By Delores Custer
May 3, 2010 (Hardcover) Wiley
I am often accused of being too deep, thinking too much, being too sensitive. So today, I am going for the beauty. Which, in this case, is more than skin deep.
Food Styling is a gorgeous 400-page book. Not that I need such a book. It’s rare that I cook – what, just for me, why bother – let alone create a plate glamorous enough to warrant taking photos of it. Fortunately, I do have an insatiable curiosity. Did you know that the “hero” in a food shot is not a sandwich? The hero is the “star” of the photo. And, it’s not “home ec,” it’s “food stylist.” Oh, and Delores has been styling with Julia.
Food Styling is far more than the textbook it would appear to be. Humor, entertaining stories, and brilliant photos pack the book. Don’t miss Delores Custer’s madcap story about cooking in hell with Paul Newman. Somehow, at 2:30am, she set out for the Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan, to find two pretty red snappers and a couple of unmarred five-pound lobsters…and head for Westport, Connecticut. After numerous mishaps – and a series of good luck moves – the photographer got off two shots of all the food, promoting Newman’s Own Diavolo Sauce, and they all split. It had gotten too hot in hell.
Tips? Tear open a muffin to reveal the interesting crumb texture. Use a pair of tweezers to delicately place the pat of butter on it. The prettiest pancakes? Delores tested several Aunt Jemima mixes. The winner is Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete.
Okay, you deserve a recipe. I started out wanting everything in the book, then my senses dulled with all the choices. So, now that I am no longer craving chocolate, I can give you the Chocolate Sauce recipe:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
10 ounces Swiss dark chocolate, finely chopped
Bring the cream and corn syrup to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Face it, this book is a beauty, funny, and a gorgeous example of excellent teaching.