The Joy of Cooking Photographs

I believe I was born with a camera in my hand.
When I was 15, learning how to take photographs with Poppa George was quite an experience. We used to take black and white photographs together and then develop them together in the darkroom in my basement. Pop used to tell me--- "it is time to put the film in the soup". He often referred to the darkroom like a kitchen. He would tell me let's cook up some pictures. Pop knew a few things about photography as he made his living doing this starting around 1920. I have always loved his darkroom/kitchen comparison even though I don't think it was intentional. 

Darkroom. Kitchen. Both creative wellsprings. 
August 1940, Pop takes a picture of the Philadelphia police
department as they get their 1940 fleet of Chevy's 
I like to look in unexpected places for a striking visual image. While walking with my daughters in Maui along a beautiful walkway along Kapalua Coastal Hike, we passed by these boats lined up along the shore line. Their color and pattern just screamed out to be captured. I saw it coming from a distance and couldn't resist the chance to find the right angle to capture the moment. Sometimes the beauty is in the detail but the pleasure is in capturing the image in your mind's eye. 

Maui Boats
A close up of variegated vegetation can also bring another view of light, color and harmony. Getting in tight for the shot makes you wonder what you are seeing since I am eliminating some of the perspective. It almost looks like an aerial view of the landscape like the one's you see from some of the shuttle missions. 

Icing on the leaves
This hand painted horse outside of a market also struck my eye. Against the bright blue of the sky, the red and white pattern, the shape of the horse and the angle I saw it from all demanded my attention. I couldn’t resist since it seemed like a much more interesting image when I see it from underneath looking up- versus straight forward.

Horse of a different color 
There is an interesting relationship between my other passions and photography. I love to cook and I make my living as a professional marketer. I’m always capturing the color and texture of meals in preparation or just as they finish. Both Fanny, my Hollywood daughter and I are constantly photographing our food sending photos back and forth to share and discuss. It has become a second language to us- one that allows us to have a shared vernacular that we both understand.

When Ra El and I first got married and then when Sarah and Fanny arrived, there was rarely time to use a darkroom to develop film and print photographs.  Cooking became like a darkroom experience for me where I would get to create and explore my food passions. Instead of printing 8 X 10 glossies- I'm making lasagna in an 8 X 10 inch pan. Often, while cooking, I will dim the lights so it feels like I am still in a darkroom preparing and developing something special. 

"As a marketer, cook and photographer the same basic tenets seem to apply. I am striving to see things from a new perspective trying my best to grab someones attention. Can I see things with a fresh eye- and an unexpected point of view and tell a story?"

Zucchini Feta Fritters 
With the advent of digital photography, the darkroom became a thing of the past like so many other advances in technology but I always feel that connection when I am cooking.
Two nights ago, Fanny and I created zucchini feta fritters. We had to improvise in our vacation kitchen since it didn’t have a grater or several other essentials; we made a slightly different version of one of my favorite recipes. Here it is for you to try. It is adapted from a recent recipe in The New York Times since I wanted to make it gluten free for Ra El. Here is the original recipe

Grating the zucchini

Drain the water out 

Add fresh crumbled feta and dill 

Spoon into hot EVOO

Cooks about 3 minutes per side until crispy

Don't fritter away the moment- cook with someone you love
A frenzy of fritters.
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Zucchini Fritters for 4 (Gluten Free)

2 yellow summer squash (AKA yellow zucchini)
2 green zucchini
1 egg
1 cup of crumbled feta
1/3 of a cup of fresh chopped dill
1 tablespoon of cumin
Salt and Pepper
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

In a bowl, grate the 4 zucchini.
Squeeze the excess water out of the mixture either with your hands or with a cheese cloth. Get as much water out as possible since you will cook the fritters in oil. (Oil and water and not BFF)
Add the egg to the zucchini that has been dried out.
Add the crumbled feta.
Add the cumin, salt and pepper.
Blend in the chopped fresh dill.
Use a fork to mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes.
Put ½ inch EVOO in sauté pan and turn up to ¾ high heat. (7 on an electric oven)
Using a spoon, either drop a dollop in the hot oil or you can preform them into small patties/pancake shapes.
They should cook about 3 minutes on each side until crispy.
Place on a cookie sheet when done and then keep warm in oven (about 300 degrees) until ready to eat.

Fanny’s sauce: Fanny made a simple sauce with sour cream, dill and fresh cucumber and a tiny amount of garlic to top. 
(1 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup fresh dill chopped, 1/3 cucumber sliced in tiny pieces, salt and pepper to taste).

Cook something with someone you love. Don't fritter away the moment. 

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