The Japanese, on the other hand, will travel to an entirely different prefecture (that's province to us Canadians, state to the 'Mericans) for a bowl of noodles that is purportedly different from another prefecture's bowl of noodles. Or a mushroom. Or a kind of tofu. Or fish. Or flavour of ice cream (cherry blossom ice cream!) It is an elegant, subtle, and quiet love affair with food. And don't this love affair always get caught on camera! The Japanese are always photographing their food. When my friends and students come back from vacation abroad, one of the first things they show me is their pictures of what they ate. It's brilliant.
Now, these images are decidedly different than the ones you might take in Japan. This is raw food, just chopped, unprepared, at its finest. The Japanese have a knack for the beauty of the finished product, but I was rather drawn to these images of nude food. I thought, hey, I can do this.
While I was busy basking in the confidence of my supposed photography skills, it failed to occur to me that I lacked any manner of food skills-- cutting, to be precise, and arranging. I could not, for the life of me, cut the onion and get the rings to layer or stack or bounce the way they did in the Subway images. My husband informed me that while I was pondering the failure of the onion, my cucumber had transformed into some new kind of antibiotic. I tried to get a slice of lemon to stick to the kitchen window so I could get the light coming through it, but it just slid off. (My husband has not asked why the window is smeary and smelling citrus fresh...)
But the thing is, you can do this, too. Seriously. Break out the cupcakes, the muffins, the rounds of cheese and the bowls of lemons. Run your knife through a couple of loaves of rough, homemade bread. Fill a jar with jellybeans and jujubes. Make your favourite salad. Pour a bowl of olive oil. What could possibly look better in your kitchen than the inspiration for dinner? If you're not so handy with a knife, like me, then shoot your dinners when you go out. The Japanese do it. Why can't you? Hit one of those fancy-schmancy bakeries that do the princessy cupcakes or the French pastries. Go to the deli with the hanging sausages and giant cheese wheels, the fishmonger to get the salmons and the mussels and the clams. Get the herbs and the spices at the farmer's markets. Hit the bulk section and get the candy. There's nothing saying you can't shoot someone else's culinary work of art and have it on your kitchen wall. And they don't have to be big, either. Grab a collection of 4x6 white frames from the dollar store and create a gallery on your wall. Imagine the variety of textures and colours you can have... not to mention, it might be inspiration for dinner. Or to break your diet. Choose accordingly.