Red Velvet Cake, Pantaloons, and Valentine's Day

Earlier this month
I got the bright idea to get some fabric to lay down on my kitchen counters
while photographing food.

It sounded good in theory.

Our granite counters are pretty busy
and one can only photograph a mise en place on a cutting board so many times.

The advantage of a cutting board is that you can easily wipe it off if you get stuff on it
and it doesn’t wrinkle.

I know that now.

Those things didn’t occur to me on a drizzly Sunday morning
while I stood in a sewing shop
running my fingertips over fabric.

I was thinking that I should call my grandmother
a woman who created countless smocked baptismal gowns for her many grandchildren
and almost every single dress I wore for Picture Day in elementary school.

I loved those dresses.
I loved all of them except for one.

It wasn’t so much the dress that I disliked
but the pantaloons she made to go with it.

My mother was over the moon about them
however she did not have to wear the pantaloons to school for Picture Day in 1991.

I wasn’t a stupid kid.
I tried to reason with my mom that
you wouldn’t even see the pantaloons in the photo
so why did I have to wear them?

“Because your grandmother made them to go with the dress. You will wear them.”

And I did.

At least I didn’t suffer alone.
She made a matching dress
and pantaloons
for my older sister.

You can bet I took comfort in the fact my sister looked like Little Bo Peep, too.

In the more recent past
I left the store with a few neatly folded stacks of fabric
and a desire to learn how to sew
(not pantaloons, I’ve had all I need of those).

I pushed thoughts of sewing out of my head
and tried to stay focused on the task at hand–
the task of making a red velvet cake.

Back to the whole great ideas in theory
white cloth
while making a lovely, calm background
also gives photos a bit of a ‘sterile’ feeling.

Like I lined things up on a hospital bed

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