It’s a wrap…and I don’t mean turkey wrap!

Over the weekend, my photographer, Carolyn Pulford, and I finished shooting a total of 49 recipes for my book. Believe me, it’s been like preparing weekly Thanksgiving dinners since Labor Day. Not to mention that there were many re-takes from plating something and then realizing “Oops! I forgot an ingredient!” At times, my “no recipe” upbringing came out!

We worked almost every weekend, which meant planning, grocery shopping, chopping, prepping, cooking, and food styling, all before we could say “lights . . . cameras . . . action!” There was no crew, just me. Carolyn would call me before she arrived, giving me a heads-up to get the pasta water boiling. Then she would begin the magic of prepping the lights, cameras, and backdrops before the sultry dishes were photographed.

It felt like working a fashion shoot, prepping my creations for the catwalk. At the same time, it was important to make sure that the colors, plates, and textures all worked together to produce picture-perfect shots. Plating is an important aspect of preparing our meals. You may be thinking, “What is Maria talking about when during the week I barely have time to get things ready in the kitchen!” Well, our eyes also have an appetite. If it looks good on the plate, it always tastes delicious. In my book, you will find that the recipes are simple but that I always strive to make it attractive—from garnishes of grass skirts of parsley to basil top hats! Work it and have fun!

Wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving and breaking bread with friends and family.

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