How to Frame a Foodie Picture

Food is a major part of life. Without it and water, we’d have a difficult time existing.

It’s no wonder, then, we spend a lifetime thinking about eating. Restaurants dot every major area. Neighborhoods have access to grocery stores. And millions of blogs dedicate their themes to meal plans, food reviews, and new recipes.

I have recipes on this blog, even though they are not its main point.

In ruminating on this idea one morning, I looked down at my breakfast plate. I laughed. This was not a plate one would post in a magazine or on a blog. This was my breakfast, meant for eating.

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However, I realized that all the cute photos I see online are just food. Just people. Just flowers. I wondered: could I make my sloppy mess of pancakes into something beautiful?

I thought I just might:

  1. Choice of food. From organic produce at grocery stores to the perfectly-symmetrical cakes of blog pictures, foodie photographers know that choosing perfect products is the first step.
    Surprisingly, optimal photography subjects are not mandatory. Out of curiosity and laziness, I opted to keep the same pile of mismatched pancakes for mine throughout the process.
  2. Choice of plate. Plate, however, is imperative -unless you manage to not capture it in any shots. Choose something bright and crafty if you have it; otherwise just stick with plain white or grey.
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  3. Choice of garnish. Since my photograph involved breakfast; I knew my available garnishes needed to be items related to pancakes: fresh fruits, nuts, syrups or sugars, etc. I didn’t have anything laying around except the nuts and sugar, so I used those.
  4. Placement of garnish. Food photos may look like the parsley rained down randomly, but it didn’t. I therefore stuck each walnut in an artistic location, even using two to prop up some of the pancakes.
    The powdered sugar is a similar beast; it looks much better dusted than dumped. So, I dug out our fancy sugar sifter.
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  5. Surroundings. Where you snap the photo is vital. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. As silly as it may be to find a plate of flapjacks in a field of lavender, people love how it looks.

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Focus is fun to play with as well. This final shot is focused on the lavender; the one before is on the front nut. You also need good lighting, a steady hand, and a bit of an off-center placement of the subject matter.

If you don’t want to worry about all that, just follow the basic 5 steps I outlined. Or, just eat the darned pancakes before they get cold.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 10

Do you make your own compost? I mean, from your leftover vegetables and fruits?

We do, but not in the over-the-top way one might think. If I have a life mantra, it’s probably something about not being worth it if it takes too much time and effort. Hence, our simple composting method:

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Back when we purchased the house six years ago I had the bright idea to stop throwing all our garbage to the garbage. I’d heard that organic materials could be used for compost. I like the idea of less waste, a better planet, and reusing instead of re-polluting. Lo and behold, someone was selling a compost bin in the Classifieds (online)!

I purchased and picked up the large, square, black container and we’ve randomly contributed to it since.

When I make dinner with potatoes or soup with celery, I collect the peels and plant pieces and carry them out to Mr. Bin. We also rinse out eggshells and add those, or sometimes dump in small branches from pruning. I’ve added compostable egg cartons before, too.

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We’ve stirred and smashed, but mostly leave it (remember the “too much effort” mantra?). There’s a door at the bottom of the black container from which we can retrieve the broken-down bits of green and brown waste –compost.

It’s like magic, plus I feel like Supermom. The kids learn to put their banana peels out back and then love to pull the compost for their vegetable-planting in the spring.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

There’s Nothing to Eat

Ev’ry meal, no matter when
No matter what
No matter who;

No matter where the kids have been
Or what they’ve et
Or what I do;

Or how the kitchen’s full of food
Since I just shopped
Since I just spent;

Since I just barely fed my brood
They’ll drain my stock
They’ll still lament;

They’ll still stand there, in fridge’s heat
And say, “But Mom, there’s nothing to eat.”

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Photo Credit:
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Manic Kids? Try Snacks!

Back when I gave some parenting advice, I mentioned food as a good solution for wild times. I like food; turns out that most people do as well. In fact, you might say we couldn’t live without the stuff.

And water.

So, my parenting tip for this Friday is:

Have snacks on hand. Like, all the time.

I know that not all snack foods are created equal. I know that not any snack foods are healthy, really. Seriously; think about it. When it’s between meals and you’re at the grocery store and still have two more errands, however, who cares about the exact nutritional value of that Chex Mix?

Certainly not the other people in line, I tell ya what.

So; whether at home or abroad, feed your kids a snack in that space between meals. Don’t go overboard, of course. The individual bags of Nilla Wafers and little squeeze bottles of applesauce are super expensive.

And to answer the ‘not healthy’ problem, throw in some chopped apples or carrot sticks. Eat nuts (unless you’re allergic). Drink milk. Try a cheese stick. Add some homemade bread that you baked lovingly with your child after cleaning the entire house and singing, “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

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Just get those grumpies some food.

 

Photo Credits:
Charles 🇵🇭
Juliet Furst

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

How to Love a Prickly Child

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Trying to show love to a difficult child is a lot like hugging a cactus. You know he wants love, he feels upset and wants to be loved, and yet…

Not all children are receptive to hugs and kisses, or even a pat on the shoulder. When my second son is agitated, a light touch is met with a dramatic pulling away. Begging and pleading are to no avail. A slow walk toward him leads to his hiding himself under furniture and, if I keep trying, exaggerated threats and outbursts.

“Maybe I should jump out the window since you don’t want to see me anymore!”

“You are always picking on me and you never punish my brothers!”

“No, you don’t! You don’t love me!”

Granted, my son has a handful of autistic tendencies and these are some of them. I have four boys, though, and they all have periods of similar distress. So, what’s a mom to do?

Besides crying inside and eating chocolate, I’ve developed a few ways of talking to agitated children:

  1. Patience. In fact:
  2. Patience.
  3. Patience.
  4. Patience.
  5. Kind tone, even when my child is being a straight-up jerk and starts trying personal insults.
  6. Distraction: humor, favorite things, outside topics of interest, or a play date with a friend.
  7. Coping strategies we’ve learned in therapy; like breathing techniques, refocusing, calm spots, CBT, etc.
  8. Food! When I keep hitting a brick wall, I’ll subtly get a favorite snack and ensure he eats it.
  9. Rest. No one’s too old for a nap.
  10. Change of location. Drives are nice. So are walks.

For me, I need to remind myself throughout our conversations that my children have no filter. When they feel deeply, they speak deeply. I hurt when I hear them tell me mean things. Some days I get overwhelmed and spend a few hours at night hiding in the closet. Hopefully I am not the only parent who feels that way.

But in the end, I am their mother. I am the person who will teach and mold and influence these sociopaths into more reasonable members of society.

And I really do love them. They need to know that in any way I can tell them.

 

Photo Credit:
Stephanie Harvey

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens