Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cezanne: Painting and Dining

A highlight of my recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum in New York was an exhibit called "Madame Cezanne" that included all of his paintings and sketches of his wife. Several of Cezanne's wonderful still-lifes and landscapes are also in the Museum of Modern Art. So I've been thinking about Cezanne in a number of ways, including a fascination with his influence on the cubists.

Always, I am fascinated by connections between food and art, so I searched for additional artist-cookbook combinations that seemed to reflect a scholarly approach. (Sometimes one finds cookbooks that are only very tenuously based on a subject -- let's not talk about them!) I found a very nice one about Cezanne.
Cezanne loved to paint fruit, but he needed durable subjects like apples
(not peaches) because he took such a long time to complete his work.
Sometimes he even used artificial flowers.
These things I learned from my new cookbook:
The main text of the book is a fairly standard biography, but the illustrations are very
expressive, and the recipes are appealing.
Provencal recipes maybe really reflect Cezanne's taste or actual foods he's known to have eaten.
Potatoes cooked in olive oil was a documented Cezanne favorite.
Inspired by this, I made potatoes in olive oil for dinner a couple of nights ago.
And I might try this duck recipe some time.
Illustrations include both photos of Cezanne's environment and reproductions of his art.
From the book: I liked this self-portrait.
Cezanne's studio, preserved in a museum now made from his Provencal home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Around the World for Cookbook Wednesday

As you know if you've been following my posts for Cookbook Wednesday, I love international cookbooks. Today is the last episode of this blogging adventure, sponsored by Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations. As a finale, I decided to make a quick cookbook tour of the world, at least the parts I haven't covered in my posts so far -- I've already written Cookbook Wednesday posts on Australia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Israel, and several regions of the US. I tried to pick cookbooks that really were written and published in the country they were about, or written by people who had lived there.

Starting with Europe and Africa:

Classic European Cookbooks:
Anne Volokh, The Art of Russian Cuisine. Bayerishes Kochbuch (belongs to my daughter & Bavarian son-in-law).
Sicilian cuisine: Mary Taylor Simeti, Pomp and Sustenance; tourist pamphlet, "Palermo Cooking."
France: Ginette Mathiot, La Cuisine Pour Tous; Raymond Oliver: La Cuisine.
I have many other European cookbooks, especially French and Italian cookbooks!
Specialities of Turkish Cuisine,
purchased in Istanbul, 1990.
One of my newest books: Couscous by Paula Wolfert -- I hope to experiment with North African dishes soon.
And Anetta Miller, African Flavors: Recipes with Proverbs, a most intriguing book.
I have tried various Asian cookbooks. Here are two that really came from there:

A Chinese cookbook published many years ago
by the Chinese government. Sort of propaganda.
A cookbook in Japanese. Cover, left; sample 2-page spread, right.
brought to us by our international exchange student. (No, I have no idea what it says.)
And now a few from the Americas -- remember I've already written about California, Louisiana, the Southwest, and a few other places:
Favorite recipes from Miss Hullings Cafeteria, the popular, long-gone
St.Louis downtown eatery: a no-longer-existing type of restaurant!
Very early American cookbook by Sarah Josepha Hale
who worked to establish the Thanksgiving holiday.
This is a Canadian cookbook, a gift from my friend Kappu
who has lived in Toronto for many years.
I see Toronto as an incredibly international city!
Latin America: Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz, Latin American Cooking;
Cocina Judia a recipe collection from a synagogue in Buenos Aires;
and the classic Diana Kennedy, The Cuisines of Mexico.
Have I tried recipes from all of these books? Well, not quite, but I've tried a lot, and I really love them. I'll miss the fun of Cookbook Wednesday, and hope Louise comes up with a new challenge for her dedicated readers and blogging family.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New York Meals

Obviously we are very happy to be at home with the near-miss blizzard today in New York. We did eat some very nice meals there -- here is a brief report on a few restaurants I haven't mentioned in earlier posts:

We had a nice lunch at Westville on Hudson St. shortly after checking into our nearby hotel:
Inside Westville
A big selection of roasted vegetable, served several to a plate.
(Photo from the Westville website.)
Len's sandwich

At AQUAGRILL on Spring Street we enjoyed a really appealing dinner:

Three kinds of local oysters -- there are 33 kinds on the menu.
I ate two of them before taking the photo, so two shells are empty.
Len's Bouillabaise -- I had scallops.
Pear Tarte Tatin for dessert

We had brunch at Stage Door Deli near B&H Photo (where we shopped):
Coffee, a tiny juice, and French toast with strawberries all for $8.75.
City Winery actually makes wine in downtown New York City, and serves it with a variety of food. They also have a large performance space, which wasn't offering any entertainment the night we ate there.
I ordered meatballs. Very nice.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Picasso's Kitchen

Visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York was incredibly enjoyable and full of surprises, as well as many very familiar works of art. I was amazed to discover a Picasso painting titled "The Kitchen," painted in 1948. According to the documentation it's a very complicated work, with echoes of a number of related ideas that Picasso was thinking about at the time:

MOMA Sculpture Garden. Near front: "She-Goat" by Picasso, 1950.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Neue Galerie, New York

This afternoon in New York we walked across Central Park to the
Neue Galerie, a small and elegant museum dedicated to the arts of Vienna in
the early 20th century. The Shiele exhibit was utterly fascinating.
Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is the most important work in the
collection. Recently regained by the Bloch-Bauer family after a long struggle,
the painting was purchased by Ronald Lauder for the Neue Galerie.
The museum cafe specializes in Viennese treats, with whipped cream of course.
The Klimttorte (lower right) is decorated with gold.
The Sachertorte (upper right) is traditional.
At the cafe. Unfortunately there is no photography in the splendid rooms of
the museum, which is in a 5th avenue mansion.
Earlier in the day, we shopped at B&H photo and spent a few hours at the American Museum of Natural History.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Day at the Met

From the Medieval Collection.
NY-Metropolitan-museum 3
Looking down into the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum in New York where
we spent most of the day, seeing several special exhibits and some of the permanent collection.
NY-Metropolitan-museum 9
Pieter Bruegel the Elder: "The Harvesters."
Though a fan of Bruegel, I was unfamiliarwith this incredible work from 1565. The harvesters are eating
lunch in the lower right corner, and working at left, while the background goes all the way out past the fields
 to the sea. A treehides a church and perhaps a village. I sat and contemplated this work for a long time.
NY-Metropolitan-museum 8
One of the harvesters, cutting bread.
NY-Metropolitan-museum 7
The open-air meal.
We managed to see the costume institute's special exhibit on mourning dress in the 19th century, an El Greco exhibit; "Madame Cezanne" containing all Cezanne's portraits of his wife; a recently restored mural by Thomas Hart Benton; and the Lauder collection of cubist paintings by Picasso, Braque, Gris, and Leger. We spent quite a bit of time in the permanent collection of Dutch Golden Age art including works by Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer, as well as Breugel. I've posted a few here, more may be on the way eventually.

Exhausting day, but worth it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Museum of Modern Art, New York

MOMA: Minimalist Painting
Fifth Floor Cafe, coffee at lunch
Matisse Cut-Out Exhibit
Riding the Subway to get to MOMA: I figured it out!

For more see my Flickr album: "Day at MOMA."

A Georgia O'Keeffe Cookbook

Following up my posts about Southwest cookbooks, I want to dedicate this post to the cookbook A Painter's Kitchen: Recipes from the kitchen of Georgia O'Keeffe by Margaret Wood. In the last years of O'Keeffe's life, Wood was her companion, and often cooked the dishes that O'Keeffe loved, learning O'Keeffe's favorite recipes. At that time, O'Keeffe had lived in New Mexico for around 40 years. She had two homes, one in Abiquiu, and one at Ghost Ranch not far away.

A vegetable and herb garden provided much of the produce for O'Keeffe's table, and she obtained other foods from local farmers, shops, and gatherers of wild plants. Thus, although O'Keeffe's culinary background was from the midwest and New York, food at her two homes was very much local. For holidays such as Christmas, O'Keeffe served traditional foods such as tamales to her neighbors. Throughout the book, Wood provides background on the origins of O'Keeffe's recipes and ingredients. Photos included show O'Keeffe working in her kitchen or serving coffee or food in her home.

The Abiquiu home is now a very popular museum, while Ghost Ranch offers a variety of places to stay and activities to longer-term visitors. I once visited this area, and I was overwhelmed by seeing the landscapes that O'Keeffe painted -- unfortunately, no artworks by O'Keeffe are included in Wood's book.

My photo of Abiquiu
My photo of Ghost Ranch showing Pedernal,
the mountain near Ghost Ranch.
Brooklyn Museum: Red Hills with the Pedernal
O'Keeffe's very famous 1936 painting of Pedernal:
Brooklyn Museum

As I'm fascinated by the relationship of food and art, I also wanted to share
the above images of two other artist cookbooks from my collection.
Cookbook Wednesday is inspired by
Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Black and White World

Viewing Michigan from the air, returning from very green Florida...
I realized that I live in a black and white world.
And I took this photo of my back yard at mid-day!