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What do you do when you’ve got a whole lot of meat to photograph? Well, here at D’Artagnan we turn to Ted Axelrod, a local photographer with an appreciation for good food and a meaty sense of humor.
Ted’s studio is in his home, which is crammed with all kinds of cool props, from cutting boards to glassware, vintage dishes to copper pots. He’s got perfect natural light in his sunroom and a spare refrigerator, which came in handy for us.
With piles of products ranging from raw Wagyu beef short ribs and rack of lamb to truffle butter and charcuterie, we set to work on the two-day shoot. Turns out it’s not so easy to make raw meat look appetizing! Our hats are off to all the food stylists and photographers out there whose work makes us drool.
Ted’s dogs, Gracie and Ella, were so well behaved; they didn’t snag a single duck breast off the table. And considering they had to endure the smell of raw meat all day, that’s a small miracle! We will admit to tossing them a few trimmings from the steaks and chops…and the innards from the chicken and pheasant.
On day two we set up a huge panoramic spread that represented nearly every type of product we sell. With a camera suspended on an arm directly overhead, we tweaked and previewed and reorganized until everything looked perfect. Then we unwrapped it all! As soon as meat is exposed to the air, it begins to oxidize, which makes it dull in color. You’ve got to move fast.
Naturally, we left the fridge full of food! Ted and his wife Susan, who is a food writer and editor, have been cooking up a storm with it all, and posting some of the results on their blog Spoon and Shutter.
We love their braised pheasant post, with step-by-step instructions, and the great photos (we’d expect nothing less!). Check out their progress as they try to eat their way through our catalog!
Look for Ted’s photos to be posted on our website soon.
Charcutepalooza, The Year of Meat. Who could imagine that a single cookbook would inspire a nation to preserve meat competitively for a year? If it’s Michael Ruhlman’s classic book “Charcuterie” and Cathy and Kim, then Charcutepalooza is the result. A year ago, they threw down a challenge to a few dozen fellow food bloggers. Make one charcuterie item per month for a year, and blog about the experience. They figured a few online friends would poke around in the kitchen and learn together. But their numbers grew to over 300 participants around the world. It seemed like everyone wanted to be in on the fun!
We were happy to support the meaty needs of the Charcutepalooza-ers with discounted pricing all year, and to serve on the judges’ panel. The author of the best blog post—it’s hard to taste charcuterie over the web!—would win a week in France, and the admiration of fellow charcutiers. Not to mention the happy side effect of eating lots of charcuterie all year. The stakes were high, the world of meat was watching.
And since we were not anxiously waiting for duck prosciutto to age on a deadline, it seemed like the Year of Meat flew past. Before we knew it, we were reading the final blog posts. They spoke of victory in the kitchen, education at the farmers market and the highs and lows that you encounter when cooking. While all the blog posts were impressive, educational and even moving (yes, curing meat can be emotional!), the ultimate triumph went to A Cook Blog by Peter Barrett.
We congratulate Peter on his creative, charming, knowledgeable and stunning post Gratitude is the Attitude which clinched the win. It left us breathless and hungry! His blog has always impressed us with its clever turns of phrase and ambitious recipes, and we look forward to reading more from his corner of the world. And we expect a full report from France on his blog later this year.