Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are You More Excited About This? Or This?

I was having some fun fooling around with new food photography props that my friend and I had purchased yesterday and I posted the results of my shoot on Facebook:
And this photo got quite an interestingly positive response.

Contrast that with this photo:
which got a relatively dull response on facebook.

And it got me thinking, why do we get all excited about dessert pictures when we really should be getting jazzed up about photographs of nutritious food? I mean, if the world really does operate on survival of the fittest, than one would think we would have evolved to prefer looking at photos of food that would ensure our survival, not compromise it?

I'm no psychologist, although I play one on TV (does anyone remember that "doctor" commercial from the 70s?). I'm just a regular blogger who desperately wants to get her readers excited about what she posts, so in the interests of my lower self, here's how I made the gorgeous black and white parfaits.
Printable Recipe

HGK's Holier Than Thou Brownies
Perfectly delicious, whether or not you make the parfaits!

2 cups spelt flour
1 cup organic cocoa powder
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
½ cup pure pumpkin
½ cup applesauce
½ cup strong brewed coffee
½ cup almond milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy, nut & soy free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and pinch of salt into a bowl. Stir to combine.

Whisk maple syrup, pumpkin, applesauce, coffee, almond milk and vanilla into another bowl. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and add chocolate chips. Pour into a  9” X 13” pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray.

Bake for 30 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Chef Aj's Pear Creme Anglaise
1 28 ounce jar of canned pears in their own juice, drained
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp vanilla

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend well, scraping down sides as necessary.

Shoot 'Em Up Parfaits
inspired by a trip to Seasons 52 Restaurant

Prepare brownies and let cool. Prepare Pear Creme Anglaise.

Into tall shot glasses, layer crumbled pieces of brownie alternating with Pear Creme Anglaise.

Garnish with berries and mint leaves. Refrigerate until serving time.
I think he likes it.

Do you prefer to read postings and see pictures of vegan desserts more than pictures and postings of savory food? Why? Does viewing dessert wear down your resistance muscle and build up your giving in muscle? What are your thoughts and feelings on this phenomenon?


Donna said...

For me, as I am just starting out as a vegan, I much prefer the most 'savory' that is main dish postings. I need to incorporate those kinds of dishes into my menu rather than the desserts, which for me now is just fruit. Although I do love to read everything you blog!!

Healthy Girl said...

Donna, I'm not suggesting that I am going to be posting a bunch of dessert recipes. Heavens NO! I am merely pointing out the phenomenon of the excitement over "food pornography" vs. the underwhelming response to nutritious food. I'm glad you want the nutritious food postings!

chickpeafreak said...

I love all of it—the beautiful food styling, and knowing its healthy food [even if it's a celebration food], makes it all the better! I love both the savory and sweet photography, I think I particularly liked the lighting and depth of field on the dessert shot, it's just beautiful with the contrasting brown/white and then the splash of green and red. Just beautiful! Now, the cauliflower/dal soup...I just want to dip my spoon right in there!! Definitely very appetizing! =)

Donna said...

Sorry - I misunderstood the question! I do love all the pictures, thank you.

Eric Sheffield said...

Mmmmm, tough choice with what you posted Wendy, but I am getting to the point that desserts are an afterthought. One of these days I'm going to conquer my raging sweet tooth!

I remember, vaguely, the "I play one on TV" reference! (Has it been that long?)

Jude said...

I much prefer the savory dishes! I am truly drawn to them and can almost smell the nutricious flavors just looking at them. They will get a click through from me for sure.

Dessert pics are pretty, but since I am trying to fuel my body on plants and lose unhealthy weight, I may glance at them, but then move on.

Dawn said...

Hey Wendy--I didn't react --here on the blog--to the photo of the lentils. Should have and am now. But I did react--how? I went and bought fennel seeds to make them this weekend! I think tomorrow they will be on the menu. I think I like all the pix--whatever the food is it helps me visualize the end product of a recipe. Your posts have helped me stay enthusiastic about creating yummy plant-strong alternatives. I am taking all my leftovers from dinner last night and an experimental spinach dip over to in-laws' for football watching today. Enjoy your weekend--Dawn

Laura Bloom said...

What an interesting post! I tend to think that preference is a left over conditioned response from our childhood. In most cases, we had to wait to eat the dessert until we had finished our dinners somehow that made the dessert seem like the true prize and made us really fixate on it. As an adult I *know* that the nutrients and nourishment are the star and should be the most valued or important. Gorgeous photography, with vibrancy and contrast, are desserts for the eye! I think it's that touch of the "oh really I shouldn't" to the sweet dessert that causes our interest. : ) Great post! Thanks!

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

Savory food ... 100%.. I am not into desserts much.. but I LOVELOVELOVE healthy savory food..the Red Lentil Stew makes my mouth water, while a dessert shot makes me feel a little queasy..

Jen said...

I think the 1st parfait picture is incredibly beautiful because of the crisp focus on the mint & strawberry, crystal effect of the glass and the reflections off the white just looks more exciting due to the lighting and color contrasts.It looks like a professional photographer took it for a magazine. Really well done!

Audrey said...

I usually have a raging sweet tooth, but for some reason right now that soup looks way better to me. In fact, I'm going to click on that recipe as soon as I post this! I do agree that the dessert parfaits are a more visually enticing photo, but for me this has more to do with the lighting, composition, and colors of the shot rather than the actual subject matter. The soup looks amazing but from a food photography perspective it doesn't have the depth and range of colors and textures.

I'm really intrigued by that pear anglaise. Sounds amazing! Speaking of brownies, have you tried Mama Pea's Double-Chocolate/Single Chin Brownies? I've made them twice and they are delicious (and no added oil). I also subbed nearly all the sugar for stevia and my family didn't taste any difference. I also used fewer chocolate chips and then sprinkled some on top along with some walnuts. Your brownies also look amazing, though. I love the inclusion of coffee and pumpkin. YUM!

Anonymous said...

All recipes and suggestions greatly appreciated!! Need "healthy" desert recipes to have occasionally for a special treat and the parfaits look and sound wonderful! Thanks!!

v said...

Definitely like the real, savory food pics and recipes. Desserts are a sometimes thing while we could all use help with the everyday foods that make up the majority of our nutrition each day.

Ruchi Koval said...

Real food!

Rosemary Evergreen said...

I prefer to see savory foods. As for desserts, I'm only interested in ones that don't use any kind of flour or concentrated sugar.

infinebalance said...

I find the same thing on my blog. I posted a recipe of my kids birthday cake and it has by far gotten more hits, and consistently continues to get more hits, than any other post ever. Now,I am not a photographer - so my cake looks as about appealing as my soups - at least in my opinion ;)

Purpleslie said...

I have yet to break through the chains of sugar addiction, so at first I thought, "oh yes dessert pictures are much more drool triggering because I'm an aside!"

However after reading the comments I've had an "ah-ha!" moment. The photo of shot-sized parfaits is visually appealing. More color, pattern, & texture. I applied that to the food pics I drool over on Pinterest, & the same rules apply. I do get excited about healthy pics, too. A blazing colorful avocado salad. A layered summer salad. A fruit salad in interesting shapes, colors, containers.

I guess I'm still influenced by food like my toddler. A sandwich is just food, but make a train out of veggies and it's a delight!

aharvey123 said...

I prefer seeing savory pictures because I have a ridiculous sweet tooth...and I'm diabetic. So even though it's vegan I'm going to overeat it and the carbs are usually higher with little to no savory=more veggies and better for me. Just work for me.

TejasJJain said...

Hi Wendy,
I missed your last here is response to what you asked...
I am not sugar person but I do love dessert pictures. I mean look at the ones you posted, one has color combo of brown, white and gree. It looks so pretty. I am not tempte dto make one or eat one it looks so nice. On teh otehr hand, the soup prep has mostly only one color. (three but yellow outshines otehr shades). I actually dislike sweet stuff (otehr than few elaly hard to get/make indian sweets) but I love looking at them.
I do make more savory stuff though.

I think it is just mebut I only enjoy to look at pictures, I will never attempt those.

Regarding giveaway, I am already subscriber on RSS. I am not on facebook so I geuss I do not qualify to win.
My most pressing question about plant is that each plant has so many variety (liek Kale or potato) so it is hard to know which kale has most alcium or whih potato has least starch. I know there are books on thsi somewhere but given time and resouces I have, I wonder if I am eating right kale.

Anonymous said...

The brownies have white spelt flour, maple syrup and chocolate chips. Is that acceptable on an Eat to Live diet?

Eddel29 said...

Love the food! You’re amazing. This menu is fantastic:) It sure will help everyone who’s looking for a perfect menu like this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Healthy Girl said...

Anon-thank you for noticing that mistake! I didn't even use "white" spelt flour. I fixed it in the posting and also in the printable recipe. As for the nutritarian-or-not of this recipe, that was exactly my point! There is an internet craze of people getting wildly excited about "vegan" desserts . . . they aren't exactly healthy, although this brownie recipe is better than most.

JR Blog said...

See or smell brownie =resistance muscle starts getting worn down. This is both conditioned by experience as a kid and of popularu.s. culture.
For me, your blog gives space to excitement and fun with savory annd veggies. Giving visual feast for BOTH perspectives feels like a treat iin itself! No small photography talent either.

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