Ever since my mom brought me home to Kula, I knew this was where I was meant to be. I try to be as helpful as possible when she’s working, but you know I just can’t help myself when there are deer or pigs in the way.
Some days we wake up and she tells me I have to work. “Work?! What kind of work?” I think. I get so excited when she has photo shoots at home. I don’t really know what the big deal is about the stuff on the table but as long as I get to try a bite of something, I skip and trot to the spot where she’s setting up.
I know the area like the back of my paw. I was born to do this, you know. I’m a country boy at heart so I know where all the good spots to hide her things, and scout the best locations for her, are. When Mom calls me to come help her, it gives me a skip in my step and I try and sit patiently while she takes pictures. Yes, I’m a country boy but I do have an English name, don’t you know, so I can be proper and a gentleman when I want to be!
I like to think I’m half paniolo, what we Upcountry Hawaiian dogs call cowboys (for you non-islanders), and half cheeky little English chap. I do mind my manners when she makes some- thing that smells so delicious. Sometimes, I even help her mess up the scene or move a prop when she’s not looking — and it always looks better in my opinion. Feels more real, you know?
Mom tries to make it look too perfect, so I come in and adjust. And the majority of the time, she keeps my adjustments! I’ve got that magic touch. I make sure to be ready when she needs me or to catch a flyaway napkin (even if I’m secretly hoping there are crumbs in it). But I know how to put on the charm and behave when I want to, especially when she’s working in her studio. Although, it’s quite frustrating when she asks me to pose — the thingy with three legs that she sets up scares me when it falls down and I’d much rather be assisting behind the scenes.
I’m the one to call it a day (though she thinks she does) when I know when the shoot’s over. I’ll roll and, if I behave, she will let me taste test with a little nibble. Even though I like assisting, I really wish she would give me more kitchen duties.
When she was working on her book The Outdoor Table: Recipes for Eating and Living Well, she let me try all of her recipes and, to be frank, most were good … but even after these years of working together, some I did not care for. Could have been better if you ask me.
Did you know I even got a recipe named after me? Winslow’s Tea Sandwiches. I’ve really developed a taste for good food, especially jam and toast (our afternoon treat on workdays). I keep trying to tell Mom: You have to use more food in your scenes. But she doesn’t listen.
I hope one day she will let me help her style the yummy food on our shoot days, because she doesn’t appreciate it as much as I do. Yes, yes, I know I’m so lucky to work in such a lovely home, but I do know a thing or two about good food.
What can I say? I know the best locations and the best places to forage. If only Mom would let me take the lead when we work together. I must admit, it’s pretty boring when she’s not photographing food things. On those days, I just don’t show up or I’ll wait in the shade and hope it’s over soon so I can go back to my side hustle of chasing piglets out of the garden. A country boy’s gotta earn his keep! After all, what’s life without good food?
Pass the tea and toast, would you?