After Japan's devastating earthquake, charity fund-raisers were abundant, and the food community contributed to the outpouring of support. There have been benefit dinners, auctions, and fund-raising drives. And now there is a cookbook. Bloggers from coast to coast dropped their clothes and picked up their whisks to contribute to (suitable for work) Nudie Foodies.
The cookbook is the brainchild of Seattle food blogger Linda Nicholson. She's the woman behind the popular blog Salty Seattle, and this year's winner of Seattle Weekly Web Award for Best Twitter. Nicholson is known for her sassy, sexy, and saucy Twitter feed, and in fact, Twitter is exactly where she percolated the idea of Nudie Foodies. The result: a cookbook containing 18 two-page spreads of food bloggers in various states of undress (no complete nudity from any of the participating foodies), along with recipes like pomegranate & pistachio flan, roast rack of lamb, and strawberry ice pops.
I recently sat down with Linda to ask her more about the cookbook for this week's Cooking the Books.
SW: Where did the participants come from and how did you choose how many and who would participate?
LN: The inspiration really came from part of a dirty conversation on Twitter with some of my Twitter friends. We were basically tweeting back and forth about using food as a metaphor for sex. Those eight original people in the conversation are in the book. Then, I put out one tweet asking for more participants and instantly got 20 more interested. I eventually had to delete the original tweet because of all the interest from people wanting to become a Nudie Foodie.
Why a book and not something in the online realm?
I really wanted to have something that people would pay for and receive as part of their donation. Online doesn't offer that same exchange. Initially the project was going to be a calendar, but then we ended up with 18 bloggers. I also decided I wanted to give people more of a sense of who these bloggers are. These are people that work in food every day, so it made sense to also give a recipe. Print on demand didn't make sense, but self-publishing a book did. We used Blurb and they handled the back end really well, and also took us out of the sales part.
Why nude? I mean, the photos are great and so are the recipes, so it probably would have been successful otherwise.
I had to infuse a little of myself into the project. While I love the recipes and the people that created them, for me, I really wanted to get an intimate look--literally--at these people. I also wanted readers to relate to these images and the people in them more viscerally.
This project is about helping Japan, but in the end helped the participants as well. The images show the diversity in this group. Body image issues affect a lot of people, and people that work in food and food photography are no different. This was a chance for the participants to get in touch with themselves. Some photos are more real than others, and readers can relate to that. The images also express the creative vision each blogger had. I believe readers will want to see who these bloggers are and know the person behind the recipe.
A lot of the bloggers posed in, around, or dressed in food. Was any food harmed in the making of these photos?
Actually, the cover shot--those are my lips--took about three hours to create. Probably 10 million maraschino cherries dropped from the chopsticks. It made the studio floor horribly sticky. My lips were in that unnatural position as well. One of the most interesting photos to me though, is from Michael Procopio, a San Francisco food blogger. He's draped in an octopus, but it was already dead. And by the way, his recipe for an octopus shake is kind of a joke.
Read Part II of this week's Cooking the Books and more Q&A with Linda Nicholson about The Nudie Foodies.