Some Food is Just NOT Photogenic

So, I’ve begun work on another project. (Like I needed another one, right?)

Several years ago, my mother put together a collection of her favorite recipes.  She called it Legacy, and had copies printed up for my brother and myself.

The first thing that you need to understand is that my mother has mad skills in the kitchen.  Those of you who know me, know that I’m a pretty good cook, and I have a few advanced skills (I can cook for a hundred if need be), but please understand that my mother is such a good cook that I despair of ever matching her skill.  Some of that comes from experience, she does have 2o or so years on me when it comes to cooking, and some of it comes from the fact that, unlike myself, she will ear anything… except celery.  (Inexplicably celery is of the devil and shall only be used in one very traditional recipe of her mothers.)  Being a vegetarian severely limits me as a cook and when cooking new dishes I have to rely on the judgment of others in adjusting the flavoring of these dishes as even a few tastes, besides revolting me, will have me laid up in bed like I’ve got the norovirus.  Beyond all that though, my mother has a gift.  Her sense of smell and taste are highly acute, and she loves food.  She has traveled fairly widely and has been able to afford to experience haute cuisine.  She is no food snob, however, and will never turn her nose up at a hole in the wall.

The second thing that you need to understand is that she has recently been very interested in photography.  It began with food photography but it has taken off quickly, and she is becoming quite good at it as well.

So yesterday, I was looking up a recipe out of Legacy, and was noticing how few and poor quality were the pictures that accompanied the recipes.  So I hoped on Facebook and challenged her to start taking more pictures for the book, so that we could reprint it in a more attractive format.  Her response was “And what are YOU going to do for it? You have camera skills as good as or better than mine. It does sound like a nice idea though.

This post is the result.  Here is my first contribution to the project… And it is a dismal failure.  I picked the first recipe in the book.  I had never tried it before, and it sounded tasty.  It was, but it sho wont purty.  I’m not sure if it can be made pretty, but let me know in the comments section which you think is the best.  Maybe my mother can do better.  She may be posting some over on her blog Diner IS the Evening.  I’ll keep you posted.

Photo 1

I bet the recipe would be handy, so that you know what you are looking at.  🙂

  • 2 cans cream-style corn (14 oz each)
  • 2 cans chopped green chilies (4.5 oz each)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 3/4 cup of yellow corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 2 cups cheese cubes (Monterrey Jack, Queso Blanco or Cheddar)

Mix all the ingredients and bake in a greased casserole dish at 350 for about 1 hour, until completely set.


Photo 2

If we do put together a new cookbook with better pictures, there is some editing that needs to be done as well.  There aren’t any typos in the original because my mother does. not. do. typos, but she does have a tendency to give proportions in package sizes which vary from region to region and from store to store and from generation to generation.  The can weights above are my addition.

Photo 3

There are a few changes I will make to the recipe if I try it again.  The basic flavor is excellent, but shredding the cheese might improve the texture a little bit, and I’d like to try it as a little more of a corn bread, so next time I’m going to increase the corn meal and add a little baking powder.

Photo 4
Photo 4

Since I had the table outside already for the pictures and since it was a lovely evening, we decided to eat in the back yard.  Here is my lovely daughter setting the table for our picnic.


2 thoughts on “Some Food is Just NOT Photogenic

  1. I like this post because it was mostly about me. 🙂 Thanks for the nice words.

    Your photos were all better than the one I originally included in the book, so kudos on that. I like #4 the best (except, of course, of the one of my lovely granddaughter, which is the real best).

    I guess I should have told you about the shredded cheese. I switched over to shredded sometime after the book was printed. Also, if we re-do the book, we need to add in the casserole dish size. I use a 2 quart deep casserole instead of the 9×13 you are using here, and the finished dish has a much looser texture than I imagine yours would be.

    Love, your mother

  2. Julie, first off, I like that you and your mom are doing this project together! I loved when your mom gathered recipes for The Legacy. It was wonderful that she included many recipes from her friends at the library so, for her co-workers, it was also a memory keeper. I look forward to the finished product!

    As for your pictures of this casserole (which does sound tasty), you might try a non-clear dish and not as strong of a color for the tablecloth. I think they may have made the casserole look a bit washed out. Maybe try a green background to pick up the green in the chilies.

    Good luck with this project!

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