I’m always impressed by those who can do things that I can’t – soccer players, concert violinists, live mammalian birthers, anyone who can watch Dear John without crying or being sexually attracted to Channing Tatum – you have my respect.
On seven or eight different occasions I’ve lied about knowing what the term “aperture” means. The helpful, possibly-Lebanese employee at Bel-Air Camera – “You’re familiar with aperture. right?”. “Yeah, of course…”. My girlfriend’s stepdad – “You know how to change the aperture settings right?” “Oh yeah, definitely…”. My brother’s friend who borrowed the camera to take engagement pics – “You know what you’re doing when it comes to aperture right?”.
“Of fucking course I do! I would have to be the dumbest God damn individual alive to start a food blog, spend $400 on a camera, and not know what aperture is. I’m all about aperture. I immerse myself in that shit; I live, breathe, and eat aperture. I haven’t slept in months. I lie awake, tossing and turning, all night, agonizing over how I can improve the quality of aperture in my life. I’m aperturing while you sleep. I was aperturing while you were in jammies, son.”
I have no idea what aperture is. To this day, to this very minute, I couldn’t even bullshit you a good definition. “Well the thing about aperture is that it’s meaningless without the lighting and shutter speed, insofar as the exposure is herein, such as. Amen.” I’ve never even googled it. It’s one of the most basic, important components of photography and apparently it doesn’t warrant me giving up two minutes of my life. Yesterday I spent 45 minutes on google images deciding whether Donald Sterling’s girlfriend was obscenely hot or looked like a bloated alien.
It took me 7 pages of photos to finally decided that, yeah, she’s probably worth losing a $600 million franchise over. And the fucked up thing is, I was proud of myself for that. I was like, “Good job man. You asked yourself a question, and you used the tools at your disposal to facilitate an answer. Grab a beer and towel yourself off.” But when it comes to something that actually affects my life and my possible career, I just refuse to do it.
I’d like to think it’s because I refuse to go down the rabbit hole; I don’t want to join the zeitgeist of food photo-normativity. I don’t want to take those shots where you have a weather-worn cookie sheet, three antique forks, a few egg shells, and then a beautiful tarte tatin d’anjou peeking out of the corner. As if it was just coincidentally in the shot; like you were taking pictures of a cookie sheet and eggshells and shit, and you forgot to move the beautifully articulated dessert in the corner. “Ahh fuck, I forgot to get the fully-garnished tart out of the shot. Oh well. We’ll use the photos anyways.”
But that’s not it, I’m just arbitrarily resigning myself to shittiness. I would love to take shots like that, they’re fucking awesome. Every time I take pictures of my food I wait until 6:30 P.M., because that’s when the Sun drops below the Chabad next door and softens the lighting enough to make my food not look like dick. Then, using the same settings I’ve used since the day I bought my camera, I clumsily mash the lens close to the food, and click the button 70 or 80 times, hoping, desperately hoping, against all odds, that one of the pictures will be good enough to put on the internet without people laughing at me. I don’t even like to use the term “photography”, I say “picture-taking”; calling what I do “photography” would be an insult to photographers everywhere.
Aperture – “a space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera.”
Well… that didn’t help at all. Fuck.
My entire goal of this post was to showcase the better pictures I’ve been taking recently. I even did the things they told me. I used an old cookie sheet, I put the shit on parchment paper, I tried focusing on shapes and lines… In short, sorry for the shitty photography, if you want better, if you want to abandon me and soil the current relationship that we’ve fostered, check out these better sites.
Roasted Muscat Grapes and Thyme
These were actually pretty fucking good. The roasting and savory elements tame the grapes’ sweetness letting more of the tannic qualities come through to balance the dish. You know the Muscat grape is the dankest varietal when both Ab-Soul and Roscoe Dash write songs called “Moscato”. I agree, gentlemen.
1 fatass bunch Muscat grapes
1 fatass bundle thyme
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1) Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Spread the bundle of thyme down on a cookie sheet, and lay the grapes on top in big clusters, still on the vine. Lather the grapes in olive oil, liberally season with salt and pepper, and throw in the oven for 15-20 minutes. You’re looking for a small bit of caramelization on the grapes, but you don’t want them to get mushy.
Assembling the Crostini
1 crusty-ass artisanal loaf of bread
1 cup high quality ricotta
4 oz rendered pancetta
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch roasted muscat grapes
1) Slice your bread into 1/2 inch thick rounds, and lacquer up with olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw it in that 450 degree oven until it’s nice and toasty.
2) Spread on your high quality ricotta (I was gonna make my own, but then I didn’t. Fuck you, I have things to do), then top with the rendered pancetta, roasted grapes, and finish off with a liberal sprinkling of fresh thyme. The thyme adds in the freshness that you killed by roasting the grapes.
Cheers, big homie.