Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Work, Potatoes with Life Lessons and Loree

Yep! I'm at it again! Working at the photo studio. Do you want to come along and see what I've done?

What? No?


Okay....sorry to bother you.

Hey! Wait! This is MY blog. If you don't want to come to work with me, you just point that cursor to that red box with the white "X" and get outta here!

Sheesh. Ungrateful Internets.

Okay. Here we go.

You know where we need to go first? Do you?

In my business, this will always be the answer: "To the grocery store." Always. This question will be on the final exam, so file it away in the ol' hard drive, people.

Here we are at one of the nice ones. Brand new in Northeast Mpls. Not too far from the studio. This store is so great that I almost try to go there for every shoot.
Anyway, we've got to get some red potatoes. The ones I found the day before at that other store (with the harsh lighting) had skins that were too thin.

Ha! Did you hear that? The potatoes had skins that were too thin.

This brings us to a new feature on this blog.....Life Lessons Through Food.

MJ will laugh at this because we've been learning life lessons through food together for about 12 years. It's times like these where I'm reminded how much I want to work with MJ every day.

Because I miss her.

And nobody else thinks the life lessons are the least bit funny.

So then I sit there and giggle to myself and everybody thinks I'm a crazy person.

Okay. So I get to the studio and the first thing I do is grab some of Dave the Photographer's delicious coffee. It's really really strong. And made from the very best beans.
But I need some milk to tone it down a little bit...........oh look!
No milk...........but there is some HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM!!!!

Don't you judge me!

Okay. I need to sort out the potatoes and pick the best ones (life lesson).

It's kind of hard to tell which ones are the best when you first look at them.

All I know is: They shouldn't be too small or too big:

A little character is a good thing. You don't want (your potato) to be too perfect.

Sometimes, though? You find out that very character you loved so much in the beginning?'s too much. It's just not working the way you thought it would.

Sometimes (potatoes) things aren't classically beautiful.......But they're almost so ugly that they're cute:

And you know what? Sometimes life hurts. And once in a while you'll get stabbed in the back. Don't worry, it happens to all of us. You just need to let it go.

Okay. Lessons over. But they were useful, right?

So I baked up my potatoes and now I need to scoop out the innards for Pegi, the food stylist. I try to make them as beautiful as possible. I futz around and figure out that I need to use a melon baller to get a nice edge on the potato. Then I need to trim the skins with a little scissors because they get a little raggedy:

After all of this, lunch came. The studio caters in lunch every day. Today was Asian. After lunch, the potatoes that Pegi styled and baked up need a little freshening up.......a"facial" perhaps? Pegi gives them a little steam.

Now I go into the other kitchen to bother my pal Loree. 'Memba her? She's the one who turned 50 and got the hair-brained idea to run a marathon to "celebrate". Freak.

Anyway, Loree just styled a thick, juicy steak for a grill shot. Here's Mara, our hand model. Kevin, the photographer, will take a close-up of the steak and of Mara "flipping" the steak.

Isn't Mara just tiny and cute? The grill has fake, glowing coals. I love the fake glowing coals.

This is my old new best friend, Loree, with Mara.

Loree just found the love of her life at age 50. She knew him years ago when she was in the Coast Guard and reconnected with him through the wondrous Internet! Exciting, huh? And he's sounds so sweet that I now have a mouthful of cavities from listening to her nauseating stories of all of the sweet things he says to her.

Okay, I've gotta go. More on Loree and Mara another time!


jilly said...

Now you have made me hungry for steak and potatoes!

Sister Honey Bunch said...

I love your work posts. They're my favorite. Except for when you post craftsman houses.

MJ said...

LIfe lessons!!!! Yay! I'm sipping tea right now. It's a little bitter because I let it brew too long. Or maybe I put too many scoops of tea into my pot. Life lesson through food: sometimes the bitterness is your own fault and only you can decide if your going to swallow it, dump it and start over or dilute it with something sweet.


gordostyle said...

Too cool! You're job is so neat!

Thanks for sharing!


Beth said...

Maybe you've posted about this before, but I haven't seen did you get into the food styling and recipe development business? Do those two go hand in hand, or is it a unique combination you've worked out? Any special degrees or study programs you had to go through?

My husband used to work in photography (medical, not food) and he's always pointing out to me the styling tricks on luscious-looking food spreads. "You realize that's vaseline or glycerine on that fruit tart, right, you could never eat it!"

Anyway, just curious what paths led you to your career/s.

Sarah said...

I am hung up on the heavy whipping cream....

I think I need some in MY coffee.... damn you Martha!

Michelle said...

I used to live about eight blocks from that grocery store, back when it was the parking lot for a questionable strip mall. I moved when they were just starting to put up signs. You made me a little homesick for good ol' Nordeast. And then I read MJ's post about tea, and I thought of the TeaSource--best tea store EVER--and I got REALLY homesick for my old 'hood. But then I remembered I can walk about two blocks and get the most breath-taking view of Mt Rainier, and I'm okay again. There's a life lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not feeling energetic enough to drag it out.

You know what's right by that grocery store, right? The Aveda Institute! If you really want to bring out your inner Heidi Klum, that's the place to do it--and for cheap! Sigh. And I'm kind of missing the old 'hood again.

Lisa said...


That is soooo funny. I totally love heavy whipping cream in my coffee. Its so, you know-- fat free. Just tell yourself your on Atkins.. Youve got a cool job Martha, girl.

I just love you girlies, so much-- group hug- come on..
Coastal nest..xoxoxo

Lisa said...

OH my frickin goodness.. coastal nest is a favorite??

I am honored, sista friend.. Truley, I stand in the greatness of your shadow. Not that you have a big shadow, just that your so great, you know, awesome--not fat!!

Cutzi said...

What is this Aveda Institute? I need to know about it.

I just started using the Aveda skin care. I think I like it. I know I love the smell of it.

Amy said...

Cutzi, the Aveda Institute is Aveda's cosmetology school in Minneapolis. Their reduced rate services are open to the public and performed by supervised students using those delicious aveda products. I used to get my hair cut there often because you got good cuts for a cheap price. However, even though the students are talented, they have to consult with the teachers every step along the way which means it takes a loooong time to get a I just go to a regular salon.

Anyway, Minneapolis was the original institute but now they have them in other parts of the country too.

restyled home said...

I just love your stories...and those life lessons?? I think I need them. I'm always up for learning something while eating!


Bristol said...

I am glad I stayed for the whole post, I liked it:)) What is a good potato dish?

Amongst The Oaks said...

Your adventures with food are very entertaining.
I'm tagging you for 7 things about yourself. See my blog for the rules.
Hugs, Laura

Minnesota Matron said...

Northeast Minneapolis? Oh my! We're neighbors. My river view cottage is in St. Paul's Mounds Park neighborhood---we're perched high on the bluff with a lovely view. My life's lesson through food? If you cook things too long (like decades) they become unrecognizable from their original form and useless.

PLO said...

Jesus, Mary and Joseph...I would love to eat those floury white taters. YUM! Happy St. Patty's Day!

Lisa said...

Miss Martha,
go to my blog, click on the first friend of mine. Shes got some kind of dollhouse posted. TODIEFOR!!
check it out..
coastal nest

Mrs. Jones said...

We're getting a little bossy now with our blog, aren't we? I'll stay if I want to. So there.

I never knew taters could be so cute.

My family thinks I'm crazy, too, cuz I sit and laugh by myself.

I have a question for you? Do you watch Top Chef? If you answer, unfortunately I won't know for a while because my computer died. And if I don't fix it soon, I'm going to have to start going to therapy. Hope you're doing well. I miss ya!

Lisa said...

Happy Easter Potatoe girl..(and family)
coastal nest