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say it with me now, “om nom nom”



Posted by aleta under an aside

I have my own new chat abbreviation, formally dedicated to all participating in the rrr: ssf, “sorry so flaky.” I was *supposed* to distribute recipes Friday, and I was *planning* on following through, but then everyotherfuckingthing impeded that, so my apologies.

Short story:

Everyone’s in.
You have asap to still submit a recipe.
I will send out recipes this week.
You’ll have the upcoming weekend and the one to follow to give a shot at ’em.

I like to think my flakiness is one of my charms, buuuut I’m fairly certain that is not the case. *winkyface*


Everyone knows those people who rants and raves about their Italian/German/Czechoslovakian/Whatever grandmother, her incredible cooking, and the totally amazing recipes that have been handed down for generations. Sadly, I have little to counter with. While the French French are celebrated the world over for their epicurean heritage, the French Canadian are not. Case and point: French Canadians eat frog legs, though on second thought, the French French eat snails, but they have the sense to do it with a lot more panache. My family hails (on both sides, originally) from farms outside of Three Rivers, that I cannot imagine were particularly profitable, seeing as my ancestors cascaded down to work long-ass hours for practically nothing in textile mills in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Our culinary traditions reflect this reality, and we eat pauper food.

I have two Memeres. The differences between the two are easy to list: Memere Dubois grew up on a Quebecois farm, the daughter of mill workers; Memere LeBlanc grew up in Maynard MA, the daughter of a butcher. Memere LeBlanc has replaced her complete Pfaltzgraff set three times; Memere Dubois uses her oven to store boxes of Little Debbie. While they both can, by memory, trace roots back to Quebec, you can see how perhaps maybe their perspective on food might vary. Ever so slightly.

Okay, a lot.

But they, and everyone else in my family for that matter, can agree that Pork Pie is excellent, must be served at Christmas, and is properly consumed only with ketchup.

While Memere Dubois is a lot closer to the heritage, Memere LeBlanc is clearly the cook, which made it difficult to determine what recipe to use. Memere Dubois always buys frozen pies from some little old lady in Pinardville, and these have potato in them, which makes sense seeing as it’s a nice cheap filler. But Memere LeBlanc’s preferred recipe, naturally, called for two pounds of unadulterated pork. I decided to go with this version because it is based on an actual family recipe (the potato-pie version was definitely NOT the one Memere LeBlanc knew from memory), and pork is only $2.99 a lb, so really, it is modern-day pauper food, and thereby even more appropriate.

This is the recipe as written, though by the time this was handed to me, I already had the same pie in the oven. Boggle your mind on THAT, (or don’t…Memere gave me the recipe over the phone).

Today's recipe.

That size is a mite too small to read, but if you had crazy vision, you could see that it calls for pork butts ground twice, which is frankly unsurprising from someone who grew up around lots of meat. The tool I’d procured to follow this exacting direction really didn’t work out, so I had to settle with regular old supermarket ground pork. And the trick, she was done. Along with an onion, that pork is pretty much the only significant ingredient.

That's uh...most of the ingredient list, actually.

Saute ’em up.


End up with this.

A skillet, a beautiful thing.

Drain off the grease. Since I won’t be saving the fat for the War Production Board effort, the easiest method I’ve found is using a sieve—it is MUCH more convenient than spooning the stuff out one teaspoon at a time. I have this convenient sieve that sits in my sink.

That misty stuff is steam.

Hhokay, so. Here we hev our meat now covered by ze water.


And then you simmer that business for an hour, mixing it up frequently to try to break up all the meat wads. If you change your mind and want to make goetta instead (which is German but somehow Memere Dubois grew up on the stuff), you can boil for an additional hour. No word on when you add the oatmeal, however.

Another strain and now we’re going to use your treasured stand mixer. This will accomplish three things:

  1. It will break up the meat into uniform little granules.
  2. It will mix up the spices and milk with the pork.
  3. It will cool the mix much more quickly than letting it sit out.

Best use of my stand mixer yet.It's not frosting.

Finally, after like, an hour and a half, you’re ready to start assembling a pie! Go you! I’ve discovered that refrigerated pre-made pie crust comes out tasting just as good as homemade and also doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face, so I’m pretty much never making a pie crust by hand ever again. Just sayin is all.

Finally, we're getting to the pie part.

For some reason, pork pies are always topped the same way: a crust with about a 1″ hole in the middle to allow venting. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off freehand, I found a trick for cutting the hole.

A hole trick.Done and done, my friend.
(you’ll notice I can’t even position a glass in the middle of the pie on my first try, which is exactly the reason why freehanding it was such a terrible idea)

Then I attempted to protect the edges of the crust with aluminum foil.

Yeah, it got too toasty anyway.

It got a little toastier than I would have liked anyway. But at least the edges weren’t burnt, those are the best part!

Pork Pie!

And of course, as any Charbonneau, Levesque or Savoie will shout at you, you have to at least try it with ketchup. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it, that’s the right way to eat it.

With ketchup. The right way.

French Canadian Pork Pie
Coming to you straight from Memere LeBlanc’s memory

2 lbs pork butts, ground twice (plain old ground pork seems to work as well)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2-3.5 c water
1/2 tsp sage powder
1/4 c milk
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice
another 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
pie crust for a covered pie (refrigerated, frozen or your own—you decide!)

Brown pork and onions in a large skillet, breaking up meat as much as possible as it cooks. Drain grease, return to pan, and add just enough water to cover the top of the pork (this has varied for me from 2 c to 3.5 c). Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, making sure to stir regularly (keep on breaking up the meat with your spatula). Do not let the meat dry out, though it does not need to be covered in water the whole time.

Preheat oven to 400o. Drain meat and onions again, toss into a bowl and beat with remaining ingredients (don’t forget the extra 1/2 tsp pepper!) until almost cooled. This will take the 5-10 minutes you’ll need to prepare your double pie crust, so if you happen to have a stand mixer, it’ll come in handy.

Bake for almost an hour, or until the top looks done. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving with a side of ketchup.

The end!

Done et up.

nutrition summary: 180 calories, 11g fat, 0g fiber; ~7 weight watchers points


mizike agrees with me, which is enough to be edited in, BUT he also gave me the name of this pie.

Nothing says christmas in Quebec like Tourtiere. Serve it with a side of poutine and a bowl of split pea soup for the maximum french-canadianness possible in one meal.

The Wiki on Tourtière is enlightening and dead-on, we just always called it pork pie. My family never did the poutine thing, but split pea soup is ALWAYS on the stove just after Mom and Dad have made a ham. I salute you, mizike, fellow Franco!

Also, I totally earned some cool points from Adam, and just wanted to point out that I am always accepting cool points. Not that I need them or anything. I may even give them to charity.


free advice: don’t buy this thing

Posted by aleta under an aside

On one of my thrifting excursions, I happened upon this bad lawrence for $3.

don't fall for it...

Taken in by its chrome plated iron glory, I was all like “That thing is majorly diesel! Totally made to last forever! I could really *use* this!” And snapped it up, so happy with my excellent find.

I got home, clamped it onto the old kitchen table.

don't fall for it...

Then I ground some meat in it.

Little bits of grey meat kept making its way into the mix. At first, I figured it was something to do with the meat, and picked it out. Upon closer inspection, it would appear that the metal through which the meat is extruded is not iron, has corroded over time, and was grinding itty bitty pieces of metal into my meat. I’m not sure if that’s a major health problem or whatever, but at the very least the idea of gritty metal between my masticating molars is extremely unpleasant.

Consider this an official Omnomicon PSA, brought to you by Aleta Meadowlark and associates.


Omnomicon’s premier recipe contest is finally back! While the holidays are rife with opportunities for a round-robin, I was busy and wasn’t entirely sure everyone else would follow through given their own busy-ness, (but mostly I was just busy). And SO I’m pleased to announce January 2010’s Recipe Round-Robin: Pancakes!

Pancakes. The easiest thing that will ever impress a new love interest first thing in the morning. In addition to those lucky ladies and gents, it’ll also impress your family and friends crashing on the couch.

This month’s prize is the product of one of my infamous thrift store binges: a 1950s vintage aluminum Automatic Pancake and Donut Maker! I would argue that it’s not *really* automatic, and is more of a *dispenser* than a maker, but the name Automatic Pancake Maker really sells itself better. I’ll be uploading a photo of the actual item likely on Monday, but I wanted to kick things off sooner rather than later. In the meantime, all you need to know is that it appears to be unused, comes with the original directions (and recipes!) and works just like this modern version.

There will be a super secret special prize for one Tastebud selected at random. Incentive!

pancake maker
Pancake Batter Dispenser/ Donut Maker

So, if you’re new to the Recipe Round-Robins, please take a moment to read the rules. The short story:

Ooo ooo, I make the world’s most incredible pancakes!
Awesome, we’d love to try ’em! Send your wicked awesome recipe to aleta [at] omnomicon [dot] com. The contest can only accommodate a certain number of recipes (limited by the number of participants), so submitting as early as possible is to your benefit. Submissions will be accepted through Thursday, January 21 (2010, just in case that needed to be pointed out).
Please note that if you submit a recipe, you are committed to taste-test two other recipes. This helps assure that we have enough taste-tests going on to include as many recipes as possible.

Okay, so I make my pancakes from a box, but I’d love to get into them from scratch!
Well hey, friend, you are totally in the right place! We need far more taste-testers (tastebuds) than recipes, and your commitment is crucial to making this little experiment work. Leave a comment indicating your taste-buddiness, and you’ll receive two recipes from two different contributors. Try each and then send me an email with which you prefer. Tastebuds will be provided two recipes to compare by Friday, January 22nd, just in time for the weekend! You will have two weekends to report your favourite, and send me your choice by Tuesday, February 2nd.

Please note that if you agree to be a tastebud, we are relying on you to test two recipes in the timeline indicated. Shit happens, I know, but really, if you don’t think you’ll have the time, please do not volunteer.

I’m defining pancakes as, well, pancakes. Your famous pancakes may have blueberries or chocolate chips, but we want to keep things consistent, so while you are welcome to include your secret add-in, please list it as optional; Tastebuds will be encouraged to try the pancakes naked. I’m also requesting that we stick to the standard, Bisquick type pancakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some crepes, Finnish pancakes (and regional variations), and German pancakes, but they’re really not the same thing.

The only thing I’ll be changing from the old rules is allowing tastebuds to blog the recipes they tried (after a winner has been announced). I used to discourage this, but it’s too hard to police and I’ve never had a complaint from a recipe contributor for another blogger simply printing their recipe. I am asking all tastebuds to link to the owner’s website if applicable.

  • If you are contributing a recipe and have a food blog of your own that you would like linked, please send the link so I can pass it along to the tastebuds.
  • If you are contributing but not comfortable with having your site linked to your recipe, please indicate.
  • And if you are contributing but not comfortable with having your recipe printed here or elsewhere, with or without credit, please do not contribute.

What has not changed is the demand that the tone in discussing these recipes be respectful. Remember that someone treasures this recipe, is likely to see your post, and if you wouldn’t give your critique to their face, keep it to yourself. We try to run a warm and fuzzy ship over here.

Free advice based on past RRRs:

  • Bear in mind that the tastebuds’ opinion is extremely subjective—that’s the point. Keep in mind things like the difficulty of obtaining ingredients and the preparation time, so if the batter needs to sit overnight (which is fine!) it might work against you.
  • I try to edit recipes as little as possible, so a little personality never hurt!

Alright…who’s in?


Results are in: we have some well-equipped kitchens! I asked readers about their favourite underappreciated kitchen tools and got these results.

Good, solid knives (37%)
Some had brand, others noted the complete genericness of their knives…all in all, having a knife you love makes the kitchen a better place! My all-time favourite was my very first: a meat cleaver I picked up at a yardsale and used for everything from meat (as intended) to cutting onions to mincing garlic.

Mixing bowls (27%)
Nesting, vintage, really big, everyone loves a good mixing bowl.

Prep bowls (27%)
Including ramekins. Mine came from a restaurant I worked at for awhile. We ordered tiramisu from a vendor that came in this perfect glass cups (1 c each) and had no use for them after dessert was done. I managed to nab a good dozen and I *still* run out from time to time.

Silicone Spatula (23%)
Nuff said. I’ve been using one for tomato sauces lately to keep my nonstick all nice.

Microplane (23%)
The one item I originally listed that made it on the list!

Narrow misses were wooden spoons, cutting boards of various sizes and materials (it would seem that cooks tend toward specific formats), whisks of varying description and garlic press (natch).

Ideas that I LOVE included a gold filter in place of cheesecloth, chopsticks (which I so totally use to clean out my garlic press, mix drinks and test cakes for doneness), fondant rolling pin, which might fix my notorious inability to operate a regular one, kitchen shears, and a husband to do the dishes, which I totally put on my registry. 😉

There was also a comment about the uselessness of mandolines, and ho boy, do I have one of my famous opinions on that topic. The first time I had my now-Matron-of-Honour over for dinner, I was in a total tizzy getting everything together and 1 hour before her arrival pulled out my new mandoline to slice up some red onion for the salad. I saw the little handguard and was like “psh, this thing is stupid, they totally put them in here for chumps so they can’t sue the company” and set it aside.

I think you know where this is going.

I earned myself a very permament 1/2″ x 1/4″ scar on the butt of my hand, narrowly missing important veins, and on my first day of work (almost a month later) had to shake hands with everyone with this huge gross bandage that obviously was treating some grievous kitchen injury. It felt gross to do that to a complete stranger.

In unrelated news, I totally found copies of those white bowls I use in most of my food photos and will be listing them on etsy at some point next week. Anyone here interested? They’re all that are left of what used to be Hamilton Beach stand mixers from the 40s or 50s, are made by Pyrex, and let in just enough diffused light to make for nice bright in-the-bowl shots. The ones I have now have some metal-utensil damage (little scratches on the bottom), but only where you’d have food anyway. $20 and they’re yours; $25 next week on etsy.

Here they are in action (there are two–a big ole bowl, and a smaller spouted mixy thing).

Extensive leaving-it-there-for-awhile.Lithuanian pastry?Best buddies.

I’m not planning on making Omnomicon a repository for etsy advertising, but where so many of my readers are food bloggers, I though these might be of especial interest. To everyone else, apologies on the plug!


I currently have my fingers in many pies, and it feels awesome to be in the swing of things. I’m happiest when productive!

There is a new food post (I know! Right?) that should be up on Sunday, a new Recipe Round-Robin next week (I want to rename this…it’s a cumbersome title…suggestions welcome), I’m working on like 3 food-related side projects that I’ll tell you all about in due time, and of course, shopping/researching/listing for my Etsy project.

AND *drumroll please* I’m excited to announce that at some point over the last month, Omnomicon hit 1 million visits! Meaningless in and of itself, but a fun milestone anyway.

So in the meantime, what are your top 5 underdog kitchen gadgets? Everyone fortunate enough to own them loves their Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, their Le Crueset Dutch Oven, their Henckels knives, but what do you rely on practically every time you cook that you totally thought you didn’t need until you started using it?

Not to bias things, but here’s mine (in no particular order):

  • garlic press
  • electric flat griddle
  • 1-cup food processor
  • kitchen scale
  • a mystery item, which will be the prize for this month’s recipe contest! (how coy, I know)

The holidays are finally over. For the last two months you’ve put as much deliciously rich foods and mediocre cookie plates as can fit in your mouth at any one time. Upon returning to work, you’ve discovered that your work slacks are a little tight, and you’re considering eschewing your creative and unique New Year’s resolution in favor of the old “lose 20 lbs” standby, because while cable knitting looks really cool, who has time to make anything big enough to be useful?

No worries, everyone else is feeling it too.

Now that family commitments have been satisfied and friends are finally back from where-do-your-parents-live-again, it’s the perfect time to get everyone together for a party to celebrate the end of the bustling season and the beginning of two miserable months before March even begins to tempt you with hints of Spring. What better way than to flavor trip?

Miraculin is really nothing new to dedicated foodies, who probably read This NYTimes Article last year, or considered purchasing some from ThinkGeek. If you are not a dedicated foodie, or do not read the New York Times, good for you! Here’s a simple breakdown of the deal:

Oh hai thar, miraculin tablets!

Miraculin is a chemical derived from the Miracle Fruit of exotic West Africa. It “tricks your tastebuds into thinking sour and bitter foods are sweet.” I can’t imagine that exact sentence hasn’t been used like, a bajilion times, so I put it in quotes, even though I’m not entirely sure who I’m quoting. The experience lasts 20-40 minutes, during which time lemons taste like sweet lemonade, Tabasco has a chocolatey overtone, and sweets taste the same as ever. It is legal in the United States and most other countries, and is not a drug in the sense that your mind is not affected, just your tastebuds. I’m not sure how Mormons might feel about that, so please speak up if you happen to know. There has been talk of using it as an aid to diabetics, in a fashion similar to Stevia, but the process in the US has been held up by red tape, and I suspect that the lingering after-effect stymies the actual practicality of this idea.

Flavor tripping makes a great alternative to the standard “drink beer until we’re drunk” model of throwing a party, and gives an easy (and relatively inexpensive) focus—each serving costs about a dollar, and citrus fruit should be flooding in from Florida any day now. And it’s good clean fun!

But what makes it especially relevant to this time of year is that diet thing. Instead of feeding guests brownies and cookies,* it’s fruit, and tasty enough sneak a few vitamins into someone’s day. Even after the effects have worn off, the lemons and limes can be used for drink garnish, and don’t be surprised if you see a cohort unpeeling an orange or snacking on carrots later in the night.
*(Okay, you can still make your famous brownies, I understand)

Magic pill.

We had a flavor tripping component to our Halloween party a couple years back, and it went over very well. Everyone agreed that grapefruit are simply HEAVENLY on the stuff, and we sampled various sour beers and all but emptied my condiment shelves. I managed to convince 30 or 40 people to take the pill all at once, waited until it was in everyone’s mouth and announced “Haha, that was acid. Enjoy the light show, ladies and gentlemen!” I would not recommend making this joke around family or children, lest you instantly earn the scarlet letter of drug-addled hippy on the fast-track to self-destruction.

Here is pretty much the only relevant shot I have from that totally righteous party. Featuring myself as Lydia the Tattooed Lady, and Sarita as one hot secret service type.

Tasty lemons

On a completely unrelated side note, even a year out, and I’m still really proud of that costume, even if my entire torso was sticky for the first two weeks of November.

Moving right along, below is a list of items that we found especially interesting under the exotic hypnosis of the Miracle Fruit:

  • Lemons, naturally
  • Limes, and though I usually like sour foods anyway, this is the only time I have ever enjoyed a lime
  • Grapefruit, which tastes like a delicate blend of manna and angel’s breath, with notes of the flutter of a dove’s wings
  • Carrots, sweeter than you think!
  • Tabasco, and be careful not to eat too much because it is very delicious
  • Vinegar, which is a real trip
  • Guiness
  • Sour Beers

There were many other beers being a-sampled, but I only managed to try a couple. Make sure that everyone knows to coat their tongue as the tablet dissolves on it. I let it dissolve in the middle to tip of my tongue, which meant the lemons tasted wonderful until the juice made it down on the sides of my tongue and gave me a rude awakening.

Another warning: be careful if you’re prone to heartburn. While your mouth will be flooded with sweetness, you’re still swallowing a whole lotta citric acid (or vinegar, or spicy foods), so BEWARE.

It worked.

Do tell: have you tried the stuff, or are you of the “oh, I always wanted to try that” camp? What delights did you find in your cupboards?

shameless plug: the dishes pictured are for sale on my Etsy site: Aleta’s Kitschen.


Kalie, who I’m assuming is Mormon, answered a pivotal question I posed:
Mormons love it! We just can’t do the whole sour beers and Guiness thing!

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers who take affront to this comment, and I understand why. To the uninitiated, SLRs do all the heavy lifting and if you can just drop $500 on a camera body you can take all these dreamy bokeh-laden photos that are instantly beautiful. You will find this untrue if you peruse a cross-section of food blogs and take note of the equipment.

Fish chowder.

Some will claim that a point-and-shoot is all you need, but they’re the ones with the $500 lenses, and so it’s hard to take that suggestion seriously. Granted, a good eye is way more valuable than a DSLR, but I know that I wouldn’t have learned how to take the photos I do with a point-and-shoot because there simply isn’t enough control. Depth of field is a big deal in food photos because it lets you control which part of the food you want people to look at. At the same time, the inclination with new SLR owners is to overdo the bokeh (that fuzzy background you can’t get from a point-and-shoot), and what results are photos where it’s hard to tell exactly what you’re looking at.

To answer this question directly, I shoot with a Nikon D80 with a 1.4 50mm fixed lens, no zoom. But many times the real question is “how do you get shots like that?” and showing off my fancy equipment really doesn’t answer it very well. I prefer to answer it like this:

With a tripod, measured white balance, and an f-stop around 3.8. The light meter is usually two notches to the left of the middle. I rely heavily on indirect and diffused light. I use a generic and simple Windows editor to brighten the shot until the background is truly white, up the contrast a little bit to give it some pop, and crop in a square whenever possible.

A blushing shade of pink.

Some of these things are just my style: I like clean white backgrounds, but I really admire photogs who can really set up a scene with accessories; I’m just not skilled in that category, though I do try. My photos are always a little blown out, and while I’m sure learning to use a lens with a zoom would make my life easier in terms of getting the right detail without having to move my tripod every time I want a new perspective, my fixed lens is the best quality I own.

Other elements are pivotal, though. A tripod is really really SUPER important when shooting still life of any stripe, particularly when you’re using artificial light. But even the shots I take in direct sunlight are shot with a tripod because it allows me to crop the picture fairly closely without losing sharpness.

Like an umami commercial.

White balance is such a simple thing that nobody seems to do, and that’s why you see all kinds of orangey, unappealing Chinese-food menu type photos on many food blogs. Or you’ve probably noticed shots that have this weird blueish tinge to them–these were taken just after sunset when the natural light is still useful, but not as warm as it is in the light of day. They do look much better than the orange pictures, but would really stand out if they only had the right colour tone. There are automatic settings for this on all cameras, and mine will even let me choose the color temperature by number, but nothing beats a white card measurement.

Observe, orange food that would otherwise look lovely: Cutest. Dinner. Ever.

In contrast, a bluey twilight shot:


And then there’s my opinion about bokeh: it’s easy to go nuts the first time you have access to tools that can create it, but I recommend looking at each shot out of context post-edit to determine whether an uninformed observer would be able to identify the important items in the shot. If it looks like a nondescript blurry tan thing, you probably need to up the f-stop. I find my most useful shots come out around 3.8, which most standard lenses will accommodate, and will go lower when shooting something kind of ugly, like a casserole that tastes awesome, has beautiful ingredients, but looks like some kind of slurry when it comes out of the oven. Even then, though, I *may* go down to 2.4 or something, but rarely lower.

Behold, an ugly dish with a low f-stop to hide its utter lack of visual appeal:
Coffee nut mushrooms

Also, I too fell victim to the siren-like song of bokeh early on. Can you tell what this is immediately, or do you have to kind of like, squint and think about it, or mouse over to see a caption?


(it’s chopped peaches)

So anyway, that’s a crash course in “how she done make all those pretty pictures.”

What revelations have made your photos 1000x better? Do you disagree with my aggressive insistence toward tripods? I’m willing to bet that there is someone who manages to take really awesome shots and has a totally different philosophy, but I also bet there’s no way he or she doesn’t measure white balance!

I’ll be adding particularly insightful comments to the end of this post because it really is meant to be more of a discussion than a declaration of beliefs. Here goes.


Nick from Macheesmo has the best advice anyone could ever offer to someone teaching themselves how to shoot:
I remember when I was learning how to use some of the manual settings on my camera… I just set an apple on a white plate and took probably 100 photos of it… changing one setting each time from the same place. It was interesting to see the different depth of fields in action… shutterspeed was a bit lost on me for awhile though due to the still-ness of my experiment (I learned shutterspeed while being frustrated trying to photograph a dog.)

Yes yes yes yes. Steal this idea. If you’ve been sitting on a nice camera for some time and still have no idea what to do with it, DO THIS. Your time will be well-rewarded. Practice makes perfect, and one of the only reasons my pictures are anything to look at is because I take no fewer than 100 shots for any one post. Over the course of 100 posts and literally 10,000 photos, you learn a lot about your toolbox.

Pumblechook makes a fine point, though I suspect his casseroles are routinely uglier than my own [insert winky face]:
I must digress on the issue of aperture. Personally, for most shots I like to keep it as low as is feasible because I’ve found it is much more forgiving in less than stellar lighting conditions. If I want certain areas to stay in focus I’ll just play around with the focus points, but thats just me. 🙂

G offers a perspective from a far more professional photographer than I am. I only wish I could get the shots she does with a point-and-shoot, but I leave the non-food photography to people with a better eye for that kind of thing.
i agree. It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. I can get better pictures with a vintage crap box camera than i can get with an SLR. I’ve heard of many people whining that they need an SLR cos their point and shoot takes shit photos. And then “oh my SLR must be broken..the pictures aren’t good”. Ummm yeah…because the camera can only do so much and really, there’s other factors that go into “good photography”. So go ahead and buy that bulky camera and take crappy vacation pictures. it’s all the same to me. Ok vent over.

Still…a good point and shoot, if used properly can take the same beautiful pictures and SLR can take. I have both and i use them accordingly, depending on what i need and want to shoot.

You can see evidence of this philosophy in action on G’s gorgeous Etsy site: jiorji’s Garden Dub

Kim says:
I would love a fancy camera with manual settings and white balance settings (though maybe mine has them and I just don’t know how to use them), but honestly, I wouldn’t make good enough use of it. The food pictures on my blog aren’t amazing, but it’s not primarily a food blog, so I don’t care that much. 🙂

Kim is so right. If you just wanna take walkin’ around pictures, or don’t have a need for anything super sharp or detailed, or even if you’re taking pictures of big things like landscapes, save yourself a lot of money and buy a decent point-and-shoot. This is also the lighter option and if you lose or break it, you’re not out of commission for the months it can take to save up the money for a replacement.

Similarly, a few commenters lamented their “inferior” equipment, and yet they still had some great shots on Flickr and websites. Consider:

Carlos brings up a good point, and while I shy away from defending my articles, I should point out that this wasn’t really meant to be an all-inclusive sort of thing . . . really, I was just focusing on the camera-specific details. I may address composition at another time, but there are so many food blogs out there to look to for ideas that (generally) people seem to know the difference from a good composition vs a less stellar one.

I started with a p&s too and if there was one thing I learned using a P&S, it was composition still is king of all skills. One cannot make-up for bad composition. (I think this component was overlooked in the article.)

Not as cool as the posse Andre has, but I set up an Etsy shop for all the vintage stuff I love so much but have no space for. I like to think the descriptions really carry my personality for me. I feel ever-so-slightly lame for posting this before some amazing recipe, but I’m really enjoying still life photography of the non-food variety, and will be posting in the next week or two (really really I mean it this time!).

So consider Aleta’s Kitschen open.

While I don’t suspect this will earn me any  money, it does satisfy an insatiable lust for vintage I have no use for. If I had the dough, I’d just give it all away, but sadly, I don’t. Still, it pays for an otherwise expensive and storage-raping hobby.

These were my favourite descriptions, I had tons o’fun with these things.

Bold.Advanced STRAIN/CLOSE/POUR lid technology.

Tang Pitcher & Mugs “A Bold Wave of Sunshine”

This lightweight pitcher and mugs are appealingly vintage with what could very well pass as Hillside Middle School’s new logo in 1982.

Outfitted with slick STRAIN/CLOSE/POUR lid technology, this would be an ideal vessel and serving cups of Tang for, say, two children who are thirsty after swinging in the yard. The pitcher holds 3 quarts (96 oz) and each mug holds 12 oz. That means you can pour each cup all the way to the top FOUR TIMES before you have to make more Kool-Aid.

Pitcher is 9.5″ tall, 4.75″ in circumference and 8″ wide (lip to handle). Each cup 4″ high, 3″ in circumference. Packaged with complimentary packet of Tang.

Spring Blossoms in your oven

Pyrex Spring Blossom Casserole & Whisking Bowl

This set will no doubt impress your mother-in-law, who will burn up much of dinner talking about her wedding dish pattern, and every scrap of Pfaltzgraff she’s ever owned while you smile and enjoy dinner without having to force small talk.

Funky Spring Blossom Casserole and Whisking Bowl by Pyrex. Made for housewives in the USA between 1972 and 1979, who says you can’t use them now?

Oven-to-table, cheery, and just begging to try your grandmother’s noodle casserole recipe, the casserole holds 2.5 quarts, and the bowl 3 cups. Silver V marking on the casserole in the photos has been safely removed.

Packaged with a delicious casserole recipe card to try out. 😉

Samson's Stimulating

Sick Mustache Wall Plaque

The plaque pretty much says it all.

Not only is this vintage (1968), it’s all Victorian stylized so it’s like, Vintage Vintage. Double Vintage. Meta-Vintage.

This bad lawrence comes from Yorkraft which, according to a cursory overview of the Internet, appears to be one of the earliest sources of “Crap that Places Like Applebees Put on Their Wall in Lieu of Real Antiques.” Wikipedia had nothing, Google Maps had an unconfirmed listing in York PA, and while I found links to, they were dead. Then I remembered there were muffins cooling on the counter and so that’s all I know about Yorkraft.

Nice beard, though.

16″ high by 12″ wide on sturdy, completely flat 1/2″ MDF board. 1968 Yorkraft, York PA. 3 lbs 5 oz, this thing is wicked diesel. Packaged with all my love. <3

Okay, now go tell your friends!

Funky Things That Fly Wild, wild roses. Couldn't tear me away...

Feedback? Things you like? Am I missing the mark? Is vintage even cool any more? Would you actually pay for any of this junk? Though my food photos rely heavily on boring white plates, this is the stuff I pull out when we have company.


psh. psh to all of you!

Posted by aleta under an aside

So I update my site after several months and I get one comment??

Clearly, Apollo is my only real internet friend. *tear*

It’s cool, I dig it. Holidays, busy times, finals . . . whatever other crap is plaguing your life at the moment . . . it’s a tough time for a blogger to end a period of truancy. I also suspect the lack of photos and a cohesive recipe may be to blame. Long story short, I am (temporarily) bereaved of my beloved 50mm lens (the one that took all those lovely photos everyone likes) and thusly am forced to endure the frustration of using some other, vastly inferior lens. With a zoom. Which you would think might make my task easier, but in reality does not.

SO I will try to snap some photos of what I’m talking about as I prepare it for my family and dearest friends.

Um, okay. I’ll end my guilt-inducing lecture with that.

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