April 1, 2014

Another Side of Food…

Sep20

Unilever family dish trip

As part of writing for Unilever’s Family Dish website, I spent time in their test Kitchen this week cooking and learning. It opened my eyes to completely different aspects of food from a company standpoint. I heard the heart and passion for food behind the chefs, recipe testers, and food stylists. Knowing how difficult it is to photograph food and make it look appetizing, I think I was most enthralled with what happens during a food styling photo shoot. I always say that my food tastes yummy, but it’s not always pretty.

Unilever test kitchen

Well, when you are in the restaurant food industry, so much of it is about both the presentation and taste, but with food photography it’s truly only about presentation. Their goal is to replicate an ascetically beautiful recipe, but they aren’t necessarily preparing it to be eaten. Often, it’s just about getting the perfect shot and it may not be edible at all. The stylists reminisced the days where they glued individual sesame seeds onto the tops of rolls, and how the mayo has to be just so and the cheese melted at the perfect angle. I don’t know about you, but that made me feel so much better when I heard that. As much as I love beautiful food, often I am just thrilled to have dinner on the table to feed my family.

Food photography embraces art, and often photo shoots take hours just to get that perfect magazine or cookbook spread.  Part of that art includes the dishes. Giddy doesn’t begin to describe how excited I was just browsing through their cabinets of dishes. Hundreds of platters, bowls, and cups – basically any kind of dishware you can imagine graces their shelves. I don’t know why I love dishes so much, but beautiful dishes just make me happy.  I try to use them within our home because those little things make a difference.  Some of my favorite finds are yard sale dishes, and I’ve been contemplating taking off some of my cabinet doors to expose the open shelving and showcase some of my favorite dishes.  That would mean they would always have to be nice and neat, so I am pondering that decision.

food photography colored dishesthnx to Cheryl for sharing her great pictures

How about you? Do beautiful dishes make you happy?

Do you have some favorite pieces that you love?

I can’t wait to see all these pretty and appetizing recipes, but I bet you didn’t take hours to snap your picture? ;)

TastyTuesday200pix Welcome to my new home   Tasty Tuesday

Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – If you’re joining in with a recipe link, two simple requests. As always,  Please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now.

Also, link back here so that everyone can join in the fun. Many of you are not linking back, and it’s just common courtesy of blog carnivals.


Comments

  1. I love dishes and goodwill and thrift stores are my favorite places to find them.

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  2. I *want* to love pretty dishes. It’s the curse of being practical… I use my white standbys and don’t collect the others because of space issues.

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  3. I’ve been looking at thrift stores for some good dishes for photographing. I haven’t been too good with the photographs yet but I’m learning!! I just find it annoying when I am HUNGRY, everyone else is eating and I am still there taking pictures of my food!!

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  4. Every time I’ve posted a recipe/food photos on my blog, I can’t stand that I can’t get a great photo. Sometimes I do but more often not. Yes, I love pretty dishes but I don’t collect any and I just my regular old white dishes everyday. Someday I’d like to get something new.

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  5. Beautiful pics! I should use my pretty dishes more often.

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  6. I do love beautiful dishes… but I especially love glassware… the way light plays on it is so beautiful. Thanks for hosting!

    e-Mom @ Susannah’s {Kitchen}

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  7. Wow, what I wouldn’t give to see professionals do their photo magic. How fun. I bought a book on it. I always wondered why my cut cake didn’t look like theirs and the book said that they cut each layer before they frost, fill the cake with cardboard to make it look like it is filled then pipe in the frosting so it is perfect. No wonder mine doesn’t look like that! Yuck, I want to eat the great food too.

    Love dishes too. My favorite is TJMaxx/Homegoods where I can find the most
    unusual dishes.

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  8. Ah, what a great tip! It’s been too long since I’ve hunted for pretty dishes. Time to hit some thrift stores and garage sales, I think. And it can make such a sweet gift: a new (ish) dish with something tasty baked into it! :)

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  9. Hi! What fun to visit a real test kitchen! I too love to shop the thrifts and goodwill for dishes and especially have had good luck getting vintage glass containers and old cast iron! Awesome stuff! My recipe this week is for a delicious taco and cheese stuffed mexibun! Thanks for hosting your tasty tuesdays! Alex@amoderatelife

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  10. It is so funny that you are talking about your food tasting good but not always looking appetizing, as I snapped pictures of tonight’s meal, we all just wanted to dig in. Later when I went to put up the post I realized that it wasn’t that appetizing of a photo (looks washed out) and I was wishing I had gotten a better photo. Most of the time I love the classic clean look of white dishes, however sometimes it washes things out. Now that you are mentioning pretty colorful dishes it makes me think that tonights dinner would have surely benefited from a plate change! This will make me rethink, especially chicken dishes in the future! Good post.

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  11. Sounds like you had a blast!!

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  12. That is one thing that I have been paying attention to more lately is getting pretty and appetizing pictures of food. I didn’t really know what I was doing before with photographing food when I had my catering business in Japan (over 3 years ago), but I’ve learned a few things since I moved back and within this past year or so. It definitely makes a difference. Actually, the picture I took up top is one from when I had my catering business. I need to retake a shot of the cheesecake with what I have learned. THank you for sharing and hosting each week! :)

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  13. You know what I found interesting there……..how FABULOUS our spread of food looked because of the serving pieces! Most all the food we prepared was fairly simple, and at home I would throw on the table in the pan, and may family would probably question if they were going to like it or not………but I bet if I would serve dinner on pretty platters like I do for my food shots on my blog….I bet it would make dinner more appealing most nights!!

    I LOVE to look for dishes when I’m out. Thrift stores, clearance sections…Unilever’s collection was to die for wasn’t it?!

    Thanks for hosting Jen

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  14. I love dishes too. We live in a tiny NYC apartement right now, so most of mine are in storage at my parents and my in-laws. Can’t wait to have them all back with me some day. Thanks for hosting. This week is the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, NYC (where I live), so I have some photos of the craziness and a recipe for sausage and peppers.

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  15. I love dishes – the older and more vintage the better! I have quite a collection of mismatched dishes from thrift stores and garage sales – including my favorite blue plate that I eat breakfast on every morning. But my cabinet doors will remain ON – I’m sure don’t want to dust another area! :)

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  16. I am laughing at @Debbie Does Dinner’s comment, because my family looks at me so strangely when they are eating and I am still trying to take a picture of my food.

    I love dishes and I collect vintage Fiesta, but most of what I have was gifted to me.

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  17. That looks like a lot of fun! I love pretty dishes, but I don’t trust myself with them! (I am very clumsy!)

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  18. Dishes DO make me so happy, and I’m discovering I’ve passed on the same love to my kids. Certain dishes mean a lot to them, and they want me to use certain ones seasonally and for special and ordinary occasions. It’s another way to say “I thought about this.” What a fun way to spend a day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  19. What a fun opportunity to go and see how the pros do it. I have learned that many times the best looking food (bakery goods, fancy desserts on cruises or casinos) is often the worst looking food. I know they have their tricks which include paint and glue! I too love dishes. Joni

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  20. I just bought a quiche dish from a person at an art show. It was birthday money well spent! I love it! I use it as a fruit basket most of the time.

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  21. I love Tasty Tuesdays on your blog! I always get great ideas for new meals/dishes to try. I’m pretty lousy about keeping my own blog updated…so little time, so much to cook! (and decorate and craft AND most importantly be a good mommy & wife)

    I’ve got tons of apples to deal with. Apple pie, apple sauce …apple anything HERE WE COME!

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  22. I like dishes too and I love food photography….just wish I was good at it….LOL

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  23. I wish I had the time to make my dishes look so nice! I accidently posted two links, the 2nd one is correct just didn’t know how to remove the first one

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  24. How cool visiting a real test kitchen. And so many delicious recipes today to check out. Thank you for hosting and have a great day!

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  25. I do love pretty dishes and pretty presentations. My hubby learned a long time ago that the packaging is almost as important as the gift!!!!! (At least to me anyway.)

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  26. Sometimes, it DOES take hours to get things ready for a photo shoot!

    I don’t have a lot of dishes to choose from, but I do have a few pieces of pressed glass that my grandmother gave me (that she bought at garage sales for .25!). I also have some beautiful vintage linens that were given to me.

    My family has waited while I photograph the food, but I generally try to take pictures in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, and then we can eat at regular mealtime. The photos I shared in my link above were taken mid-afternoon, and when I was done, my daughter snatched up the soup for an afternoon snack!

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  27. Beautiful dishes definitely make me happy – I would acquire more if I had room to store them!

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  28. corrie weaver says:

    I started a week behind you on the 30 day shred (just couldn’t get my act together). So today was day 2. I started my workout about 5:40, had to stop about 5:55 to take my daughter to dance. When I returned home my son was falling apart and the other needed help with homework, then it was time for dinner and clean-up. I finally got back to the rest of the workout about 7:30 but I did finish it!

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  29. corrie weaver says:

    What is the best way to save these recipes? There are always some good ones but then I can’t ever remember where to go back to to find them.

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  30. Good to know I’m not the only one with the dish-collecting malady. I come by it naturally, as my mom has the same affliction. And my sister-in-law is a serial monogamist with her dishes. Seems like every time I go over there, there’s a new set. I only wish she’d warn me before she ditches the last set, though maybe she would feel like she’s just feeding an unhealthy habit…

    It’s nice to have lots of dishes to share around. The women in my family are always carting soup bowls or dinner plates to each other’s houses for this or that event.

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  31. “Hello, my name is Cass and I’m a dishaholic.”

    Seriously, I am. Dishes make me giddy. And I’d have to think twice about opening up all my cabinets to public view — a few maybe.. I do have some open shelving in my kitchen, but otherwise it’s hidden storage for me!
    Cass

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  32. First time here! It’s nice to see foodies from different parts of the world… I’m learning how to cook, after cooking I just focus my phone and shoot.
    Happy Mid-week!

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  33. Beautiful dishes not only make me very happy but washing them in a sink full of hot soapy water does too. I love seeing them all sparkling clean standing on my counter for the first day or two so I can see them every time I walk in the kitchen and I day dream about how and when I will use them.

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