Us, Generally Speaking
- Do you two really entertain together? Yes, we do. We have our own roles, largely determined by talent, practice and the circumstance, but we do it side-by-side. If we’re grilling, Jon mans (no pun intended) the Weber. I do the baking. And he always tends the bar (although I’ve been known to open a pretty mean bottle of wine). I usually decide the menu but many times we do the grocery shopping, prep and delivery together. It’s become a nicely choreographed dance, after 20 years.
- Do you have a favorite food? Are there foods you won’t eat? We used to discuss how “Jon would eat anything” but “Debbie had a long list of things she wouldn’t eat” (his view of things). Then I started a game, to actually list things we knew the other wouldn’t eat. We divide the list by “If it’s on a buffet, would you take it or leave it” versus “If you hadn’t eaten in 3 days, would you eat it.” I’m afraid for me, raw oysters are in the latter category. A bad experience with them as a child has left me unable to even contemplate eating one. Pretzels are in the first category for Jon. Always passes on the little snack bag on an airplane because, these days, the snack is a lot more pretzel than nut. But to be fair, we both have a few things we stay away from. But fortunately we have even longer lists of things we love to eat. And drink.
- What did you do before the blog? Before the blog, we were both gainfully employed on the Corporate America Treadmill. We worked for the same (global) company where we had demanding, and at times unrelenting, management jobs. I traveled about 75% of the time. Neither of our jobs ended at 5 nor knew the customary Monday through Friday boundaries. Jon was on the technical side of things and I was on the customer service side. We gave it our all for 30 years and then retired early.
This Thing Called Blogging
- What’s the hardest part about doing the blog? Measuring. Before the blog, when I didn’t have to be concerned about communicating a recipe to others, I didn’t measure ingredients very accurately. Now, every time I make something, I have to measure and document. That, and having to make something in the middle of the day so that I can get a photograph of it in natural light before the sun goes down.
- What’s your favorite part about doing the blog? The readers, and feeling a part of a community where people share and encourage and celebrate successes. I like feeling connected to something so much bigger than my kitchen and laptop.
- Why did you decide to do the blog? I had talked about, and dreamed about, doing a cookbook for many years. As retirement loomed on the horizon, I realized that maybe it was time to make that dream a reality. But, in contemplating the book and the process, I realized that at this point, I wanted something more perpetual and ongoing. Because the ideas and recipes and photos at this point seem to be endless, I wanted to have a means to continually and regularly share them. So, the idea of the Entertaining Couple blog was born.
Photography, The Non-professional View
- Who takes the photos on your blog? There are a few professional photos on the site that were taken by our friend the oh-so-talented Tia Gavin. Otherwise, I take all of the food photos.
- What kind of camera do you use? What lenses do you use? I use a Nikon D300S. Most often I shoot with my Micro NIKKOR 40mm lens, but I recently added a NIKKOR 85mm 1.4G to my collection and it’s fantastic. My everyday lens is Nikon’s 18-200mm zoom lens so quite a few photos end up getting taken with that one as well. When I’m playing with different lighting or I need sharp up-close focus I may go to my trusty Micro NIKKOR 105mm.
- Do you use natural light or artificial light for your photos? Whenever possible, I try and use natural light. Food needs the highs/lows and contrasts that natural light provides. I find that artificial light doesn’t enhance food well and I haven’t invested in all the equipment needed to shoot appetizing pictures with artificial light. Some foods are more challenging than others. Like meat or gravy. Let’s just say pot roast does not look appetizing under artificial light.
- How much editing do you do after shooting a photograph? Honestly, as little as possible. It’s a little bit of laziness on my part. The editing I do is done in Lightroom. It allows me to crop and do slight adjustments on the exposure if necessary. But I find that if I’ve taken a mediocre photo to begin with, there’s not much I can do post-production to improve it.
- Can I use one of your photos on my site or in a publication? Please do! We ask that you include a link back to our website so that we can benefit from having created the content. Please contact us if you have questions.
A Little Bit of Business
- I work for a product services/advertising company that makes something your readers would love, can I send you a sample? While we appreciate any interest in our site, we’re really not in the business of accepting free samples. However, if you believe your product is something that we would use, and therefore our readers would also use, then please send us an e-mail detailing what your product is and we’ll get back to you.