Pretty Monday: Beautiful Bread

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard
Au Levain du Marais by Shell Sherree on Etsy


Happy Birthday, Dear Georgia

O'Keeffe, Two Pink Shells
Today, Georgia O'Keeffe would have been 125 years old.  She is perhaps one of the most misunderstood painters of the twentieth century.  All too often, critics and historians attempt to alter her abstractions into something she never intended (but how can we really ever know what she intended).  

While the temptation to see things buried within her shapes will always challenge viewers, I appreciate Georgia's work on a purely  aesthetic level.  Her soft colors and crisp lines enchant me.  From the time I first copied her sunflowers in elementary school until I wrote my master's thesis about The Lawrence Tree, Ms. O'Keeffe has occupied a very special place in my creative mind.  
John Loengard’s 1967 portrait


Pretty Monday: Cookbooks

The Food of Spain...is delicioso!
Ahem...yes, darlings, I realize we are but a few mere hours away from Tuesday, but my Monday was not especially pretty.  Be it late, here are some pretties for your Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday)...
One of Miss Dahl's Delights
On a lazy afternoon, one of my favorite pastimes is slowly meandering through a lavishly illustrated cookbook.  Sure, the old Larousse Gastronomique or Mastering the Art of French Cooking are invaluable to cooks for their methods and steps and advice...in other words: words.  But, the cookbooks I like best are those with glorious photos.  As an inherently visual being and an always-hungry one, books brimming with beautiful photographs transport me.  We eat with our eyes first, right? 


A Sense of Place: Le Terroir

"I like to think about the life of wine.  How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity." -Maya in Sideways
In the cellars at Zaca Mesa winery
Le terroir is a most wonderful French concept.  Loosely translated, the term means "a sense of place," but in actuality, it is so much more.


Sugar & Spice

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 
― Julia ChildMy Life in France

My dad is the culinary expert in my family.  He is a fearless cook who leads with instinct rather than recipes.  In my thirty years as his daughter, I can only think of one time when I didn't love what he served (the infamous puréed tuna Niçoise of 1997).  Generally though, when I'm stumped in the kitchen, I call dad.  He always know exactly what to do.  What should I add to this chicken dish?  Which herb suits sautéd green beens?  What is the perfect way to poach an egg?  


Pretty Monday: For the Table

Thanksgiving is just three weeks away.  If you're hosting this biggest of all dinner parties, while menu planning and taste testing, take a break to imagine something pretty on your table.
A cozy farm house table with benches & cozy blankets


A Persimmon & A Parsnip

A Persimmon and a parsnip walk into a bar...wait, no, that's not it.  Let's just say a persimmon and a parsnip are sitting on your kitchen counter.  What to do, what to do? 
I grew up an apples and oranges kind of kid.  Though my parents did try to expose me to unique foods, we really didn't have that many exotic fruits or veggies in rural Missouri in the eighties.  I don't think I had a mango until college.  Shocking, I know.  Life without mangos is very sad. 


Flowers for Friday (and chocolate too!)

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

Another week of hard work has passed.  Time to celebrate the weekend with people you love.  Today I treated myself thrice---why stop with a bunch of ruffled tulips when you can also indulge in a bottle of vino and some dark chocolate? 


A Sun-drenched Elsewhere

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” 
― Isabelle EberhardtThe Nomad

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