A couple of months ago, my handy little point-&-shoot digital camera broke. I realise that point-&-shoot cameras are looked down upon by serious photographers and some bloggers as well. And I admit that it irritates me that there is a delay between when you click the button and the picture gets taken. However, for me they do the job when it comes to things like taking photos of school events like plays, parties and Sports Day.
In the past, I have tried bringing my big bulky super-sophisticated DSLR camera to school events, and it just feels unwieldy. Sure, the pictures are more crisp and the background-foreground contrast can be visually stunning, but I feel like I spend more time trying to handle my camera than watching what’s going on.
When my point-&-shoot camera broke, I decided that instead of running out and buying a new camera, I would try using my Samsung phone instead and see how it works out. I found that the quality of the pictures taken using my phone are quite good, certainly good enough to share with family and friends. It also means I don’t need to carry an extra camera in my handbag, which is already permanently over-stuffed and weighs a ton.
So, last week it was Sports Day at school. I reached into my handbag to grab my phone to start taking photos of my child participating in various athletic events, when it dawned on me that my phone was at home happily being recharged. I felt a bit lost for a moment. Here I was without anything to record these moments!
I asked one of the other Moms if she could take a photo of my child at some point during that day and send it to me, and after that I was left to just watch my little one with no phone or camera in my hand. And you know what? It was one of the best things that could have happened.
I could actually live the moments with my child. I could see all the little details I might have missed otherwise, the small expressions of effort on her face. I noticed that just before it’s her turn, she gets very a very focused look in her eyes. Then when it actually is her turn, she furrows her eyebrows a bit because she wants to win soooo badly. I could make eye-contact with her when she did well, and jump up and down to cheer for her without having to worry about messing up a video. Instead of looking individually at her through a screen, I could see her as part of a bigger group of other kids, and I saw that she’s a great team player.
Some Moms were already wise to this – they were watching and living the moment with their kids. Other Moms still hadn’t been introduced to the liberating feeling of putting down your recording device to simply enjoy the moment.
I saw one poor Mom with a toddler in one arm, a video camera in her hand, and a large DSLR camera slung around her neck. She was alternating between her DSLR camera, video camera and toddler. I understand where she’s coming from – that was me last year so there is no judgement here. I know that feeling of not wanting to miss a moment. But in trying to capture and freeze each moment, you are standing outside of the moment rather than being in it. I just hope that one day she will learn to put down her camera(s) to really live the moment and record things with her eyes and her heart.
For the record, the Mom who I asked to take a photo of my child took several lovely ones and I’m really grateful to have them to share with my family. So I guess what I’ve ultimately figured out is that it’s definitely great to take a few photos to share with people who couldn’t be there, but from now on my camera will spend more time in my bag than in my hands.
I don’t know exactly how this story relates to my recipe of Tossed Caprese Salad. It’s a gorgeously delicious salad which is so quick and easy to make that your kids can help out with it. What makes it different from a traditional Caprese Salad is simply the presentation. Instead of carefully layering your slices of tomato and mozzarella and gently drizzling it with dressing (which is what I have usually done in the past), this version of Caprese Salad is simply about tossing all the ingredients together quickly so that you can spend more time with your loved ones rather than stuck in the kitchen.
TOSSED CAPRESE SALAD
(serves 4-6 as a a starter or side dish)
1 lb / 500g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
10 oz / 300g mozzarella ball (drained weight), cut into bite-size pieces about the same size as the halved cherry tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (according to taste)
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and grated (alternatively, you can use half a garlic clove for a more subtle taste)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Generous pinch of sea salt
- Wash and dry your cherry tomatoes. Cut them in half. If you will be serving this salad within an hour, you can leave the seeds in. If you plan to serve it in more than an hour, remove the seeds as they may start to make the salad liquidy. Throw the cut tomatoes into your salad bowl.
- Drain you mozzarella ball and cut it into bite-size pieces, about the size of the tomato halves. Add the mozzarella to the salad bowl.
- Wash, dry and roughly chop a good handful of fresh basil leaves. You can adjust the amount of basil according to taste.
- Get a jar, cup or small bowl to mix the dressing. Start by peeling and grating 1 medium garlic clove and adding it to your dressing jar. Add 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of salt. Mix it well and immediately pour it over your salad.
- Toss well and refrigerate until ready to use. This salad needs to be made as close to serving time as possible, certainly on the same day you plan to serve it.