Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Here chicky, chicky, chicky

Today's story on roast chicken let me scratch one off my list that I've wanted to do for years. I've always wanted to look closely at the basic idea of the roast chicken and which way is best. All three have their advantages and disadvantages. But a reader called in Wednesday morning with a great question: How come the picture of the Julia Child chicken isn't on a rack in a roasting pan like the story describes?

Oops. OK, you caught us. Shooting pictures of food gets tricky, because what looks tasty in the kitchen doesn't always look its best on film. The picture above is one I took right after I took all the chickens out of the oven while I was waiting for photographer Todd Sumlin to arrive. Once Todd got there, we played around for a while with different settings and poses for the chickens.

The Thomas Keller chicken (upper right, above) looked delicious but was too dark on film. It looked burned even though it was really just nicely browned. The Judy Rogers chicken (upper left) was golden brown and wonderful, but since it was untrussed, the legs splayed out in a way that wasn't all that flattering, and the skin between the thigh and breast came apart.

The Julia Child chicken (center, bottom, still on its V rack with its legs neatly tied) looked the best. We took its picture on the rack, then tried shooting it on a platter. But the platter, meant for turkey, was too big. So we ended up grabbing the pan from the Judy Rogers chicken for its rustic appeal. It made a nice picture, but it wasn't the same pan in which it cooked. Sorry.