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Monday, January 23, 2012

Adventures in Food Styling: A Thousand Words and a Stunning Goat Butter Chocolate Cake

Pizza Royale at Cafe Galerie in Poudenas

Is it unfair to start off this post with a photo of a mouth-watering pizza? But this truly was not just any mw pizza. No, no. It was a Royale Pizza, with a perfect oven roasted egg in the center like a sun that the world revolved around. Covered with creamy reblochon cheese, salty ham, and olives (yes, Nicoise olives still with the pits in them) And the crust, the crust ~ even from this distance of months away from the actual pizza eating ~ the crust still invites with its crunchy pillow that you know (you hope!) will collapse under your teeth and give a semblance of structure; like a raft perhaps for the cheese to grasp and the ham to float on and find their way into your just closing mouth. Ummmmmm.

Sigh. So you can see where I've been, but this is more than just dreaming of pizza; this is a complicated study. As the light of winter changes, the early mornings are perfect times to stare at food photos and into the abyss and alternately work on my WIP (work in progress or at least in process of progress) and visit my main character, a food stylist, as she struggles with the dilemma of working in such a fickle medium: food! 

How can she convey exactly what the photographer demands. 
So that leads me to ask for another opinion - yours!

They say many things. 
A picture is worth a thousand words. 
We eat with our eyes. 
Another popular adage.

But just how do images of food affect your appetite? 

Chevre in Nerac's Market

Do photos of food (do as they are supposed to and) make you hungry?

Or do such photos infuriate you; make you think I can never make something that looks that good? 

But if you've ever ditched your plan for dinner while standing in line staring at an inviting burger (fish/chicken/sandwich/or devilish cake) on the cover of a magazine you know the power of the photo.

Can a photo bring more than a jolt to your appetite? For when you get to the dining part; how does dining, when does it  = art? Is it about the surroundings? The  ambiance, plates and napkins? Or is it the company? Is it about what you expect?

 Pâté de Compagne in St. Germain-en-Llaye

Do you believe what Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame believes?

"Eating is a very complex thing, but because we eat every day, we don't want to see it that way.

Imagine for a moment that food wasn't a physiological need; what would your relationship be with food then? We really need to think about eating, because eating and breathing are the only two things we
do from the moment we are born to the moment we die."

Ferran Adria - Reinventing Food, 2011

But I want to know what you think?

Decadent Chocolate Goat Butter Cake with Poached Winter Fruit

And then here is a link to a provocative film that explores the connection between the surrealist art of Salvador Dali and Ferran Adria.

The Film: The Cook, The Dog, and Dali

For everyone who leaves a comment, I'll send a copy of the unbelievable flourless chocolate cake recipe.


  1. I believe photos of food have reverse effects on us. Sure, we all have that moment when we give one good look and say "I could never make that" but it's that frustration that motivates us. Food is there to inspire us. Your tantilizing photos above made me want to jump through my computer screen and devour its contents! Photos remind us how beautiful food can be. The average joe doesn't look at food as a Salvador Dahli mirage, but with the advent of food magazines and blogs, food can be a work of art. Of course there's other factors that come into play such as ambiance and linens and so it proves we eat with our sight. However, no matter the looks or company, food has the power to overcome any moment. I could be standing at the intersection of chaos and havoc and still have a sensual moment with your goat butter chocolate cake because it's so rich and luxurious! It's a lot...I know but what a wonderful topic! I couldn't help myself;)

  2. Jeremy, Thank you for visiting! I can imagine the cheese and chocolate cake sitting before us to try as we converse! What you say about food having power I think is very true and astute. It reveals that we can be swayed by a photo. Maybe such a swaying also gives us the possibility to restore ourselves. Restoration not only on a nutritive path but one that can revive our faith in community at the table. I do wonder if the real benefit of art (and I am including food in that category) is to give us something beyond the everyday?

    Bien sur, the chocolate cake made with goat butter recipe is coming your way!

    Merci monsieur...


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