27 May 2008

Reflections on Food in Art #3

The Dutch knew what was up. At least in the early 17th century.

Booze, bread, and oysters. Oh, man. Good times. Check out the nose on our merrymaker from Shovetide (the big guy in the black cap). You can tell what's going through his mind: 'It's good to be Dutch'.

This scene reminds me of one of my favorite taverns in the whole darn world: The Brickskeller in Washington, DC.

MJ and I used to cozy up to one of the little tables for two and down a plate of pierogies with one of what seemed like at least 500 possible beer selections. As for Dutch beers, I can't understand how a country that can produce a beer as good as Konigshoeven Dubble can produce such crap as Amstel Light. Of course, look who's shelling out for Amstel Light.

Anyway, I'm sure that the Merrymen weren't drinking Amstel. They were probably actually drinking Gin. Local stilled Jenever. You don't get a nose like that drinking light beer. Back in the 17th century, Gin (for awhile) was thought to be sort of an elixir. How true. It wasn't until Gin-fueled mobs began freaking out from the slums of London to the slums of Amsterdam that folks caught on to the true gift of Gin: mania!

Anyhow, here's to Frans Hals. Proost!

25 May 2008

Sci-Fi Poles!

Ok, so Dwight has found the World's Best Restaurant and it's hiding in Philadelphia. So I guess both Dwight and PA generally speaking are now scratched of my enemies list. Check out Dwight's blurbing and excellent blog.

21 May 2008

Hey Honey!

Ok. More food art tomorrow. Today, take a trip over to City Paper for a stroll with the bees.

15 May 2008

Reflections on Food [and drink] In Art #2

One of the things I love about this Johns sculpture is that the subject matter is not just cans of beer. It's cans of really lousy, nearly undrinkable-unless-the-only-other-option-were-hairspray beer.

I remember years ago -- in the days of my impressionable youth -- going to the Johns retrospective at MoMA. I remember three things about that show. First, it was being protested because the sponsor was Phillip Morris. Go figure. Second, I liked that so many of the pictures seemed to me like psychological games. That gave me something to latch onto. Third was these beer cans. Upon returning home, I immediately shellac'ed a bottle of british ale and called it art.

I like this sculpture because in its way it does this faux-autobiography thing. But I also like how it's more real than most sculpture because it is so obviously useless. And I think sculpture should be useless. Useless in the sense that it won't do anything you want it to. It's just there. There and beautiful and there.

13 May 2008

Reflections on Food in Art #1

This is the first in a series of posts where we'll take a look at food depicted in visual art. By no means is this meant to be an exhaustive list, rather just the personal thoughts of one simple me to the representation of cuisine.

I could think of no better painting with which to begin this study than Picasso's Charnel House of c. 1945. On a table -- drawn in loose line -- sits a warm meal uneaten. On the floor below the table lies the remains of a tortured family, gagged and broken.

Such an image of unrequited sustenance and grotesque death conjures in my mind a scene from the Aeneid. Aeneas and his men have just been shipwrecked and the sailors are trying to strain loose grain that had tumbled from barrels into the water during the chaos of the storm. They will cook these grains on fires lit on the soaked shore. This marks the first time the Trojans had set foot on land since leaving Troy -- a Troy burning in flame. And as they had left the burning city, Aeneas had paused for just a moment in reflection and shock before the Temple of Ceres, goddess of grain. In Vergil's image, we see the forces of life and death subverted and reinstalled.

Likewise in Picasso's meditation of rage on the senseless killing of the Second World War, we see the necessary and the whole and the true perverted. All that remains is the casserole that speaks volumes more about senselessness and suffering than any voice ungagged ever could.

11 May 2008

BBQ is better than Politics

Fantastic BBQ yesterday. There was so much flesh on the grill I hardly had room in which to plop my split eggplant.

Great music -- echoey King Tubby records and the sounds of broken speakers emanating over the neighborhood. A great quiet set of Dobro and guitar w/ Susan Alcorn and Melissa Moore. Big spasmatic noisey shakey music in the yard with Dani and Stu and Bonnie and folks while a half dozen kids and a few adults jump and scream on the netted trampoline. BBQ music-thing Baltimore-style.

And then I wake up to the latest news: Ground breaking journalism from the New York Times this morning.

"Some of Mr. McCain’s advisers said they also thought that Mr. Obama had displayed a number of vulnerabilities as a candidate that they would seek to exploit: they argued that he was prone to becoming irritated when tired or pressed on tough questions..."

Meanwhile, on the other side...

"In the eyes of the Obama campaign, Mr. McCain’s chief weaknesses include continuing to embrace the Iraq war, his support for extending the administration’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (he once opposed the idea) and his suggestion that the economy had made “great progress” in the last eight years."

So there you have it, obviously getting grumpy when you are tired is the equivalent of advocating for a failed war policy that has thrown several countries and countless millions of lives into chaos. Grumpy is the new Bellicose.

I'd rather be barbequeing.

10 May 2008

Sunny Day! BBQ! Summer Time!

Going to the first BBQ of the season! Summer is here!

Grilled eggplant (w/ olive oil and a dash of Montreal Steak Seasoning), grilled fresh zucchini, and ridiculously overpriced veggie-dogs ($4.19 -- for the love of god...)

A review is up next post. Right now, it's time to party.

Sunny day, sunny day!

05 May 2008

Scandal 2008! My Pirogies!

Alright. Regular readers will understand what I'm talking about here.

So, I've been upbraided by residents of the fine city of Pittsburgh. Just goes to show that I can't exactly put full faith in a certain correspondent in the field whose name happens to rhyme with 'Blight'.

Allow me to set the record straight: Pittsburgh did the right thing; I got bad information (ok, so maybe I should have actually like read the paper or something to verify facts rather than just reference a guy from Philly with a diner fetish...). After all that, it was Allegheny County which I should have been boycotting.

All this information distresses me. BECAUSE I LOST AN ENTIRE WEEK OF SWEET PIROGI EATING!

Dwight, how could you! How could you pass on this faulty intelligence and then let it slide as I suffered through a week without cheese filled potato dumplings!

This is going to take time. I need to heal.

01 May 2008

Science! (and I'm calling a truce with Pittsburgh).

New Blog Alert!

My friend Carrie has started a new blog. It's called 'The Stay At Home Scientist' and tends to focus on fun stuff like DIY science experiments and environmental projects for kids. She also has a peculiarly strong penchant for invertebrates. How can you not dig that? Here's the link to her page.

In local news, I have formally ended my boycott of pirogies. But don't think I'm not still keeping an eye on you, Pittsburgh. My friend Dani is moving to your town and he's gonna be keeping notes for me. Don't cross him, Iron City. Or you'll be hearing from me again.

Ok. Back to reading about Fairy Shrimp.