Show Your Work

Years ago I remember a special photo shoot a magazine did with Jamie Lee Curtis.  The story was, if I remember right, that she wouldn’t do the photo shoot unless they also showed what she looked like before make up, hair, styling, etc.  The magazine agreed and she has a full spread of her in black underwear and a black sports bra and a huge smile, beside it a shot with her looking like a million bucks with a model’s scowl and a team of people primping her.  A celebrity wanting to be vulnerable and unpolished like that made the news.  Found it again here.

Recently I was looking through another magazine, something that shows perfect homes with owners who perfectly coordinate with their décor and sit on arm rests instead of lazing like a normal person on the couch itself.  This one went through the usual gorgeous home of a decorator, but it had two shots of the same room, the office/dining room.  First it was immaculate, then it was a total mess with everything spilling out.  The caption read a quote from the decorator/owner like, “This is what my office usually looks like.”

There’s just something about full disclosure.

I like to cook.  I also really like presentation.  A friend invited me onto a facebook group that posts pictures of what you cook to give inspiration to other friends in their cooking endeavors.  This page is catnip to me.  But the finished product isn’t the whole story is it.

One of my favorite fables of all time is the Little Red Hen, you know, the one where the hen asks her friends, “Who will help me…”  (Pick the grain, grind the grain, bake the bread) and the friends all reply, “Not I” until they it’s time to eat the bread.  “Who will help me eat the bread,” the little red hen asks.  “ I will,” says the cat, etc.  Then the hen replies, “No.  I will eat the bread.”  It teaches the civil standard, “He who does not work shall not eat.”  I like it now because the process it reveals.

The process isn’t pretty.  It takes up space and it takes a lot of clean up afterward.  I like clean counter tops.  The truth is that I NEED clean counter tops because of the amount of room my cooking preparation takes.

(All of these shots are from making birthday lunch for my husband.)

I made raspberry sherbet.


The clean up filled the top rack of the dishwasher.  (It’s not the recipe’s fault entirely.  I chose too fine a sieve to start.)


All of this work for less than two quarts of sherbet.


Was it worth it… oh yeah!  For me.


Also on the menu, orange chicken.  America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe.


Prep prep…

Working on it…

That’s like 9 large dishes to wash in order to make this.  Now I have that coveted dishwasher, this is what that workhorse looks like (the appliance not my husband!):


Yep… and that served 2 today.

Money shot…


Tangy and spicy with great texture.  I’ll make it again and again of course, but I also have the time.  Right now I’m stay at home.  People who work full days away from home probably won’t get to do something like this very often.  Someday I’ll work again away from home and I’ll do less from scratch.  Shortcuts taste good too.

It’s too easy to see something someone else does in a way you wish you could but for some reason it’s not working out that way.  Often we’re just seeing the finished product.  We want to eat the bread but forget that there was picking, grinding and baking that made that bread happen.  It’s time to crop less or at least remember that touch-ups happen.  This is my attempt at disclosure.

How about you?  To what or whose highlight reel are you comparing your daily footage… or your outtakes?  What story of vulnerability has made an impact on you?


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