This week I plan on eating an entire strawberry rhubarb pie.
It’s almost time for shuffling around the house in old sweat socks and drawstring pants, unlimited personal time and leftover baked goods.
To do list now that the Annual! Holiday! Sale! is over:
1. what do babies who live somewhere too hot for knitted booties and hats want? I’m new to stranger-baby shopping.
2. what cookies to bake? Tart? Or not Tart? How do you ship baked goods?
3. what am I going to wear to keep from freezing during the Midnight Run in Central Park on New Year’s?
I made the most beautiful tart yesterday morning. Without a recipe! Mascarpone custard and dried figs poached in tangerine juice with raspberries! I’m very impressed with myself and would like everyone to know.
Now that that pesky holiday baking is out of the way I’m back to printing. I’m way into the type on her forehead here.
Yep, very impressed with myself today.
Went to see The Beaches of Agnes last night- So good! Agnes Varda looks back on her life and the places she’s lived and the films she’s made and the beaches she’s visited with people she’s known- she likes the beach, you see. At 80 she’s got more life and passion in her than most people you’ve met. So good!
Which reminded me that I like the beach too. So I woke up early and went to Coney Island.
I love how beaches are the same. There’s women in big hats, and old men in speedos doing strange exercises. And people with metal detectors looking for treasure.
Then I had a typography freak out. Fried Shrimp! Funnel Cake!
Everything looked so damn good. It made my head swim.
Maybe I was making a mountain out of a molehill. A weekly five pounds of fruit really means the pie versus jam conundrum-do I make pie or jam? Do I live in the moment or stop time in its tracks? Do I have to choose? – is less of a conundrum and more like an embarrassment of riches.
Or Richies, perhaps. When my neighbors want to get busy, they play the greatest hits of Lionel Ritchie at full volume. This means I get to enjoy his dulcet tones while I cook. Tonight was one of those nights.
This pie wants to know if you’re somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you? Coated in caramel this pie is. And when I think caramel, I think Lionel. I’ve been waiting a whole month to make it. You’ve been waiting even longer to taste it, I can see it in your eyes, I can see it in your smile. Say it for always, that’s the way it should be.
I made this sour cherry jam the other day because I want everything to be a little sour and a little sweet.
I got two quarts of whole strawberries from the CSA fruit share this past week, which kept me busy.
I made jam too, for the first time, which ended up a little runnier than actual jam and more like sauce, but tasted amazing and made the house smell like heaven. Apparently I need to work on my technique.
Then I spent a surprising amount of time in Queens, where I found this:
And rode the bus with some teenage boys who told us all about their friend and his female romantic companions, and the bacterial infections they now share.
Which made me thirsty. I had a fantasy walking back home of leaving the glamorous world of arts administration and moving to the country and starting a bakery/residency program.
And then I got back to work.
I can’t stop talking about food. I love that it takes everything I love and makes it practical, and you don’t have to justify it like you do writing or making pictures. Because everyone has to eat. I love how it’s slow. That it’s social and communal, celebratory, and cultural and political and ritualized, all of those things, are wonderful. But I really love cooking for myself. That I can bake a cake just for myself. That most of what I make is mine.
I hate name tags, just so you know. I like to be incognito.
We went to the Hybrid Book Conference and Book fair in Philadelphia on Thursday. It’s always nice to get out of town, and despite the lousy weather it was a good time. Book arts conferences seem to be happening constantly these days, and this one seemed well-organized. I liked that the organizers planned for talks in the morning and a book fair in the afternoon- most of the time at these kinds of events both happen simultaneously, which means if you have a table you end up missing half the event, and the talks aren’t as full as they could be, and the book fair has long lulls where there’s no one there.
Sitting at a table renders me inarticulate. There’s a lot of sitting and staring, and smiling vaguely at people. There’s usually some fluorescent lighting involved. It’s all a little exhausting. The good part comes if you are lucky enough to have someone with you to watch the table while you walk around and look at other people’s books. I don’t really think that standing at a table is the best way for me to absorb a book; I generally get overwhelmed fairly quickly, but since it’s one of those rare occasions when you can handle lots of artists books and talk to the people who made them, it is a great opportunity to see a lot of work in a short period of time.
Highlights for me included:
1. A new book by Katie Baldwin, Treasure, which she produced in residence at the Women’s Studio Workshop.
4. Lots of fantastically great stuff by Gregory Pizzoli-why isn’t there more of this kind of work at book arts fairs? Is humor a bad thing?
5. The ongoing recruiting efforts of Impractical Labor.
7. Patty Smith talking about gender and offset printing.
I think though, that the main highlight of the conference was the Malaysian food we had for dinner on Friday night.
You like how I took more pictures of food than I did of books?
Big thanks to Josh Harris for putting my cohort Corinna Z. (see above) and I up for two nights in his glorious renovated home. Apparently artists can become homeowners outside of NYC.
I winged my way into these gigantic raspberry scones this morning.
Also remade this, accidentally lost in the Great Data Erasure of 2009. It’s always better the second time around anyway.
I’m reading The Craftsman, by Richard Sennet- I’ve only just started, but it’s great so far. He says many smart things about the social functions of workshops and authority, and how originality somehow gave artists less autonomy and more vulnerability. There’s also this:
Workshops present and past have glued people together through work rituals, whether these be a shared cup of tea or the urban parade; through mentoring, whether the formal surrogate parenting of medieval times or informal advising on the worksite; through face-to-face sharing of information.
I’m having one of those reading experiences that reaffirms what I already believe, in other words. I’m lucky to run a workshop in NYC; I love being able to bring a wide variety of people together to work in a social hub. Shared workspaces are the ideal solution for the making of impractical objects in a city where real estate gets in the way of starting things.
I’m eating hot chili cabbage and running the fan in the kitchen to cool it off after baking a raspberry buttermilk cake.
Summer’s my favorite time of year.
My hard drive died last weekend, and now it’s like my computer has dementia. It reminds me of how nice it is when things fall apart in a really dramatic sort of way, because that means you have room for something new.