Sunday, October 9, 2011

The world of food styling and versatile blogger award

Kladdkaka / Swedish Brownie
Food Diary (October 09, 2011)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with plums, sunflower seeds and flax seeds
Lunch: Chickpeas with flatbread
Dinner: Roasted parsnip and onions, pickled apple and carrot salad

Sometimes it happens that we buy chocolate for baking but the chocolate mysteriously disappears. Chocolates have a tendency to disappear and never reappear again! The Kladdkaka recipe comes to the rescue, it does not require chocolate, just cocoa powder. The result is just as good. It seems that it is normal for chocolates to mysteriously disappear in Sweden, hence such recipes are developed. The recipe is available here.

I recently received the food bloggers equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the Versatile Bloggers Award. The award is courtesy of the very versatile Sissi from With a Glass blog. She got an award too and I am happy to be invited into this private and exclusive club. The award comes with obligations, I need to share 7 random facts about me and pass on the award to 7 bloggers. That’s not so difficult since none of you know me, but finding 7 things to write is not easy either. Here’s my attempt to claim the award:

1. Three is my favourite number and I love cookies, amongst other things, hence Three Cookies

2. Food memories are so powerful, it instantly transports us back in time, and tends to stick in our memory. When strawberry jam is mentioned my first thought usually goes to the free buffet breakfast that was offered at a backpackers I stayed at in Singapore. I suspect the jam had traces of strawberry in it, I could be wrong though. Free breakfast at backpackers, it exceeded expectations, but I am complaining, I am only human.

3. One of the most disgusting meal memories I have is from Thailand. I was travelling by bus and we stopped for a buffet lunch that was offered to all passengers. Fantastic spread of food, as one would expect in Thailand. One of the items was white meat, chicken I thought. I took a chunk of ‘chicken’, placed in my mouth and felt something round. I chewed, the round thing broke, slimy gelatinous liquid oozed out and I felt a small ‘stone’. I had just eaten a fish eye ball. Now I see in Zimmerman’s Bizarre Foods that he finds it delicious. I guess it is if you eat is knowingly.

4. At university I had a friend from Tonga who normally finished a Big Mac in 3 bites. And one Big Mac was not enough for him. Yes he was big, and maybe still is.

5. The most attractive shower I have ever seen was at the dayroom/gym shower at Kuala Lumpur airport. The shower has dark stones. I think of it regularly but I don’t remember what I ate that day. Strange.

6. Once when I was in high school I bought bacon ham. I made bacon ham sandwich for lunch. It was very chewy but I finished it with some difficulty. In the evening the family that I was staying with told me that it has to be cooked, it shouldn’t be eaten raw. I didn't get food poisoning, never managed to figure out what bacon ham is and that’s the only time I have eaten raw pork. In case you haven’t tried, raw bacon is very chewy.

7. I used to go fishing quite often before. One day we kept catching crabs, lots of big ones. It was so annoying since both my friend and I are allergic to crabs. We threw it all back in the ocean and went home empty handed I think. Our friends were annoyed that we didn’t bring the crabs back, we were annoyed that we caught them in the first place. The crabs won in this case, one of the rare occasions I guess.

Alright, the party is over, now it is your turn. If you are born in September anytime between the years 1914-2010, congratulations you have received the Versatile Award from me. Please own up, don’t be shy! You don’t have to tell us your age, just 7 things about you.

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Bon a croquer

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: BBC
BBC has an interesting article titled “The glamorous life of a food stylist”. The world is so complex that there is a profession called ‘food styling’. There are also professional ‘food cookers’, ‘food eaters’, ‘food photographers’ and ‘food bloggers’. Whats next?

Anyway, here are a few interesting stuff I read in the article. The days of using shaving foam in lieu of whipped cream, mashed potatoes in lieu of ice cream is gone. Now food is shot pretty much as it’s cooked. I found it interesting that mashed potato for example was used instead of ice cream because ice cream would melt during the photo shoot. Essentially the photo was ‘faked’ since the photo would say ice cream when in fact it was mashed potato. Whats the point of showing pictures of something that will not be served? 

More often than not, the food stylist cooks and arranges food in a photographer’s studio, its not the chef cooking.

Most magazines and TV shows are filmed a few months ahead. So most food stylists probably had their fair share of cooking and eating Christmas dinners and treats already this summer.

Up to five or six dishes with accompaniments are cooked in a day. This sounds a lot but its harder when the recipes aren’t working, and this is more common than we might think.

One stylist, Mari Williams, did a job for a client that sells rice. Her work involved hand-picking grains of rice of a certain length, shape and colour and arranging them with tweezers. On another occasion the stylist had to arrange a display of 52 varieties of whole fresh fish. She probably did not want to see or eat fish after this, at least for a few days.

Here is what a stylist did to make a lump of lentils look appetizing.

Most Recent Recipes

Most Popular Recipes


  1. Chocolate misteriously disappears around here too, but dark seems to do it much slower. Congrats on the award too!

  2. Congrats on the Nobel Prize of blogging! Also, I had a friend from Samoa in college, and he ate similarly to your friend. Then again, this Samoan guy was on the football team, which might explain his gargantuan appetite!

  3. Congrats on your award! I never liked the 'old' world of food styling where all sorts of artifice was used to substitute for food e.g. painting a raw chicken to make it look roasted :D I much prefer today's trends.

  4. Congrats on a well deserved award! I was about to pass on to you the Liebster Award but Sissi beat me to it. In case you haven't seen that yet, you're welcome to drag it out of my home page side bar to yours. Btw, even after the 7 things you wrote about yourself, I still haven''t learnt a thing about you. Those are in my opinion your experiences in life. I'm sure everyone who are fans of your blog would really like to know what this mystery man is all about ... at least a teeny bit? (#1 was a good start) :D
    Don't feel pressured tho, I get the privacy bit. Just curious, you know.
    Food styling sounds very interesting indeed. Looks like fun too ... uh, maybe not the picking grains of rice part.

  5. Mr. Three-Cookies, thank you for this hilarious post (I love your sense of humour) and for sharing the very secret 7 things about you ;-)
    Thank you for the kind words and the link too!
    I have just read what Ping said and I must say I like you staying secret and am happy there is someone in the bloggers' world even more private than I am.
    The food styling article is very interesting, the lentils example reminds me I put more and more green herbs on my dishes, just like my mum always did when there was a party at home (I remember also I would be furious she spent so much tie on the decoration... I should have learnt more from her!).
    Talking about food styling: I love your green-background photos!

  6. Yummychunklet: thank you. Samoans and Tongans have lot of similarities

    Jen: thank you. I never heard of painting raw chicken – what a waste of time and chicken. Thats ridiculous, photographing real food is good

    ping: really, you haven’t learnt a thing? Now you know I ate fish eye in Thailand, took a shower in KL airport (very private info which I shared gladly), went fishing, allergic to crabs…there is information overload:) Kidding, I totally get the point. In hindsight I realize I should have written more about myself rather than experiences – mistake noted (but no action taken!!!). But seriously, I will certainly make more effort next time.

    Maris: thank you

    Sissi: thank you! We are almost as private but ping has disclosed her name (I assume that’s her name) so she’s a little less private than us (ping, you are one up, only just:)) Good idea to put greens, I think I will try that. If there’s no herbs I will use grass!

  7. Ping: hi again, I need to made another comment in response to your comment. Point taken on board, loud and clear, it got me thinking a bit. Actually in real life I am often told that I am too secretive etc so its a 'permanent' defect in my programming it seems. I need to work on it:)

  8. You know, I always do kind of wonder how the chocolate in my apartment always seems to disappear...but the cocoa powder always stays put! this cake definitely sounds lovely!

  9. Right. Now we know you're secretive and defective. 4 more to go :D
    Hey, Stay private by all means, I was just being my tactless self. Don't mind me. I think I'm guilty of the same in my 7 points post too. Now, don't go sneaking a look and picking on me again! And what makes you think "Sissi" isn't her real name?

  10. congrats on your award my friend- you definitely deserve it as you are extremely amazing with your way of writing, food styling and creative ideas! i just love your blog!

  11. Joanne: its a mystery isn't it!

    ping: 4 more to go, thats not so bad. Sissi - whether its real name or not - I bet Sissi will neither confirm nor deny:)

    Kitchen Belleicious: thank you, glad you enjoy it

  12. Congratulations on your award! The brownie looks fabulous!

  13. Congrats on your award and you definitely have some interesting experiences. :)

  14. Great post! Congrats on your award and for the most interesting 7 things I have read so far! Your worst foodie experience tops mine by a long shot.

  15. What insight eclectic insights into you lol. And nice for cocoa indeed!

  16. Sweet And Crumby: thank you

    Sylvia: thanks you

    Lizzy: really, I am amazed

    Cheap Ethnic Eatz: thank you

  17. Great looking brownie! And I enjoyed reading the 7 facts. No. 3 *is* disgusting!! I was reading the comments above about your privacy... I don't even know if you're a man or a woman! Lol!

  18. lifeisfull: I am a man, I can disclose that:)

  19. fish eyeball yikes! congratulations on your award.
    a very fun post. one of my good friends is a food stylist, and has made a good living for herself for many years, making food look tantalizing for magazine covers, cookbooks, commercials and the like.

  20. I think that lump of lentils was completely transformed! I love food styling but it can be a faff. I am definitely not keen on the idea of using tweezers to arrange rice grains!