Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh, What the Heck

Some of us are better photographers than others. Some of us really suck, even with the finest equipment and lighting. Some of us get sparklingly perfect shots with a cell phone camera. Some of us know all sorts of image editing tricks. Some of us are brilliant at framing a shot, choosing blissful focal planes and dreamy shadows. Some of us don't even deserve to use a disposable camera.
I'm somewhere in the middle of all that. I occasionally get a beautiful picture, but when that happens, it's usually luck. I know what kind of lighting works best for me, and I'm having some success with focus. I've taken some real stinkers: blurry, dark, poorly framed, indecipherable. And I've taken some so-so pictures that were slightly redeemable by fooling around with saturation, straightness, exposure, etc., in the editing software.
I'll gladly publish my pretty pictures, and I'm only slightly embarrassed by my average shots. I'm still learning.
But who in their right mind would deliberately publish an Ugly Photo? On purpose? Really ugly?
Well, I got talked into this by Rachael from Fresh Approach Cooking. She proposed a one-off event she's calling "My Blog Went Up in Flames" (read about it at Food Blog S'cool), where entries will be judged on General Unappetizingness, among other criteria.
I may not already be a winner, but by my standards, I had a doozie to submit.
Once I mailed off my entry, I was suddenly free of shame. My ugly photo is out there, and will probably be posted on Rachael's site sometime next week.
So, I decided to OWN my unappetizingness, my lousy lighting, my — well, face it, my mystery meat.
Voilà, le preview, along with the description I sent to Rachael.
Hi Rachael:
Too funny. I happened to take this picture just four days ago. It's Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room of the senior community where my parents live, and there wasn't a green vegetable to be found in the entire buffet line. You are looking at (clockwise, from "noon") a hunk of roasted turkey the carver couldn't be bothered to slice thinly; a pockmarked chunk of sweet potato (I suspect a raisin was embedded in that scary hole); creamed carrots with an overdose of dried thyme -- actually the only herbal flavors on the whole plate; and a scoop of mashed potatoes drowning in a sploosh of decidedly non-turkey gravy (onion was the predominant flavor).
OK, title. Let's go with "Preznit Giv Me Turkee." (References: here and here).
Lighting: Oh, just say "ambient old folks home."
Backstory: See above.
Appetizingness: You judge. I brought sandwich baggies in my purse, in case there was something good to smuggle home. They remain pristine, unused.
No way was I going to blog this mess. But I sure hope you will.

Yes, well, obviously I have now blogged this mess.
Please enjoy the rest of your day.


Jennifer said...

Oooh, wow. So many levels to this story/post/pic... I like it. Especially the "pockmarked chunk of sweet potato." Nicely said.

drbiggles said...

Yeah, but is that gravy?

If it is, you can't possibly win. Any gravy image is a masterpiece.


cookiecrumb said...

Hi, you two.
Biggles, the gravy was the best thing on the plate. (I'm a loser.)
Now -- just to recap your radio recipe: Did you insert bacon under the skin? Cuz we're getting a turkey in a couple of days. I bet that would make killer gravy. So, raw bacon?

drbiggles said...

Turkey? Yeah, two strips on either side all laid in nicely UNDER skin, OVER breast. Start at the top of the breast and work your way down to the wing. I tossed in some fresh sprigs of thyme too.
See, since the bacon is protected, it doesn't caramelize and get that normal strongish bacon flavor, it's mild. Plus what it does for the gravy can't be reproduced any other way. And of course the breast is a tad moister.
The best part? Very best part of all? When you carefully slice the breast meat for serving, nearly each wonderful slice gets a few whacks of bacon! YEAH !!! It isn't a strong whack, just a gentle love tap. Something that arcs the edges of your smile just a smidge more, see? It gives people who aren't necessarily fond of the breast portion something to live for. Oh, and as it sits on your fork, smiling at you because you've dipped it in a puddle of gravy? It's a meat, gravy and bacon synergism that sends shivers up and down your back.
I'm spent, got a smoke?

b'gina said...

Yeow! That purpley gray hunk of meteorite-looking stuff is turkey? You're a braver woman than I, cookiecrumb.

cookiecrumb said...

b'gina: Yeah. ::frownyface:: And now my mom's bummed because I called the place "old folks home," when it's actually a wonderful place with a pool and a gym and patios and grapefruit trees and herbs and a dog walk and piano and computers and happy hours, and I can't wait to move there.
Biggles: Oh jeez, the earth did move just now. I can't wait to try that. I'm so glad I listened to your broadcast. [Kiddies, go visit Meathenge right now.]

Greg said...

Get a room you guys!

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: Don't tell Monkey Gland I'm cheating on him.

drbiggles said...

Hmm, well the room better have a kitchenette. I don't stay in places that don't have a kitchen. And I'm bringing my own knives and cookware. Plus I want my own salt & pepper collection, I can't live without my creamy white peppercorns and viking smoked sea salt. OooO, and I want fresh herbs, bring those too. On your way out, don't forget to grab a pint of lard and goose fat along with some excellent ap flour. At this point, grab the Kitchenaid, we're making PORK PIE !!!

ilva said...

cc- I kind of like that photo, I actually thought 'nice pic' when I first saw it, does that make me strange or just someone who has bad taste in photos?

cookiecrumb said...

Oh, that's cute, Ilva. Bad taste in photos. YOU? :)
Biggles: Yep, full kitchen with gas range. Fireplace in the living room. Two bathrooms. Tomatoes growing in the back yard. It's very homey. Bring your knives.

rae said...

ohhhhh, scary. wait till you see how my hishogaki are looking these days...

Mona said...

That is hilarious. Good for you. If I knew where to plug my camera into my computer I'd have some ugly poor pix myself. Though to be honest I wouldn't have guessed that was a bad picture!! Until I kept reading your post!! That says a lot about me and my skillz as a non-photographer I guess.

Sam said...

you've only got one bad photo and it isnt even that bad.
you are doing way better than me.
And just for the record I never claimed to be non-human anyway.

cookiecrumb said...

Well, Sam, I've deleted most of my bad pix. Never dreamed we'd be cashing in on them someday. I could've probably out-badded you.
(Even if you never claimed to be non-human, BTW, your mortal admirers think you're a goddess.)

lisaSD said...

Would someone please define the term "one-off" for me?

cookiecrumb said...


one-off (wŭn'ôf', -ŏf') Chiefly British.
Happening, done, or made only once.

Something that is not repeated or reproduced.

(Google is your friend.)

mrs d said...

That's not turkey. That's badly made carob soy ice cream. I can tell. I've been forced to eat it before, and it tasted just like cafeteria turkey.

cookiecrumb said...

Well, see? Same dif, basically. And we didn't have to try the dessert.