There are three kinds of people in this world. People who love food photos. People who have no desire to see another picture of breakfast, dinner or any snack in between. And people who can’t imagine why anyone would take a picture of their plate before offering a blessing or just digging in. I’ll never forget the time my uncle exclaimed in an utterly perplexed tone, “You’re taking a picture of a shrimp?” It was actually a set of Madagascar prawns, plated with precision.
Most foodies celebrate fresh, colorful, textured food that tastes even better than the finely tuned arrangement on the plate appears. Like singing, the art of considering oneself a foodie, progresses with time, experience and God-given talent, from someone who appreciates the fine food crafted by others to actually morphing into the creator of fine cuisine that others beg to taste and photograph.
As a freelance food stylist and photographer for a Dallas-based food brokerage, I never turn down an opportunity to style and capture exquisite food compositions. I might even love photographing food more than I love eating it. As the highest order of foodie, I relish any opportunity to take that exhilarating leap to creating the ultimate original masterpiece in my own kitchen for others (and myself) to enjoy.
What many self-proclaimed chef foodies, like myself, do not share, are the fantastic foodie photo fails that precede the social media perfection we all see posted with half a dozen hashtags.
The other night, I got what felt like a bright idea (divine inspiration) to create a gourmet snack that started with gluten-free fresh lasagna pasta and sharp white cheddar cheese. Once I perfected the base, I planned to add an interesting combination of fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps a small crumbling of chunky sea salt. Doesn’t that sound yummy?
Well, it wasn’t. I burned the first batch in the air fryer. The next batch came out looking nice enough, but as it turns out, fresh lasagna pasta is not a gourmet alternative on which to build fancy tapas. I could have dressed it up to make it photo worthy, but why? It tasted terrible!
So I did the only decent thing, I tossed my experiment and made a slightly healthier version of traditional lasagna with the remaining fresh pasta, a ground turkey-and-beef mix, homemade marinara sauce and three kinds of cheese. And it was spectacular. Moist, flavorful, and just the right amount of richness to taste slightly decadent. I devoured the corner piece on my plate, before it dawned on me: I forgot to take a picture.
I grabbed my camera, took a few shots, and then quickly divided the rest into containers to share with family and friends. Truthfully, I could never trust myself with an entire batch of scrumptious lasagna within nibbling distance, unless I was willing to buy a larger wardrobe.
I was proud of myself for trying something new and creative, even if it did end up as a fantastic foodie photo fail. As it turns out, even for a self-described foodie, sometimes a proven recipe really is the best way to cook.