A Tingle-Tangle of Tomatoes
This morning I awoke with the nuns. We live near a convent where every morning some devoted person wakes up and vigorously clangs a not-too-tuneful bell to propel the community out of its slothful repose. The bell clangs, I dare not say chimes, at 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 in the morning, giving us all a choice of virtuous rising times. This morning it was the 5:00 bells that got me out of bed, imagining this glass full of tomatoes and Petit Suisse.
I jumped out of bed, got out a knife, and set to dicing. My goal was to create something eminently photographable, but not by the usual standards of French Letters. For today was the day when my food first saw the light of professional photography, and wowsers, was it ever fun! However, let me say that the photo above was taken by me, involving no karmic demerits for my photographer friend, and that the photos she took of these verrines, France’s favorite little glassfuls, were about 100 times better than the shot you see here. Maybe 150 times better.
With Verity, a pro photographer par excellence, I made a veritable mountain of tomatoes come to life in an amazingly elegant way. My normal food photo experience is that I make something pretty, take a decent, plus or minus a little, photo of what I’ve cooked, and post it here. I’m always a little sad because the photo doesn’t look as good as it should, but I just accept that as part of life. I’m a cook who dabbles in photography, not the other way round.
But today the world stood on its head. I looked at the photos as they rolled off the camera and onto the laptop in total awe. “Wow, I made that beautiful food?” Well, no, not exactly. I made something, and then the photography made something of it. It was a humbling and thrilling experience. And as soon as I know where those photos are going to be published, believe me, you’ll be the first to know.
In the meanwhile, if you haven’t seen the current issue of Chile Pepper magazine, and you’d like to see how French Letters looks on semi-gloss paper, go get one. There you can read about my trip to the piment d’Espelette festival, and see some reasonably okay pictures of how it all unfolded.
And if you have way too many tomatoes on your hands just let me know. I’m up to my ears in them myself, and I have a lot of pretty ideas what to do with them, with a little help from my friends.