Friday, October 11, 2013
I can easily spend hours looking through decades-old issues of Gourmet. I don't necessarily look through them searching for recipes, although many of them do seem quite appetizing. Rather, I enjoy looking at the magazine's photos. Whoever styled those old food photos, which are so staged-looking and yet so charming, must have had one heck of a good time doing so. I know that I would have.
Take, for example, that photo seen above. When I first glanced at it, I thought that whatever creamy food was nestled within that puffed pastry must be something good. Well, it's not. Or at least, I don't find Brains to be something good. But the styling of that photo certainly made what seems to me a vile dish look downright delicious.
Then there's the Swordfish Mirabeau. Yes, the plated dish looks a little too man-handled, but those strips of anchovies and sliced olives do create an interesting-looking pattern. And check out the photos of Boeuf à la Mode en Gelée and Leg of Lamb in Aspic. A little too precious? Perhaps. But both dishes, especially the lamb in aspic with that herb and vegetable garnish, took skill and artistry.
Now, I doubt that many of us are going to start decorating our food with floral-motif garnishes, strips of anchovies and sliced olives, and peas in aspic, but I do think that these old Gourmet photos are great examples of how design can enhance food immeasurably.