“Gray is great. People think gray is a neutral, but I think it’s such a moody, intense, dramatic and sexy color. It’s very sleek.” Bryan Batt Read
Well oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, and they are definitely grey and rather beautiful. It was very hard to pick the best arty photograph of them. There are heaps and heaps.
I have no idea where the idea for today's post came from. Suddenly, on my walk home, there it was. It wasn't a particularly grey day, and I wasn't feeling particularly grey. I also hadn't just been struck by anything grey in my surroundings, but there was the thought.
It's an in between colour isn't it? Like life itself, like people - and you will find endless quotes saying more or less the same thing but rather more eloquently. But what about food? Indeed are there any grey foods?
I confess that all I could think of at first was oysters - so many shades of grey in one small creature - which I just cannot come at eating I have to say. Indeed grey as a food colour is not tempting is it?
"Grey has nothing to do with joy, optimism, passion or life. Why has the world been drained of colour?" Adrian Chiles/The Guardian
It is elegant though isn't it? Many of the most stunning pieces of food photography feature a grey background. Like this one, which actually also features grey food, although I'm not quite sure what it is - a quail's egg, and something else? Food mostly looks best against a black or grey background - which perhaps is why, sucker for beauty that I am, the Coles Magazine appeals more than the Woolworths one. Coles goes for black and grey backgrounds, Woolworths for green and blue and it doesn't look as classy. Fashionable kitchens are grey - mine is although I wasn't really aiming for fashion. And grey has so many interesting, subtle shades within it doesn't it? I suppose every colour does, but grey in particular attracts for its variety. In fact, maybe that was how I got started on this because as I walked back from the shops, as always looking for photographic opportunities, I noticed several that featured grey.
Grey is classy.
"People think that everyone wears black in France; in fact they all wear grey." Jean Paul Gaultier
And I suppose he should know, but then again he is not necessarily saying that grey is good - well it's Jean Paul Gaultier so I'm guessing he is. I mean look at these two examples of his art. A complete digression I know but I just couldn't resist.
So yes grey is used a lot in arty food photography either as the background or to emphasise the greyness of the food. I began by checking out my Donna Hay books and magazines, because she is perhaps the cook most focussed on appearance, and uses top food stylists and photographers (as does Coles) to display her wares as it were. However, I did not find any grey food really. Lots of grey in the photos but not a lot of food that was actually grey.
This arty grey octopus was just found on the net and it probably shows how grey actually shades into pink or purple sometimes as well as black and white. Sometimes blue and brown as well. Hence I rejected some foods that people suggested was grey - eggplant and baba ghanoush? Almost I suppose, but I would suggest cream for the raw vegetable and ditto, even a little darker for the finished dip. Indeed many of the suggested foods were, to my mind, beige rather than grey.
So what food is grey? And do we mean raw or cooked? I gather fore example that grey squirrels are fashionable in the UK and they are definitely grey - are sheep grey? The meat, however is not.
I actually narrowed it down to a very few things I have to say, some of which were naturally grey, and some of which were grey when cooked or fiddled with artistically. Naturally grey included grey sea salt from France; eels, indeed many, many types of fish; grey morel mushrooms - although oyster mushrooms were often described as grey, to my eyes they looked more beige or cream; cuttlefish and squid ink - well more black than grey until cooked I think; the interior of dragon fruit and honestly I think that's it. Bear in mind also that the fish flesh is not usually grey, although I include them because the skin is often left on.
Cooked? Mostly this was fancy cakes, macarons and ice cream but some mushroom soups looked pretty grey, and I suppose I should also include ash coated cheeses - or is it just mould? - all of which are pretty elegant I suppose.
Colour in food is a very trendy thing is it not? And mostly the emphasis is on the particular nutrients that they provide. Red food seems to be king at the moment. So does grey food have anything going for it in the health stakes? You wouldn't think so when looking at it would you? I mean some of it, if you're in that kind of mood, could be said to be somewhat repellent. However, of course there are health gurus out there who say they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre plus things specific to grey food.
"Anthocyanins: These are pigments responsible for the gray color of certain foods. Anthocyanins have been found to have powerful antioxidant properties, which can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Beta-glucans: Gray foods such as mushrooms and oats are often rich in beta-glucans. These soluble fibers have been shown to support heart health, aid in digestion, and help regulate blood sugar levels.
Selenium: Gray foods like Brazil nuts are excellent sources of selenium, a trace mineral that plays a vital role in immune function and thyroid health." Foodies Gallery
I confess my brain sort of glazes over when I read stuff like that. They even mention brazil nuts, which to my mind are brown and cream or beige rather than grey but if you are into such things there it all is. And honestly overall there was not a lot of interest in grey as a food colour to get excited about..
Well it's grey isn't it, which could be regarded as a good thing or a bad thing. Which is pretty much what you can say about everything or everyone. 'Shades of grey' and all that - and indeed maybe that's the significant thing about grey that that phrase 'shades of grey' chooses grey rather than any other colour to express the concept of a spectrum of feeling - even though a spectrum is much more colourful than grey. I guess it's because it's the space between the ultimate extremes of black and white, good and evil.
So two more quotes and one pretty drawing of a fish, just because they appealed.
"I surmise that it is because everywhere else, not least in the superficial richness of our virtual lives, we are overstimulated. We can’t take much more. Perhaps embracing greyness is our way of taking a break from it all." Adrian Chiles/The Guardian
“Grey day provides the best light.” Leonardo da Vinci
Tomorrow more sausage leftovers.