Macros 1 – home

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It started with a trivia question from a podcast (Good Job, Brain!) I was listening to on the way home: what are the only three ingredients in shortbread? “Butter, flour and salt,” I thought, and surprisingly, I was right. (Most people do not realize that this wonderful cookie is so simple and does not contain water or eggs.) So I decided to make some shortbread over Thanksgiving, but to go one better and dip them in chocolate, too. Then I decided, “Why not photograph them?” and that lead to doing a few macros…some at home, others at a local mall. By the end, macro photography turned into being the little ball of snow rolling down the mountain: it just grew and grew into more and more!

Before viewing the photographs, I would also like to invite you to visit the poetry blog, the Book of Pain. As always, special thanks to my dearest Lyn, who does most of the hard part: the photo selections. Thank you for dropping by the Book of Bokeh.

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Lyn had bought some mums for a Thanksgiving Celebration hosted by the Greater Putnam Interfaith Council and I knew I had to take a few shots of them…

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All photographs and comments ©2014 by John Etheridge with all rights reserved; not to be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.

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45 thoughts on “Macros 1 – home

    • And a very Happy Christmas to you and yours, too! Do you celebrate Christmas in Morocco? I know that going into a mall in Saudi Arabia or any of the Emirates in December is like going into a mall in New York or London, but I am not sure to what extent it is celebrated in people’s homes or to what extent it has spread over the entire Islamic world. When I was in Tunisia years ago it was not celebrated at all, then.

      In any case, my personal belief is that anyone can give me a present any day of the year and I’ll be happy 🙂 and what day is not made better by a big meal of turkey and all the trimmings?!

      • Speaking about malls,commercial centers you can find a thousands of Christmas items and related decoration …
        But in my home, we don’t celebrate Christmas ,however we do love its vibes … 🙂

        • You ‘love its vibes.’ What a wonderful way to say that you love the good parts of Christmas (music, food and family) and reject the nasty parts (the stress, commercialism, crowds, exhaustion). I love it! In fact, love it so much, I just stole it! 🙂

          I thought you might like this, a traditional sweet treat made in our family for special occasions. (And by special occasions I mean something like, “Monday.”) I gave it to another correspondent on this post, too. I have translated the English measurements (ounces and cups) to metric (grams and liters) but the numbers are approximate anyway. You can go up or down on them as you wish or add other dried things that you like. It’s called Chocolate Bark:

          225 gr each of semisweet and also bittersweet chocolate chips (or blocks, cut into little pieces)
          1/4 l nuts; I like walnuts, but any will do…salted cashews, pistachios, etc.
          1/4 l chopped dried apricots (or figs or dates)
          1/8 l dried sweet cranberries (or raisins)

          Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. (Or use a microwave in 10 second bursts.) Lay parchment paper (its a slightly waxed or oiled paper used in baking) in a pie dish or 25 cm square baking dish. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper spreading evenly. Sprinkle everything else over the chocolate, pushing it down until everything at least touches the chocolate. Chill in the fridge until set, say 2 hours. Break apart into small chunks. Try, try, try to leave some for your guests. Otherwise, make another batch! 🙂

    • To be honest, after I ate all the cookies, I ate the flowers too. I couldn’t help myself! 🙂

      Thank you! I will be doing more on the 24th. I’ll be sure to take more pictures and torture you again! 🙂

    • I cannot lie…they were absolutely delicious. I mean, shortbread is good, but when you add chocolate…they are to die for!!! 🙂

  1. They are really mouth watering and I’m sure they would be delicious too.That’s why so many orders, already. 😉 You are very talented – great poems, lovely photo shoots and now tempting food. What’s next? 😉 Oh! can I have some. 🙂

    • Now there’s an idea! What my life has been lacking thus far and what I need to give it a sense of fulfillment is yet one more time consuming, detailed oriented activity to pursue. I mean, let’s face it, who needs sleep, really?! 🙂

      No, truth be known, I’m not a *bad* cook, it’s just that I favor speed over quality. (Lyn, my wife, is the opposite; she is slow, but her meals delicious.) And when it comes to baking, cookies are my limit…again it’s that patience, nit-picky, by-the-book thing that I lack. On the other hand, cookies are delicious! Why improve simple perfection?

      • haha, too many good ideas but such little time !

        I’ve always struggled making cookies.. it sounds ridiculous… I know. But I can’t make cookies. They are always too dry, or too cooked or not cooked…

        • I know, me too!!! And then I found the classic (and by classic I mean from the 1940’s!) recipe for chocolate chip cookies in The Joy of Cooking. That is the cookbook to start with…that or maybe The Betty Crocker cookbook.

          Anyway, after a batch or two of those chocolate chip cookies, I found that whenever I wanted one they were already gone, so I had to be doing something correct! So, so, so easy! Give it a try!!!

          The other really easy recipe is Chocolate Bark. Here’s my favorite which I have translated to metric, so quantities aren’t exactly what you may be able to buy, but up a bit or down a bit on anything doesn’t matter:

          225 gr each of semisweet and also bittersweet chocolate chips (or blocks, cut into little pieces)
          1/4 l nuts; I like walnuts, but any will do
          1/4 l chopped dried apricots (or figs or dates)
          1/8 l dried sweet cranberries (or raisins)

          Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. (Or use microwave in 10 second bursts.) Lay parchment paper in a pie dish or 25 cm square baking dish. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper spreading evenly. Sprinkle everything else over the chocolate, pushing it down until everything at least touches the chocolate. Chill in the fridge until set. Break apart into small chunks. Try, try, try to leave some for the guests. 🙂

          You will be much in demand this Christmas if you start showing up with this treat!!!

                • No…wait…now hold on!!! Wait a minute! Where? Lapland?!?!? How come you get to go to all the cool (that was a pun) destinations?!?! Us other, more mundane photographers, are getting quite jealous, you know!

                  And not just “anywhere”…exotic Lapland! The place of the people who herd reindeer and dress in the neatest red stitched clothing. Contrary to popular belief, that’s where Santa’s workshop really is, and the North Pole story was only something cooked up by his marketing department to misdirect everyone. Because, let’s face it: 1) there’s no land at the North Pole, 2) Internet reception is lousy there, and 3) Superman as his Fortress of Solitude there, and the place is not *that* big! 🙂

                  Wait a minute! Lapland?! You’re not going to Santa’s workshop are you? I bet you are! I bet that you are really one of his employees who does market research and route investigation for him! I bet you’re, like, the European North Pole Enterprises regional manager or something like that and that your day job is a cover. Hey, are you really an elf?!?!

                  Put in a good word for me, will you? Santa must have an awesome IT department. I mean, that ‘Naughty or Nice’ database alone must be monstrous!

                  Have fun! And take LOTS of pictures! (Except at, you know, wink, wink, his workshop. Oh and no flying reindeer…that would be a dead giveaway!) 🙂

                  • This post made my morning ! I’m such in good mood right now, after having read your silly (but funny) words 🙂
                    Exotic Lapland, with the polar night and 2 hours of daylight… I’m not sure my photography skills are high enough to provide plenty of pictures, but I will do my best. I even invested in a tripod (for aurora) 🙂
                    Yes, Santa’s workshop is close by, I hope we will manage sneak into it. And I’ll try to do my best and put a good word for you and your delicious cookies !

                    • I notice that you did not deny being European North Pole Enterprises regional manager. 🙂

                      Have a wonderful and exciting time and I in particular am looking forward to the aurora shots!

                      And avoid the polar bears. (Do they have polar bears there?) I never met a polar bear I liked. Honestly, they are always grumpy, every one of them. They just know how to hire good public relation and advertising managers. And they are always hungry. Always. Watch out for that.

                    • Huskies, huh? One small step away from wolves, every one of them. Some, in fact, are wolves masquerading as pets…usually hiding from the law of their pack until their latest indiscretion gets forgotten and they can slink back with their tails between their legs. Don’t trust one of them! They are not very tasty, either, which is a darn shame, really, because there are so many of them.

                      Moose, now, they’re just rather dull conversationalists and have terrible table manners. (But are delicious in soups and stews…they’ve always got that going for them.) Reindeer are smarter (some of them can fly, after all) but are generally more snobbish and are not above sneaking into your pocket for an illegal treat or two. So watch your pockets around them. They too are also delicious. Especially for breakfast.

                      I am so, so, so jealous of your trip, by the way. (In a good way. Maybe. 🙂 ) I have been to Sweden and Finland (well, Stockholm and Helsinki, anyway) but have always wanted to go north into the land of the Sammi (Sami?) people. So exotic. And when you say Lapland, by the way, where are you going? Sweden? Norway? Finland? Russia? Each country has a slightly different flavor of what is Lapland, correct?

                      Two hours of daylight? Wow. I visited my sister when she lived in Iqaluit, the Canadian equivalent of Lapland. But I went in June when we were getting an hour or so of darkness a day…I do not think I ever slept so little in my life and yet was never tired. And even then it was cold, to me, at least. Other people were wearing shorts, but I was frozen.

                      And still, no matter what, watch out for those polar bears. They are at their most dangerous when you don’t know they are there, because they can be really quite and can sneak up on you easily. On the other hand, they too are tasty. Being tasty is good. 🙂

                    • It’s good to know all these options, especially if I’m running out of food ! 🙂

                      I’m going to Sweden, I will spend some time in Stockholm and Kiruna. We hesitated a lot, like you said, Lapland is very vast, and we had many options. We went for the cheapest flight 😉

                    • By the way, do you realize that WordPress is no longer adding these comments to the original post? We’ve written too many and have broken WordPress.

                      Somewhere out there in the blogosphere, a big hole has opened up in the Internet space/time continuum and bits and bytes are leaking out all over the floor. If I was smarter than I am, I’d probably be scared.

    • Been there, lived that, walked that room! As I always say, “If you offer me chocolate and I don’t say yes, pull the plug. I’m gone.” 🙂

    • Ken, thank you so much! They really were fun to do up, and funner to do in! My only problem now is that I have to make a batch for the office just before the holidays and another for a friend visiting over the holidays and maybe a batch to give to friends. I may start the New Year with a new name, “Cinderjohn.” 🙂

    • Cindy, honest to heavens, I had a dozen all wrapped up special, all just for you and was on my way to the post office when I was attacked by three big guys in hoodies who ate four each! S’truth! And now I have forgot the recipe!!! Tragedy on tragedy, that’s what it is…I should write an opera about it. 🙂

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