Friday, January 31, 2020

In My Kitchen, January 2020

In my kitchen this month I decided to photograph the various pitchers and cruets and decanters that I have on my shelves. Some are newish, others old, a few are actually antiques. I use the smaller ones as milk pitchers, the larger ones as water pitchers, and a few are just for decoration. In some of my photos I picked out one or two tea towels to be the background. 

I’ve done a lot of cooking, but I’ve already written about my two new cookbooks and the recipes I’ve tried. I didn’t buy many new things, just replaced some worn-out cutting boards. So here are just a few things I cooked recently:

Home-made baba ganoush with crunchy vegetables.
Note that purple carrots have a yellow center!
Salmon croquettes from Trader Joe’s frozen salmon filets.
Soup for a winter night — many of my posts this month deal with winter!
Meatball salad with ginger-soy dressing.
Inspired by my new Asian cookbooks.

I’m sharing with other bloggers who show what they have in their kitchen each month. For a list of links to their posts see

This post and all photos © 2020 by mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Vulnerable and Sympathetic Characters

“Yes. Patience is a process that births forgiveness.” 
-- Natalia Sylvester, Everyone Knows You Go Home p. 305)

If you've never really been vulnerable, this book can make you understand what really precarious living is like, understand through the lives of characters who flee the gangs in Central America to cross the burning desert and then live in the shadows in Texas. 

Everyone Knows You Go Home begins with a ghost:
"They were married on the Day of the Dead, el Día de los Muertos, which no one gave much thought to in all the months of planning, until the bride’s deceased father-in-law showed up in the car following the ceremony. He manifested behind the wheel, then stretched his arm over the back of the passenger’s seat as he turned to face Martin and Isabel." (p. 1).
The ghost reappears on the newly-married couple's anniversary every year, as Isabel learns more and more about her husband's family and why the now-dead father disappeared from their lives. A story of violence and danger could be melodramatic, but the skillful writing in this novel avoids sensationalism. As Isabel discovers the stories of her husband and his relatives, they become more and more appealing and understandable.

It's amazing that a story about people who are vulnerable can also be so delicate. They are vulnerable because of their status as immigrants (even with a green card), because of their relationships with partners whose lives were damaged, because of illness and death, and because they have lost their loved ones or witnessed deaths up close. When they cross the border to Texas, they are vulnerable to the "coyotes" who stash them in car trunks and in unpleasant hidden motels. All are vulnerable to gangs who rob them of everything; women are vulnerable to violent men who might sexually assault them. Yet the story of the family in the book is vividly individualized, and their experiences are portrayed with sensitivity.

Recently, I’ve been reading about a controversy over a white woman of privilege who received millions of dollars for a novel telling the story of Central American refugees trying to flee across Mexico to the US border. The outrage, in my opinion, isn’t so much that she “appropriated” their story, but that publishers only pay big money to white women, not to Latina women who tell such stories. I saw a list of books by authors of color who didn’t get rich, but whose works, it was said, were better than the one that hit the jackpot. I’m glad I found the list which led me to this excellent book, but unfortunately I don’t remember where I read it.

This blog post copyright © 2020 by mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com. Blogs that republish this without permission are stealing it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Court Bouillon for Champignons à la Grecque

Ingredients for Court Bouillon
From Mastering the Art of French
Volume I
To make Julia Child's recipe for Champignons à la Grecque you begin by making a court bouillon: that is a combination of water, oil, lemon juice, whole spices, and aromatics. You use this broth to cook mushrooms. At the end, you boil down the broth and strain it to use as a light sauce, along with a fresh herb garnish. The finished dish has a very delicate and delicious flavor. This is a classic recipe, though some versions by other chefs include a bit of tomato paste with the other ingredients.

Recently, we made this dish and wondered about the term court bouillon. We could just as well have wondered why a French vegetable preparation is called Greek -- à la grecque. But we know better than to ask about why the French give things the names that they do. A la grecque is just the French term for things cooked in a broth of lemon juice, olive oil, coriander/cilantro, etc. As the New York Times says: "Despite the name, vegetables à la grecque is French through and through." (The article advances the unlikely theory that 15th century refugees from the Ottoman Empire introduced this combination of flavors to the French, but never mind.)

Julia Child’s recipe for
 Champignons à la Grecque
Court bouillon literally means "short stock." It's short, we learned, because of the short time that it's cooked. A standard bouillon includes various vegetables and often meat or bones, and is cooked long and slowly. A "short" or "court" bouillon is cooked quickly, using acid such as lemon juice to extract flavors from aromatic vegetables and spices only, no meat. To quote an article on the Kitchn website:
"Because it’s cooked for a half an hour at most, a court bouillon never reaches the same level of flavor or complexity as a full-term stock. This sounds like a negative, but a court bouillon is actually useful for cooking mild-flavored things like fish or vegetables. In these cases, a full stock would tend to overshadow the natural flavors of the food, but a court bouillon gives just right balance of flavor and delicacy."
This Wordy Wednesday blog post copyright © 2020 mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com. If you read this at another site, it's been pirated.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Don't Waste Your Time With This Book

I've already wasted too much time reading this dumbed-down version of human history. I'm not going to waste more time trying to explain what I don't like. There are much better books on human evolution, with way more subtlety and fewer sophomoric examples of the authors' prejudices.

NOTE: I know it's a best seller and has the endorsement of many famous people!

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Personal narratives about the experience of slavery in America and in the Caribbean region were an important influence in the anti-slavery movement of the 18th and 19th century. Fictional treatment of the slaves' experiences also began in the fairly early days of slavery and stories of slavery remain a frequent theme in popular literature today.

The Life of Olaudah Equiano,
Dover edition, originally published 1999

The Life of Olaudah Equiano

A very early slave narrative is The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, published 1814. It's tough reading the repeated acts of cruelty and inhumanity that the enslaved author experienced and witnessed, but there's a lot of very interesting material in this book.

Olaudah's childhood in Africa was very vividly described, although he was kidnapped into slavery at a very early age. He always speaks of his village in Africa as "we," indicating that he retained a strong sense of his identity. I enjoyed this description:
"Our manner of living is entirely plain; for as yet the natives are unacquainted with those refinements in cookery which debauch the taste. Bullocks, goats, and poultry, supply the greatest part of their food. These constitute likewise the principal wealth of the country, and the chief articles of its commerce. The flesh is usually stewed in a pan; to make it savory we sometimes use also pepper, and other spices, and we have salt made of wood ashes. Our vegetables are mostly plantains, eadas, yams, beans, and Indian corn. The head of the family usually eats alone; his wives and slaves have also their separate tables. Before we taste food we always wash our hands: indeed our cleanliness on all occasions is extreme; but on this it is an indispensable ceremony." (pp. 12-13).
After the author's kidnapping and enslavement, he describes the various places where he lived as a slave in Africa, and then his agony during his time on the slave ship where he experienced the infamous middle passage from Africa. His next life was that of a slave in one of the British islands of the Caribbean. The starvation, the filth, the large number of deaths, and the insane abuse of the human cargo of these ships is haunting, and I have been horrified whenever I have read about it.

Violent and unjust laws that allowed any black man to be impressed into slavery were normal in the Americas at that time, and the author often was nearly a victim of these laws even after he had purchased his freedom from his original owner. In the islands, especially, the law always took the oath of a white man in preference to that of a black man, which meant that free blacks were often treated with great contempt, for example, the refusal to pay their wages after they had completed an agreed on job. The Quakers of Philadelphia were an exception, and were already opposed to slavery and unjust treatment before these were widely held views.

Olaudah worked at several jobs, especially as a skilled sailor, both before and after he was freed from slavery. He traveled to many places and met people from many cultures. I especially liked his description of the feasts of Caribbean Indian tribes -- how they made alcoholic liquor from pineapples, how they roasted alligator meat, and more. Shipwrecks, visits to exotic places, and descriptions of a great variety of work keep the narrative interesting. For example:
"When we had dispatched our business at Cadiz, we went to Gibraltar, and from thence to Malaga, a very pleasant and rich city, where there is one of the finest cathedrals I had ever seen. It had been above fifty years in building, as I had heard, though it was not then quite finished; great part of the inside, however, was completed and highly decorated with the richest marble columns, and many superb paintings; it was lighted occasionally by an amazing number of wax tapers of different sizes, some of which were as thick as a man’s thigh; these, however, were only used on some of their grand festivals. I was very much shocked at the custom of bullbaiting, and other diversions which prevailed here on Sunday evenings, to the great scandal of Christianity and morals." (p. 152)
Details of Olaudah's conversion and how he experienced the Christian faith no doubt made this book more attractive to the audience of his time. Besides his spiritual experiences, he often mentions his dreams, especially his frequent prophetic dreams that prefigure disasters such as shipwrecks and betrayals.

The narrative concludes with the hope that the British government will soon abolish slavery -- the issue was under debate as he wrote. Olaudah Equiano died in 1797, and in fact the abolition law was not passed until 1833.

Washington Black, published 2018

Washington Black

A recent and popular book about the life of a slave in the early 19th century is Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. This is a much more exciting narrative, as you would expect from fiction!

The title character of this novel is born into slavery on a Caribbean island. He has a complex relationship with his master and his master's family. After being taught to read and write and calculate, showing a great deal of intelligence, Washington Black dramatically escapes from  his master's plantation in a hot-air balloon, which was a rare piece of early 19th century technology. He has many adventures in the USA and Canada, and eventually England. This novel is fast-paced and not at all polemical as are the actual slave narratives that I've read. I can see why it's so popular today!

Other Books about Slavery

From my past reading: histories, memoirs, and historical fictions that emphasize slavery, slave narratives, and the role of African blacks in American history:
  • Frederick Douglass's Autobiography
  • Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Out of the House of Bondage by Thavolia Glymph
  • The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed our First Families by Adrian Miller
  • A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America by James McWilliams
  • The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
  • The Last Runaway, a novel by Tracy Chevalier

This blog post copyright © 2020 mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

"Paris 1919"

Wars I have known include the Vietnam War; repeated fighting in Yugoslavia and the Balkans; the 1967, 1973, 1982, and 2006 wars between Israel and various neighbors; the ongoing internal war of Israel with Gaza; the long American conflict in Iraq spilling over into Syria and Iran; conflicts between Turkey, Iran, and the Kurdish  minorities there; sporadic violence between India and Pakistan; and dimly in my memory, the Korean war. Less bloody but pretty dramatic have been the continued anger at Japan by China and Korea for Japan's brutal occupation that ended after World War II; the continuing rivalry between Greece and other countries; and the continuing drama over the former republics of the USSR. Maybe I missed a few!

Diplomatic history is a topic that I would say doesn't interest me at all. I usually concentrate on social and economic history. Nevertheless, I found Margaret MacMillan's book Paris 1919: the Months that Changed the World (published 2002) amazingly readable, relatable, and enjoyable: the very detailed explanation of the post-World War I negotiations among a large number of nations was quite fascinating.  In particular, I learned a lot about the background of all those wars I've read about during my lifetime.

Paris 1919 elucidates the deep connections between those wars I have known and the post World War I settlements. I learned much about the creation of the idea of national self-determination, about the rationale for the national boundaries drawn up for Eastern Europe, about the dissolution and redefinition of the territories of the Ottoman Empire, and about the origins of rivalries and resentments between nations in East Asia. The challenge of dealing with a rapidly changing situation during the Russian Revolution was also critical to the story of the 1919 peace process.

Obviously the causes of World War II also go back to the World War I contenders and how they made peace. And World War II indisputably had a major impact on the subsequent conflicts. Still, the background and the consequences of the 1919 peace discussions and agreements explain a great deal of recent international politics.

I especially enjoyed Mac Millan's portrayals of the national leaders and diplomats who took part in the peace negotiations. The heads of state and the lesser diplomats, analysts, proponents of nationalist ideals, and other negotiators are all fascinating. Examples are Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clémenceau, David Lloyd George, Jan Smuts, Ferdinand Foch, Arthur Balfour, Chaim Weizmann, T.E. Lawrence, Herbert Hoover, John Maynard Keynes, and many more. I had heard of many of them, but without much detail.

President Woodrow Wilson's presence throughout the negotiations was extremely important. He had proposed a set of goals: Wilson's Fourteen Points, and had also outlined the ideals for the League of Nations, which many countries hoped would preserve the peace after the treaties were signed. I had definitely never read through those 14 points, which specified the future of many of the world's countries -- and trouble spots. I remembered from the little I learned in school about the American refusal to ratify the League of Nations and the overall peace treaty, but this book greatly increased what I know.

Best of all, MacMillan often presents a capsule of historic reality in a way I find appealing. Here are some quotes that illustrate what I like in the book:
"From Rumania south to Greece, the Ottomans had left their cooking, their customs, their bureaucracy, their corruption and, to a certain extent, their Islam. 'Balkan' had become shorthand for a geographic area but also for a state of mind, and for a history marked by frequent war and intrigue. Their past had taught the peoples of the Balkans, as the proverb has it, that 'the hand that cannot be cut off, must be kissed.' ...As Churchill observed, the Balkans produce more history than they can consume." (p. 111-112)
"It was inevitable that Shantung would attract the interest of outside powers during the general scramble for concessions and influence in China. Its population of some thirty million offered markets and cheap labor.... The Chinese government ... in 1898 signed an agreement giving Germany a ninety-nine-year lease on about a hundred square miles of Chinese territory  around Kiachow harbor. ... The German government lavished money on its new possession... . It enticed German business ... to build a railway and dig mines. ... The navy took charge of the new port at Kiachow. Tsingtao (Qingdao), as it was known, was a model development with superb modern harbor facilities, neatly laid-out paved streets, piped water and sewage, an up-to-date telephone network, German schools, hospitals, and even a brewery that made excellent German beer as it still does today." [The treaty in the end denied China's demand for the return of Shantung, and awarded it to Japan.] (p. 326)
"Britain and France paid a price for their role in the peace settlements in the Middle East. The French never completely pacified Syria, and it never paid for itself. The British pulled back in Iraq and Jordan as quickly as they could, but they found they were stuck with Palestine and an increasingly poisonous atmosphere between Arabs and Jews. The Arab world as a whole never forgot its betrayal and Arab hostility came to focus on the example of Western perfidy nearest at hand, the Zionist presence in Palestine. Arabs also remembered the brief hope of Arab unity at the end of the war. After 1945, those resentments and that hope continued to shape the Middle East." (p. 491) 
Will I read more diplomatic history? I don't know, but I really feel the value of this book!

This blog post written by Mae Sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com. © 2020 mae sander
If you read this post at another blog it's been pirated. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Food in color can't compensate for winter white and grey, but I still like meals that are cheerful.
Here's a meal with color: red cabbage, tomatoes, and meatballs with catsup.
Salads rely on vegetables that grew far away from here. The only local foods in Michigan had to be stored last fall.
Here: avocado, lemon, and olives -- which never grow here. Some babaganoush -- at least it's home-made.
Lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, and fennel stalks also came from far away. The salad dressing is made with
a jar of roasted peppers, olive oil, vinegar, and the immersion blender. Colorful!

California tomatoes. Surprisingly good for winter tomatoes.

A beautiful seasonal mandarin, also from California.

A Colorful Restaurant Meal

At a downtown restaurant named Dessous,
we recently had a pleasant dinner with friends.
One of the appetizers for our restaurant-week menu was duck nachos.
A main course: salmon with salsa and vegetables.
Dessous dessert: lemon tart with berries. Nice color!
All photos © 2020 mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com

The Natural Environment

In January, the Michigan landscape has little color. Snow buntings in a snowy stubble field are mainly black, brown, and white. We enjoyed looking at them, but where's the color?
"COLOR" is my word of the day.

Monday, January 20, 2020


In the East, the sky is becoming a very anemic pink. It’s 7:30 AM in Michigan, mid-winter. Snow, at times mixed with freezing rain, fell all day Saturday, but we’re prepared, here, and the snow removal services both private and municipal made sure we were able to get out of our houses, driveways, and streets. Still, it’s cold and dark —- far below freezing, in fact. Not, however, quite as bad as last year when we had a Polar Vortex. But that could come again.

Snow in my front yard.
I've been sort of holed-up in my house reading a long history book, and also starting and not finishing a few other books. It's a new week, now, with new things to think about and to do.

Remembering a Leader

Martin Luther King speaking in Berkeley, California, in 1967. I attended this speech. (Washington Post Photo)

Martin Luther King Day is today. I remember KIng's leadership and his tragic death vividly. I heard him speak three times, and he was a memorable orator in a style that's no longer very current among American leaders (that I know of). Every year on his day there are lots of speeches and articles and marches to say what we learned from his life, what we should have learned, how things have changed, and how things have remained the same. I don't need to repeat this.


This kind of weather demands comfort food, obviously. I’ve been experimenting with flavors, some new. Not all my experiments are photogenic, though! I’ve bought a second new cookbook by the author Maki Watanabe titled Asian Salads. Like her book Asian Noodles, which I bought a few weeks ago, it explains the ingredients and gives recipes for a variety of interesting dishes.

Stir-fried broccolini salad.

Chicken basted with Hoi-Sin sauce to go with the broccolini.

Snowy Weather Demands Movie-Going

There was nothing that we wanted to do outdoors in the cold grey weather yesterday, so we went to see the recent movie "Knives Out."

It's a very tightly plotted murder mystery with two rather featureless detectives, a very unpleasant set of the victim's relatives, and Daniel Craig.  Craig is a private investigator who doesn't quite know why he's been asked to look into an apparent suicide. Also featured: a creepy, creaky mansion filled with little oddball collectibles that belonged to the dead man. All the actors were just great!

We loved it!

I've been working on this post since the anemic sunrise, and now it's becoming a sunny morning. Maybe a bit of a walk will make this a better day!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The detective who didn't like food (much)

Detectives and policemen in classic mystery stories usually love their food, if it's mentioned at all. Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot fusses over his tisanes as much as over his mustache. Robert Parker's Spenser has very refined taste, though he also likes a donut. Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn sometimes eats at the southwestern chain Lotaburger, and he also loves his wife's Indian stew. Mysteries set in Italy by Dona Leon and Andrea Camilleri, and in France by Martin Walker abound with descriptions of local food.

In contrast, in the novel In the Woods, author Tana French features a Detective Ryan, who does not seem to like food much at all. Many of the descriptions of what he ate or what he saw other people eat are downright unappetizing. As in many detective stories, Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox's long hours of hard work often include stops for food or watching other people eat, but here, food hardly pleases Ryan, who narrates the story.

Tana French, In the Woods.
First novel in the series Dublin Murder Squad.
Each novel features a different detective.
Dublin Castle is the interesting location from which the fictitious Murder Squad works; I remember visiting there on a visit to Dublin in 2011, which made reading the book more fun. I enjoyed the suspense and the tightly constructed plot as well as the psychological thriller aspects of this book: I've become quite a fan of Tana French.

While suspense and detection are the important elements of the book, I was amused by the nonconformist food descriptions. For example, unpleasant sandwiches seem to be a frequent topic of Detective Ryan's disgust. Some examples of food in quick shops or pubs or at home with his flatmate Heather:
"'I said I’m not hungry,' I said, hearing the whine in my voice, but I opened the sandwich anyway: Cassie had a point, it was likely to be a very long day. We sat on the curb, and she pulled a bottle of lemon Coke out of her satchel. The sandwich was officially chicken and stuffing, but it tasted mainly of plastic wrapper, and the Coke was warm and too sweet. I felt slightly sick." (In the Woods, pp. 59-60). 
"They were eating toasted sandwiches; the salty, chemical smell made me feel sick. Outside the window the rain bucketed down a gutter." (p. 288).  
"I went into the kitchen and started making myself a sandwich, ham and Heather’s low-fat cheese— I’d forgotten to go shopping. The Guinness had left me bloated and uncomfortable." (p. 282).
Other people in the novel sometimes try to please Ryan with food including his mother and a potential witness named Mrs. Fitzgerald. They don't succeed:
"That weekend I went over to my parents’ house for Sunday dinner. ... 'Where’s Cassie today?' my mother asked after dinner. She had made macaroni and cheese— she has some idea that this is my favorite dish (which it may well have been, at some point in my life) and she cooks it, as a small timid expression of sympathy, whenever something in the papers indicates that a case of mine isn’t going well. Even the smell of it makes me claustrophobic and itchy." (p. 277).
"We stopped at Lowry’s and bought Mrs. Fitzgerald a tin of shortbread, to make up for the fact that we still hadn’t found her purse. Big mistake: that generation is compulsively competitive about generosity, and the biscuits meant she had to get a bag of scones out of the freezer and defrost them in the microwave and butter them and decant jam into a battered little dish, while I sat on the edge of her slippery sofa manically jiggling one knee until Cassie gave me a hairy look and I forced myself to stop. I knew I had to eat the damn things, too. ... "'Ah… turned out badly, did he?' Cassie said confidentially. 'Could I take another scone, Mrs. Fitzgerald? These are the nicest ones I’ve had in ages.' They were the only ones she’d had in ages. She dislikes scones on the grounds that they 'don’t taste like food.'" (pp. 300-303). 
Just once, under special circumstances, Cassie manages to give Ryan some comfort food:
"Cassie rummaged in the wardrobe, passed me a bottle of brandy and a glass. 'Have a shot of that while I make food. Eggs on toast?'...
"She turned from the frying pan to look at me, a wooden spoon in her hand. ... She switched off the stereo, popped the toast and piled the eggs on top of it. 'Here.' The smell made me realize how hungry I was. I shoveled the food down in huge mouthfuls, barely stopping to breathe; it was whole-grain bread and the eggs were redolent with herbs and spices, and nothing had ever tasted so richly delicious." (p. 396-397). 
Tana French is also good at poking a little fun at food fads and snobbery:
"Heather disappeared back into the kitchen, presumably to add horse-sized capsules of vitamin C and echinacea to her frenetically balanced diet. I went into my room and closed the door. I poured myself a drink— I keep a bottle of vodka and one of tonic behind my books, to avoid cozy convivial 'drinkies' with Heather." (pp. 104-105). 
"At 8: 17 p.m., according to the computer printout [of a phone tap], Andrews had ordered lasagna with smoked salmon, pesto and sun-dried tomato sauce. 'Jesus Christ,' I said, appalled." (pp. 417-418). 
"It had been well over a week since I had eaten an actual meal, with food groups and everything." (p. 433).
I'm aware that beyond the more traditional, suspenseful police procedurals and detective stories by authors like Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Martin Walker, Tony Hillerman as well as Tana French, there is a more recent genre of cozy mysteries. These often feature food to the extent that recipes are included, and frequently include characters who are in the food business as well. I am not much of a fan of cozy mysteries, so this blog post is not in any way about them. However this blog post IS copyright © 2020 by mae sander for this blog: maefood dot blogspot dot com, and if you are reading it elsewhere, it's been pirated.

Monday, January 13, 2020

What is Beautiful?

The old Everglades are gone. Draining a swamp used to be a metaphor for improvement of the mistakes that nature had made (or just for changing things to suit your desires). People aren't so sure any more that this alteration of the natural environment was a great idea, but it's essentially irreversible. In a few places there are efforts to restore swamp-like habitats for plants, birds, and animals; appreciation for the natural beauty of a swamp has replaced the old view that swamps were ugly and undesirable. The photo above shows the restored area at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, which opened in 1996. It is simultaneously a wildlife area and an open-water area that purifies waste water: the county sewage treatment plant is adjacent to the park-like wetlands, though you can’t see too much of the plant from the beautifully designed boardwalk.

This area of South Florida around Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County made me think about the former environment, the Everglades, and its replacement with the built-up environment of mansions on the beach, fishing piers and yacht harbors, giant shopping centers, vast gated condo communities, retirement homes and health clinics, wide roads and turnpikes, and all the other elements of city life. Throughout the region from Miami to at least Palm Beach, the swamps are gone, but you can see evidence of their history in the small ponds between the buildings of the condo complexes, along the roads, and in the parking lots of shopping malls and business centers. You can also see that builders try to beautify their creations -- at least sometimes.

An interesting sculpture decorates an apartment building.
A mural of flowers & birds on the wall of an office building. People may love
plants and birds -- but maybe not the natural ones!
The intracoastal waterway is another example of the development of a man-made and controlled environment.

Nanday Parakeet at Boynton Beach Inlet Park. This exotic bird's ancestors
were caged pets, but escapees are now considered resident birds in Florida
and several other states. They've been there for decades,
another intersection of humans with nature!
Fishing from the pier at Boynton Beach inlet -- the built environment changes
the natural environment -- drastically!

A Japanese Garden: Taming Nature for Human Aesthetics

The Morikami Gardens in Delray Beach started as a project by Japanese immigrants in the Yamato Colony a small Japanese farming community nearby, and are now stunningly maintained by a foundation. Japanese gardens are a fascinating way to appreciate nature in a highly controlled way, and have been developed in Japan for many centuries. In the Morikami Gardens are examples of rock gardens and other types of gardens from several eras in Japanese history.

The Gardens display a collection of Bonsai. The art of Bonsai seems to me to be one of
the most amazing ways that people have tamed and interpreted nature. Training a Bonsai
tree takes many years, sometimes decades.
This blog post and all photos © 2020 by mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com.