As part of my entry into the social media world, I registered Inspired Cuisine in Pinterest and yes, I now have a presence not only on Pinterest but also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Naturally, I am interested in what is ‘trending’ so I spend a few minutes a day checking the new posts and analytics for my site, but I also look at other areas, such as food photography and food related postings. I’ve said this before, some foods just do not photograph well, and experts agree on this, so I look to see how photographers and food stylists handle lighting and backdrops, color adjustments, angle etc.
Normally, I stick to food/cooking sites, often those that are not mainstream, but also venture into food photography as well. Over time, and increasingly so as social media platforms progress, I have found that great food photography does not always equate to great food. Enticing images are hard to ignore, many of them are mouth watering, and I admit, I was caught two or three times over the last few weeks with beautiful food images. Last night’s dinner was one of these beautiful creations, but it left me wondering who created the recipe, the food stylist or the chef.
Things started going wrong fairly early as halfway through the recipe, I started wondering what I was cooking when I was finding that some ingredients were listed in the ingredients list but did not get used anywhere in the recipe, and some others were in the photo but did not make to the ingredients list.
Even with these omissions and additions, I persevered, and mumbled all the way through, saying that this recipe wanted to be something else, maybe Asian, but then the ingredients were not particularly Asian.
Needless to say, the result was disappointing. I added some of the ingredients which were missed and included ingredients that were not listed but were used, but I just could not find a place for toasted sesame seed oil on spring peas, fennel what looks like sliced cucumber (?) or lime (?), jalapeno pepper (all a beautiful green) and roasted chicken thighs.
The photo was beautiful and the food did look enticing. The colors were brilliant, there was great separation, but it seemed that the ingredients were staged for their color contribution, and while the finished product was beautifully composed, the recipe missed the mark.
I normally look at recipe contents and technique (not this time) and if the combination makes sense at this stage, I will likely try it. Certainly the photos that I publish are all mine. Keeping in mind that some things do not photograph well, I may take the shots after 2 or 3 separate preparations before they make it for publication. And even then, some could be better and the next time I make the dish I will likely take a few more shots.
I do not cook for the sake of photography alone, when I cook, we eat what I cook, and this can be a little trying at times, as we are hungry, the food is getting cold, and I need to move on with the lunch or dinner.
Bottom line, I was fooled when I decided to make this recipe based on the photo, but I will not repeat this mistake anytime soon. At least, not before I convince myself that the ingredients and techniques match the photo. At least when you select one of my recipes, you know I made it, and while I would love to have a food stylist, my photos are definitely not the creation of a food stylist. So bottom line, trust your instincts, if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.