A Day in the Life of a Cookbook Shoot – “Little Everyday Cakes”

A day in the life of this particular cookbook photo shoot started out with many layers of cakes of all sizes and shapes baked and cooled and ready for their moment in front of the camera.

Before: Early morning Spice Cake getting “dressed”……
After: Spice Cake all  “dressed up and ready” for the camera.   Photo by Danielle Atkins Photography

Have you ever been on a food photo shoot? It’s probably not exactly what you might expect. Here are some images of behind-the-scenes from the shoot earlier this year for Candace Floyd’s “little everyday cakes” with photographer Danielle Atkins shot at Food Sheriff Studio here in Nashville.

Cookbook food shoots involve lots of schleping….not my favorite thing to do…but it’s a must. Props, props and more props. There are never, ever enough and it is a flow of “more” into the studio or location every day. I started with around 15 boxes and ended on wrap day with more than 20!  Not to mention my food styling kits armed with special items for making these cakes look casually pretty and delicious.

For this “one subject” cake cookbook we needed lots of cake stands of all sizes, scads of small plates and saucers,  tons of little bowls……..

…dessert forks, regular forks, cake servers…knives…..

…..spreaders,  spoons of all types, did I say hundreds of napkins of all colors?….blues, greys, whites and chalky colors, soft reds and pinks…vintage prints….all laid out on many fold up tables to choose from with all of us contributing.

A typical day for us started at sunrise with many cake layers, tubs of frosting, fresh fruits and sauces. A good strong cup of coffee or two as well.

There is nothing quite like “following the light” as you work during a day on set where all the images are to be shot with natural light.  You actually learn a lot about the sun and clouds, soft and hard light, which cake works best in a kitchen window or on a table a few feet away. It is a study in working with nature, not against.  It is capturing what is there at any given moment and using it to enhance. It is a lovely thing when done well.

Scenes from behind the finished photos….beautiful light through old studio kitchen window…

                         

…setting up for future images……

….photographer, Danielle Atkins and author, Candace Floyd.

Images from Dani’s screen as we adjust, shoot, adjust and shoot until it’s just the way we want it. Many days, lots of laughs and collaboration, lots of hard work, cakes to bake and every now and then a bite or two!

    

To see the finished images and get the recipes to make these little everyday cakes pick up a copy of “little everyday cakes” from your local bookstore, Amazon or Spring House Press.

For more information and a recipe from the book, “Mexican Chocolate Cake” see my last post here, “Look Honey I Shrank the Mexican Chocolate Cake”.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

A Refreshing & Intoxicating “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” and a “Spicy Golden Mary”

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Above is a cool, refreshing & quite intoxicating “Spicy Golden Mary”.

Below is the refreshing & intoxicating cover of the “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” by Nancy Vienneau (her blog is Good Food Matters). This book’s release date is just a few days away, June 17th, 2014 and will be available at your local bookstores and on-line. It’s a beauty full of wonderful stories of food and folks. The “monthly chapters” feature seasonal produce & recipes from each month of the year. You can cook your way through 5 years of Third Thursday Potluck gatherings all in one book. I was so pleased to do the food and prop styling for this book, which was a real labor of love.

Third Thursday FINAL

What do these two things have in common you might ask?

One is a much-anticipated cookbook that chronicles the stories and recipes that have been shared over the past 5 years, every Third Thursday of every month, at one of Nashville’s best kept secrets. Nancy, and her friend, Gigi Gaskins (who owns HatWRKS) started this potluck as a way for a group of food friends to get together, share incredible seasonal recipes & foods, have a glass of wine and talk. There is no set theme except for the season.  As the cover says, this truly is a potluck like no other.

To herald this book’s release I want to share with you a recipe of mine from the book. The deliciously refreshing & intoxicating “Spicy Golden Mary “.  Get the book for this and so many more enticing recipes and stories. This recipe is from July’s Chapter “The Big Tomato”.

Before we have a “Spicy Golden Mary”, here are two events you will not want to miss if you happen to live, or be visiting the Nashville, TN area on these dates….lots of fun and good food.

This one is on Tuesday night, 6/17……

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This is on “Third Thursday”, 6/19 of course! Bring a dish and a drink (wine, etc) if you like and come join all of us…..

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Here is how to make my  recipe,
“Spicy Golden Mary”
Orange heirloom tomatoes
1. Core and chop 4-5 pounds of very ripe yellow tomatoes. (About 7 cups).
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heirloom tomatoes
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2. You will also need 1 1/2 cups good quality Vodka such as Tito’s from Austin, Texas or Ketel One from Holland.
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3. Puree chopped tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade until smooth.
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4. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp, pressing down gently with a wooden spoon to get all the juice from the pulp.
IMG_1649Whoa! Look at that beautiful golden tomato juice.
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5. To the bowl of tomato juice add the following:  the Vodka, 2 tsp grated horseradish, a generous pinch of salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 tbsp Serrano chili-lime pepper sauce (or 2 tsp Tabasco sauce), 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
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7. As I was making this for a  Third Thursday Potluck evening I used two bottles to transport it to the gathering. First I made a label on my computer of a giant tomato on a gold background and added type identifying what was in the bottles. All the ingredients were listed, along with my blog name and a catchy phrase “Drink your breakfast for dinner right now!”.
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I cut up some fresh limes & celery sticks, packed it all up in my antique carrier and off to Third Thursday!
Here is a toast to all the past Third Thursday Community Potluck dinners and to many, many more! Congratulations Nancy on your beautiful cookbook!