Friday, February 10, 2017

7 Amazingly Appealing Collections of International Food Photos

When you grew up in a rural Ontario community in the 1960s as I did,  you were going to be served up good solid meat and potatoes fare at mealtimes. Hearty soups accompanied by sandwiches made from thick slices of homemade bread and leftover meats were typical lunchtime dishes. At supper we could expect roasted chicken, beef or pork, fried sausage or baked ham fortified with salad, potatoes, vegetables,  and gravy.

Eventually casseroles were introduced into the menu, but these too were traditional stick-to-your ribs cooking, influenced by what people knew. Out in the boonies, culinary adventures rarely took family cooks far from the traditions of their ancestors. These people were primarily of Irish, English, Scottish and German descent; the meals they prepared reflected that heritage.  Besides the straightforward, my Mom would often bring such treats as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, meat pies, schnitzels and cabbage rolls to the table.

But jaunts into more exotic ethnic cuisine was unimaginable in those days. These dishes were left to restaurants. While it bordered on insulting for Mom not to prepare the food her family ate, it would never have crossed her mind to try making something like Chinese food or pizza herself. These were treats, brought in rarely for special occasions.

How the times have changed. With the melting pot of cultures that enrich our society now, we are familiar with foods from a vast variety of other countries. Our recipe boxes fill with everything from paella to curries, from jambalaya to  falafel. Our cupboards and refrigerators have been introduced to quinoa,  polenta, tofu and saffron.

Dining out too is now an international experience. Urban areas are host to just about anything your taste buds might desire with ethnic restaurants dotting corners throughout our cities. People are generally eager to try it all — from Thai to Indian.

My kids are among those people. The younger two, who are vegetarians, quite frankly prefer stepping away from the traditional dishes to cross over into more exotic cuisine — dishes far more adaptable for their diet restrictions than pot roast for instance.

Taking me out of my dietary comfort zone on the other hand usually requires one of  two things. The first is cheese. Basically cover whatever you're making in this and I'm sold.

The second, if we're speaking of restaurant food, is a great photo. After our son invited us out to a favourite Korean place recently, I decided I better take a look at the menu on their website and figure out what, if anything, would appeal to me. Sadly it didn't happen. Even if I thought the food was palatable by the description, the pictures completely turned me off.  There is a reason that food photography is a speciality. Restaurants need pictures to make you salivate.

Finding a photographer however might not be convenient and can be expensive. Another option then is to use stock photos. If you're in the food services industry and need great shots for a website or menu, here are some yummy collections from iPHOTOS.com:


From cheese to croissants all of the rich decadence of French cooking can be found among these great pictures.





 Pasta reigns in this collection of photos, highlighting everyone's favourite international cuisine.




Whether it's sushi from Japan, Turkish dumplings or Chinese stir-fry you can find an appetizing photo from this appealing collection.




We love our fish and chips. You can find colourful photos of that staple as well as some other traditional English fare in this collection.



These terrific photos are sure to spice up your designs focussed on this flavourful cuisine.




You can find images for a lot of the hearty dishes enjoyed in this European country.




Food with a kick, that's what you'll find in these super pictures highlighting Mexican meals.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

3 Absolutely Adorable Sticker Packs for Valentine's Day

"Valentine's Day is the poet's holiday." — Ted Kooser

On Feb. 14 we distribute flowery, romantic cards filled with fancy verse and sentimentality galore to the loves of our lives. The message contained is, one hopes, a reflection of true feelings for the recipient.

While there are people out there who view Valentine's Day as a silly holiday, as an excuse for commerce to extract money from consumers during the mean, lean winter shopping months, for others it's an opportunity to express what the heart knows all year long but lips can often not say.

When I first met my husband several decades ago, he was more realist than romantic. Finding gestures, let alone words, to warm my heart, didn't really come easily to him. However, there were enough glimpses of a romantic for me to believe this dude had potential.

With training of course. The progeny of no-nonsense, hard-working, country folk,  his role models seriously lacked sentimentality.  Then there was me — sappy and romantic all the way.  One of the first lessons, therefore, was simple — getting him to realize there was no ignoring Valentine's Day. It was soon made clear that while only a card was necessary,  there had better be one and it better say what he thought.

He learned well. So much so, that after working a long night shift and remembering as his head hit the pillow what day it was, he got dressed and wandered downtown in a stupor to get me a card.

Spying it on the table later, however, I noticed it hadn't been signed or even put in the envelope. It seems that exhaustion is probably not the best condition to be in when picking out a card. The inside verse was beautiful. The cover though said, "Happy Valentine's Day — to the 'man' I love."

From the earliest days of handing out Valentines we know it's the thought that counts and that thought had best come through in the message. Who can forget those early school days when the process of deciding which classmate was going to get "Be Mine" and which would get "Hi, Valentine." was painstaking?

Now in addition to traditional cards, people are as likely to email or text their personal messages to a Valentine.  Rather than looking through a selection of cards, one can now search online for the appropriate words.

Of course, no matter how beautiful the verse,  the addition of a graphic will make it more appealing.  While any number of romantic backgrounds and elements can be found on sites like iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com there are those who prefer to keep things a little lighter with messaging. A great option is to add stickers. This adorable pack is available from iTunes for iPhone and iPad:




What's not to love about these charming stickers? They'll add a touch of whimsy to any iMessage. 



If you like to keep your expressions of love a little lighter, these cute heart emoticons are perfect.