Late last summer I was on my front veranda doing some food photography. The plate was on the floor and I was crouched on the step, moving the plate, angling the camera this way and that, assessing the light, trying to get just the right shot.
And then, I got that feeling … You know, the vaguely uneasy one where you sense you’re being watched? I glanced up, and there on the sidewalk, about 20 feet away from me, a woman and her dog were standing, staring at me. The woman looked worried. The dog appeared indifferent. And then the woman spoke. “Are you alright?” she asked.
I wonder what she was thinking. Did I look like I was having a cardiac arrest practically on my doorstep? Or maybe some kind of breakdown over a plate of lentil salad?
Anyway, I told her I was fine, and that I’m a food writer and often take pictures of food on the front porch. We chatted for a moment and she and pooch went on their way, the woman no doubt relieved she didn’t have to call 911.
Yesterday, I decided to do some experimentation with the strawberry chia seed pudding I had a hankering for. I didn’t have any almond milk in the house, so I soaked some almonds for a couple of hours and then whipped up a small batch of almond milk, just enough for the pudding. I was feeling rather lazy (yes, even though I was making almond milk so I could make a pudding, but hey, a girl has her limits), and I really didn’t want to go through the mess of straining out the pulp through a nut milk bag. Wondering what the result would be if I were to use unfiltered almond milk in my pudding, I decided to experiment.
The verdict? When I went to add the mashed strawberries to the pudding, I expected to find most of the seeds on the bottom of the bowl, like usual, needing to be stirred in. Instead, they were evenly dispersed throughout the liquid, which told me there was a lot more ‘body’ than when I use strained almond milk. The final pudding tastes just like usual, but it isn’t as creamy and silky. Still delicious, still nutritious, but maybe just a titch short of what I’d give company for dessert. But would I make it again like this? Yes! If I’m making almond milk for the sole purpose of satisfying a craving for chia seed pudding, I would definitely skip the filtering step. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my contribution to culinary science for today.
Now, back to my veranda …
After the pudding was set, I spooned some into a pretty glass to get some photos. I took some indoor shots and then moved out onto the veranda to take advantage of the soft daylight. And a few moments later I noticed the mail carrier looking at me with curiosity. “I’m a food writer,” I told him, “Just taking some pictures!” He was curious about what was in the glass, which led to a brief chat about chia seed pudding. Back I went to my photography, intent on getting the photo above, when again I sensed someone looking at me. Different woman, different dog, same look of puzzlement. Same conversation.
I can’t complain. Not only am I happy to talk to people about what I do, but I doubt I would have met half as many people in my new neighbourhood were I not spending so much time on my veranda with a dish of food and a camera.
And I can only imagine what kind of conversations are happening around dinner tables in my neighbourhood. “You won’t believe what I saw today, Ernie! That new woman down the street …”