Unphotogenic Food


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Today is the first day of “Carla’s 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge,” and I am a participant (I know, right? What manner of nut am I, and how many more obligations can I possibly fit in to this one New Year??).

It’s only five days. There is no set menu. The rules are few: avoid processed foods; make healthy choices; post at least once a day. Simple. Too simple, perhaps, when it’s only the fourth of January and I’m still flying high on my crazy self-improvement phase.

I’ve already shopped. I already ate that gigantic dark chocolate candy bar (yes, the one that would usually last for almost two weeks, as I rationed one small square a day) so that it won’t be hanging over my head, interfering with my success. I’ve already kind of planned my meals, leaving room for changes based on mood or time constraints. I’ve been ready for days, raring to go.

With time to spare, I decided to photograph last night’s dinner. Trying to use up the ground beef before the challenge starts, I made smothered burger. I made a hamburger, fried it on one side, flipped it, then added two cups of sliced cabbage to the pan, topped it with about a quarter cup of grated cheese and covered the pan to finish cooking. It’s a fairly healthy, easy, very tasty, low-carb plateful of food.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t photograph well. From any angle. Even with the cast iron pan as backdrop (doesn’t black go well with everything?), it looked bland. I un-smothered the burger and placed it on top of the cabbage. Now I had beige and bland. I arranged it nicely on a red plate (RED!), placed that neatly on the purple tablecloth (PURPLE!), and tried again. Nothing.

I quit trying, before I lost my appetite entirely. “I’ll do better tomorrow,” I thought.

It turns out, oatmeal is pretty pale, too.

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

15 responses »

    • Oh, Linda, coming from you , that’s a wonderful encouragement! Thank you! I have seen only wonderful, hunger-inducing photos with your recipes, so you would have never had to admit otherwise! Thanks for reading!

      • Thank you! That’s equally good to hear. I can cook (mostly) – presentation is where I often fall down. I’m what my husband calls a dolloper. 🙂

  1. This is hysterical. I would have loved to see your attempts with the hamburger. Good luck with the challenge, and please show pictures – the more bland the food looks the healthier you’re becoming! (That oatmeal will turn you into Superwoman!)

    • Healthy food is not attractive food. Is that a true statement? We’ll see. The vegetable, bean and barley soup looks colorful enough, and greens are, of course, green…but the “mouth watering chicken” I prepared to go on top of salads looks, at this time, very much like poached brains! Thanks for reading, Sara, and for your comments.

  2. I was glad to hear you got rid of the chocolate before beginning this challenge, but isn’t dark chocolate a healthy food? I admire your self-improvement plan and hope you succeed. Please post photos (even if not ready for the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, etc.)

    • Yes, Lynne, healthy…but maybe not in the “clean-eating” category. It wouldn’t take much, though, to convince me to go get another…for health reasons, of course! Thanks for reading!

  3. Food photography is extremely difficult. Most of the time it looks yucky, no matter what. The food photos in magazines et cetera … taken by professional photographers … that’s so treated with all kinds of chemicals they have to throw it away afterwards.

  4. I applaud your efforts to eat healthily (even though chomping through the unhealthy very quickly before you started – that made me laugh). I LOVE oats and have them every morning. I then do not get hungry for many hours. best of luck with the challenge.

    • This is a good kick start to my year, and really not too hard. Other than the dark chocolate – and too much starch in my diet – I eat pretty healthy most of the time. Thanks for reading, and for your good wishes!

  5. you made me laugh, so I say yay for bland looking food then! Seriously taking pictures of cooked food is an art form that I’m guessing takes years to master cuz, a snapshot here and there of soup cooking with all those colourfull veggies? Yeah, looks beige and boring.

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