Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Black and White Wednesday: Cafe Gratitude Vegan Bibimbap

Cafe Gratitude's dish called "I AM WHOLE." A more accurate name would be Vegan bibimbap. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)
I have a love-hate relationship with food photography. Blogs are such a visual medium that readers expect at least one photo in each post. I don't mind taking pictures, really. What annoys me is that the current style (or fad) of food photography renders most food very sterile, cold and antiseptic, deprived of any vibrancy.

So when I found Black and White Wednesday, a culinary photo event, I found that the curator of this event put a name to a malaise I've felt about food photography for some time.

As Susan said:
"Black and white food photos just don't get any respect in my opinion. Everyone is so gung-ho about color, and while I cannot argue against the naturally sensuous and appetizing default qualities of color (after all, food is in color), there is something to be said about the unique tonality of monochrome photography, the sublime textures which can pop when a color-to-B/W conversion is finessed in your processing software. I'll bet you have more than one photo that you growl about because its cast is too yellow, green, or blue regardless of whether you shoot under natural or artificial light. Black and white can dramatically impact your images and train your eye to view highlights, shadows, and midtones in a whole new light, if you'll pardon the photog pun."
The dish in the photo was taken on Oct. 11 at Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg, Calif. The dish is called "I am whole." The menu describes the dish this way:

I AM WHOLE. Sea vegetables and kale, steamed quinoa or local
brown rice, house-made kim chee, carrots and sprouts with tahini-garlic sauce and teriyaki almonds    12.50
I describe it as a California Vegan Bibimbap. It has many of the veggies that one would find in a bowl of bibimbap at your local Korean restaurant: steamed rice, seaweed, carrots and sprouts. The tahini-garlic sauce and teriakyi almonds are obviously inspired by California sensibilities. Once everything was all mixed up and spooned into my mouth, it was really good.

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