A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

grits soufflé with rosemary & roasted garlic

My soufflés fell. They fell, I’m fairly certain, because I insisted on peeking at them repeatedly through the cracked oven door to make sure they were puffing up nicely. And they were, at one point. But when I pulled them all golden brown and fragrant from the hot oven, they’d fallen flatter than a pancake, concave even. “Shit, now what am I gonna do,” I thought, not out of any real concern for dinner but because I needed pretty pictures for my blog.

prior to baking

I like taking pictures of the food I make. It’s a meditative thing for me, being in the kitchen and behind the camera, but sometimes it gets away from me.  I had a whole story mapped out around this grits soufflé, a story about homesickness—- deep, achey, ever-present, adrift-at-sea homesickness. Grits help with that sort of thing, because food—- the kind of food we care about—- is never really about just food. So I thought I’d make grits, and then I thought, “good lord, who wants to look at a picture of grits?” Within a matter of hours I’d managed to transform my antidote to homesickness into a source of anxiety over blog-worthy photographs. And just as I was beginning to fret about how I’d find the time to remake the soufflés and the light to re-photograph them by my self-imposed weekend deadline, I stumbled upon Brian Ferry’s beautiful post about honesty and the creative process. Before I was even halfway through, I’d decided not to revisit the soufflés.

grits souffle on a fork

I spend an awful lot of time thinking about photography, and the photographs that most interest me are those that capture things as they are—- un-staged, un-styled, of-the-moment sorts of photos. That’s not exactly the honesty that Brian was talking about, but it’s what I was reminded of as I read his post.

gone

It’s true, I could make the soufflés again, but I’d only be doing it because I needed a photo of them, and then the things I do for pleasure—- cooking, photographing, writing—- would become a chore. Instead, I give you the soufflés as they were, along with the recipe, which I’ve successfully made for occasions both special and ordinary and which I can assure you do puff up light and airy, creamy and pleasantly gritty, with a whisper of piney rosemary and the sweet, mellow nip of roasted garlic.

recipe adapted, ever-so-slightly, from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, which I love to pieces

10 responses

  1. Even if they fell, the name alone makes me want to make these. Yum!

    March 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm

  2. a story about homesickness—- deep, achey, ever-present, adrift-at-sea homesickness.

    I’m sorry you’re homesick. I feel kind of like that all the time myself, but what’s the alternative? Staying home? That presents its own set of problems. For me, it’s Swedish Pancakes–a softer, eggier version of crepes, dripping with butter and crunchy with white sugar. The month I moved to Bangladesh, before my shipment got there and it was just me and the two suitcases I had moved with, I ate them for dinner four times in one week.

    (The souffles look yummy BTW, even if they are a little flat).

    March 2, 2012 at 2:46 am

    • Yes, I guess you would feel that way, huh? I certainly don’t advocate staying home; you miss out on all sorts of growth and adventure that way. But GOING home? Now that’s an entirely different story. In the abstract, of course. I’m not suggesting it’s time for you to go home.

      Swedish Pancakes sound wonderful. Chris would love them. In fact, I’ll probably have to make them for him once he sees this. And he’ll refuse to put jam on them.

      March 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

  3. Pearl Street Fine Shoes

    I just started to blog and came across your articles. Fun to read, great sense of humor and fabulous photos. Thanks

    March 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

  4. What a lovely blog!! I am glad i stumbled here.

    March 13, 2012 at 4:57 am

  5. If it makes you feel better, I totally screwed up my blueberry muffins last week. Not burned or killed, but the caramelizing on top kinda overflowed onto my muffin tin. They tasted amazing, but boy did they look like doodoo (I blogged them too..lol!).

    May 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm

  6. Grits are the ultimate comfort food. Love your photography!

    September 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

  7. I just discovered your blog. I really like the title, (which makes me smile), your writing, the photos and of course the recipes. I will keep checking in. Very cool.

    May 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm

  8. Oh gosh. I *have* to find some time to make these. I mean… grits, cheese, garlic?! How can you go wrong with that? Fallen or not, your souffles and photography are beautiful. I’m sincerely looking forward to poring over the rest of your blog.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

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