What the Crystal Ball Never Reveals: A Few Words about Blogging

A writer [and photographer], I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. ~ Susan Sontag I missed my anniversary this year, for the first time. Five years ago, I started blogging, and began writing regularly (or at least fairly regularly), for myself and not for deadlines, not because of external  “whip wielders” such…

Ivan Day: Master Food Historian

Those of you with a tremendous love of food history will be happy to know that Ivan Day blogs with all the beauty and erudite authority of his spectacular recreations of historical British food. (Yes, British food!) Take a look both his blog – Food History Jottings – and his regular Web site – Historic Food. You’ll…

Why Bother with Culinary History?

A friend recently asked me, “Why is culinary history important?” Actually, her words came out of her mouth a little more harsh sounding than that:  “Why are you wasting so much of your time on that stuff? Why don’t you just write up some recipes, like how to make that great bread you always make?”…

Here Comes the Sun: Beautiful Golden Sunflowers All

I am working with the enthusiasm of a man from Marseilles eating bouillabaisse, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you because I am busy painting huge sunflowers. – Vincent Van Gogh, letter to his brother Theo Sunflowers (Helianthus Annuus), so yellow, so grand,  like yawning lions with sleep-rumpled manes. A flower with an ancient…

Lemons – Tiny Cathedrals of Gold

Lemons, their pitted, nay, prehistoric, skins secreting golden oil, Shielding sourness, evoking memories of a grandmother’s kitchen, A grandfather’s garden. Born in the East, fruitful India, A kiss of cold, albeit fleeting, spawns the yellow Immortalized  in stone, paint, and clay. A fruit reverenced, Blossoming from mountain and lake, Urging cooks to slice, pierce, and…

Seeking Honey, in the Bee-Loud Glade

The journey begins, with a glimpse, through the kitchen window, of golden dust shimmering in sunlight, a phantom shadow darting through the air. Hive-bound, the soaring bee dips and kisses the blue-hued flowers once more.  Life blossoms with the promise of fruits and grains to come. Auriferous, gilt-laden with pollen. Honey. Nectar. Food for the…

Salt of Earth, Crucible of Life

Just a pinch, and the primal sea surges, memories filling your mouth. Weep, and you’ll know what fish first knew. Bleed, and you’ll smell the earth. Sweat, and you’ll sense ancient waters flowing. Building block of blood, sweat, and tears.  Salt, not sugar, primeval taste. Ancient, this elixir. The essence of legends, myths, stories. Pillars…