The voluptuous beauty mentioned in my October 24 post, "Sexy Pumpkin," was beginning to get a little green around the edges. I decided to try roasting her for an upcoming slate of pumpkin muffins on the Thanksgiving menu. I've had success with roasting brussels sprouts whole on the stalk, so I decided to just plop the whole pumpkin in the oven. Here she is before going into heat, reflecting in all her majestic glory. The operation was a success, kind of. The pumpkin flesh was easily cut and scooped after baking, and no fingers were severed. However, it was indescribably tasteless and bitter. I'm not sure whether I went wrong with choice of pumpkin, her age, or my cooking method. But the object lesson is sometimes it's better to admire than consume.
Speaking of cool fruit (see my previous posts on Purple Carrots and Jumbo Blueberries), I was struck by the ability of this decaying green apple to paint a Cy Twombly-inspired line. The apple was nailed to the wall along with other fruits and vegetables in the exhibit, "Kitchen Pieces," by German conceptual artist Karin Sander at i8 Gallery in Reykjavik (the exhibit closed September 24, 2016). The veggies wilted under pressure, but this inspired apple took a strong painterly stand. I was pretty impressed by its confident use of positive and negative space, along with its bold improvisation in response to a wall environment. Critics of avant garde art like to dismiss things with "My kid could do that!" Now I might answer, "But could your apple?"
Audiences know that if there is a gun in the first act, it has to go off in the third act. I took this photo of jumbo blueberries near a transparent push pin to show their super sizing (one-inch wide!) but realized I had also made a portrait of dramatic tension. It amazed me how juxtaposition of two common household objects easily suggests a plot. The blueberry's moist, tender skin looks so vulnerable near the tack's sharp steel point that your mind can't help connecting them in unfortunate ways. But, spoiler alert, the pin didn't kill those blueberries in the end. It was teeth that got them.
Orange is the new purple. Or at least when it comes to carrots. I bought these beauties from the Black Dirt Region (spanning southern Orange County, NY to northern Sussex County, NJ) after a friend and I decided those convenient bags of machine-cut carrots had more in common with large pencil stubs than they did with vegetables. The funny thing is that purple carrots are actually the authentic carrot color (along with white), but Dutch growers decided in the 16th century to breed to orange. Purple carrots are more nutritious, with 28 times the amount of antioxidants, according to the Carrot Museum website and they also color coordinate well with my winking Blue Eyes granite countertop. They're quite amusing to scrape and hilarious to mash. Hey, do you think they grow better in Purple Rain?
Let's face it, farm credits (as in menus, not government loans) have had their day. In his hilarious Vanity Fair article, "What Does Farm-to-Table Mean Anymore?" food journalist Corby Kummer debunked many of the pretensions behind the F2T trend last year, one of which is endless lists of artisanal food sources. Nonetheless, these breakfast menu credits at Mayfield Bakery and Cafe in Palo Alto made me smile. Perhaps inspired by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's closing voiceovers ("made possible by viewers like you"), these gracious credits put the emphasis down on the farm.
I have always found the word "pescetarian" kind of a clunky, affected way to describe the way I choose to eat. I've also learned the hard way not to answer the question of why I gave up meat, chicken and turkey as other people chow down on it around you. These good people ask out of curiosity but always end up arguing your answer. Plus, it seems kind of cold on my part to relate the horrors of factory farming, climate change from cow farts, water over-consumption and my empathy for animal souls to someone digging into a juicy steak. I don't judge other people for their food choices, and I don't want to be judged for mine. So I've learned to say, "I'd love to talk about it later," and then I take the subject off the table, so to speak.
A friend of mine told me she simply says, "I just don't like it." No one can debate that.
Today I saw this clever company name on a delivery truck parked on a Manhattan street and thought, holy cow, what a great idea. Now I'm no longer a fancy pescetarian. I'm just someone who only eats meat without feet.