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Subject Out of Focus (Banana-Banana Bread)

Posted By Susan On November 11, 2007 @ 1:50 pm In Baking,Blogging,Breads and Pizza,Breakfast and Brunch,Cakes and Cupcakes,Desserts,Photography,Rants,Recipes | 11 Comments

If you’re reading this post right now, then you probably either arrived here by accident, or are one of the small number of my slow-growing readership. However you got here, welcome to my little slice of the blogoshere. I’m happy that you’ve found me.
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Since you are here, you must have noticed that my last post was almost a week ago. Everyone has periods of time when life takes over and there isn’t enough time to cook, bake or blog. Vacations, illness, family and work obligations and even apathy can all contribute to this. I, however, have not been on vacation, sick or plagued by any of these other issues. Actually, I have been cooking up a storm lately, taking advantage of the cool, dry weather we’ve had. Why then, you ask, haven’t I been posting about my recent kitchen exploits? BECAUSE OF THE DAMNED PHOTOGRAPHS, THAT’S WHY!
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Now, I have never professed to be a great photographer, or even a good one, but I have always managed to adequately capture my life’s most significant moments on film (or whatever they call it with digital cameras). The photos that I’ve posted on this blog haven’t been award-worthy, but some have been pretty decent, considering I have a little point and shoot camera [1]and no experience. There were some that I thought were really nice, especially after a little help from Photoshop [2]. Although I have lusted after the lush and vibrant pictures displayed by many of my fellow food bloggers, I didn’t feel like a failure. Until I began began submitting some of my images to TasteSpotting [3], that is. That was when I realized how sorely lacking my photography skills really were.
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I started small, only submitting a few shots of my SHF [4] and WTSIM… [5]entries. Then, I waited…..and waited…..and waited. With great anticipation, I clicked on the site hourly, longing to feel that rush of seeing MY work displayed with all the other luscious offerings – to be a part of the “In” crowd – to belong. But, nothing…..and nothing…..and more nothing. I certainly knew what THAT meant. You don’t have to hit me over the head with a Canon-EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens [6]! I didn’t get it, though. Yes, there were hundreds, even thousands, of beautiful and creative photos on TasteSpotting, but not ALL of them were that great. Frankly, I noticed more than a few that looked muddy and mushy and a little “unappetizing”. I thought mine were better than that.
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One evening while I was looking at my pageload activity on StatCounter, [7] I came across an entry that went like this: wwwDOTtastespottingDOTcom/trash. TRASH? WTF? I was crushed! I felt like the kid in gym class who was the last one left after choosing teams for volleyball. Not that that’s ever happened to ME!) Not only was I rejected, but I was relegated to trash. I know it wasn’t personal, but it felt personal.
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Smarting from my wounds, I spun into overdrive. I twiddled and tweaked every halfway decent picture I had. I had something to prove! One by one, I submitted them to TasteSpotting, eagerly awaiting the outcome. But, nothing…..and nothing…..and still, more nothing. I was ticked off then. What the hell did I have to do to get a &*#%@ picture posted! Now, I am absolutely not bashing TasteSpotting. I love the site. It is a great resource and a lot of fun to browse around in. I’m just being candid about my experience.
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I reluctantly grasped the fact that it wasn’t enough just to be a good cook or even a good writer. You eat with your eyes first. That was when I began to feel self conscious about my pictures. So, while I have been baking and cooking all week, you haven’t seen it. Instead of posting, I have been studying, analyzing and practicing; trying to learn, grow and make my blog better.
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I have found numerous very helpful sites and other blogs with really helpful tips and information on food photography. My sincere thanks goes out to Kalyn [8], Kitchen Wench [9]and Smitten Kitchen [10], to name just a few, for their recent posts on the subject. I have greedily devoured all of them and have found them very helpful. In fact, I spent two hours yesterday afternoon taking pictures of this pear. I never did get the lighting perfect, and the shots weren’t as sharp as I’d like, but there was a definite improvement by the end.
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Why am I telling you all of this? Well, sometimes it feels good just to rant a bit. But more importantly, I discovered something about myself. I lost sight of why I started this blog in the first place – because I love to cook and I love to write – and I wanted to share that. I wanted my voice, no matter how small, to be heard. But, you know what? It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be honest and sincere. I missed that. I couldn’t see the salad for the radishes! My subject was out of focus.
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Now, since you’ve gotten this far in this self-indulgent rant of mine, the least I can do is offer you something sweet for your trouble. Here is the recipe for my very favorite banana bread. It is THE BEST I have ever had. It is so dense, moist and full of fresh banana flavor that it really should be described as a cake. But then, how could you justify eating it for breakfast!


Banana Banana Bread

Adapted from Shelley Albeluhn and Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS:
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2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

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DIRECTIONS:

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

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In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.

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Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
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Enjoy!

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URL to article: http://stickygooeycreamychewy.com/2007/11/11/subject-out-of-focus/

URLs in this post:

[1] point and shoot camera : http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=145&modelid=14919

[2] Photoshop: http://www.adobe.com/products/psprelements/

[3] TasteSpotting: http://www.tastespotting.com/

[4] SHF: http://www.domesticgoddess.ca/pages.php?page=10002

[5] WTSIM… : http://cooksister.typepad.com/cook_sister/2006/12/waiter_theres_s.html

[6] Canon-EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=150&modelid=9996

[7] StatCounter,: http://www.statcounter.com/

[8] Kalyn: http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2006/09/photo-studio-in-box-if-youre-taking.html

[9] Kitchen Wench : http://www.insanitytheory.net/kitchenwench/2007/09/08/white-white-baby/

[10] Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/our-approach-to-food-photos/

[11] : http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_AOecqF0gbWo/RzetmHd-iCI/AAAAAAAAAQw/7AkkDiHx024/s1600-h/StudyinPears1.jpg

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