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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Delicious Memories

Real-life food photography at home

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With the booming age of food photography, foodie blogging, cookbooks and food stylists, where does this leave the everyday cook? There's no food stylist in my home, but lots of good food, fresh ingredients and homemade goodness. Don't be intimated by the amazing world of food photography—instead, let it serve as an inspiration in your everyday life. Food holds stories, and this article is to celebrate the real, "homey" moments around my kitchen, and yours.

I tend to be a sentimental girl, and therefore, I love traditions. They're the simple threads that bind us to our pasts, food traditions and memories being great examples. Food connects us all. Recipes handed down from generation to generation are priceless pieces to the puzzle that's your life. They hold stories, the "Oh, wasn't that just the best meal ever?" or, "Remember that year when the power went out in the middle of cooking the lasagna?" and, of course, the "No one makes applesauce like Nanny did!" stories.

They're the go-tos, the must-haves, and the things we look forward to sitting down in front of and enjoying on those special days. They get named after the ones we love—"Dad's German pancakes," and "Mom's potato filling," "Nana's salmon loaf—so even if their namesakes aren't physically with us at the table, they're there in spirit through the magic of food.

These are the tangible, "hold them in your hands" kind of memories of our own childhood. I can clearly picture my mom's tin recipe box. The recipe cards, yellowed by time, in my mom's perfect cursive handwriting, folded over, stained and splattered on. The dirtier the card, the more loved that recipe was. That tin box, and what it held, is imprinted on my heart. I'm sure, as a child, I had no real conscious thought of this, but now, at age 39, the fact that I can evoke the exact image of that tin box reinforces how important it was.

Now that I'm a mom, my hope is that I, too, am creating lasting memories for my little family through food. My favorite moments are all in the making. The gathering together in the kitchen, all hands in, sticky little fingers and flour-dusted noses—this is when the stories unfold, the stories of old and the new stories yet to be told.

Pie is one of our favorite things to make. I hope they remember how I let them draw in the flour as the dough rests, the weight of my hands on theirs as we roll out a circle, and how small tears in the dough are easily mended with a little water and a gentle touch. I want them to remember that no pie is perfect, but all are perfectly imperfect, and that slowing down, taking time and creating something homemade together brings us closer together.

My camera tends to look a lot like my kids' fingers on baking days, flour-dusted and more than a little sticky; I would have it no other way. This is a celebration of the connectedness of food, the stories of family and the feeling of home, all captured through my lens.

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