Review: The Photographer’s Cookbook

The Photographer’s Cookbook is exactly what the doctor ordered for any photographer curious about some of the favorite dishes made by the greats. For many of you, your passion and hobby is photography. While my passion is photography, it’s also my job. Instead, one of my hobbies is cooking–and this book hits the perfect spot between appealing to the geeky photographer and the mad scientist in the kitchen. Think Ansel Adams meets Alton Brown–then pour in the according servings of each to your own liking and finally whisk until it has a light, fluffy feel to it.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Photographer's Cookbook (2 of 2)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 4.5

This book not only contains recipes from many great photographers, but also has what some may consider lo-fi style when it comes to images. For those of us who shot film, we’d just call them photos. It isn’t a large book like most cook books out there but instead a more portable one that you’d tote around with you. In fact, I’d argue that this hardcover is designed to be taken around with you or kept specifically in your kitchen. It doesn’t belong on your coffee table but instead deserves to be used.

That usage will result in your dissection of not only the many variations on food, but also the understanding of exactly how these photographers went about applying their thought processes. In some ways, it’s a psychology book that translates into the other senses like taste, touch, and scent on top of the visuals you’re presented with. For example, reading about the way that Ansel Adams made poached eggs is quite interesting. My personal recipe calls for poaching the eggs in boiled water and apple cider vinegar; but in contrast the great Adams poached his eggs in beer. Even more interesting is the fact that he did it in the microwave. Reading this along with his personal commentary gives you insight to a man that was incredibly complicated and exacting in the darkroom but rather simple yet effectively alternative in the kitchen.

It contains a number of very interesting recipes too–it shows you a number of alternatives for hot dogs while also giving you staples like sweet and sour broccoli. Even more interestingly, it gives you the simple recipe for Puerto Rican Coffee: which is something I all but forgot about growing up in Queens.

More than anything though, this book is one that will stimulate pretty much all of your senses–and in part uses photography to do so. Many of the meals are presented in places where you wouldn’t normally think about it: such as the cheesecake recipe listed later on in the desserts section.

While the content of the book is inherently stellar, it isn’t all perfect. My harshest criticism of the book is that the text face is both light and thin. I wasn’t the only person to say this though: I showed it to a couple that was dining near me last weekend along with friends. They all agree: the content is spectacular but it’s a bit hard to read. This becomes even more magnified in direct sunlight where as you look at a page it may even appear blank.

Overall though, this book is surely worth the money on Amazon. However, it’ll best serve the photographer who loves to cook.