Week 4

Ceramic/Porcelain

“The Combination”

2014.01.29 SOOC 52 Edit 3

This week’s 52 Week SOOC Challenge has the theme of “ceramic/porcelain.” Since I’m posting kind of late in the week, some of the other guys already have their images up. As usual, please go check out their blogs and give them some comments. They have some really amazing photos. [Look for information about their blogs at the bottom of this post.]

I am somewhat of a purist. With food…with traditions…with so many things, I just don’t like combining different things together. Many times, I don’t want any flavor or anything in my coffee but a bit of sugar. I just want it black. Some tradition I started years ago, most notably around Christmastime, I don’t want to add new twists or nuances to. I don’t like different foods on my plate to touch. It very well might be a problem, but it is just how I am.

I have departed from this thought in recent years though. We keep to some very traditional things around our house, and our coffee brewing is one of those. For years, we used a drip coffee maker and it was just ok. One year, I asked for a French press for Christmas, and got it! I have always loved how coffee tastes when made in that thing, but we used to only pull it out for special occasions. About two years ago, we started using it full-time. We boil some water in a tea kettle, pour it over the coffee grounds, press them up and down in the water a few times and serve. It is truly a delicious way to brew coffee.

You get so much of the rich taste from the coffee when it is brewed this way. You can even see the natural oils on top of your cup sometimes, just after pouring. Also, since the water is never in plastic, it never has that funny taste that plastic is prone to bestow upon things. The French press that we have is glass, so no need to worry about such things. That is a big deal to me. I have what some might call a schooz (prominent nose) and let me reassure you, it is not merely for looks. This thing works. I am very particular about smells and tastes. I am not one of these that will eat something if it is just a little bit off. It is a good thing that I am open to trying new things, however picky I may be.

We both have iPads. It didn’t really start out that way, but we enjoy doing many things with those tablets. Please don’t get off on a rant in your mind about this, because we were able to pick up the one my wife has at a great price, so we didn’t hesitate a couple of years ago. At first, the adoption of them is slow and difficult. I don’t mean that it takes that long to learn how to use one of these devices, but rather it takes a long time to really think of doing things digitally, after having done them manually for so long. You still have that tendency to reach for paper or an actual book. However, after owning them for a few years, we have started using them for things we never thought we would.

We have started using them as digital recipe books. Not for every recipe, mind you, but I have been noticing more and more that an iPad will be at the ready during dinner preparation. I will come home from work to a scene of Rebecca in the kitchen, 2 burners cooking, consulting the iPad on the side. It is kind of neat. It makes me smile. I am not one of these that thinks everything needs to be digital, like water faucets and toasters. However, it is neat to use technology where it can truly help us achieve a more efficient life.

There are a few things I have found I do like to combine. I like to combine traditional, soft building elements with harsh, metal elements. I like to see lots of woodwork alongside some industrial items. As I described it to my wife, I like some things to be around that “appear as if they belong on a submarine.” For instance, we are looking to have white cabinetry in our house that’s being built. We want to have some granite countertops, and even considered some wood flooring. However, we want our lighting elements to be kind of rough metal. We also want our stools for the island bar to be metal, giving the appearance they are old, or they very well could be old. We don’t mind either way.

The cup I like to sip coffee from if I have time is this small one pictured. It is a throw back to the Brits and a time forgotten. This particular one is ceramic. It is a type of pottery, in fact. It is our casual dinner wear. For those of you reading this that are not in the US and not in the South, this might be foreign to you. It is very common right now to have ceramic pottery for your “everyday dishes.” There are some very creative artists out there, making homes lively, one stonewear piece at a time. Speaking of British, this cup is a very old, British brand, Denby. Their history of quality pottery is actually quite fascinating. Take a look at the video they have about their product. You won’t regret it.

My wife, Rebecca, used to work at a bridal registry store when she was in college. She loved it. She loves all of the fancy bits. She loves all of the history. She really researched some of the brands of casual wear before deciding on Denby. Then, she started buying some pieces. This stuff is not cheap, mind you, but she was in love with it. She bought and she bought, until she had a 12-piece set of the stuff! And all of that was before she was even thinking about getting married. Talking about a lady that knew what she wanted! I have to admit, I was not crazy about the design of the stuff when we got married, but it has grown on me. Plus, I really like the history of the company. It has lasted through our 7.5 years of marriage, and I hope it lasts another 20 years. This pottery is kind of a highlight of our marriage, that I cherish. It holds a lot of significance.

Yes, I am aware that this kitchen is butt ugly. We don’t like it either. Everything in it is just junk. You have to work with what you have though. I originally wanted to show some steam coming out of the hot coffee, but was not able to, due to lack of contrast in the background. The oven in the background is white, hiding any steam that might be coming off of the cup. It was hot, trust me, but you just cannot see it. Oh well, I will try again another time.

This shoot was kind of a lesson for me. It screamed, “Don’t forget to try new things alongside your old traditions!” I am constantly telling myself that old traditions can be amended to accompany new things. That doesn’t mean that the tradition is abolished. Maybe it is just how the old tradition gets better?

What are some traditions that you are reticent to change? Do you like combining things?

All of the participants are as follows: [in no particular order]

Until next time…

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8 thoughts on “Week 4

  1. Chris Lane says:

    Man, you just go on and on and on on tangent after tangent don’t you! 😛 It all tied together though, so that’s ok. I like the small blue cup but not so much the one with squares. I use a french press just about daily at work. They have free coffee there but it’s disgusting so I or a friend will bring our own and brew. Definitely makes a big difference. I find the best way to make it in a press is not to press down a couple times, because that makes the grounds settle to the bottom too early. Instead, I will put my grounds in, pour in the water, and while pouring mix with a spoon or stir stick. That gets them floating around in the water better. Then wait 4 or so minutes and do a slow press to the bottom. That’s how I remember coffee snobs doing it when I was learning how to use it. Not sure if it makes that much of a difference though. The grounds and the heat of the water are really what makes a difference. If you are boiling, you’re water is too hot. Let it cool just slightly before pouring. Around 170 degrees I believe is supposed to be ideal. And I hope you are grinding fresh just before you brew! 😉
    Anyway, lovely photo. And I also use my kindle as a recipe book all the time too. Handy tools. I suppose Pete is going to say you stole the idea from him now.

    • Ha! I’m sure Pete is going to say I stole it. ha ha. Nah, he just likes messing with you like that.

      I like to tell a story with things. This one just took a bit to do that. Sorry if it was long.

      I’ll probably update it in a couple of days with some more details about how it was done.

  2. You where not kidding about having a very long post.. That was a long post 😉 One of the things that I wanted the 52 week challenge to do was to get us to re-active our blogs and get new material up on them, the amount we posted wasn’t important, just the fact we got a post with a picture and a few words and I figured the rest would come. I think all of us managed to kick our writers blocks and even photography blocks and getting the creative juices flowing. Numerous of us posted additional blog entries above and beyond the weekly challenge and ALL of us have ended up writing quite long blog entries for each picture posted.. That is just awesome I think. As a added bonus we also been commenting on each others posts on the blogs, the amount of comments on my blog was dismal at best in the past, I had 40 some posts and total less than 10 comments (which included my replies to commentors) now I have 49 published posts and over 50 comments. With more posts and more comments traffic to the blog will increase as well. This all helps SEO and traffic, another added bonus is since we all link to each others sites on each blog post it further helps SEO.

    I like the picture, but think I wish the handle of the french press wouldn’t been cut off. Yes to catch smoke or steam you need a lot of high contrast, either darker background or use creative lighting to make the steam/smoke go “pop”.

    I’m a BIG coffee snob and French press for sure produces some awesome coffee. I like mine black, no sugar or anything else but a strong brew. I can’t drink coffee at most restaurants because they brew to weak and use crappy beans but the biggest sin they do is using to coarsely ground coffee and way to little grounds when they brew. But than in a way shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m a coffee addict and snob, I’m from Sweden which is the second biggest consumer of coffee in the world (based on per capita) and not far behind the biggest consumer of coffee, Finland.

    • I am a coffee snob as well. Right now, I’ve having to not be so much of one, because we packed up our coffee grinder. ha ha

      I think you’re right about the blogs…this activity has to be helping.

      I didn’t know that those countries were the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. Interesting.

      • Bummer on the grinder.. Nothing like fresh ground coffee…

        Had to look up latest stat and Sweden actually dropped down to #6 but US is “only” 25th with 4.2kg coffee per capita which is almost half of the consumption the Swedes does. Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Holland and Sweden are the top 5 with Finland a head by clear margin of 12kg. Canada makes it to #9 but those tea drinking Brits are way down the list at #44.

        Useless fact lesson over 😉

  3. Only just got round to seeing this mate, for some reason I missed your link, not sure why, maybe because you forgot to tag it or something. Anyhow “YOU STOLE MY IDEA” 😉 Interesting image mate and an interesting writ up, I luckily had a coffee to keep me going through it 😉 In my house, the coffee press is called a Caffettiera but that’s because I’m rather posh! The ceramics are very interesting and obviously well made (Of course they are, they’re from GB baby !) Only thing I can moan about in the image is the green LED clock on your hob (stove) I find it slightly distracting. And for the record Eje. I don’t drink tea !

    • Yeah, I hate that LED in the background. The wall to the left was even uglier though, because I tried that first to block out the clock. Oh well. I understand you needed coffee to get through it. It was a long post.

      Interesting that you call it as “Caffettiera.” What is the meaning of that? I’ve never heard of it before.

  4. […] week, shooting ceramic/porcelain has me shooting inside the kitchen. This week, we were taken outside by our SOOC Challenge. Well, most of us were. Some of the other […]

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