the shared event.
Currently, video conferencing makes this possible, but with time and improvements the experience could become even more intimate using technologies like virtual reality headsets.
These days, with the increased interest in event experiences, food magazines, and other content, providers are creating dinner parties where they sponsor dozens of venues for people to gather and prepare a meal simultaneously. At the appointed time all the participants then share their experience through images online, making a virtual the party not only virtual by highly viral as well.
All this leaves me hungry and feeling intrigued with the idea of connecting over a glass of wine, something tasty and an event where stories are shared. As for Martie, she is all about the events and people telling stories. I’ve included links with where to find her and the next Show & Tales events as she crosses the country. If you don’t see Show & Tale in your area, use the connect link on her Show & Tales website to reach out and connect.

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