Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Foodie Photos

This weekend my parents came up to celebrate my birthday with me. We planned a day at the Institute of Contemporary Art here in Boston followed by dinner at our place. I wanted to keep the meal simple because I wasn’t going to have all day to prep so I planned the following,

Fresh Halibut with an Orange Soy Ginger marinade
Broccolini with lemon wedges
Grilled Sweet Onions
Bell Pepper and Apple Salad with a Mint Oregano vinaigrette

I did as much of the prep before they came as I could. The fish, broccolini and onions were super easy. The salad was a recipe I had found last fall and was dying to try. It felt like a summer salad so I had been holding out for the spring time. I also thought it would be super colorful and really add to the meal.

The main ingredients are red, green and yellow bell peppers, red onion, cucumber and green apple all sliced match stick thin. I thought it was a perfect chance to try and figure out the Cusinart mandolin that I got for my wedding. Unfortunately, we had gone out with friends the night before to celebrate my birthday and the mandolin was significantly more complicated than my slightly fuzzy brain could handle. So I went ahead and enjoyed the repetition of chopping all the veggies by hand.

I saved the apple for just before I serving the salad because I was worried about it turning brown. I tossed the rest in the super simple vinaigrette and put it in the fridge to wait out the day. When we got home, I pulled it out, added the slices apple, put it in a beautiful bowl and toped it with a sprinkling of feta. It was BEAUTIFUL! Which then got Mom and I talking about photographing food.

Food and photographs go together like peanut butter and jelly. I love to drool over the photos in cook books and magazines and my friends (most of who don’t cook at all) all enjoy looking and dreaming about eating as well. In fact, one of my favorite foodie blogs, Smitten Kitchen is as much about the photos as it is about the food, and yet, I just can’t get into photographing my food.

There are a couple of reasons, but if I want to be honest the main one is that photographing food is really hard. The lighting has to be perfect and it rarely looks as good in the photo as it did when you made it. I also don’t like to wait to eat my food. I like it hot (sometimes JR thinks too hot) and if I have to set it up for a photo, it’s longer that the food is not being eaten. I could always do photos of the process, but that just means I have to be thinking about two things at once (Do I put in one egg or two? Is that a good photo? Wait where are the batteries for the camera? Oh s*** the rice is burning!) and the cooking would stop being relaxing.

In the end those are all just excuses, and so we got a camera and took a photo. I’ll keep trying.

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