Ribs in the Literal Sense


First things first.  As an amateur food photographer, when I move between Stuttgart and Sens, it takes me a while to find the good light, that is, light that makes food attractive.  As Roger Stowell’s  past and future pupil, I know good light when I see it and it makes me unhappy when my posts contain pictures that look like “The Attack of the 1950s Betty Crocker Cookbook Photographers.”  I post these “deeply disturbing” pictures because it makes me ashamed and induces me to work harder.  I hate yesterday’s lead photo; sloppy food, sloppy picture 🙁   Now, with that said, let’s talk about my husband 🙂


I don’t think my husband works at all, but just hangs around the commissary buying things he thinks we need.  The latest was a slab of interesting colored pork ribs, so lean that I thought of  “Yond Cassius” or consumption or pigs dropping dead on the road from Les Cayes to the market in Camp Perrin in Haiti.  But the ribs were USDA certified, so that’s okay, said Rosemary Mullally, never.

Ribs b

Back in the day, when we were privilege hungry, we used to envy the military personnel at the Embassies who had commissary and PX privileges and sometimes planes that flew into Africa with goods ordered from those stores.  Not allowed to sell these items, military friends gave us occasional gifts of Oreos, Lay’s potato chips or some other American delicacy.  Boy were we jealous!  I know it’s a sin but there’s confession 😀

Ribs with chip rub 060 b

Then, when I was pregnant with our son and went to Wiesbaden (i before e), Germany for a medical checkup, we were told that with our diplomatic passports, we would have access to the U.S. commissaries and PXs in Germany.  We were so excited!  The same thing in London when our son was in hospital with a detached Achilles tendon (He and his friend accidentally made a pipe bomb.  Idiots.)  Both times our return suitcases were bulging!

Ribs with chip rub 072b

So that’s why.  My husband haunts the commissary to make up for the almost untenable deprivations of his Oreo-less youth.  I don’t really care.  Like old ladies, old guys have to have fun too 🙂  He tells me that we also have access to the French military commissary in Paris.  Now you’re talking!

Ribs with chip rub 074b

Today I decided to go “a la American” with my Lay’s barbecue potato chip rub.  It worked beautifully with the lamb shoulderand everything goes with pork.  I cut the slab in half because I thought it would look better.

Eureka!  I learned how to make a clickable link!  I was trying to figure this out because after a reader recommended my blog on her site, she then deplored the fact that my posts were sometimes filled with unsightly URLs.  Thank you constructive criticizer 😀

Ribs with a Potato Chip Rub

1 slab of USDA certified ribs, cut in half

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp dry mustard

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp piment d’espelette

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp salt

Mix all the spices together, then heavily rub onto both sides of the ribs, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

With all burners blazing or crimson charcoal, sear the rib pieces on the fat side.  Turn off the burners on one side of the grill, or scrape the charcoal to one side, then put the ribs, fat side up, on the cold side of the grill, put the top down and grill for about an 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Note:  Store left over spice mix in a jar for next time.  In other words, there’s more than enough for another time or two.   

About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Ribs in the Literal Sense

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Don’t beat yourself up about the light – there are some really bad food blogs pictures out there, which make yours look like masterpieces 😉

    • I appreciate it Dog, but that’s not good enough for me. I really don’t care about other bloggers pictures, as long as they are satisfied with them. True, I usually don’t follow blogs with ugly pictures but none of my business. I’m just a beginner and certainly cannot rival professional photographers but I can do my best and try to satisfy myself. I’m dissatisfied 🙂

      • Mad Dog says:

        Well sometimes it’s the spontaneity that counts and you can’t do more than try your hardest. Professionally there can be times where budget, time and client demands (they don’t always know best) mean you have to draw a line in the sand and shoot what is possible.
        You can always shoot more ribs another day;-)

  2. I love your photos and am so ashamed of most of mine 🙁 But it’s the food we’re here for and I love this spice mix! Your excitement over access to commissaries is akin to mine when I go to England and get to run around Sainsbury’s 🙂

  3. Tessa says:

    Great looking ribs! I’ve got to try your Lay’s barbecue rub. Betty Crocker cookbooks from the 50’s really do have “interesting” photos. It’s not just the photography but the food styling as well. Betty Crocker needs to hire you…

  4. Love your rib recipe. Nicely done. 😉

  5. Oh, how good that looks!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  6. Ok, how do you accidentally make a pipe bomb? I think you are being to hard on yourself about the photos. Your blog is one of the ones I’m trying to raise my picture taking game to. I struggle with the food pics as we can be limited in a lot of natural light by the time I’m done cooking. I’ve been thinking about making a light box. I had a good chuckle about the USDA comment! I feel the same way. 🙂

    • Thank you Virginia. In most underdeveloped countries like Ethiopia, children, no matter what age can buy fireworks from small shops. In Addis Ababa, playing with fireworks was a popular sport among the American and European children with money. I had warned and warned about the dangers of fireworks, but of course my 15 year old didn’t listen. One day he and his Italian friend thought it would be great if they could make a large sparkler or something like that, so they took a pipe and packed it with sand and the powder from the fireworks, made a fuse, lit it and tried to run. The pipe bomb blew a large hole in my son’s right ankle, blew apart his Achilles, and detached several other tendons in his left leg. His face was saved by the Army Navy Surplus helmet he was wearing. We were medivaced and spent 3 months in London with both legs in casts. His friend caught a small piece of shrapnel in his thigh. In the beginning the surgeon thought that he couldn’t save him from dragging his leg but he healed and went on to become rugby captain at Chateau du Rosey in Geneva. You have to believe in God sometimes.

      • Oh geez, how scary for you. I wouldn’t know whether to hold him or whack him up side the head! Probably both. I think kids are the reason they invented hair dye. 🙂

        • When he looked at me after the accident, I knew there was nothing to say that he didn’t know. We had to wait all night for the arrival of the hospital plane. I was scared. When we finally arrived in London, they put a bed for me in his room and offered me the wine list. There has to be some compensation 🙂

          • There is nothing worse that seeing your child injured. It’s hard when they skin their knees! We got a call once that our daughter had a seizure and was on the way to hospital. I made my car fly that day. Fortunately she had just fainted but until that point your heart just stops. I didn’t get offered a wine list though. That’s not too shabby!

  7. Amanda says:

    This looks delicious. I love your photos, but I understand, the better you get at something the more you realize you have to learn. I think we all having cravings for childhood classics. This one looks just perfect! There’s nothing like a bbq.

  8. great fotos!! everyone does it differently, i embrace the diversity! 🙂

  9. beautiful rib pictures (and I know how hard it is to make meat look sexy!)

  10. UTZ!!!!! Love that brand, particularly their crab chips. I looked back at yesterday’s photo and didn’t see the sloppy. Your photos always look neat to me. Great looking ribs.

  11. Conor Bofin says:

    Rosemary, your photos were one of the first to inspire me to work harder at mine. Stop being so hard on yourself. You do great work. Having said that, I have to admit that for each post I do, I shoot up to 100 frames. I dump most of them. I am never satisfied and I tire very quickly of my own stuff, seeing only the flaws and errors that I will “get right next time”. It’s a long road…

    • Thank you for the inspiration! I shoot maybe more than 100 frames and dump most of them 🙂 I also am very critical of my own work but I really like doing it but want to do my best. We’re on the same road Conor 🙂

  12. Raymund says:

    Love a simple grilled ribs like that but what made me crave in this post more is that crispy pork rinds, we eat that a lot in the Philippines dipped in spicy hot vinegar with ice cold beer in the side

  13. Trish says:

    ah, me with my rather plebian sensiblilitles, don’t notice differences in your photography at all. I don’t know whether that will be appreciated or not -after all , when we do well, we like to have it acknowledged. I just very much appreciate your postings, and your exotic (compared with mine) life in the ‘foreign service’.

    • Hi Trish. Call me pragmatic but from my 20s I realized that a lot of people, meaning to be kind, encourage others with their praise. This is a great thing and I do that myself. However, that’s why they made mirrors, so that you can check for yourself. I always check my inner mirror 🙂

  14. Schnippelboy says:

    Tolle Fotos,Tolle Speisen,Tolle Rezepte
    Gruß Schnippelboy

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