Cooking Lessons by Kodachrome

Plans and Methods, Experiences and Problems

By H. ELLEN CURRAN, Radio Reading Roam, Los Angeles, California

In the presentation of the health reform message, hygienic cooking demonstrations play an important part. How to carry on these cook­ing lessons in an attractive, impressive, and yet simple way, without too much equipment and volunteer help, has always been a problem to me. For some time, too, I have been perplexed concerning the matter of providing "samples" of the foods demonstrated. This is simple enough for small groups, but when the crowd grows into hundreds, the preparatory work takes too much time out of a busy Bible instructor's crowded program. Another problem has been the ad­visability of serving food samples between meals, for we teach people that eating between meals is a harmful practice.

In order to overcome these various difficulties, I began to use film strips especially arranged for lessons on healthful living. The hand col­oring of the food pictures was not at first satis­factory. But since "necessity is the mother of invention," I set myself to the task of finding something better. Motion pictures in natural color would be very attractive, but far too ex­pensive. I decided to try the next best thing­kodachrome.

I spoke to two different photographers who were experts in kodachrome work. They said that they had never tried this kind of pho­tography, but if I would arrange the settings just as I wanted them, they would take the pictures. Accordingly I planned the entire pro­cedure of cooking certain health recipes, and each setting in detail. (After the photographer starts working, there is no time to plan, of course.) Some settings are put in just for human interest, and some for a little humor—such things as might actually happen in the kitchen.

A young woman models as housewife, and others form family groups as needed. An attractive kitchen with a shining stove, a work­table, and a sink add greatly to the pictures. Bright kettles, colored mixing bowls, and pyrex cooking utensils also enhance the setting. Care must be taken not to crowd too much into one picture.

We photograph as close to the setting as possible in order to show the very texture of the foods. In most cases even the cook is left out of the scene, except her hands (which for photographing should be whitened with face cream and powder, so they will not look red). Often the kettle or mixing bowl containing the foodstuffs is all that is featured in the picture. Many of the settings are taken as close as eight­een, or even fourteen, inches. But to do this requires the best kind of camera and plenty of floodlights concentrated on the objects.

Every step in the process of preparing and cooking the food is thus shown in natural color, and the method is explained by lecture while the pictures are being shown. The finished product is also arranged in an attractive setting, so that it appears delicious and appetizing. Fresh vegetables look especially attractive taken in kodachrome.

Making these slides entails patient effort and some late hours, but the results are gratifying. At the present time one of our doctors in Los Angeles, who makes kodachrome photography a hobby, is helping me, and is doing very good work. I pay him only for the film. With my settings all planned, I go to him once a week with my materials.

Many of our workers are doing their own kodachrome photography these days ; those who do not can find experts who do it as a hobby. Thus they can work out their individual ideas. In Portland some nurses took it up with enthu­siasm and began to make pictures for their health talks.

Thus far I have developed material for ten lectures, which are well received by my classes here at the Radio Reading Room. Some get so hungry as they see the pictures that they go right home and try the recipes. These, of course, are handed out after the lecture.

Certainly there is a large field for individual development and improvement in the presenta­tion of healthful cookery. I recommend it to our Bible instructors.

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By H. ELLEN CURRAN, Radio Reading Roam, Los Angeles, California

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