Monthly Archives: April 2009

Rhinestones are a girl's best friend

I recently had a publicity photo taken. I am very pleased with the result:

It’s so very authorly, and the flash didn’t go off when Christine (from Jersey Girl Photography, and she was very nice and reasonably priced, so if you are in Seattle and looking for a photographer, check her site out!) took it so it’s very high-contrast. It looks kind of like it’s on the faded cover of a ’70s paperback, and I LOVE it even though I feel a little silly and like I’m about to introduce Masterpiece Theater or something. (That leather chair I’m sitting in, which lives in our living room, is actually really ratty, and when I sit in it, it tries to slide me off onto the floor.)

I love author photos. I love seeing how people choose to represent themselves publicly, and how an author’s appearance meshes with their work. I think my favorite author photo ever is this one of Barbara Cartland:

Look how fabulous she is! Yeah, it’s flashy, and overwhelmingly pink, but I sincerely love it, and I hope that someday I’m confident enough to have a photo that over-the-top taken of myself. Maybe in red brocade. Are any of those diamonds, do you think? I know she could have afforded it, but at the same time I am programmed to think “rhinestones” when I see something like that.

That photo appears on the back of a book by her I purchased at the Library Book Sale a couple of years ago, called The Romance of Food. It’s one of the best book sale purchases I have ever made. The inside front cover describes it as “a collection of recipes which will revive even the most jaded lover and put a song in the heart of the most enraptured[…]Also, to show just how irresistible to the eye as well as to the palate are dishes such a Flower of the Heart, Summer Splendor and Fleur de Lis d’Amour, they and many others have been photographed at her own home, one of the most romantic settings in England.”

On page 12, we learn:

“Some of the youngest-looking men on the screen and stage declare they owe their youthful appearance to a large consumption of liver and kidneys. Pope Pius V, famous for his aphrodisiacal dishes, originated a pie in which layers of sliced bull’s testicles alternated with ground lamb kidneys.”

Here are some of the best photos:

The caption for that one reads: “An exotic creature from the deep, the color of two red lips, which can invite, provoke, and surrender.”

And this one is just for Susanna Fraser, my critique partner and favorite Wellington fangirl:

“Beef Wellington: England’s greatest General who defeated Napoleon and a plate worthy of his name in the Battle of Love.”

Some other great captions:

“Noisette of Lamb with Baby Vegetables: What woman does not long to be carried like a lamb in the arms of the man she loves.”

“Gypsy Magic and Imperial Splendor: The gypsies wandering romantically through the Countryside make watercress soup but the Russians with fire and passion prefer Borsch.”

“Duck with Orange and Grand Marnier Sauce: A plate of Chinese magic in whose life the duck has always had a very special place.”

“Normandy Pheasant: The leaves of Autumn fall from the trees but the beautiful exotic pheasant, who comes from China, delights the sportsman and surprisingly the sportswoman.”

“Mocha Chocolate Cake, Black Currant Gateau and Meringues: An English tea; how many men have been beguiled and captivated by a soft voice offering them a meringue?”