Not a lot to report — we’ll get back to real posts tomorrow — but I couldn’t help but share a few snaps from the Ferry Plaza market today. It was grey and chilly but sometimes the bright colors of our fall produce seem even prettier when set against a monochrome sky.
We arrived on the (very) late side, so we had to battle against the crowds. But I was like a kid in a candy store playing with my new toy: A Canon G9 camera. It’s a pocket-sized point-and-shoot model, but it comes equipped with lots of photo-geek features. I’m surprised how much fun I’m having using a zoom again, after the fixed lenses on my dSLR camera. One pleasant side effect is that I can take my weekly food still-life shots from overhead, instead of straight on. I’m not sure I’ll stick with that format forever, but it’s nice to have the flexibility.
I haven’t even cracked the manual yet, but I’m hoping the G9 will be swoopy enough that I can (mostly) leave the big camera at home for ‘studio’ work. We’re travelling to London next month, and it would be a pleasure not to have to haul the ‘big gun’ around with me on our daily adventures. People whose opinions I trust seem to love their G-series cameras, so I have high hopes.
As if our constant prattling here on our own site wasn’t more than enough to keep you occupied, we’re happy to announce a few other places around the Interwebs where you can see more of our content.
Later this month, I’ll begin a regular column for Hearst’s new sustainable-living site, The Daily Green. (The site’s technically still in soft-launch mode, so be gentle.) I already work with words in my ‘real job’, so I’d never really felt the need to pursue new outlets for my writing. But I’ll admit I was swayed by the idea of rubbing elbows with some folks whose work I greatly admire: TDG’s other “New Green Cuisine” bloggers include James MacKinnon & Alisa Smith — the 100 Mile Diet / Plenty folks — and food watchdog extraordinare Marion Nestle.
The column I’ll be writing for The Daily Green will be a roundup of Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical eating tips called “SOLE Food Digest”, a weekly collection that aims to show readers how to tread lightly and still enjoy what they’re eating. I’ll be recapping and linking off to as many inspiring posts as I can find. No wonky policy discussions, no alarmist scary-food nightmares — just links to constructive tips, seasonal recipes, and stories about encouraging changes in our food supply… green-eating inspiration with a can-do spin.
I hope SOLE Food Digest will become the perfect jumping-off point folks who are just starting down the SOLE path, and for old-time ethical eaters looking for a lighter touch. (I’ll post a link as soon as it’s live, hopefully on or soon after Earth Day.)
I’m also tickled to tell you that the good folks at CUESA — they run the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, among other great locavore resources — have asked me to contribute photos to their newsletter and site. Those pasture-raised eggs in the banner of the March edition of the CUESA Weekly E-Letter are mine; look for my “married with dinner” photo byline, and more of my photos in upcoming editions of the newsletter, and also on the CUESA homepage in the coming months.
A little further afield: Cameron and I are joining 30 or so of the world’s favorite drink bloggers to produce the Tales of the Cocktail blog. All of us will be live-blogging from New Orleans in July, of course, but you won’t want to wait to put the Tales blog in your RSS reader. There’ll be plenty of pre-event posts covering all sorts of topics that are sure to pique your interest, even if you’re not planning to attend the year’s most anticipated cocktail event. And if you are joining us in New Orleans, don’t forget to head over to the main Tales of the Cocktail site, where tickets
have just gone on sale will go on sale real soon now, and discount ($99!) rooms are available for the show hotel, the venerable Hotel Monteleone.
And last but not least… I’m assured that this is not just some elaborate April Fool’s Day joke: Our post about Armandino’s Salumi is featured rather extensively in the Internet Explorer 8 Activities demo. We have no idea how this happened, and the irony is not lost on us that we’re diehard Firefox/Mac fans here at Married with Dinner HQ.
In my youth, I was actually something of a photo geek: I built a darkroom in my parents’ garage, I worked for my Dad all summer between 8th and 9th grade to buy my first SLR, and I won a school-wide award for photography a year later. I was, even then, a tinkerer, a collector of gadgets and gizmos.
By all rights, you’d think an equipment geek like me would have some big, black, long-lensed monstrosity… when instead I actually tote a cute, shiny, pocket-sized snapshot-maker. I’ve looked longingly at the gorgeous shots created by those who own the real deal, all the while coaxing my poor little PowerShot into giving up decent photos.
Cameron — who hails from a photo-obsessed clan — hasn’t helped matters. He’s been egging me on to purchase a dSLR for months, reminding me of the old adage that equipment should always be better than the human behind it. I knew he was right, but I felt like I couldn’t justify the expense: I’d just upgraded my point-and-shoot last November, a purchase that set me back far more than I really wanted to spend. And ultimately, the blog’s just a hobby… it’s not like anyone cares whether the image is a little noisy, or the lens distortion gets a little distracting.
Early last week, my equipment envy reached a peak. A friend who just started blogging mentioned that he’d splashed out for some gear to help improve his online shots. I replied covetously, saying something to the effect of “I wish I could buy a dSLR, but it’s not like I have a spare grand sitting around.”
And then, two very interesting things happened.
I got home, opened the mailbox, and found a check — a completely unexpected payment for something I did on a lark more than a year ago — for $945. Not quite a grand, it’s true, but you could say that the universe had succeeded in grabbing my attention.
The next morning, I noticed a lot of inbound blog traffic from a link called “DMBLGiT: The Winners!” I clicked the tracking URL, and my jaw hit the keyboard. Holy cats: I’d tied for first place in this month’s Does My Blog Look Good in This?, the food-bloggers’ photo contest! I’d never even entered before, and I’m up there on the big screen with DPaul & Sean, and Ilva, and plenty of other talented folks whose blogs I read regularly and whose photos make me swoon. It’s so ridiculous, I still don’t really believe it. But does that stop me from celebrating? No, it most certainly does not. Celebrating is something I understand very, very well.
The rather obvious end of this little tale: I am now the proud owner of a brand-spanking new Canon 30D. At last, a real camera. Interchangeable lenses! A usable viewfinder! And best of all, as Cameron says, “It makes that Girls on Film noise!”
We took the new toy up to Napa this weekend, and both of us captured a surprising number of lovely shots, considering we hadn’t even read the manual yet. (No, I didn’t haul this behemoth out at The French Laundry. Shuh… even I have my limits!) I know it’ll take a while before I dial in the seemingly limitless new features at my disposal — no film camera was ever this confusing …or have I just gotten old? But in the meantime, if you keep an eye on my photostream, you’ll get to see me take my first baby steps back from the point-and-shoot realm.
No doubt you’ve seen inside the fridges of dozens of bloggers over the past couple of weeks, ever since Sam opened her refrigerator to our prying eyes and then invited us to follow suit. Curious sort that I am, I’ve been enchanted by all of them, but perhaps none so much as Matt’s tour — complete with diagrams!
Those of you who lack the snooper gene can skip this link to all our photos, with annotations of what’s what. I’ve documented the contents of my main fridge and freezer — all shelves, all doors and drawers. (The garage fridge is more of the same: stock and pasta sauce in the freezer, beer and wine in the fridge.)
I’m not sure whether I’m proud or ashamed to admit I didn’t do any tidying before taking these shots — it’s always staged like this. I clean and organize the fridge every Friday night, as part of my weekly meal planning. I toss out anything old, rotate items up from the downstairs freezer as needed, and then work on my recipes and shopping list without having to run back and forth to see what I have on hand.
Feel free to give me grief about the carbon footprint of my Peruvian white asparagus or the sloth implied by pre-sliced cheese… but I’ll defend my Clearman’s spread to the death.
Thank God it’s Monday! I thought that I took a lot of pictures during a normal week, but participating in Sam’s challenge had me (along with my family, my friends, and my co-workers) questioning my sanity.
But I had a lot of fun. Being tasked with photographing simply everything I ate or drank meant that I really had to get creative, and think of ways to turn even the most boring foods and beverages into something worth looking at.
A number of folks have asked me if the added scrutiny has changed what or how I ate, and I can honestly say “no” — although I’d qualify that with “…other than to choose the more photogenic option among equally appealing choices.” And really, even that minor self-editing only happened on a couple of occasions: When picking out a sweet snack from the vending machine at work (the Kit Kat shot), and when opting for a cold turkey-and-avocado sandwich over a hot turkey sandwich yesterday afternoon. I’m guessing this would have been a lot harder on a non-holiday week, although I am certainly not angling to repeat the experience soon.
Shooting food at the office wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected. We have some good natural light, supplemented by good task lighting. The flip side of that is that the desert light here at my parents’ house is either gorgeous, or brutal, and not always optimal at the times of the day you’d suppose.
I’m also surprised that I only forgot to take a photo of one thing — a glass of wine I had at a friend’s house one evening. (I promptly took a picture of a similar glass at home, as soon as I remembered, and poured the wine back into the bottle. What, me, obsessive?)
Speaking of neurotic behaviors, my inner perfectionist hated having to post pictures of *everything*, especially the night we ate at Bouchon. I really enjoy the editing process… not only the tweaking of photos, but deciding when a shot just isn’t good enough to save or share. I didn’t have that luxury here, so there are photos on Flickr that would ordinarily have been consigned to the bit bucket.
Click “View Slide Show” below for the Slide.com roundup — which is supposed to display inline here, but isn’t, for some reason — or check out the whole set on Flickr, where you can comment on individual pix.
Over on the always-delightful Becks & Posh, Sam challenges us to join her in a rather exhibitionist exercise: Photographing everything that passes our lips for an entire week, and sharing with our readers:
I hereby commit, starting from the moment I wake up on Monday November 20th, to the minute I go to bed on Sunday 26th November 2006, to take a picture of everything I consume… I think it will be a fascinating excercise, especially to be able to compare America indulging in Thanksgiving whilst others are not.
…We’ll aim to post up our pictures on our blogs on Monday 27th November.
We’ll be home the first part of the week, before heading out of town for Thanksgiving, then at Mom & Dad’s for the rest of the challenge period. My family already thinks I am crazy, and there shouldn’t be a lot of restaurant meals to throw a wrench into the works.
I promise not to post all the pix to MWD, but I’ll blog about interesting meals (as usual), and starting tomorrow I’ll put all the photos in a Flickr set. And, of course, there’ll be the full roundup next Monday.
Seems like today’s a big food-news day, and I couldn’t resist sharing some of the headlines.
Another hilarious coffee-related news article from Seattle: Baristas having a cow over dairy “thefts”.
The AP latches onto a blogosphere favorite: Waiters get miffed about the unfairness of tipping.
Do we need smart linen? The Chron reports on a new high-tech, E. coli-detecting napkin.
And apparently they’re eating raw crabs in The OC… and getting really sick.
In addition to being my dad’s birthday (Happy B-Day, Pops!), August 31 is also BlogDay 2006. What’s that, you ask? I’m so glad you did! Here’s a clip from the BlogDay site (which seems to be overwhelmed with traffic at the moment):
What will happen on BlogDay?
In one long moment In August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.
BlogDay posting instructions:
- Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
- Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending on them on BlogDay 2006
- Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
- Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
- Add the BlogDay tag using this link: BlogDay2006 and a link to BlogDay web site at http://www.blogday.org
Given that the only blogs I read until recently were Hedonia and SFHomeBlog, I’m basically thinking that any blog is pretty much fair game as “new” in my book.
As most everyone else who’s participating has said, it’s hard to pick just five. But here, in no particular order, are the five new-to-me food blogs I’ve put at the top of the pile, the ones that I read on my Treo on the way in to work.
- Anyone who’s already reading food blogs knows about Becks & Posh. Sam’s a fellow Bay-Area gal (albeit a transplant from England) and those who know tell me that I am rightly very sad that I missed my chance to shake her hand at the Bay Area Food Bloggers’ Picnic last weekend (which we had to back out of attending at the last minute).
- After rekindling our romance with cocktails during the Seattle Experiment, we found ourselves a bit adrift when we moved back to San Francisco: Where were all the decent watering holes? We should have gone trawling for a site like Cocktails with Camper English a long time ago. Love it.
- One of our friends from the Seattle food crew, Matthew Amster-Burton is also a food writer of local reknown. He’s also dad to one of Seattle’s cutest toddlers, Iris. In Roots & Grubs, Mamster chronicles his often hilarious interactions with his budding foodie of a daughter.
- Speaking of Seattlites… during the course of a shared dinner at Union, Molly struck me as someone who I’d be reading about some day. Little surprise to catch up with her, a couple of years later, and find that her Orangette has become one of the stars of the food-blog world.
- I always knew Shuna Fish Lydon was a blogger: her review of Range for the KQED blog got caught up in a (ahem) spirited debate over on MouthfulsFood last fall. But I didn’t know she solo-blogged until I met her at a June Taylor marmalade class earlier this year. When I put out my call for blog recommendations earlier this month, multiple people suggested eggbeater …and I could no longer keep my head in the sand. Now I am hooked on this quirky little slice of Shuna’s brain.
ps: Thanks for the link, Sean.
… when I said that there weren’t any non-aesthetic changes you needed to worry about. Apparently, the move from Blogger to WordPress broke our RSS feeds, so if you’re not getting our updates in your blogreader, you may need to re-subscribe.
We’ve installed a handy-dandy FeedBurner button in the right sidebar, underneath “Daily Reads”, which takes you to a one-click subscription page for most major readers.
We’re going to be moving from Blogger to WordPress over the weekend, so things may be a little wiggly while we put things in their proper place. No URL changes or anything else… just a little (hopefully temporary) aesthetic blip.
Update 08.13.06 10:13PM — We’re done with the migrane… er, I mean, migration. Please leave us a comment if you notice any broken links or other strangeness, apart from the usual author-induced strangeness. We hope you find the new format a little easier to navigate (and look at).