WARNING ABOUT MICROSTOCK

Microstock has completely changed the value of photography for ever !! Or has it?

Ever since the Editor of Time magazine announced that a front cover of his magazine had been bought from a microstock company for a few dollars, photographers have heralded this event as the start of the end of their profession. In some ways the damage microstock has heaped on photography is tremendous. I have had discussions with amateurs who are quite happy to get a few dollars here and there towards their next camera or lens and have no vested interest in a healthy photography industry. So what happens when you want the skills that photographers like myself have built up over 20 years and we have closed up shop? You may laugh but look what happened to typography when desk top publishing destroyed the skill. Today hand headline lettering is hard to find and costs a fortune.

So why should you not buy microstock photos at knock down prices. Well the answer is simple. Is you value your image of your brand, company or product, then do you want to use the same image that anyone else can afford to buy for peanuts. What do I mean? Well Chris Barton in his blog Fair Trade Photographer has come up with a bit of research that shows how several big brands have all ended up using the same microstock photo on their web page (Link Below). So what's wrong with that? Well it does rather devalue the brands exlusivity image if they look like lots of other companies and worse it makes it possible to imitate them so cheaply by any rivals or worse, companies perhaps they may not want to be associated with. Anyone can afford microstock and can use it for anything they like. From selling viagra to porn there is no restriction or control.

The idea of microstock is to make a profit by selling lots and lots of the same photo. This means that if you buy one for your web pages or ads you could end up looking the same as lots and lots of other companies.

How to avoid this?

Unless you buy an outright exclusive license, which can be expensive, the only way of getting any security of who is using the photo you want to buy is by buying Rights Managed. This way you can ask who else has licensed the photo and check for over use and any potential clashes. If you buy Royalty Free at some of the non micrstock companies you will have a better chance of avoiding over use but you have no guarantee.

Of course, if there are any of us photographers left, you could get guaranteed total exlusivity and usage by asking us to take a photograph just for you. If you want several done together you will certainly save money over licensing from Getty. We know that for a fact and we have clients who know this too. How about your own exclusive food photos for example starting from around £200 each to use forever and for whatever? I think that is the same as a hi res Royalty Free photo at some libraries that anyone can use .

One final word about microstock. If you want bland and banal photos go and buy from microstock agencies as this is what they specialize in. Of course this will make your company look rather bland too. If you want photos that have had a little love and creativity injected into them with sometimes years of professional experience selling product and promoting brand images, then search out boutique stock sites like Funky Stock and sites like Photographers Direct or specialist sites that do not pile high and sell cheap.

Photography is ultimately like any other product you do get what you pay for, and that does not necessarily have to be a fortune. Most good photo libraries are sensibly priced or will negotiate fair prices. Just ask.

Bye for Now. Paul Williams.

Here is the link as promised. Happy reading.
Fair trade Photographer. Why you should not use micostock

and if you want to commission me see my portfolio at
Paul Williams Food Portfolio
or of course check out the photos at
Funky Stock

Food and Travel Photography news

You can get our latest food photography news at Funky Food News and Blog.

You can also get our latest stock photography news at Funky Stock News and Blog.

Check out our fact sheets and photos of popular destinations in Europe. Also find out about our latest food photography and photos.

If you are a picture buyer or editor you will find this news page invaluable.

You can also see award winning photographer Paul Randall Williams food portfolio at funkyfood.co.uk

Coffee & Coffee Beans Photos

Stock Photos of Coffee See  our Coffee Stock Photos 

Coffee is a  drink prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. They are seeds of coffee cherries that grow on trees in over 70 countries. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.

The energizing effect of caffeine in the coffee bean is thought to have been discovered in Yemen in Arabia and the north east of Ethiopia, and the cultivation of coffee first expanded in the Arab world. The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia. From the Muslim world, coffee spread from Egypt to Italy via trade with Venice and through Eastern Europe with the Turkish conquests, then to the rest of Europe and then onto Indonesia and the Americas.

Ethiopian ancestors of today's Oromo people were believed to have been the first to recognize the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant. From Ethiopia, coffee was said to have spread to Yemen, where the coffee beverage was first made and drunk, and then the beverage went to Egypt.

Stock Photos of CoffeeCoffee became more widely accepted after it was deemed a Christian beverage by Pope Clement VIII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the "Muslim drink." The first European coffee house opened in Italy in 1645. The Dutch were the first to import coffee on a large scale, and they were among the first to defy the Arab prohibition on the exportation of plants or unroasted seeds when Pieter van den Broeck smuggled seedlings from Mocha, Yemen, into Europe in 1616.[96] The Dutch later grew the crop in Java and Ceylon. The first exports of Indonesian coffee from Java to the Netherlands occurred in 1711. Through the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford's Queen's Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.

The Frenchman Gabriel de Clieu brought a coffee plant to the French territory of Martinique in the Caribbean, from which much of the world's cultivated arabica coffee is descended. Coffee thrived in the climate and was conveyed across the Americas. The territory of San Domingo (now Haiti) saw coffee cultivated from 1734, and by 1788 it supplied half the world's coffee. However, the dreadful conditions that the slaves worked in on coffee plantations were a factor in the soon to follow Haitian Revolution. The coffee industry never fully recovered there. Meanwhile, coffee had been introduced to Brazil in 1727, although its cultivation didn't gather momentum until independence in 1822.

Stock Photos of Coffee Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seed, or "bean", are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The green seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.

Of the two main species grown, arabica coffee (from C. arabica) is generally more highly regarded than robusta coffee (from C. canephora); robusta tends to be bitter and have less flavor but better body than arabica. Robusta coffee contains about 40–50% more caffeine than arabica. For this reason, it is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robusta beans are used in some espresso blends to provide a full-bodied taste, a better foam head known as crema, and to lower the ingredient cost.

Coffee beans must be ground and brewed to create a beverage. Almost all methods of preparing coffee require the beans to be ground and mixed with hot water for long enough to extract the flavor, but without boiling for more than an instant; boiling develops an unpleasant "cooked" flavor. The ideal temperature is 79 to 85 °C (174 to 185 °F) and the ideal serving temperature is 68 to 79 °C (154 to 174 °F).

Stock Photos of Coffee

Espresso-based coffee has a wide variety of possible presentations. In its most basic form, it is served alone as a shot or in the more watered-down style café américano—a shot or two of espresso with hot water added. Reversing the process by adding espresso to hot water preserves the crema, and is known as a long black. Milk can be added in various forms to espresso: steamed milk makes a caffè latte, equal parts steamed milk and milk froth make a cappuccino, and a dollop of hot foamed milk on top creates a caffè macchiato. The use of steamed milk to form patterns such as hearts or maple leaves is referred to as latte art.

Coffee has become a vital cash crop for many Third World countries. Over one hundred million people in developing countries have become dependent on coffee as their primary source of income. It has become the primary export and backbone for African countries like Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, as well as many Central American countries.

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Indian Food & Spices Food Photography

Stock Photos of Indian Food
See Paul Williams Food Portfolio at http://www.funkyfood.co.uk

The traditional food of India is characterized by the use of many varied spices, herbs and other vegetables grown in India and also for the widespread practice of vegetarianism across many sections of its society.

Each family of Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, it varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent.

India's religious beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved due to the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with neighboring Persia, ancient Greece, Mongols and West Asia, making it a unique blend of various cuisines across Asia.The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited as the main catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. The colonial period introduced European cooking styles to India adding to the flexibility and diversity of Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine has had a remarkable influence on cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia.

As a land that has experienced extensive immigration and intermingling through many millennia, India's cuisine has benefited from numerous food influences. The diverse climate in the region, ranging from deep tropical to alpine.

Stock Photos of Indian Food

In many cases, food has become a marker of religious and social identity, with varying taboos and preferences (for instance, a segment of the Jain population will not consume any roots or subterranean vegetables. One strong influence over Indian foods is the longstanding vegetarianism within sections of India's Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities. People who follow a strict vegetarian diet make up 20–42% of the population in India, while less than 30% are regular meat-eaters.

Around 7,000 BC, sesame, eggplant, and humped cattle had been domesticated in the Indus Valley. By 3000 BC, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and mustard were harvested in India. Many recipes first emerged during the initial Vedic period, when India was still heavily forested and agriculture was complemented with game hunting and forest produce. In Vedic times, a normal diet consisted of fruit, vegetables, grain, dairy products and honey. Over time, some segments of the population embraced vegetarianism, due to the ancient Hindu philosophy of ahimsa. This practice gained more popularity due to a cooperative climate where a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains could easily be grown throughout the year. Buddhism, among several other beliefs and practices borrowed vegetarianism from Hinduism to embrace Ahimsa. A food classification system that categorised any item as sattva, rajas or tamas developed in Ayurveda. Each was deemed to have a powerful effect on the body and the mind.

Later, invasions from Central Asia, Arabia, the Mughal empire, Persia, and elsewhere had a deep and fundamental effect on Indian cooking. Influence from traders such as the Arab and Portuguese diversified subcontinental tastes and meals. As with other cuisines, Indian cuisine has absorbed New World vegetables such as tomato, capsicum, chilli, and potato, as staples.

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Islamic rule introduced rich gravies, pilafs and non-vegetarian fare such as kebabs, resulting in Mughlai cuisine (Mughal in origin), as well as such fruits as apricots, melons, peaches, and plums. The Mughals were great patrons of cooking. Lavish dishes were prepared during the reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The Nizams of Hyderabad state meanwhile developed and perfected their own style of cooking with the most notable dish being the Biryani.

During this period the Portuguese and British introduced foods from the New World such as potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and chilies as well as cooking techniques like baking.

The staples of Indian cuisine are rice, atta (whole wheat flour), and a variety of pulses, the most important of which are masoor (most often red lentil), channa (bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or yellow gram), urad (black gram) and mung (green gram). Pulses may be used whole, dehusked, for example dhuli moong or dhuli urad, or split. Pulses are used extensively in the form of dal (split). Some of the pulses like channa and "Mung" are also processed into flour.

Stock Photos of Indian FoodMost Indian curries are cooked in vegetable oil. In North and West India, peanut oil has traditionally been most popular for cooking, while in Eastern India, mustard oil is more commonly used. Coconut oil is used widely along the western coast and South India, Gingelly oil is common in the South as well. In recent decades, sunflower oil and soybean oil have gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is also a popular cooking medium that replaces Desi ghee, clarified butter (the milk solids have been removed).

The most important/frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are chilli pepper, black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric (haldi, manjal), fenugreek (methi), asafoetida (hing, perungayam), ginger (adrak, inji), coriander (dhania), and garlic (lassan, poondu). Popular spice mixes are garam masala, which is usually a powder of five or more dried spices, commonly including cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Each region, and sometimes each individual chef, has a distinctive blend of garam masala. Goda masala is a popular sweet spice mix in Maharashtra. Some leaves are commonly used like tejpatta (cassia leaf), coriander leaf, fenugreek leaf and mint leaf. The common use of curry leaves, curry roots is typical of all South Indian cuisine. In sweet dishes, cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, and rose petal essences are seasoned.

Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines across the globe. The cuisine is popular not only among the large Indian community but also among the mainstream population of North America and Europe. In 2003, there were as many as 10,000 restaurants serving Indian cuisine in England and Wales alone. A survey held in 2007 revealed that more than 1,200 Indian food products have been introduced in the United States since 2000. According to Britain's Food Standards Agency, the Indian food industry in the United Kingdom is worth £3.2 billion, accounts for two-thirds of all eating out and serves about 2.5 million British customers every week. The popularity of curry, which originated in India, across Asia has often led to the dish being labeled as the "pan-Asian" dish. Curry's international appeal has also been compared to that of pizza. Though the tandoor did not originate in India, Indian tandoori dishes, such as chicken tikka made with Indian ingredients, enjoy widespread popularity. Chicken Tikka Masala has now become the most popular dish in the United Kingdom and curry sauces are now being exported from England back to India.

The spice trade between India and Europe led to the rise and dominance of Arab traders to such an extent that European explorers, such as Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus, set out to find new trade routes with India leading to the Age of Discovery.

Stock Photos of Indian Food

Stock Photos of Indian Food


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Travel Photos of The Amalfi Coast Italy

Stock Photos of Amalfi CoastThe Amalfi Coast, or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian, is a stretch of coastline on the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy (Province of Salerno), extending from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare in the east.

Renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic beauty, picturesque towns and diversity, the Amalfi Coast was featured in Positano (1953) by American writer John Steinbeck.

AMALFI

Amalfi is the main town of the coast on which it is located, named Costiera Amalfitana, and is today an important tourist destination together with other towns on the same coast, such as Positano, Ravello and others. Amalfi is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the 1920s and 1930s, Amalfi was a popular holiday destination for the British upper class and aristocracy.

Amalfi is first mentioned in the 6th century, and soon acquired importance as a maritime power, trading grain of its neighbors, salt from Sardinia and slaves from the interior, and even timber, for the gold dinars minted in Egypt and Syria, in order to buy the silks of the Byzantine empire that it resold in the West. Grain-bearing Amalfi traders enjoyed privileged positions in the Islamic ports.

An independent republic from the seventh century until 1075, Amalfi extracted itself from Byzantine vassalage and first elected a duke in 958; it rivalled Pisa and Genoa in its domestic prosperity and maritime importance, before the rise of Venice. In spite of some devastating setbacks it had a population of some 70,000, reaching an apogee about the turn of the millennium, during the reign of Duke Manso (966–1004).



In 1073 it fell to the Norman countship of Apulia, but was granted many rights. A prey to the Normans who encamped in the south of Italy, it became one of their principal posts. However, in 1131, it was reduced by King Roger II of Sicily, who had been refused the keys to its citadel.

Stock Photos of AmalfiIn 1135 and 1137, it was taken by the Pisans and rapidly declined in importance, though its maritime code, known as the Tavole Amalfitane, was recognized in the Mediterranean until 1570. A tsunami in 1343 destroyed the port and lower town, and Amalfi never recovered more than local importance.

In medieval culture Amalfi was famous for its flourishing schools of law and mathematics. Flavio Gioia, who is traditionally considered the first to introduce the mariner's compass to Europe, is said to be a native of Amalfi.

AMALFI CATHEDRAL

At the top of a staircase, Saint Andrew's Cathedral (Duomo) overlooks the Piazza Duomo, the heart of Amalfi. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century; its interior is adorned in the late Baroque style with a nave and two aisles divided by 20 columns.

In 1206 Saint Andrew's relics were brought to Amalfi from Constantinople by the Pietro Capuano following the Sack of Constantinople (an event of the 4th Crusade) after the completion of the town's cathedral. The cathedral contains a tomb in its crypt that it maintains still holds a portion of the relics of the apostle. A golden reliquary which originally housed his skull and another one used for processions through Amalfi on holy days can also be seen.

Stock Photos of Amalfi

The Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons. The correct name is “sfusato amalfitano”, and they are typically long and at least double the size of other lemons, with a thick and wrinkled skin and a sweet and juicy flesh without many pips. It is common to see lemons growing in the terraced gardens along the entire Amalfi coast between February and October.

RAVELLO

Ravello was an important town of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200.

Ravello was a diocesan town from 1086 to 1603; after that the bishop's see was moved to Scala. Situated high above the coast it has breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast. The town has served historically as a destination for artists, musicians, and writers, including Richard Wagner, M. C. Escher, Giovanni Boccaccio, Virginia Woolf, Gore Vidal, André Gide, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Graham Greene and Sara Teasdale who mentioned it in her prefatory dedication in Love Songs, one of her many books of poems.

Stock Photos of Positano



POSITANO



Positano was a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered in the 16th and 17th centuries. But by the mid-19th century, the town had fallen on hard times. More than half the population emigrated, mostly to Australia.

Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the 20th century. It began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950s, especially after John Steinbeck published his essay about Positano in Harper's Bazaar in May, 1953: "Positano bites deep", Steinbeck wrote. "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone." The houses of Positano almost seem to be built ontop of each other as they climb up the cliffs of the Amalfi coast. From a distance it is impossible to see how any access can be gained to the houses which are connected by a narrow winding road and tiny alley ways.

Positano has been featured in several films, including Only You (1994), and Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), as well as being mentioned in the 2009 musical film Nine in the song "Cinema Italiano". It also hosts the annual Cartoons on the Bay Festival, at which Pulcinella awards for excellence in animation are presented. From July 1967 and through most of the 1970s, Positano was home of singer-songwriter Shawn Phillips and was where most of his best known work was composed. Also, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones wrote the song "Midnight Rambler" in the cafes of Positano while on vacation. Today, tourism is by far the major industry in Positano. Positano is also very popular for L"Albertissimo", an alcoholic tipple that can only be found at a small stall at the main harbour called "L'alternativa".




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Photography of Venice.

Stock Photos of Venice

Go To Venice Stock Photos Collection

The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers. The population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants including those that live on other islands in the lagoon.

The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. Venice is also famous for its musical, particularly operatic, history, and its most famous son in this field is Antonio Vivaldi.

Tradition and the available evidence have led historians to agree that the original population of Venice comprised refugees from Roman cities such as Padua, Aquileia, Altino and Concordia (modern Portogruaro) and from the undefended countryside, who were fleeing successive waves of Germanic invasions and Huns. Some late Roman sources reveal the existence of fishermen on the islands in the original marshy lagoons. They were referred to as incolae lacunae ("lagoon dwellers"). The traditional founding is identified with the dedication of the first church, that of San Jacopo at the islot of Rialto (Rivoalto, "High Shore"), given a conventional date of 421.

Photos of Gondolas on the The Grand Canal Venice

Sometime in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the lagoon elected their first leader Ursus, who was confirmed by Byzantium and given the titles of hypatus and dux. He was the first historical Doge of Venice.

In 775-76, the bishopric seat of Olivolo (Helipolis) was created. During the reign of duke Agnello Particiaco (811-827) the ducal seat was moved from Malamocco to the highly protected Rialto, the current location of Venice. The monastery of St. Zachary and the first ducal palace and basilica of St. Mark, as well as a walled defense (civitatis murus) between Olivolo and Rialto were subsequently built here. Winged lions which may be seen in Venice are a symbol for St. Mark.

Stock Photos of Venice

From the ninth to the twelfth century Venice developed into a city state (an Italian thalassocracy or Repubblica Marinara, the other three being Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi). Its strategic position at the head of the Adriatic made Venetian naval and commercial power almost invulnerable. With the elimination of pirates along the Dalmatian coast, the city became a flourishing trade center between Western Europe and the rest of the world (especially the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world).

The Republic of Venice seized a number of locations on the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200, mostly for commercial reasons, because pirates based there were a menace to trade. The Doge already carried the titles of Duke of Dalmatia and Duke of Istria.

Venice became an imperial power following the Venetian-financed Fourth Crusade, which in 1204 seized and sacked Constantinople and established the Latin Empire. As a result of this conquest considerable Byzantine plunder was brought back to Venice. This plunder included the gilt bronze horses from the Hippodrome of Constantinople which were now placed above the entrance to St Mark's cathedral in Venice, where they remain to this day. Following the fall of Constantinople the former Roman Empire was partitioned among the Latin crusaders and the Venetians. Venice subsequently carved out a sphere of influence in the Mediterranean known as the Duchy of the Archipelago, and seized Crete.

Venice’s long decline started in the 15th century, when it first made an unsuccessful attempt to hold Thessalonica against the Ottomans (1423–1430). She also sent ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks (1453). After the city fell to Sultan Mehmet II he declared war on Venice. The war lasted thirty years and cost Venice much of her eastern Mediterranean possessions. Next, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Then Portugal found a sea route to India, destroying Venice’s land route monopoly. France, England and Holland followed them. Venice’s oared galleys had no advantage when it came to traversing the great oceans. She was left behind in the race for colonies.

Stock Photos of Venice

The Black Death devastated Venice in 1348 and once again between 1575 and 1577. In three years the plague killed some 50,000 people. In 1630, the plague killed a third of Venice's 150,000 citizens.[17] Venice began to lose its position as a center of international trade during the later part of the Renaissance as Portugal became Europe's principal intermediary in the trade with the East, striking at the very foundation of Venice's great wealth, while France and Spain fought for hegemony over Italy in the Italian Wars, marginalising its political influence. However, the Venetian empire was a major exporter of agricultural products and, until the mid-18th century, a significant manufacturing center.

After 1,070 years, the Republic lost independence when Napoleon Bonaparte on 12 May 1797, conquered Venice during the First Coalition. The French conqueror brought to an end the most fascinating century of its history: during the Settecento (18th century) Venice became perhaps the most elegant and refined city in Europe, greatly influencing art, architecture and literature. Napoleon was seen as something of a liberator by the city's Jewish population, although it can be argued they had lived with fewer restrictions in Venice. He removed the gates of the Ghetto and ended the restrictions on when and where Jews could live and travel in the city.

St Marks Square Venice

Venice became Austrian territory when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio on 12 October 1797. The Austrians took control of the city on 18 January 1798. It was taken from Austria by the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 and became part of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy, but was returned to Austria following Napoleon's defeat in 1814, when it became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. In 1848-1849 a revolt briefly reestablished the Venetian Republic under Daniele Manin. In 1866, following the Third Italian War of Independence, Venice, along with the rest of the Veneto, became part of the newly created Kingdom of Italy.

During the Second World War, the city was largely free from attack, the only aggressive effort of note being Operation Bowler, a precision strike on the German naval operations there in 1945. Venice was finally liberated by New Zealand troops under Freyberg on 29 April 1945.

Grand Canal At Acadamia

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Summer BBQ Food Photography, Photos and Images

Stock Photos of VeniceBarbecue or barbeque (BBQ, Bar-B-Q and Bar-B-Que)

View our BBQ Stock Photos


The origins of both the activity of barbecue cooking and the word itself are somewhat obscure. Most etymologists believe that barbecue derives ultimately from the word barabicu found in the language of both the Timucua of Florida and the Taíno people of the Caribbean. The word translates as "sacred fire pit." The word describes a grill for cooking meat, consisting of a wooden platform resting on sticks.


There is ample evidence that both the word and cooking technique migrated out of the Caribbean and into other languages and cultures, with the word (barbacoa) moving from Caribbean dialects into Spanish, then French and English. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first recorded use of the word in the English language in 1697 by the British buccaneer William Dampier.


While the standard modern English spelling of the word is barbecue, local variations like barbeque and truncations such as bar-b-q or bbq may also be found. In the southeastern United States, the word barbecue is used predominantly as a noun referring to roast pork, while in the southwestern states, cuts of beef are often cooked.


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In the southern United States, barbecue initially revolved around the cooking of pork. During the 19th century, pigs were a low-maintenance food source that could be released to forage for themselves in forests and woodlands. When food or meat supplies were low, these semi-wild pigs could then be caught and eaten.


The word barbecue is also used to refer to a social gathering where food is served, usually outdoors in the early afternoon. In the southern USA, outdoor gatherings are not typically called "barbecues" unless barbecue itself will actually be on the menu, instead generally favoring the word "cookouts". The device used for cooking at a barbecue is commonly referred to as a "barbecue", "barbecue grill", or "grill".


Barbecuing encompasses four distinct types of cooking techniques. The original technique is cooking by using indirect heat or low-level direct radiant heat at lower temperatures (usually around 240°F) and significantly longer cooking times (several hours), often with smoke. Another technique is baking, utilizing a masonry oven or any other type of baking oven, which uses convection to cook meats and starches with moderate temperatures for an average cooking time (about an hour plus a few extra minute


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The choice and combination of woods burned result in different flavors imparted to the meat. Woods commonly selected for their flavor include mesquite, hickory, maple, guava, kiawe, cherry, pecan, apple and oak. Woods to avoid include conifers. These contain resins and tars, which impart undesirable resinous and chemical flavors. If these woods are used, they should be burned in a catalytic grill, such as a rocket stove, so that the resins and tars are completely burned before coming into contact with the food.


Cooking with charcoal, like cooking with gas, is a more manageable approximation of cooking over a wood fire. Charcoal does not impart the rich flavor of cooking over hardwoods but is cheap and easy to purchase in sizes appropriate for close proximity cooking in typical commercially available home grills and griddles.


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