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The best influencer: Recipe photography

produce with pamela

In our segments expanding on the results of the Shopper Insights survey, Karen Nardozza of Moxxy Marketing and I have emphasized, time and time again, the importance of excellent recipe photography.

This was no more apparent for me than a recent obsession with…cabbage.

Cabbage has been on my mind lately, as my social media memories pop up my trip to the Rio Grande Valley last year, where Tommy Wilkins of Grow Farms Texas gave me a tour of a cabbage harvest. We were all looking forward to the St. Patrick’s Day rush for RGV cabbage, a huge holiday for growers in the region.

Of course, we all knew what happened there. Our festivities got a lot less festive on lockdown.

I digress – back to the photos!

I came across a link of Bon Appetit Magazine’s top recipes of the year, with this beautiful photo of caramelized roast cabbage.

Just…look at it. This photo alone would make the staunchest cabbage hater consider giving it a try. I happen to love cabbage, especially roasted, so I hatched a plan to make it myself.

First of all, the photo has savoy cabbage, which my local store doesn’t carry. I also happened to be in a COVID exposure quarantine because of school exposure. (We’re all healthy, no one got it, thank goodness.)

So here’s a fantastic opportunity to check out the curbside at H-E-B’s Central Market. I was so excited. I hadn’t had a chance to do fancy grocery shopping in a while, so I started adding swanky cheese, unusual produce, and excellent pre-marinated meat to my cart.

Oh, and savoy cabbage.

I went to pick up at around 7:30 on a Friday night – the only same-day order window they had. I was actually surprised they had a same-day order slot after hearing many friends complain of having to stalk online ordering for an open pick-up.

The pick-up folks were awesome. I was early, and they stopped at my car to make sure I was being taken care of.

Then I got the dreaded text: No savoy cabbage.

Bummer. Plan B: Green cabbage.

This was one of a few substitutions on my order, and I was kind of disappointed. I expected better, Central Market, especially after great experiences at plain old curbside H-E-B in the ‘burbs.

It’s no Bon Appetit, but it’s pretty.

The recipe itself wasn’t too challenging, and reminded me of a grilled cabbage salad I made with one of those pointy-headed cabbages a few years back.

My version didn’t turn out as pretty, but it was delicious. When I told people what I was making, I got a lot of funny looks. I got “uhhh, why?” Not too many people set out to make cabbage the star of the show. And then I showed them the inspiration photo, and they all got it.

Even cabbage can be beautiful, and taste amazing, too.

Here’s me testing the theory again using the new Cloud 9 tomato from Pure Hothouse Foods.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.