One Weird Trick To Improve Your Food Photography

I don’t read a lot of food blogs. In fact, I read fewer now than I ever have. This has come about for several reasons. Though I have spent many thousands of hours in museums and galleries, I find that when I’m working on a painting I don’t want to look at other people’s images. They break my concentration and interrupt that precious state of intense yet calm focus which is the desired mode in the studio. As I write more (and blog less, ironically, though that may change soon) I find a similar disruption attends too much reading of other people’s words. Photography, which I have been doing a whole lot of lately, is somewhat different; I got a big pile of cookbooks in December—some of which I want to write about—and I pored over all of them to pick apart the pictures for technical tips.

There’s a certain look to the books I like, and it tends to involve pictures of the food with very little in the way of props. Other books, especially those aimed at a wider audience, tend to be more visually noisy and overstyled. Recently, that overdone look has become epidemic in food blogs as everyone tries to get their numbers ever higher. I’m not a great photographer, but I have become a decent one. And I have done so not on the strength of my styling or the depth of my prop collection, but through my attention to light and how it can be captured, controlled, reflected, and finagled to flatter a plate of food or the act of preparing one.

Keep reading One Weird Trick To Improve Your Food Photography…

Eatin’ Good In The Neighborhood

For the first Chronogram of 2014, I drove to Great Barrington, Massachusetts to visit the Prairie Whale. Some friends met me for dinner there, which made for a lovely outing. Mark Firth knows what he is doing, and this sort of operation looks like an excellent model for “Farm-to-Table 2.0: The New Normal.” It’s the anti-Applebees.  Check it out.

High Spirits

I’ll be on WPKN radio in Bridgeport, Connecticut tomorrow morning at 9:15, talking about regional spirits and drinks for holiday gift-giving and numbing the anguish of spending extended time with family. Down below there’s a list of links to producers I will likely mention.

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Keep On Fucking That Turkey

Going back to 2008, I have made 10-course extravaganzas for Thanksgiving: balls-out, unfettered freestyling wherein my imagination runs wild and my skills try their best to realize the perfervid visions and tie it all together. They’re all documented here on the blog, including the one that won me a trip to France. I have enjoyed cooking every one of them. But this year I wasn’t feeling it, so I took it easy. No manic list-making, no frantic days of prep beforehand, no careful curation of the trajectory from course to course. I bought a goose, and I used the homegrown produce on hand to round it out into a meal.

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Fauxmeboshi

This summer, a farmer I know had a box of these little plums on sale. They made for good fresh eating, but their size and rusty purple color made me think instantly of umeboshi. They’re not the same fruit—ume plums are more like apricots, and are picked yellow-green and not fully ripe—but I figured it would be worth giving them the same treatment.

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We Validate

Just a quick note to mention that my piece about the process behind the opening of Fish & Game for Edible Manhattan, a revised version of the one I wrote for Edible Hudson Valley, is featured in Best Food Writing 2013. It’s gratifying to see my name alongside those up there on the top, as well as many others inside. I look forward to reading through it once my copy arrives.

I Pity The Fool

Sometimes a meal just comes together, like George Peppard’s plans always did on the A-Team. This almost always happens as a result of careful listening to what the garden, fridge, and pantry have to say. Ignore them at your peril.

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In My Time Of Drying

After a sublimely warm and clear September, October’s colder and wetter demeanor imparted an urgency to my hitherto lackluster gleaning in the garden. It’s nice again now, but in my tizzy of frantic autumnal gathering I did manage to get a fair amount of food harvested and arrayed on various surfaces to dry out for storage.

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Don’t Fake Defunct

You wouldn’t know it from this joint, but there’s been much afoot here at corporate headquarters and elsewhere lately.

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Edam Heart Mother

For the October Chronogram, I wrote about the nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut and the cheeses they make. It’s a remarkable community that produces great artisanal cheese, especially their Bethlehem, which I had the pleasure of eating yesterday; Mother Noella gave me a whole wheel to take home on the condition that I waited a few weeks until it was mature before eating it. I brought it with me on the residency I’m currently doing, and we all demolished it with great enthusiasm last night before and during dinner.

I took the pictures, too; see another one I’m fond of after the jump and be sure to click the shots in the article to embiggen them.

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Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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