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Mobile Photography – iSights – ‘Nailed it!’ by Janine Graf

We’re excited to publish our latest iSights column article by our fabulous editor Janine Graf. As always, it’s unique and full of humour. It is much harder to be funny than serious, especially on the page. When you write seriously you’re not hindered by the readers’ knowledge that you are trying to be serious. With humour the ‘funny’ writer is constantly measured against this intention to make the reader laugh. Fortunately, for us, Janine Graf is one very real laugh-out-loud funny writer and we’re sure you will love this.  Over to you Janine (foreword by Joanne Carter).

‘Nailed It’ – ©Janine Graf

This is my son’s 14th Birthday “chili cheese hot dog” ice cream cake.  I found the recipe in the June issue of Food Network Magazine.  Epic cake fail.  Oh Hell, let’s just call it what it truly is shall we, an abomination.  Well, it looked easy enough and I’m a pretty darn good baker (if I do say so myself) so I forged ahead with the utmost confidence.  How hard could it be, right?

Allow me to present problem No. 1:  the recipe says you need red and yellow food coloring gel, but they don’t specify how much.  I bought two small tubes of both; I probably needed a cup of each.  The red food coloring gel is added to a pint of regular chocolate ice cream to give it that nice fleshy hot dog color.  You then roll the ice cream in parchment paper, shaping and molding it into a hot dog form, and then freeze.  Sounds easy, right?  Problem No. 2:  by the time I mixed in the entire tube of red coloring, the ice cream was VERY soft; borderline melted.  I’d work it into a hot dog shape only for it to immediately start collapsing; the more I worked it, the more it was melting.  I worked quickly, and messily, and got that sucker in the freezer knowing full well it was all going to be downhill from there.

The “bun” is comprised of frozen Sara Lee pound cake.  Hollowing out the insides of that thing, let me just say it’s short of a miracle that I didn’t end up in ER requiring stitches.  That thing was a bitch!  The final product looks like the hot dog is just plopped right on top of a solid cake; my hollowing / excavating work not even noticeable.  I risked fingers for this?  Harrumph.

My oldest son, who was visiting us from Seattle, was in charge of making the “chili” and I have to say it was the most impressive part of the whole damn thing; what a show off.  The chili was diced strawberries and chocolate sauce.

The “cheese” was one cup vanilla frosting and yellow food coloring gel. Now, it was supposed to also contain a bit of red food coloring gel, however I had used every last drop of red to make the hot dog.  So, an entire tube of yellow food coloring gel and zero amount of red and my “cheddar cheese” looked like mozzarella . . . or mayo, take your pick.  I’ll go with mayo.  I loooooooove mayo.

Put them all together and viola, chili cheese hot dog!

Cost of ingredients:  approximately $23

Time spent:  roughly one hour

My confidence in the kitchen: shattered

The laughter that ensued after presenting my masterpiece:  priceless

Blood alcohol level by end of the evening:  0.081

I will admit that I did not partake in eating this abomination.  I knew how much manhandling went into it, so I lost my appetite.  I had a second margarita instead, hold the mayo.

Last night I was looking over an older Food Network Magazine’s recipe for “Fruit Loops cereal bowl” cake.  I think I may have to try making it . . . how hard can it be?

‘She became introspective and started to question everything, particularly her ice cream skills’ – ©Janine Graf

Janine’s mobile photography has been exhibited in art galleries across the United States and in Europe, has been featured on various websites and in publication. She is currently a proud member of the traveling iPad photography exhibit called “Light Impressions” along with 40 very talented mobile photographers. In publishing news, Janine was honored and delighted to have participated in an upcoming book about creating surreal digital photography. This book is set to be released in the spring of 2013 by Ilex Press. Janine is a mobile photographer who enjoys belly dancing, bacon cheeseburgers, cappuccinos, the smell of old books, slapstick comedy, the color orange and movies about gladiators. Since discovering mobile photography in the early fall of 2010, Janine has set aside her professional DSLR and desktop editing programs in favor of the iPhone and its myriad of wonderful editing apps. In regards to subject matter, she tends to gravitate towards subjects that allow for a whimsy feeling or vibe; she likes to have fun!


  • Jo

    I LOVE you, my sister! Gad, I wouldn’t have even attempted what you did and, in my opinion, did pretty well. I must say that the wiener seems a bit anemic and the mustard….well, you were dead-on in your description. However, I’m CERTAIN it was delicious and that you added bacon to your margarita.



    • Janine Graf

      I love you too, my INFJ sister! 😀 Seriously, I’m not kidding when I think I probably needed a cup of red food coloring. Barf! I’m sure you would have done a MUCH better job, Jo, hands down. oxoxoxoxo

  • David

    OMG!! Talk about an absolutely gorgeous cake!!! My birthday is coming up soon…can I commission you to make one for me? Something shaped like a giraffe’s head? Using Fruit Loops!!! Wow!! Baffles the mind!!!