Lights, Camera, Action!

A few days ago, a glimpse of Hollywood came to my kitchen! Well, Dear Readers, it seemed like Hollywood. It was actually a Des Moines photographer with a full array of cameras and lights who was here to shoot photos of my grandchildren, Little Missy (age 5) and Little Sir (age 3), and me for the June/July issue of Our Iowa magazine as together the three of us shared the joy of baking!

Talk about fun! The photographer, a wizened professional, certainly knew how to capture the personalities of children and adults alike. Why these little ones were “performing” for him at the drop of a hat. But let me unfold the entire plot of this event both prior to and during the actual shoot.

With a set of emailed instructions in hand, First-Born Dear Daughter, mommy of my two favorite little ones, and I coordinated clothing color with display plate color with baked product color. The recipe I had chosen for the photo shoot was one I have previously written of before, Dear Readers. Peanut Butter-Strawberry Bars, a perfect child tested bar cookie, would serve as a beautiful summertime example in its completion with its cheery ruby-red strawberries and strawberry glaze perching atop a baked peanut butter bar cookie.

Realize now that in these frigidly snowy winter temperatures, we needed to don summertime clothes since the article would be published for viewing in the heat of the upcoming season. Various blue color values became the chosen wardrobe colors. Wouldn’t you say, Dear Readers, those would be perfect colors to enhance the beauty of the red-berried bar cookie whose squares would be precisely arranged on a stark white plate?

I had prebaked the peanut butter bars. Strawberries had been “bathed” and sliced. Now then, all of the pre-shoot requirements had been met.

Next step–photographs would be taken as the junior bakers “painted” the melted strawberry jam glaze on to the top of the bars and carefully arranged strawberry slices on top of that. We three subjects were standing in place at the royal blue kitchen counter with our best smiles aglow, small clean paint brushes in little hands, and glaze ready for “painting.”Mr. Photographer, are you ready?

Now realize, Dear Readers, a three-year-old’s patience is like a rubber band. It stretches only so far, especially during what would normally be his daily nap time, and then something has to give! Read on to become enlightened about the virtue of patience.

As I stood between the little darlins’, my attention was focused on the set-up actions of the photographer.

With the perseverance of an adult, Little Missy stood in her spot listening for the word, “Action.” She reminded me of a well-seasoned sprinter poised in a starting block awaiting the crack of a gun.

However, as Mr. Photographer was ready to take some shots, I looked down at the bars and noticed what appeared to be little mouse-eaten corners. They hadn’t looked like that a minute ago! Evidently, Little Sir’s fingers had needed an outlet for exercise during the waiting period. So inadvertently, he soothed his not-quite-Job-like patient endurance by letting his fingers creatively move into action as they quietly chiseled new, previously unseen carved edges!

When the third word in this article’s title was exclaimed, paintbrushes were dipped into the rose-colored glaze, and the two artists began to express their VanGogh-like talents!

Now this part of the recipe is indeed right up Little Missy’s alley, so to speak. After all, she has proclaimed that her future includes the title, “World Famous Artist”! Why not begin with the medium of peanut butter bars and strawberry glaze to initiate the development of that desire? Wouldn’t you say that bears fruit, Dear Readers? I believe the title, “Food Stylist-In-Waiting,” is also in her future as she artfully arranged strawberry slices atop the glaze.

As I have expressed in previous articles, Little Sir has a ravenous appetite for fresh strawberries. He diligently arranged his share of the slices on to the bars. Well, let’s just say that it was a toss-up if he placed more of the berry slices on the bars or inserted more of them into his mouth. Either way, Little Sir did his job masterfully!

Oh, did I mention that Little Sir grew a sweet little rose-colored mustache and goatee during the photo shoot? A little wet wash cloth absolutely made a great razor to remove remnants of jam glaze for that three-year-old clean-shaven look!

Let’s not forget that if not for tasting the finished product, the art and science of baking wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. I know you would agree with that, Dear Readers! Mr. Photographer captured the heart of this grandma and her precious grandchildren as we all, those in the audience included, got to enjoy the results of our hand-crafted baking talents.

Was everything about this project picture perfect, Dear Readers? No, not at all. But, I do believe the photographer’s clicks of the camera shutter garnered the complete happiness that prevailed throughout our afternoon’s project. In my mind, even if there were no everyday lights, camera, and action in my kitchen, exploring the creation of a recipe from start to finish with my two favorite little ones has the word,” love,” written all over it!

Miss NiNi