Monday, May 28, 2012

Mixed Plate: Simpleberry Sunday

Berries and cream. Does it get any simpler than that? Is there really anything else to say other than that? You know what this means: Wasabi is too tired/lazy/busy to write a real post, so you're getting one of these random ramblers. Huzzah!!

Conan, What is Best in Life? Berries and Cream, of course - Photo by Wasabi Prime
Okay, so maybe I'm just phoning it in on this post, just a bit. I have a good excuse -- this month is a real doozy for me, working on some cool, but time-consuming projects and there's just not enough time in the day. But this blog is all about the plain ol' ugly truth, and mine is the fact that due to a busy schedule, I probably won't be cooking much, short of fast/non-post-worthy meals. But that's life, right? Bring on the pizza delivery guy!

The berries and cream were a byproduct of a recipe test for an upcoming magazine article (no spoilers!). "Ooh, photographing and writing for a magazine" -- sounds cool, right? The opportunity to have things published is very cool, but that does not make me cool, just very grateful. I spent a weekend working, but not really, since this doesn't feel like work, and just making a fantastic mess out of the kitchen. I can only speak for myself, but it's very ad hoc when I shoot photos at home, even for professional jobs. It's not that I don't care, my working style is very "let's see what happens." It can be chaotic, so it's just as well it happens in the privacy of home so no one learns my dark, disorganized secret. I may jot down a few idea notes ahead of time, maybe scribbles if there's a specific visual I have in mind, but most times a shot composition comes together at the last minute. Hail Mary photography, all the way!

People talk a lot about photo props. I have a few favorite cups, plates and bowls I like to use for photos, but I don't make it a point to collect too many things. It's very tempting to collect/hoard pretty servingware and picture-perfect goodies when I peruse antique stores, but the Voice of Reason steps in with a reminder that I just don't know where to store stuff like that. Even living in a house, I don't want to be surrounded by an excess of stuff -- Lord knows we have enough stuff as it is. I use old dishtowels, napkins or extra fabric if I need a soft surface, but a plain white napkin or off-white with a soft, nubby pattern tends to work best. I set up the spot to shoot photos depending on the light, which most people do, but that could mean a corner of the kitchen, maybe a plate sitting on a wood stool set up in front of a random window (sometimes in the bathroom!), or more than likely, our laundry room with the frosted South-facing window.

Once the shots were set up, stuff was fiddled-with and a ridiculous number of photos of the same thing were taken, there's a bit of a mess leftover. In this case, there were all these sliced strawberries and some cream. I was a little tired and just wanted to sit down. So I took a teacup from my grandma's incomplete dessert tea set, filled it with strawberries and cream and set to work on a delicious afternoon snack. Cool, sweet, rich and oddly refreshing despite the heavy dairy product, it made me think of the first time I had strawberries and cream, appropriately enough, in London. This was ages ago, my first time out of the country, on a family trip that thankfully didn't turn into something you'd see the Griswolds doing in a National Lampoon movie. But sitting with a teacup of strawberries and cream, amid a messy kitchen and the satisfaction of getting at least one "to-do" checked off the list, it was a pleasant moment of civility and simplicity. And a reminder I need to do that more often. Minus the messy kitchen part. 

Making the most of some simple, but lovely ingredients - Photos by Wasabi Prime

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