Thursday, January 9, 2014

Taking the temperature - trivia

Don't underestimate the little things. They'll get you in the end.

I need to sort out the lighting in our not-so-new-anymore apartment. Above The Lovely Island, at which we eat many of our meals, is a row of track lights - LED's - which give off a cool daylight temperature. On either side of those, in the high long room, are regular lightbulbs behind their regular shades (with fans, which are currently on low to circulate the expensive warm air that lurks near the ceiling). Those give off warm light. And under the countertop in the kitchen, cold LED lights again, that we installed.

But I wasn't thinking of colour temperatures in photos when I did that.


The two temperatures, warm and cool, play havoc with photographs. Everything looks so...cold. Blue. And everything in the background looks  Terrible. Who woulda thunk that the el cheapo light in the stove's vent in the old apartment could actually provide more atmospheric lighting!?

Once longer days roll round I can shoot more actual daylight food stuff, but till then this is a dark place, and I need artificial lights. And I have to take decent food pictures. I don't want to fake daylight because I like the domestic glow of warmer light. I have to re-think the LED's. And we have a stunning light fixture- huge, spherical, fluffy -  from Ikea that I'd love to install over same Island, but it would involve removing the overhead track lights.

There. Lighting. Just needed to get that out. It's been depressing me. It was a rough weekend. All the demons climbed out and sat on top of me, and I nearly went under. On Monday, miraculously, they were gone.

Supper last night was not depressing. Bagna cauda (see September's menu in The Book). I chopped up two whole heads of garlic, threw in an entire jar of anchovies, mixed with good extra virgin olive oil (no, not our neighbour's - I'm eking his out), cooked it all till the salted fishes had melted, and dipped into it vegetables, including the fat bamboo shoot acquired in Chinatown.

It was delicious. The shoot, I mean With an elusive taste from long ago that I can't pin down. The texture was like just-cooked artichoke hearts. I learned that they do have to be cooked, or they can be toxic. I blanched them in two changes of water and we are fine.

I want to get some more.

With the bagna cauda were bread rolls fresh from the oven and the leftovers of the previous night's prosecco, when we had our upstairs neighbour over to dinner, to help us eat polar vortex-beating borscht.

In other domestic news: a double sided draft stopper (who knew?) arrived via Amazon last night and is installed in the vestibule to dull the Arctic blast outside our front door. Woolly slippers are on their way (and thank you very much for everyone's suggestions!). I am sure no one will approve of my slippers, but at least I won't have to wear these anymore...

Yes, those are my feet. I bought these slippers as a joke for the Frenchman years ago, and he has carried them around loyally ever since. I have been living in them for week. Unironicallly.

I told you the cold was serious.


  1. I can't even imagine how cold it must be....Seattle like Vancouver has a very temperate climate and even when we get snow (not a yearly given) it only lasts for a week. Everytime I see a picture of the snow and see the temperatures (-32!!!!!!) I get cold in sympathy. May you thaw out soon!

  2. Lighting be damned - I want those plates!

  3. Marie, I hope you are feeling better. I like your plates and your slippers :) It has been very cold here, in Toronto too. What warmed me up and delighted me this morning was the arrival of your book (a late Christmas gift to myself) on my doorstep. I had a hard time parting with it and coming to work today. I can't wait to get home and make a cup of tea, curl up on the sofa and read it!

  4. Lighting is getting harder and harder for us all - with the demise of the incandescent bulb. I can't seem to find any of the new-fangled ones that are as warm as I want, and my photos are already terrible ... and apparently getting worse.

    You have a good eye and will no doubt figure it out, but it ain't easy!

  5. Marie, some track lighting manufacturers make an "outlet" that clips into the track just like a track head so you can plug in a pendant fixture and still have the supplemental track heads. Progress Lighting makes an adapter for their track (part no. P8751) and I'm sure other companies make them as well.
    You may need to change out your track but it's a business expense and therapy for those of us that adore your beautiful photographs! Deb B. in Cape Porpoise, ME

  6. Blustery rain here(yippeeeee!) and a big drop of the Hg. You're doing all the right things, with the possible exception of the bunny feet.:-)


    Your words sent me right here. Blue daylight with incandescent behind or the reverse is so satisfying. Don't buy daylight bulbs for photos not as nice in photos a little pink. There are lots of incandescent bulbs still on the market. Incidentally the change is only for 40 and 60 watts I believe. I don't envy the draft problem as our apartment is absolutely cold in winter. Not lookin forward to returning only for that reason. Good luck!

  8. These might be a part of your solution for the lighting issue ~ I thought they were pretty cool looking, but the specifications indicate a warm, white light. Good luck with your experimentation and adventures in lighting.


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