Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mourning, red velvet cake and Happy holidays

Besides being a freelance food photographer, I also work part-time in a company to photograph  their products and retouch the images. Last week, while i was in my studio shooting, a coworker came over solemnly and said:" Do you know about Elizabeth?" I said:" what about her?" , kind of feeling something bad was coming. " She passed away this morning....." I couldn't believe what I just heard. I was still listening to what had happened to her but my mind floated somewhere else. I was thinking about her voice, her smile, her way of telling me her family's stories, even her walking back and forth in the company. Her cubicle pinned on the wall a picture her kids drew, writing" the BEST Mom Ever!" also her computer's desktop was her family's photo. She even brought her daughter and son to the company to show them around coz this is a company selling children's stuff..... I was shocked. I was speechless.

We all hear people say life is short, but it's normally just one of cliches we hear all the time, until something happened to our family member or friends. Only at this time, do we stop to rethink about our lives. According to a list of dying people's most regrets, One of the top life regrets is working too hard, another is not spending enough time with friends and families. I am at least relieved that Elizabeth wasn't workaholic or ignored her family.  She had a happy family, two lovely kids and a loving husband. At least she spent quality time with them.  RIP Elizabeth.

That being said, the holiday atmosphere is full of New York City. Holiday markets are scattering in the city. Holiday window display can be seen in Macy's and other big department stores. Tourists are flooding the town. However, I left NYC for Oklahoma and Texas to visit my family coz no matter how cool New York is, this is a holiday that's supposed to be spent with family. These past two days, we were busying doing holiday shopping, wrapping gifts and decorating the Christmas tree. I hope you guys enjoy your holidays with family or friends, coz, really, life is short.

To go with the holiday atmosphere, I am sharing this red velvet cake recipe. It scored very high on the internet and has over 200 comments. Happy holidays!!

Food styling: Michael Giletto


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Grease two 9 inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar WELL. Add eggs and beat well.
  3. Make a paste of cocoa and red food coloring. Add to creamed mixture. Mix salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and buttermilk together. Add alternately the flour with the milk mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix soda and vinegar and FOLD INTO CAKE BATTER. DON'T BEAT OR STIR NOW.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. To Make Icing: Cook 5 Tablespoons flour and milk over low heat till thick, stirring constantly. LET COOL THOROUGHLY! While cooling, cream 1 cups sugar, butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat this well till light and fluffy. Add to flour mixture and beat until of a good spreading consistency. DON'T ICE CAKE TILL COOL.