Friday, March 7, 2014

Busy Bee: A Whirlwind Wrap-up of the Past Month

It’s so unfortunate that whenever I get really stressed out by work or school, I can’t make the time for my favorite de-stressing activity. There is no time like the day before a deadline that I would rather be whipping up some sweet Honey Frosting or carefully watching over a pot while making Candied Citrus Peels.

Sadly, when I have a fast approaching deadline, all of my energy and attention is directed toward cranking out my paper or article and making it the best it can be.

More often than not, my “free” time in the past couple of months has been dedicated to reading and writing assignments, leading baking and innovating in the kitchen to take a back seat. When I finally walk through my front door at the end of a long day, I settle down with a bowl of cereal, having made it through the rest of the day subsiding on caffeine and determination. Ah, the life of a graduate student.

Still, while my kitchen adventuring and therefore my presence here has been somewhat limited, I have been writing.

Over at America’s Test Kitchen where I’ve been interning this semester, I am writing a series of blog posts about the making of Cook’s Illustrated, my favorite nerdy food magazine. I’m getting to talk to test cooks, editors and designers and learning really interesting and valuable information. The series is called Making the Magazine and can be found, along with my other contributions, on my Author Page.

I’m still contributing at NoshOn.It where I’ve gotten to write some fun and quirky articles like this round up of 15 Creative and Crazy Recipes Using Cereal. All of my articles and recipe features can be found on Recipe Hunter Page.

For a different style of food-related writing, my Food History class project is a collaborative blog featuring all of our research and analytical writing. I’ve written about Delmonico’s, the first true restaurant in New York City, as well as Cookbook Cover Style in the Early 1900s. By the end of the class, we will all have covered a lot of interesting topics.

In non-writing related news, I’ve also been learning more about food photography. Last week in place of my Food Writing for the Media class, we all met as a group at Nina Gallant’s photography studio in Allston where she gave us all an overview of her working style along with her food stylist partner Meridith Byrne. We watched the two of them work as they explained their process: a fascinating series of tweaks and tests to get the best photograph possible. More that orange peel over an inch or try adding a few slices of something to the shot. The perfect photograph takes a lot of fine-tuning.

We then moved on to an experimental phase with various assignments and full access to Nina’s extensive prop closet. My group of three started with a tray of farmers’ market produce and started to work on our farm to table concept. We started snapping photographs of whole vegetables in their natural state and moved on to create a small salad and picnic scene, taking turns shooting photographs.

Following this exciting class field trip, at America’s Test Kitchen, Associate Web Editor Roger Metcalf hosted an hour-long introductory tutorial on Adobe Lightroom. A group of us watched in awe as he transformed our photos into art with a few great tips and tricks. Guess what software I’m buying next?

And now, today I am leaving for Spain to spend a week visiting with my family and drinking all the Rioja wine I can get my hands on. I’m packing up, bringing my notebook and camera with me, and can’t wait to see what kind of trouble I can get into.

Happy baking, blogging, innovating, reading, or writing. Whatever floats your boat!

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