Bokeh, baby? Beef, please.

Title doesn’t make sense to you? No worries, in my head it’s quite amusing.

Yesterday I signed up for a class to push my photography knowledge and comfort past the stage that it’s been at for some time. Confession: I hate getting my camera, even just my iPhone, out when other people are around – at home, in public and (especially) around friends. I enjoy taking pictures, but around others I feel clumsy, awkward, skill-deficient, bumbling. So when I’m out in public or roaming with friends, guess what usually gets left in my purse when I see something amazing? Yeah. That needs to change.

It’s especially hard to share my photos with others. A quick iPhone snapshot? Well, not easy but ok. Something I’ve worked at, something I’m proud of: excruciating. If I send a photo I’m proud of to a friend, they’re trusted more than they probably realize. Instagram is my dump file more often than not. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s the way things really are. My skills need work certainly, and I need to practice a lot more to be sure, but more than anything my goal is that this course will help increase my skill set in general and my comfort level in particular – to help me get out of my head so I can share what I see in the world and (more importantly) how I see it. But photography is something I value and I’m willing to work at it, so here goes.

It’s like speaking and writing Dutch. No, it’s not perfect. No, it’s not comfortable. Sometimes it’s not even remotely good. Yes, I make a lot of mistakes. Yes, my accent is atrocious. But I am a foreigner and it’s not a great tragedy when I mess up either; it just feels that way – and I need to commit to doing it more.

Dalla cucina:     (<– infant Italian language skills in action)

Last Sunday Jeff and I faced down another 5 pound roast, went toe to toe with it, prepared it as The Food Lab instructed, rested it two days in the fridge as recommenced, and tonight when we pulled it out, warmed it back up and set to noshing on it, it was… fine. Not as tender as we’d expected, but decent flavor and certainly edible. It was, in short, remarkably similar to the first one we prepared and we’ve conceded defeat with this recipe. It’s frustrating (not to mention expensive!) but not devastating. It’s just dinner. We had a good time making it last weekend, laughing and joking and talking and singing throughout the prep work. It was a pleasure to be in the kitchen together and that’s the most important thing.

I much prefer the pot roasts I’ve made in years past and I think we’ll revert back to that preparation (with the addition of a bottle of wine in the sauce – glug, glug, glug) should we ever decide to make another one (which frankly, I kind of doubt, since we rarely eat that type of food anymore). Having had red meat twice in two weeks, and braised chicken legs last week (omg they were sooooo good), I’ve got a slew of vegan meals lined up for the coming days and weeks to help get our carbon balance and cholesterol levels back on track.

I think I’m going to crank out some gingerbread cookies this week. I’ve a hankering for them again and they’ll go well with my morning cup of tea. Sunday’s Open Table is going to be vegan small plates for some of the summer cycling crew. We’re all cranking out lots of watts on indoor trainers around the city this winter, so Jeff and I are planning to make enough to feed a small army. A wool- vs lycra-wearing small army.

What are you cooking and/or baking this week? Cooking for you or cooking for a crowd?

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