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February 4, 2008




You remember our friend Shannon—chronicler of the Washington dot-com age, author of the popular Download column in the Post circa '98 to '05.  A lot of the companies she wrote of (ah, the days of Teligent, PSINet, Proxicom, WorldCom) are just late, great memories, their executives off in other tech pursuits.  Shannon, too, retooled, but more dramatically.  She's now a mom out in Denver and this week reveals to Bisnow plans for her next literary tome (drum roll):  a cookbook!


Shannon, husband Benjamin, and two daughters, Julia and Eve, post-tech.


Shannon's negotiating final details with a major publishing house for fall '09 release of Cooking With Friends, co-written with Alison Bermack (her best friend from high school growing up in Potomac), and Dana Bowen, Deputy Editor of Saveur gourmet magazine.  Alison, a marketing MBA now in New Jersey, re-purposed her kitchen for social interaction years ago and introduced Shannon to the idea.  Sound like just an old-fashioned cooking club?  No, Shannon says, those aren't typically for cooking together.  In the new paradigm, you might work in groups of two or three to make a particular dinner item, then convene in plenary session over wine and cheese to do "soup and cookie swaps."  You can bring your kids, sample everyone else's effort in shot glasses, and walk away with six different kinds of soup or cookies to have at home with your family in the coming week.


Does this old Post ad for its tech queen seem like a galaxy far away? Shannon moved west a year and a half ago when her husband finished training in cardiology at Georgetown and Washington Hospital Center. Not only had he found his first real job there, but they decided it was time to try something different; neither had a previous connection to Denver.  (Of course, Washington Park—the name of their area downtown—might have subliminally reminded them of home.)  Today Shannon has a four-and-a-half-year-old and a two-year-old, and says they're in a wonderful old neighborhood where you can walk four blocks to South Gaylord Street's shops and restaurants (like her favorite for sushi, Japon); the area reminds her of Adams Morgan.  Shannon's long had broad ranging interests, studying under former Poet Laureate Robert Pinksy before coming to Washington Technology magazine in 1995 to cover telecom and Internet, helping start Post-owned TechCapital, then coming to the Post itself in 1999. She is well aware that Denver has a noted tech community, and has met someone who works at Mapquest, another who sold his company to Traffic.com, and several who work for companies that make satellites.


Shannon's latest food-making feat involves producing 250 mini- quiches in one day with leeks and bacon.  Her family lives in a new house in an old neighborhood, with an open feeling she loves, complete with granite island. In the kitchen, she's partial to a stainless steel Global chef's knife and handheld immersion blender which she prefers to her Cuisinart for blending soup in the pot.  She loves books like Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, plus the latter's TV show "No Reservations."  If you remember Shannon from her heyday, you know she wrote sort of a fin de siecle book on the Washington tech crowd called "The Dinner Club"—so-named because the likes of Steve Case, Mike Saylor, and Russ Ramsey used to meet for fun and frolic over a regular meal at the likes of Mortons in Tysons.  Now she's extending the dinner concept to her personal life, only it's a lot less of a metaphor.  And there's so much interest, she's already starting a second friends cooking group.  She sees the whole thing as a potential grassroots movement to eat well and spend more time with friends.  Check out Shannon's new life at:  www.cookingwithfriendsclub.com.




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