As part of my cooking/baking/photography education I decided that I would try to do as many of the recipes in the 1977 Larousse publication, Best of Cooking as I could; 600 recipes, 600 photos. I’ve already done one recipe, but I thought I would start in earnest. So I tried Recipe #1 – Hawaiian Toast.
The book calls the recipe “Hawaiian Toasts” but I believe that to be a translation error from the German.
Once again, I want to critique my photo with the one in the cookbook. Just as disclaimer, even though I critique this photo, this person got paid to take these photos which is more than I have. I just think I can use it as a good teaching tool for food photography. And by the way there aren’t 600 recipes, there are 590 recipes which I found pretty funny.
Hawaiian Toast tasted pretty good, the spices really added something. It’s just an hor d’oeuvre but if you fix a bunch, you can make it a meal.
1) 4 slices of toast
2) 2 tablespoons butter
3) 4 slices of cooked ham (I just used high quality luncheon meat)
4) 4-6 canned pineapple rings
5) 4 thin slices of cheese
6) 1 teaspoon curry powder
7) pinch of cinnamon (I overdid it on the cinnamon and I liked it)
8) pinch of allspice
Preparation and Cooking
1) Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Toast the bread.
3) Spread the butter.
4) Add the ham.
5) Add the pineapple.
6) Add the spices.
7) Add the cheese.
8) Repeat for the other 3 slices of toast.
9) Cut into fours.
Here is a stop motion video I made of the process.
10) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the toast on the baking sheet.
11) Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
And here is the cookbook photo:
And my photo:
I tried many different ways and tried for many weeks to make a great photo and I just came back to the initial one.
1) Cooking/Baking Issues
The photographer or food stylist decided not to actually bake the toast, only enough to slightly melt the cheese. I have a problem with this because it’s not a true representation of what the finished product looks like. The photo definitely doesn’t look like something that has been in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Also, I don’t think adding a pinch of spices on top makes the dish attractive, it just kind of looks weird to me. From a cooking/baking standpoint, I wouldn’t add a sprinkle of spices on top because the effect of the spices would be less than more spread out and on top of the pineapple. This just says to me, “Oh, there are spices in the dish, that’s what that dot is.”
I baked mine all the way through. It might look a bit messier but it’s a better representation.
A glass of wine and styling are part of the story but they’re not placed well. The pineapple is sideways which makes it look haphazard. I guess they were trying to use the green to create some contrast in the photo? The wine glass placed in the lower left hand corner of the photo could almost be the focus of the photograph because it is in focus and in the front.
I did try styling and using an up and down photograph but the dish itself doesn’t lend itself to looking great from a top point of view. I think this is important to accept – not all photos are going to look delicious or it won’t showcase what makes it look delicious when photographing from the top. By taking the photo from the side you can see the yummy melted cheese and the crisp looking ham.
Instead of trying to use a sideways pineapple, I used the dish as the contrasting tool. It’s much simpler and more effective. For light food items, use a darker dish to create contrast.
Till next time. Love, Ana