Timothy Pakron, better known as Mississippi Vegan, has been one of our faves for quite some time now, mostly thanks to his beautiful food photography which transports that distinct mood of a Rembrandt original. Just recently, Timothy published his first cookbook and we a) jumped to the chance to catch up and ask him about the creation process and b) talked him into giving a copy away. Read up!
Photos_ Timothy Pakron
Words & Packshots_ Eric Mirbach
When we featured the photography of one Timothy Pakron on the pages of issue 04 of the Vegan Good Life magazine, we were not only in awe of his artwork, but also of the food photos he took for his “alter ego” instagram account @mississippivegan – in fact, we loved this side of his work so much that we decided to dish out another double page in a different section of the magazine to make more room for this specialty of his.
Speaking of dishing out… We’re happy to see how much Tim has embraced this side of his creative work and are thrilled to see more of his romantically dark food photography being featured in print: his first, own (and very beautifully done) cookbook.
Which, by the way, includes a (hilariously witty) intro by no other than Isa Chandra, who’s Brooklyn restaurant Modern Love we just recently visited for our first “Meet the Chef” piece.
Timothy! It’s been a while. How long have you been working on the book? What, from your perspective, makes it special?
I spent a year and a half working on this project. And it took me every last minute! At the beginning there was a ton of research and trial and error. I had to really tighten up on my recipe writing skills – making sure they were clear and effectively written. I also realized that although I love to use interesting, unique, and often times wild and foraged ingredients, I would not be able to focus on that for the book. Instead, I chose to use accessible ingredients. I really wanted the recipes to be made by everyone, not a select few.
As for how the book stands out, well, I haven’t seen many of the recipes in the book veganized successfully. I think it’s a missing link. A cookbook that connects southern, cajun, and creole food to veganism in a fun and successful way.
You made major life changes before you started working on this book. You left NYC to move back home to Mississippi, closer to nature. Does the book mirror these changes?
Yes, I feel as though NYC helped me to come to the realization that this was my passion: food styling, recipe developing, and photographing ingredients. Before that point I was just focusing on art, which I honestly wasn’t really happy doing. Moving back home, I was able to have a garden and space. I was able to grow plants from seed and watch them bloom. It’s been magical. Once the book was completed, I decided to move to New Orleans which has been a great move for me! I’m really vibing with the city and the energy there. I also have a huge garden!
“My goal was always to make people feel something, anything.”
What, from your perspective, makes cookbooks so attractive – as opposed to, say, blogs or an app? It seems like you’ve put a lot of thought into how the book should look and feel like as an object, what’s your take on that?
When I was presented with the opportunity to write a cookbook, I knew instantly that I wanted it to be personal and emotional. My goal was always to make people feel something, anything. Each recipe is a story, a reflection, while each image is a tribute to that memory. To me the book is a glorified photo album or yearbook. It’s very meaningful for me to share that with the world and to invite them to have the recipes become a part of their lives.
How’s your photography work going in general? Any new projects in sight?
My photography is better than ever! I am shooting almost every day and creating content to share with an audience who is eager for more. It’s the best job in the world! I look forward to continue shooting edible plants and mushrooms to celebrate veganism in a fun, beautiful, and positive way. It’s an honor really.
As for any new projects, I’m itching to have my own TV show. Just putting that out there…
To win a copy of Timothy’s new, gorgeous book, drop us a line with the subject “mississippi” to firstname.lastname@example.org and please mention your full name and shipping address. Fingers crossed!