Food

baklava

May 19, 2023

There are certain foods, baklava springs to mind, that several countries claim as their own. Armenia, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Syria, they all have variations of the syrup-ey, phyllo-ey dessert. As a child, I ate baklava the way American kids eat jello or Venezuelans eat Papitas de leche. We had as slice with every meal, three, four bites was always enough. And until recently, I’d never eaten Baklava as good as the baklava I eat in Greece. In April, my Bosnian friend, Ksenija hosted a beautiful fundraiser dinner for Turkish families affected by the earthquake and served a baklava made by her parents that was, and will forever be, the best I have tasted. I love that we are connected, among other things, by baklava. I love it when I visit my Turkish friend, Buket and she serves Dolma in her home, the same vine stuffed rice bites I grew up eating. My friend, Diana who’s Armenian, looks at our children, eyes as big as Kalamata olives, and says, “they all come from the same place.” It’s true, we do. And it’s the little things that remind us. A slice of Baklava, a taste so familiar, you could cry with every bite. Dolmades, just like you ate as a child. Eyes so big you could swim in them.

school dinners

January 12, 2023

Given how many school lunches I consumed it’s funny that all I remember were the fish fingers. For pudding there was semolina, or a jam and coconut sponge cake. You’d think that something you do everyday for fifteen years would yield more memories than a fish stick and tepid custard. I suppose our brains only have room for so many memories, and when it’s something as constant as lunch, we likely distill the experience down to a handful of images, feelings and flavours. Once I was in high school, lunch was either a Twix and five cigarettes or milky tea and buttered toast from the local greasy spoon. I just signed my kids up to the hot lunch program at school in the hopes that their memories are more refined than mine. Although something tells me that no matter how good the food is, all they’ll remember are the sloppy mortadella sandwiches and browning apples they brought from home.

cooked cream

December 2, 2022

With two out of three children home all week with yet another virus, my brain is blancmange. Milk, rice flour, gelatin, corn starch, sugar, mix it all together, and yep, that’s my brain. As a child, I remember a very wobbly blancmange, pink as ballet slippers, arriving at the dinner table and doing my best to muster enthusiasm for it. I think that may have been the one and only time I have ever eaten blancmange. Creamy puddings aren’t my thing, and the thought of gelatin makes my tummy turn,. But if forced (like, with a machete) I may consider Panna Cotta. Everything sounds better in Italian. Even cooked cream.

around and around

July 19, 2022

Rebecca Sammon’s mythical, magical figures.

A mural by artist, Zhang Enli adorns the facade of a rural, Italian chapel.

Printed summer dresses by Oslo based, Cathrine Hammel.

Francisco Matto’s couple, crafted from marble and wood.

Smithsonian miscellaneous shell collections.

The walls at Osteria dei Meriavigliati

only pink

July 18, 2022

I think about colour combinations the way my foodie friends think about parings of flavour. I get as excited about turquoise and terracotta as they do about ginger and yuzu. A bad colour combination is as hard on the eyes as a peanut butter and onion sandwich is on the stomach. I understand, taste is subjective, but some things are not meant to be partnered. Puce and acid green, please leave the room. I will always come back to pink. Pink is my safe place. Everything, and I mean everything, looks good with pink. Chartreuse, check. Mustard, check. Cornsilk, check. Tangerine, double check. From a fleshy, Renoir pink to the hottest Schiaparelli, pink is the winning hue. It’s my pantry staple. Pink is my pepper.

mangia bene

July 13, 2022

I’m not sure that it gets better than this. Giant artichokes, mounds of pillowy burrata, crispy zucchini flowers, handmade agnolotti, olives, plump tomatoes and a crisp white. The Italians sure know how to eat. It’s the simplicity in the ingredients and techniques that set them apart. With food this fresh, what more do you need than the artichoke itself? Maybe a little sale e pepe? In Stanley Tucci’s warm, charming and funny memoir, Taste it’s the 4-ingredient zucchini pasta dish that he first ate at Lo Scoglio on the Amalifi Coast that appealed to my taste buds the most. “The simple but poignant spaghetti con zucchine alla Nerano, born from a quartet of oil, basil, cheese, and humble squash, points once again to the Italian ability to discover riches where others might find very little,” he writes. If you’re deliberating on dinner tonight, may I suggest this dish.

around and around

July 6, 2022

Isamu Noguchi’s ashtray prototypes.

Pippa Dyrlaga’s exquisite paper cutouts.

Nathan Isaac’s mixed media collages.

Matt Stuart’s pictures of London’s busy streets.

Pan de maíz.

Ice house in Iran, photographed by Lynn Davis.

apple of my eye

June 18, 2022

If I had to choose a favourite dessert, it would be some form of tart. Lemon is a front-runner, but I also love Raspberry. This recipe by Angela Hartnett for apple tart looks delicious. Apple tart or an apple galette is a popular topper to English Sunday lunches. Served piping hot, with vanilla ice cream, there are few puddings yummier. Serve it on parchment paper, or on a large wooden cutting board.

around and around

June 16, 2022

Scott Bergey’s muted pallet and whimsical style.

Carol Russell’s charming wooden spoons.

Elderflower and Gin sorbet.

This retro bather.

Dream car.

An Inuit woman and child giving each other a kunik.

around and around

June 8, 2022

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim’s colourful Robots.

Gertrud and Otto Natzler’s magnificent glazes.

Mackerel, green sauce and preserved lemons.

The summer shoe that gets better with wear.

Elsworth Kelly’s temple of light.

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