Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Exciting News! (And three food myths busted!)


So happy to report that A Cake Bakes In Brooklyn is featured in a six-page article in the March issue of the Ladies' Home Journal.  Here's a link to the online story, but trust me, it is MUCH better in the print version of the magazine (and I'm saying this as as the author of a web log).  The March issue, with Kate Winslet on the cover, is on the newsstand now and is the magazine's debut issue of its new look and focus which has had the magazine world buzzing (and buzzing) for a while now.


It all began with an email in July from Jessica Brown, features editor of the LHJ.  Would I be interested in having them run an illustrated story about my blog?  Would I!

The photo shoot was scheduled and I was especially excited because they were sending a hair and make-up artist (a groomer as they said, for "light grooming.")  At 8 a.m. that morning, a truck pulled up and the driver unloaded about 20 boxes of props and two big folding tables.  Then, the parade of people began:  The photo director, the photographer and his assistant, the food editor, the food stylist and her assistant, the prop stylist and her assistant.  



There was a lot of activity in the dining room and kitchen (above), so I went upstairs with the fabulous make-up artist, Marco Testa, where he performed his magic.  Below, is about half of what he brought. This wasn't going to be a "light grooming," which made me very happy!


And now the dish and myth-busting:
1) Food used in photo shoots is not real.
Not true, at least not in this case.  No Elmer's Glue standing in for milk or other similar tricks were used.  All the desserts were real (and not sprayed with anything).  After each cake or cookie was shot, we all dug in.  Yum!  LHJ didn't have me do the baking; instead all the desserts for the photo shoot were made by Cyd McDowell.who I liked immediately, even before discovering that she's from northeast Ohio too.

2) Kitchen disasters only happen to amateurs.
While Marco was applying the tenth coat of mascara to my lashes, we heard a crash in the kitchen, and then an apologetic "I'm sorry."  Turns out that the tray of date bars was dropped while being removed from the oven.  But unlike us amateurs who would simply sit down with a glass of scotch and give up, these professionals simply began to prepare another batch.  Cyd explained that they bring lots of extras of everything, just for occasions like this.

3) Recipes aren't tested.
Again, not true.  LHJ tested all of my recipes and made adjustments so that anyone can make them and the results can be repeated (unlike my blog where I make everything just one time).  The ones published in the magazine are perfect.  Also, I was surprised at the level of fact-checking done on the story.  Very impressive, indeed.

By the end of the day (and it was well after 6 p.m.), we were all the best of friends, passing around cups of chocolate pudding, sharing the wealth (and a single spoon!).  I think they appreciated that I didn't care what they did to my house and I appreciated the story (and my glamorous make-over).  When the crew departed, everything was back in place and Cyd left all the "extras" like lemons, pie crusts and enough Crisco to last a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy the magazine.  Jessica Brown did a wonderful interview and article, really capturing the spirit of what I do.  I couldn't be happier.

Below are some pictures DH and I took of that day.
The crew re-arranging my kitchen, above.


Photographer Seth Smoot (in plaid shirt) took some pretty amazing photos for the magazine.

Cyd "styling" a slice of cake.  The photo  director and food editor wanted "a few more crumbs" on the plate.

Shooting each baked good took hours! Fascinating to watch them work.

Marco, giving me a little touch-up.

Just one table of props, above.  There were many more items, and some I wished I could keep they were so nice. They also used some of my own kitchen items, including a stovetop espresso maker I got as a wedding gift nearly 30 years ago, an old damaged spatula that I can't bear to throw out because it works so well, and some butter spreaders I got at a stoop sale for 50 cents.
From left, Chelsea Zimmer, Cyd's very talented assistant (and who lives right down the block from me), Tara Bench, LHJ food and entertaining editor extraordinaire, me, and Cyd McDowell, the incredible and fun food stylist.  Check out her outfit! Clare Lissaman, the photo director, was MIA for this picture, but you can see her in the first kitchen shot (fourth photo from the top) at the far left, where it looks like she's pulling out her hair, but I can assure you she was not.  An absolute professional, she directed every shot beautifully.

32 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Susan! That's awesome. You're a beautiful celeb!

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  2. Susan--congratulations! This is so awesome--great blog--I love the pics (you look fabulous!) and the behind-the-scenes story! I'm off to get the magazine!

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  3. How fun! Love these photos. looks like fun. I am going out to buy the magazine....really enjoy your blog and have told others about it.

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  4. Wow, wow, wow! Definitely have to get a copy of LHJ to-day! Congratulations, Susan, for getting the recognition you deserve.

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  5. Congratulations, Susan! That's so awesome! I will definitely pick up a copy of LHJ when I'm out and about tomorrow. Go You!!

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  6. Congrats! I am always happy to see a fellow blogger get noticed for their talents. I will need to pick up the magazine pronto. Be proud and realize that there are more awesome things to come!

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  7. Thanks so much, everyone! I really appreciate you all writing!

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  8. Congratulations! Looks like it was so much fun. I'm also glad that you decide to blog past a year or I wouldn't have gotten that Tollhouse Cupcake recipe, among others. Enjoy being famous!!

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  9. Loved the article! It was awesome to have had a "behind the scenes" while perusing!

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  10. What a great article! I got my subsciption and immediately marked your pages to try the recipes. The chocolate pudding looks divine! Congratulations!

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  11. Ack! I ran out and bought the LHJ -- only to find it was the February issue not the March! Gotta go back and look for March....

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  12. Too exciting! Thanks for the inside scoop on an ambitious photo shoot. Can't wait to nab a copy and try your recipes. (ooh, professional hair and makeup!)

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  13. Thanks Mary Ellen, Tugs Girl, Kelly, Pamela and jorkar for your kind words. So sweet of you to write!

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  14. I loved this article. I have been making Grandma's Chocolate Layer Cake since I was a kid after
    someone gave me Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls (which I still have - even though
    it's pretty dog eared!) I look forward to trying the other recipes in the article - especially the
    chocolate pudding! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

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    1. MaggieMax -- Thanks so much! That is such a great cookbook; I especially love the pictures. I lost my original copy and was beyond thrilled to find it at a flea market. It brought back so many memories. And do try the chocolate pudding -- it's worth every calorie!

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  15. Susan, loved reading your article in LJH! When I got to the first paragraph I discovered your comments about Mrs. Osborn's Cakes of Quality. I inherited this exact same cookbook from my mom, who got it from her own mother. My book has a cover and 47 pages of recipes and instructions for choosing ingredients and marketing your cakes. I find it fascinating that Mrs. Osborn could sell her products for $3 in 1919!!
    I would be willing to share pictures of what the original looked like since yours seems to be more battered than mine. Being a history buff myself, I too have many old cookbooks which give us a glimpse into life in a different era. Only the recipes on pages 32 and 33 are splattered and used looking so I'm guessing that they were my grandma's favorites. She got married in 1900 to a man who cared for his mother and 3 sisters, then had 7 children and took in the current school marm, so she often cooked meals for 14 people. She made the best "light rolls", fried potatoes, and nesselrode pudding ice cream when I was growing up.
    Thanks for sharing your recipes and the great pictures and instructions.
    Linda Truitt jltruitt@cvalley.net

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    1. Linda -- Wow, can't believe you inherited the book. I have several copies -- two are sort-of paper-bound, and one seems more professionally published, with a leather (or similar) cover with 47 pages, probably the same version you inherited. I'll check out pages 32 and 33, though I haven't baked many of her cakes. The methods are kind of wacky! I've also just discovered that "Mrs. Osborn" may have never existed, but was perhaps the creation of a married couple in business to sell books and some baking supplies. (I'm still investigating this.)
      What a life your grandmother led. Unbelievable -- I can't imagine feeding so many daily (as opposed to just Thanksgiving). I often think of women like her who had to put food on the table no matter what (and couldn't simply order out for pizza). They were the true heroes of the early 20th century. Thank you so much for writing -- I really appreciate it.

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  16. Linda - I read the magazine article today while at the hospital waiting for a friend who was having a test done. It's how I found your blog!!! Let me just say... WOW... the article was fabulous... the pics above are great too... and add so much more to the story! Great to know that you enjoyed the makeover too... I would have too!!! It's terrific that you combine two loves of your life into something so sensational! I'm SO glad I found this blog... and look forward to reading more in the future! Thanks!!! Mary O

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  17. Mary O -- Thanks so much for writing such kind words, and I'm so glad you found (and enjoyed) my blog. This post was one of the most fun to write and I'm still missing having the make-up artist here, touching me up when needed! Hope your friend's medical test turned out just fine.

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  18. Very well done! Hope your year continues as positive as it started

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  19. Susan.... Loved thie article and blog! The recipe cards looked like they came from my own mom's recipe box!
    I actually have an unrelated question. We are building a new home and I just LOVE your back splash tile. Would you happen to know the manufacturer?

    lisa@lisacoxdesign.com

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    1. Paula -- Gosh, wish I could help. The place I got the tile has closed, but it's some sort of carrara marble tiles, unpolished. I originally wanted carrara on my counter tops, but was told it would stain. Anyway, I'll take a look in my basement (quite a scary place) next weekend, and if I can find a box of extras, I'll let you know the manufacturer.

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  20. Like many other readers, I loved the article in the magazine. A couple of years ago, I asked my mother for my grandma's recipes. She passed down all these handwritten recipes and My Better Homes and Garden cookbook, copyrighted in 1930. I LOVE them all! Hopefully my son's wives will appreciate them as much as I do when it's time for me to pass them along.

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    1. Thanks so much, Dorena! You are one smart lady for getting those precious family recipes. They are true treasures, and I hope your sons! (as well as your son's wives) will honor your family legacy by using them. Thanks so much for writing.

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  21. Hey Susan,

    As soon as I realized from your LHJ article that you had a blog, I knew I'd be a subscriber - I love it! I, too, had the Betty Crocker kids cookbook but I think one of my sisters now has it. However, I did inherit my grandmother's cherished orange 1969 'new' Betty Crocker Cookbook as well as her handwritten travel cookbook. She always brought it so that she could make each one of us our favorite dishes (divinity!) during her yearly visits. Happily, I also get to wear some of her old aprons. She sewed them with lace trim and I love them dearly.
    Hopefully, I'll be blessed with lots of grandchildren someday to pass them on down to... now on to my baking :)

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    1. Wow, thanks so much. Your grandmother sounds wonderful; I love the idea of a travel cookbook, created for family visits. How lucky you were! I had several of my grandmother's old aprons, but I ended up wearing them out! Of course, they were "company" aprons, made of material not quite suited to working hard in the kitchen. Thanks for writing! And when your future grandchildren become "of baking age," you'll be pleased to know that the Betty Crocker Boys & Girls cookbook has been reissued.

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  22. How exciting - and congratulations! This is how I discovered your blog & I think it's just wonderful. There is so much to learn about the lost art of cooking in America! I'm interested to see what you discover from the pre-cake mix era!

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    1. Susan -- Thanks so much for discovering A Cake Bakes and for writing and coming along for the ride.

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  23. I recently bought that issue and that's how I found out about you and your blog - love it - great idea. I have thousands of recipes and love to cook, but especially love the baking. It's fun to read your blogs and will have to make the time to read the older ones.

    I made the chocolate chip muffins and they were a huge hit! Looking forward to more of your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Susan -- Thanks so much for writing. I agree, baking is much more fun than cooking, though my daughter's former babysitter used to say, if you bake, you still have to cook. True, but worth it. So glad that the Toll House cupcakes were a hit. I heard that one person did not have success, so I'm especially pleased to hear that you did.

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  24. Sorry - I meant chocolate chip cupcakes!

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