Each week we’re teaming up with a popular food-stagrammer who will take over our Instagram feed and fill it with their own delicious pics. This weekend on #TastyTakeovers, cookbook author and blogger Cara Reed, also known as @forkandbeans, is our guest. Learn her secret for taking delicious photos in the Q&A below and head over to @YahooFood on Instagram to watch her foodie adventures unfold all weekend long.
Cookbook author and blogger behind Fork & Beans. (Photo: Cara Reed)
Name/Instagram handle: Cara Reed/@Forkandbeans
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Heyo everybody, my name is Cara and I am the girl boss over at Fork & Beans. I am originally from Southern California and currently live in Los Angeles with my husband. I love to make homemade googly eyes, slap them onto any fruit and veggie I can, and take pictures of them just to get a good giggle.
What first got you interested in food and photography? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I grew up on the standard American diet and found that as a child even into adulthood, I struggled with digestive health issues. In my late 20s my symptoms got so severe that I began to play around with my diet, replacing the processed foods with fresh, home-cooked meals with cleaner ingredients and watched my symptoms dissipate greatly. I was also diagnosed with several food allergies, which is the reason I started Fork & Beans and why I have such a passion for inspiring parents and kids (especially those with food allergies) to get creative with their food. That is where my genuine interest and inspiration comes from. Everything else springs up from that.
How do you take your photos (with a camera or phone)? What are your favorite photo editing tools and/or tips for taking exceptional food photos? Give us the scoop!
I take my photos with a Nikon 5500 camera and 40mm lens. When I first started Fork & Beans I was just using a simple point and shoot camera so needless to say, I’m completely self-taught with my photography and am learning new things all the time to improve. I might not be the best at it but I have found tricks to enhance the look and feel of the fun creations I make like using an all-white background to really allow the food to stand out. I also use two free user-friendly online editing sites called PicMonkey and Canva, where I can balance out the colors and add more sharpness to the photos. What has helped me along the years is keeping it simple and making the food be the main focus.
Screaming avocado. (Photo: Cara Reed)
Who are three of your favorite Instagrammers? What do you like about them?
Elizabeth of @las _estrellas — She’s thoughtful, brilliant, creative, and inspiring. I love her view on her side of the world (New York) and genuinely enjoy her unique posts.
Tisha of @TishaCherry — She’s one of the most creative people out there. Her food art is awe-inspiring. I mean, she makes art out of Oreos, come on.
Haley of @BrewingHappiness — Not only is she an incredibly beautiful soul but her site name says it all. She really does serve up happiness with every photo.
What does it mean to be “allergen friendly” and have you experienced a big response from that community to your work?
Allergen friendly is being mindful of the top 8 food allergies (wheat, eggs, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, shrimp, fish, and soy). You can expect all recipes are made without gluten, eggs, or dairy (and more!) over at Fork & Beans because I have a huge passion to reach the allergen friendly community and prove that food allergies does not mean that you have to lack creativity and taste. It’s why I have so much fun on Instagram. Honestly, there is no bigger reward then when a mom emails me and tells me how full her heart is because her child can now eat (fill in the blank) thanks to my recipes. No kid should ever feel left out so I make it my mission to make the most creative foods in order to give hope to my community.
Tofu scrambled eggs on toast. (Photo: Cara Reed)
What do you enjoy about Instagram compared to other online communities?
Instagram allows me to explore my creativity and just be me. I like how it’s not about trying to market myself as much as it is about simply trying to make someone’s day with one of my photos. It’s like my own virtual playground; a place to explore and create authentic connections online.
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
Probably has to be my wedding cake (I just got married 3 weeks ago!) I keep hearing from friends and family that it was the best wedding cake they have ever tasted. It really was…
If you could throw a dream dinner party for any three people — living or dead — who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I love my family so I would have to say that I would host a breakfast party for my nieces and nephew and would probably make them each a bowl of oatmeal with their faces made from fruit or allergen friendly pancakes in the shape of their initials.
Allergen-friendly pancakes. (Photo: Cara Reed)
What’s the best dish you’ve ever made or the dish that you’re known for?
I’m most known for my gluten-free vegan baked goods more than anything, and I must say that one of my proudest moments was creating a copycat version of Ding Dongs. Baking without gluten, eggs, and dairy is super tricky so when I make a comparable version to the real deal, it’s quite the feat and these Ding Dongs still haunt me in my dreams and I am still doing a victory lap.
Gluten free and vegan Ding Dongs. (Photo: Cara Reed)
And last but not least — what’s your favorite food (if you had to pick one)?
Chips and salsa. I could live off of them and probably did at one point in my childhood. Hence my health issues.
For more drool-worthy Insta pics, visit our Instagram board on Pinterest and get to pinning!
Meet more ‘grammers from our past takeovers: