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Behind-the-Scenes: Cookbook Photo Shoot

Move that salsa. Stack those tortillas. Which bowl? What spoon? Green or blue plate?

It’s all about the details, people.

Last week, my kitchen (along with my living room and the teensy garden out back) was transformed into a staging area for photos (and props,camera equipment, scattered cups of coffee, assorted cookies, and the occasional bottle of vin rouge). It meant getting up at 6 a.m., and cooking often until 9 or 10 p.m., but it flew by so fast, and was actually so much fun that if my book designer and photographer hadn’t hopped back on the big plane for Philly, I’d still be in the kitchen cooking away and who knows what trouble we’d be in by now.

I loved every bit of the time that I spent with these two; we worked together like we’d done this a thousand times before. Amanda Richmond, who’s designing the book, seemed to instinctively know I was trying to achieve, design-wise, and she took us there every day. You know how you have a friend (or two if you’re lucky) who, in some ways, knows you even better than yourself? Amanda and I were like that –  in perfect sync from the start.

Plus, no one scatters crumbs like Amanda. She is bread-ripping, tortilla-tearing pro. I love her for that especially.

Steve (aka “Stevie”) Legato captured it all on his big ‘ol Canon, clickclickclicking until we were all in agreement that we had the shot that we needed. Fueled by double espressos and handfuls of peanut M&Ms, and a mix of everything from Bhangra and Blues to Johnny Cash, the Stones, and loads of Motown, we’d know that Stevie had gotten the shot when he’d play the air guitar (he’s in a Rush cover band back in Philly).

Gosh, my apartment is so much more quiet now. Seems strange.

On the last day, we wandered around Montmartre, where we shot what we hope to be the book’s cover, and the Marais, where Amanda and I shopped a tiny bit, and drank more coffee until it was time to swap out the java for some bubbles. We toasted. We giggled and we toasted some more. When we said goodbye, we all felt like it wasn’t goodbye goodbye, merely, `a bientôt…because after all, I’ve already started outlining book #2.

P.S. Check out Amanda Richmond’s take on the photo shoot on her great new blog, Butterologie.