It's not often that I get the surreal and wonderful experience of photographing another photographer, but that is exactly what happened earlier this month for my latest food story with photographer turned baker extraordinaire, Rachael Lee.
Like so many of us artists, Rachael has found it hard to stick to just one avenue of expression. She often shoots portraits and weddings but has been exploring her passion for writing and baking recently through the release of her very first cookbook called "Flour for Thought", which is a collection of vegan and gluten free recipes and poems.
As I hopped over to her kitchen, she was working on the first of many batches of snacks for her book release party and I had the opportunity to see her rosemary biscuits in action and capture some snack making for a really important and momentous occasion. If she was nervous about her book release, she never showed it for a second. Ever the hospitable host, Rachael poured me a cup of coffee, introduced me to her tiny pup and got to work on the dough.
One of my favorite parts of these food stories is seeing how people get started, how they arrange their ingredients and the way they use their hands. I hear from so many people that they are nervous to be seen working a dough or mixing with their hands, as if it somehow looks unprofessional or messy. To me, it's the sweetest moment, where one sees a person really interact with their creation and put a little bit of themselves into it. Basked in the sunlight of her wonderfully vintage kitchen Rachael and I got to talking as the biscuits took shape.
Here's a little bit from her in her own words about the importance of these special biscuits.
"Something new woke up inside of me this year...my heart began to ache and long for things that it had previously given up on. Things like community, seasons, and being nourished. Food has a lot to do with history, legacy, and what is passed down from generation to generation. Our ingredients and recipes can be a deeply intimate record of who we loved and how we lived. That being said, my work on my poetry cookbook (Flour for Thought) led me to a newfound discovery that there has been a beautiful history of strength in the women of my family -- strength that came from pain. And while I adopted these powerful habits of independence and fearlessness, I had to become self-taught at what it means to be soft.
Living in a large city like Los Angeles doesn't always make the gentleness easy. It's massive and sprawling and makes us prone to disconnecting. In a world that has become loud and a culture with more noise than we can decipher, we have to become our own teachers, physicians, and spirit guides. It is crucial, now more than ever, that we learn to nurture ourselves and each other. It is our duty here.
These vegan rosemary buttermilk biscuits are one of my favorite ways to cut out the noise and create "home." This recipe is straight from my book and I hope it inspires you."
The biscuits get kneaded and patted out.
The new little biscuit shapes are popped onto a tray and prepped for baking.
We relax for a moment, sip some coffee and talk about the ever changing landscape of photography. Though the world can certainly be stressful and heavy, in these brief little windows, in a bright kitchen on a lazy morning, it's so comforting to be just two women, doing what we love, sharing and hanging out.
The oven lets us know our biscuits are ready and it's time for their close up!
Seriously, look at those beauties!
After a quick quality control taste test, it's confirmed- Rachael's rosemary gluten free vegan biscuits are a success!
Happy snacking everyone,