Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The frustrating life of a food blogger

Oh, the trials and tribulations of the food blogger's life. You make a great dish, but you didn't take a picture. Or you have a fabulous picture, but it didn't taste as good as you expected. The second one rarely happens. The first one happens so often, I got used to the never-ending frustration.

The current dish giving me trouble is pan-fried whiting that I made for dinner last week. I made it on Carl's (my fishmonger's) recommendation, and it was fabulous. The problem was that I had to serve it immediately (per his instruction) and didn't have a chance to take a picture. What? Don't all food bloggers get an extra serving just for the picture? Sorry to disappoint you guys -- nope :) This turned out to be such a yummy dish that I went right back to Carl in a few days to ask for more whiting. I thought I can take a picture if I make it again for lunch. During the day, the pictures go much faster and easier since I have good light. But he didn't have any whiting that day :( I am yet to hear from a reader that made a dish posted without a picture on my blog. If only food pictures weren't so much fun to look at, my life would be so much easier. So I guess I have to wait for whiting, and you guys have to wait for a picture and a recipe.

This is one part of food blogging that I absolutely hate. As Mark Twain said, "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." So are food pictures for me. It's something that I want to have taken, but don't want to take. Just imaging a crispy sizzling little fishy right there in front of you, tempting you with its tender juicy flesh. But instead of digging right in before it gets cold, you have to full around with aperture and shutter speed. Take 1. Zoom in. That's fuzzy. Maybe I should get my tripod. Take 2. That's better, but I need to approach it from a different angle. What's that weird shadow doing here? Man, now I need to adjust this stupid tripod. Take 3. No more weird shadow. But it looks dull. I need more glistening. Maybe if I move this lamp here... Yeah. Take 4. Ok, I think I am getting somewhere. Now how much fuzziness do I want? Should I make the tail fade away? How does that aperture thing work again? And so on.... As you can imagine, by the end of this torture the whiting is cold.

Well, enough ranting. If you want to read some of my normal writing, rather than my complaining, here are some stories I have recently done for culinate:

On Board -- a closer look at knife's best friend

Hands-on salad. I wanted to subtitle this one Il faut mettre la main a la salade, but culinate folks thought that I should stick to English. Now, I am just curious -- any ideas what this is a pun on?


jenblossom said...

I hear you - getting a good shot is completely frustrating! Until I can improve the lighting situation in my apartment, I'm going to have to make do with taking at least a dozen rapid succession shots (sometimes multiple shots in the same position) and hope that one of them turns out. :)

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about all of you food bloggers who I read just a couple of days ago. I was thinking how frustrating it would be to make something delicious and then have to eat it cold after taking 10 pictures to get that one good shot.

Keep up the good work. I'll still read your blog even if there are fish head pictures to look at!

Anonymous said...

I must admit I love all the delicious looking pictures of the dishes you make.
Maybe you could set up a small, well-lit area and have your camera at the ready on a tripod?

Anonymous said...

All around the world, food bloggers are groaning in sympathy with you, Helen. I've just become accustomed to eating my food slightly cold. Although, as anonymous suggested, I try to have my shooting space set up in advance, complete with tripod, so I can get the shot as quickly as possible.

I enjoyed the culinate posts, by the way, especially the one on cutting boards. My current favorite cutting board is the Epicurean. Made from a natural wood fiber composite, it handles like wood and is dishwasher safe. Best of all [to me, anyway], it doesn't warp like plastic boards can. So when I'm smashing garlic cloves, there's no give or bounce in the board, and the garlic gets the full brunt of the whack.

Helen said...

Hi Terry,

Thanks for the board tip. Do you think you can e-mail me a link to it (if it's available on-line)?

About those pictures, guys... Yeah, yeah, yeah -- I have a dedicated picture taking space with tripod and all that crap. But you know how sometimes you want a relaxing dinner without tripods, cameras, and restauranty white plates. You just want to have a glass of good wine, get the fish out of the pan, and get happily messy eating whole whiting right with your hands. Besides, those tiny fishies are 1/5 inch thick when butterflied, so they get cold fast. But they were so good, it was worth sacrificing the pictures.


Monika Korngut said...

Its true, we all know how it is taking those delicious looking pictures. I guess that's the price we pay for sharing our culinary experimentations. My poor husband, he sometimes is so hungry, but is really good at waiting... sometimes I just say, no pictures today, we need a night off!!