Last week I had a couple days set aside to do some testing in the studio. Testing days are laid back, but being the Type-A that I am I still have an agenda to accomplish … with the luxury of being on my own schedule. Last week’s agenda? Testing a fake ice cream recipe.
There’s a certain amount of ingenuity and resourcefulness about photography that I kinda like. OK, I actually crave it, a lot. All my life I’ve been a tinkerer. I get it honestly from my parents who are tinkerers and encouraged my brother and me to tinker by taking apart random things and build whatever we dreamed up in our heads.
My dad grew up on a farm so he learned to tinker and be resourceful out of necessity. Suffice it to say that growing up on the farm didn’t offer the conveniences of just running down to the store and buying what you needed … hardware stores and money to purchase items were scarce in the day. To this day he’s off the chart with inventing and constructing crazy ideas he has in his head. See Moozie.
My mom is one to exercise her creative exploits in the kitchen, on canvas and with sewing machine. (But not all at the same time. That’d be weird.) To this day she experiments with ideas like “What would happen if I put this ingredient in this recipe?” My comfort level in the kitchen and much of my fascination with food can be attributed to her allowing me to “help” in the kitchen. I’ll spare you the story of my making eggnog for a dinner party when I was fourteen.
Ice cream! (I’m now imagining Eddie Murphy’s routine. I digress.)
On a normal client shoot I’d have one of my food stylists bear the responsibility of preparing and styling the ice cream, but because I enjoy this kind of stuff I wanted to have some play time of my own. Besides, it gives me a better appreciation and understanding for what is involved in creating this freak of nature food look alike.
Gone are the days when instant mashed potatoes and Crisco were the preferred ingredients for fake ice cream for photography … at least for me. This new (to me) concoction is simply ready made store bought frosting and an inordinate amount of powdered sugar. Oh, and don’t forget the Cuisinart food processor … or two … the slight burning smell might be an indication that I was pushing the limits. I did three different batches and experimented with the different blade sets. The dough blade (plastic vs. the metal chopping blade) seems to put less strain on the motor … judging by the absence of the burning electric smell when using them.
The result is a pliable doughish mass that balls up in the food processor. From there I transfer it to a ZipLock bag and can scoop it out like ice cream. It’s amazing the consistency and how it fooled even my biggest ice cream critics — my 5, 6 and 8 year old boys. Aside from making scoops, I also made some soft serve ice cream. That required making more of a sticky, less solid mixture that I piped out from a pastry bag with an extra large tip. I discovered that having Popeye arms would be beneficial for this task.
I let one of the scoops sit out for a full week to see what it would look like. It held up amazingly well. In fact, the chocolate fudge drizzle on top held as well … straight from the bottle without doctoring. See what I mean? These were just left to sit out on the counter.
Here are the results from the studio setup. Anyone hungry for some nice cold fake ice cream?
There you have it. While fake, these are still edible, but who’d want to? My boys.
Twitter Updates @kyledreier
- Happy May Showers…and pancakes. Download the May desktop calendar here: http://t.co/RFPBNYA7Xr #food #calendar #photography
- Making "art" with the boys on a nature hike today. Great day to be outside. http://t.co/UN8ajRhpfZ
- Mocha on my mind. #spaghetti #food #art http://t.co/F0bskbnsfV
- This is what happens with no cable. Spaghetti art TV with rabbit ears by my 7 year old. #food #art http://t.co/t3dADBdZJ1
- Picasso? Nope. Spaghetti art with my boys. Why does this look like me? #food #art http://t.co/Vby9EMpIe5
- My fab place for a great burger. Chef John rocks. Know where I am? https://t.co/ZMuwnNSmm9
- Just learned a new word thanks to @st8mnt ..."fangirling" ... #omg