Food, generally speaking, makes me happy, eating it, thinking about it, looking at it, so when I first saw Lee Price’s photorealistic oil paintings of women and food, I was thrilled! The way she uses food is amazing! At first, there is that initial surface reaction of seeing a gorgeous, beautifully rendered image, but the more you look at her work the more you realize that beneath the quiet facade, so much more is going on. For me, her work definitely brings up issues of how the role of food changes in a society where a high supply of goods makes food consumption less about survival and more about our mental state, how eating a candy bar can, often, comfort us or shame us, cause arousal or nausea, depending on our emotions at any given time. As much as I love food, even I am guilty of letting my emotions affect my eating, of letting what I eat, sometimes, affect my emotions. The human race’s relationship with food is a complicated one and, I, for one, couldn’t stop looking at Lee’s paintings. Really lovely and interesting work.
Given the fact that she is vegan, Lee actually makes a lot of the baked goods that are featured in her paintings. Of course, I was super excited when she agreed to snap some photos for us the next time she made something for a shoot. I love, love, love seeing the process of her making the dessert and then seeing the finished painting (see image below). I was also really happy that she used a Strawberry Shortcake recipe from the BabyCakes cookbook, which is a great book for vegan and gluten-free baking (note: this recipe is only vegan, not gluten-free because of the spelt flour).
The Evoke Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico is currently running an exhibition of Lee Price’s work, you can click here for more info. You can also see more of Lee’s paintings on her Web site, right here.
You can find the complete recipe and more images after the jump. Thanks so much to Lee for sharing her work!
Strawberry Shortcake recipe from Babycakes by Erin McKenna
3 cups white spelt flour plus ½ cup for dusting
½ cup evaporated cane juice
1 ½ Tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
7 Tbl coconut oil
1 Tbl vanilla extract
2/3 cup hot water
vanilla frosting (I took frosting from another book just because I was familiar with this recipe and I know the frosting would hold up to several hours of shooting in a hot room, but the babycakes frosting recipe looks yummy.)
1 ½ cups sliced strawberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients. Combine until slightly moist dough is formed.
Dust the counter generously with flour. Roll the dough through the flour until it is coated on all sides. Gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick rectangle and cut out 12 shortcakes with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place the shortcakes on the center rack for 16 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes. The finished shortcakes will have a slightly golden, flaky crust.
Let the shortcakes cool on the sheets for 15 minutes, or until completely cool. Cut them in half horizontally and spread each side with 1 Tbl vanilla frosting using a small offset spatula. Spoon 1 generous Tbl strawberries onto one of the halves and top with the second half. Garnish with more frosting and strawberries. Store filled shortcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Creamy Vanilla Frosting from Vegan Baking Classics by Kelly Rudnicki
1 cup dairy-free margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 Tbl soy milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups confectioners sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together margarine, soy milk, vanilla, and salt until incorporated. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar, and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium, and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Chill about 30 minutes before using.