Depot, yes. Not very homey.

My husband could fix anything—dishwashers, radios, bicycles. To do this he accumulated a lot of tools including plenty of nuts, bolts and screws which he stored in round, lidded, plastic film containers (probably collector’s items today.)

After he died I gave most of his stash to people I thought would use them but kept some items including picture hangers and the necessary nails.

 

Recently I framed a photograph of my paternal grandmother with my father, about age three, and his brother, four years his senior.

My grandmother with my father, center, and his brother

When I went to hang it, I discovered I was out of nails forcing me to venture to the hardware giant. (Yes, a few other hardware stores are still around but I had other reasons to be in the HD ‘hood.)

Small digression: Joel adored Home Depot and we spent many anniversaries in the Bennington, Vermont store so he could search for an item he absolutely had to acquire. I wasn’t a great sport about this but when I could stand it no longer escaped outside to admire the mountains.

My recent solo trip was to the HD on Manhattan’s East Side. What seemed peculiar was the dearth of nails. Entire aisles were devoted to screws of every size and shape but nails were in short supply. I asked many salespeople but no one had a clue as to where the nails hung out. Finally I located the meager offerings and bought what I needed but it wasn’t easy or quick. Maybe New York City builders and DIYers don’t use nails?

This recipe is for a Rusty Nail, a cocktail no one drinks anymore. Assuming you have Scotch and Drambuie it would be the perfect thing to bring (cleverly concealed) to Home Depot and sip as you meander the endless aisles. The drink is said to have originated at the 21 Club and been popular in the late sixties and into the seventies.

Rusty Nail Cocktail

Pour 1 ½ ounces Scotch and ¾ ounce of Drambuie into what is quaintly called a “mixing glass” along with ice (thereby diluting the drink which seems pointless.) Strain, (with a cocktail strainer, something else you likely do not own), into a tall glass and add – no kidding—one large ice cube.
Bottoms up- Drambuie down!

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Art in the ‘Hood

 

Saturday, October 22nd, was one of those days of perfect New York fall weather—sunny and warm but not hot.  Gorgeous weather was good for the Madison Avenue Fall Gallery Walk, an event in which many art galleries, (typically open on Saturdays anyway), go the extra mile offering talks and sometimes light refreshment a la cookies or other small treats. Outside the participating galleries were displays of dark pink and blue balloons.

Participating galleries were between 57th and 83rd streets, mostly not on Madison Avenue but on the side streets. I went to several close to home starting with Les Enluminures, 23 East 7 3rd Street, a gallery that began in Paris and has branches in NYC and Chicago. This gallery specializes in medieval manuscripts and jewelry with a case of rings from the first through the twentieth century. If you have a lot of spare change you might like this ring with a rare ‘black’ diamond.   Or, maybe your taste runs more to a Book of Hours like this one from Rouen, France, c. 1450–1460.

 

 

 

 

 

Lois Wagner Fine Arts, 15 East 71st , showed work of Timothy J. Clark whose paintings I had recently seen at The Hispanic Society (along with Mr. Clark in person who was giving a tour there.) Clark paints in watercolor which interests me as I dabble in the same medium (and there the resemblance ends.) He paints interiors, urban landscapes and portraits; I especially like his bicycles.

 

Next onto Hauser & Wirth at 32 East 69th Street to see paintings by Lorna Simpson, known for making large works that blend photographs and text. In addition to photography, Simpson makes sculpture, drawings, collage, felt and films. Born in Brooklyn and famous since the 1980s, “Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships and experiences of our lives in contemporary America. “ (Note: not my language—it’s art-speak from her website: https://lsimpsonstudio.com)

I dashed into the Craig F. Starr Gallery, 5 East 73rd Street, which wasn’t an official part of the Gallery Walk as they were busy  hanging an upcoming show, mostly because I had briefly met Craig Starr through a friend’s introduction. This gallery shows work by a host of luminaries including Richard Sera, Robert Rauschenberg, Barnett Newman, Myron Stout, Jasper Johns and others. The new show here  opens early November.

Two Wagner Works at gallery

My final stop was to see works by Merrill Wagner at David Zwimer, 34 East 69th Street. Wagner works with “a variety of conventional and unconventional supports—ranging from canvas and paper to slate, stone, steel, and Plexiglas” with many examples on view. Her work is incredibly varied, colorful and often fun.

Needing a little sustenance I went home for lunch.

From art to artichoke (one of my favorite foods but not part of my meal). This is an easy thing to serve with drinks:

Artichoke Dip (courtesy Allrecipes)

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl until well combined. Spread mixture in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with crackers, pita chips or what you will.

If you know it, sing Never, Never Be an Artist from the musical Can-Can by Cole Porter (another fave.) If you never heard of the song, try this:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Never+Never+Be+an+Artist+by+Cole+Porter#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:53f81383,vid:eVv0nAF9RuM

 

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George Washington Slept (Near) Here

by Emnuel Leutze who depicted the flag incorrectly

George Washington and his troops went from Bucks County, PA across the Delaware River en route to take Trenton, NJ—the battle that turned the tide in the War of Independence.

My stay in Bucks County was less historic and a lot more fun. For the last two weeks of August through Labor Day weekend I rented one of the most enchanting houses anywhere, literally in the treetops overlooking the (very dry) Delaware Canal.  The incredibly well-equipped house is laden with adorable features: the head of a rake repurposed as a wine glass holder; a frieze of frog tiles in the upstairs bathroom; a vintage oven (and contemporary microwave); every game every heard of; numerous outdoor spaces for reading, eating, grilling or whatever else appeals and abundant charm in every room.

First I had single guests. Then both daughters– one with partner, the other with husband– came for the last weekend (one set stayed elsewhere nearby) during which we trooped around delightful Frenchtown, hiked Goat Hill for a spectacular Delaware River view, ate, drank and had a wonderful time.

The house, which I found on VRBO, (AirBnB’s cousin), also comes with fabulous hosts who kindly answered my many questions when settling in. House info here: https://abnb.me/DQARSo2W6sb and also https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p4463590?uni_id=5051062

Full disclosure: the house has an, um, challenging driveway which I managed to master two days before I departed. However, if your inner Mario Andretti is otherwise engaged you can park partway up the driveway or snuggle into the road below.

There are many good restaurants in the area.  I especially liked the Frenchtown Café and Caleb’s American Kitchen, a terrific BYOB in nearby Lahaska, coincidentally owned by a friend’s son.

With friends or solo I toured Pearl Buck’s house;

Ms. Buck’s typewriter; note photo of her and Eleanor Roosevelt on right

visited Doylestown, land of old buildings and antique dealers, went to a polo match and checked out New Hope (hot, crowded and a tad tacky although we had a lovely lunch overlooking the river.) I’d love to return to the house and go tubing or kayaking especially if the Delaware has more water. It was an altogether wonderful stay.

This recipe was produced by one of my guests who is vegetarian. It was delicious, entirely flexible and very helpful when trying to use up stuff in fridge.

Bucks County Veggie Stir Fry (recipe courtesy Bob Scherzer)

Swiss chard- small bunch

2 ½ small zucchini and yellow squash (mostly zuc)

½ onion

‘Handful’ of string beans

3 peppers (one was banana i.e., hot but any kind will work. Ours were home grown so smallish.)

2 smallish carrots

Can water chestnuts drained

Handful fresh parsley chopped

Handful fresh oregano chopped

Olive oil

Sesame oil- dash

Soy sauce (reduced sodium if you have)

Use what you have on hand. We cooked in a a large sauté pan.

Chop veg into pieces. Heat roughly 2 Tbls. olive oil in pan (amount depends on amount of veg—you can always add a little more.) Add dash of sesame oil—again, start small, add.

Cook over medium heat stirring as needed until veg are fairly tender with some snap. When not stirring cover with pan lid. Add water as needed to keep veg from burning.  Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

When cooked to your liking, serve over rice or pasta; we used fettuccini. Pass extra soy sauce for those who want to amp it up.

We drank white wine, iced tea and water from the local spring which is wonderful.

Background music for dinner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_muFwwTSMs

 

 

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The Heather on the Hill

The middle week of my Scottish caper was spent in the Inner Hebrides, the area where a great deal of Scottish Gaelic literature and music began. At each of our four stops my travel companion and I usually had at least a two-night stay with ample time to explore. The Inner Hebrides is a lovely area in many ways and probably truly terrific for campers, hikers, bird watchers and other nature buffs.

Once off the Jacobite Steam Train from Glasgow, we were driven to Spean Bridge to our guest house, Old Pines, where we had an excellent multi-course dinner. The house was very comfortable with books to browse, good beds and a terrific view of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain

Ben Nevis (which I did not climb)

The next day we went to Portree, capital of Skye, for a full day tour with Donald,  a guide with a heavy—to me, almost unintelligible– brogue. That day was one of few when it rained almost the entire time. Donald drove us and four others to various landmarks including the large rock formations known as the Old Man of Storr, (which supposedly looks like a giant lying down), and the Stallion’s Head. Both reminded me of when I cruised China’s Yangtze River with guides pointing out “sights” on the cliffs alongside the boat that they described as “Lions’ Mane” or “Three Galloping Horses.” Both Chinese and Scottish sights require a fair amount of imagination. Later we clambered around the Fairy Pools and Fairy Glen—more rocks some with cliffs—and saw Loch Dunvegan and Dunvegan Castle.

After that came Inverness where the server at a lovely restaurant told us they “only serve lamb in the winter months.” Peculiar, we thought as Scotland is sheep city. Later we heard that many eating places throughout the area serve lamb year ‘round. Inverness is home to Leaky’s, a wonderful second-hand bookshop with a trecherous flight of circular stairs

Leakey’s Bookshop up top

worth climbing to see the stained glass windows up top. At a dinner here I encountered samphire, aka sea beans, which are a pretty, greenish vegetable with very little taste.

At Pitlochry, a cute albeit somewhat touristy town, we stayed at a particularly terrific guest house run by a very welcoming couple.  Going to dinner that night we walked in pouring rain, (again a rarity as most of our trip was in warm, sunny weather, unusual in Scotland), past the famed salmon ladder to a restaurant in a stone building dating from 1650. The building is wonderful; the dining badly hampered by a lack of staff as Scotland has been hit by the same labor shortage as every other place.

The following day we visited Blair Atholl Castle where anything that could be made of deer antlers, i.e., a chair, light fixture, wall décor —is. Victoria and Prince Albert once stayed here for several weeks and afterwards allowed the then-current Lord to form a personal army.

After touring the castle we explored the fabulous gardens, one with gigantic fir trees almost as massive as California redwoods. In one of the castle’s huge fields we counted hundreds of Boy and Girl Scout tents housing kids on a weekend bivouac.  I did not envy them or their leaders. We hit a warm spell; typically, these Scouts would be thigh-deep in mud.

                                                 Scottish Smoked Salmon

OK folks: a recipe anyone can pull off.  Buy some good smoked salmon which should be cut thin. Invest in good dark bread and a lemon. Oh, and some capers if you like them. Chopped onion if that’s your thing. Lay salmon, bread, lemon wedges, capers and onion if using on a big plate, hand around napkins and watch your treat be lapped up.

I serve this with drinks of any kind- ginger beer to Prosecco, as it’s a never fail. If you know Speed Bonnie Boat sing it. If not, here’s the link. In Scotland Bonnie Prince Charlie is referenced repeatedly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHz_ypPDnrU\

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Scots, Wha Hae (poem by Robert Burns)

Here is the entire poem:  www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43813/scots-wha-hae. Somewhat incomprehensible right?  Read on….

William Wallace, the original Braveheart,, credited with leading the Scottish resistance to English rule

I’m recently back from several weeks in Scotland.  The Scots themselves are terrific people—when you can understand them. In some areas, especially Glasgow, the regional accent is so broad it can be hard to grasp what is being said.  Food in Scotland never won awards but a “full Scottish breakfast” is impressive: eggs, bacon (sometimes  like what we call Canadian bacon); black pudding (sausage); white pudding (another form of sausage); oj or apple juice and inevitably toast served in a silvery toast rack so it can get cold immediately. Sometimes  a full Scottish comes with haggis–which has an undeserved bad rap. No longer cooked in a sheep’s stomach.  today’s version has a casing a bit like that of a hot dog. Made of “innards” and oatmeal, it’s tasty although I wouldn’t want to dive

Haggis

into it daily. At breakfast aporridge is often available as well as fruit usually in the form of fruit salad.

My travel partner and I had some good meals in high end restaurants some very creative. Overall veggies are not big on the Scottish hit parade unless you count potatoes and carrots.The salmon—smoked or as a fish dish—is great but salmon in New York  is just dandy.

There are some good museums in Edinburgh especially one devoted to the work of Barbara Hepworth but many museums all over are a hodge- podge of artifacts, Jacobite history, paintings by Scottish artists and a jumble of other stuff. In Glasgow lots of sites feature the work of Charles Rennie Macintosh, a native son.

Charles Rennie Macintosh

I had an introduction to Peter Trowles who lives just outside of Glasgow; is an authority on Macintosh  and all things Glasweigian. Peter operates a service called Cultural Perspectives that enables him to o take visitors around to various sites in Glasgow for a fee. Here’s his website: www.culturalperspectives.co.uk. If you or a friend is interested in his services, let me know. (He’s fun to  to be with and to understand.)

And then there’s the highly touted scenery. It’s pretty but not especially dramatic in that many parts of the U.S. (looking at you Vermont, Maine, Arizona, Colorado and others) are more exciting. If you’re an ardent hiker or camper Scotland is calling your name. There are some  wonderful Scottish l place names: Portree, capital of the Isle of Skye, Lower Breakish and Pitlochry among them.

Following the weather report, I packed for damp and cold and hit mostly warmish (mid 60s and up) and sunny.

A week of the trip was organized by McKinley Kidd, a Scottish company. MKK arranged a visit to four areas of  the Inner Hebrides to which we  traveled on trains including the Jacobite steam train and also booked  the guest houses we stayed at, mostly wonderful. In addition to Scotland, MKK organizes trips to  Wales, Ireland, the Channel Islands, England and combos of severa countriesl: www.mckinlaykidd.com. They do guided tours, train tours, unguided, self-drive etc.

Jacobite Steam Train aka the Hogwarts Express

Highly recommended.

Blessed by flawless flights both over and back it’s hard to complain. Coming home via Delta we were treated to the sight of Greenland, visible as there was none of the usual cloud cover.

Shortbread appears all over the place. The popular Walker brand has trucks delivering the stuff on every corner.  But homemade is great and pretty easy to make:

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature (the better the butter, the better the shortbread)

1/2 cup caster sugar, called “baker’s sugar” in the U.S. (if you can’t find it just pulse granulated sugar in a blender until very fine. Do NOT use powdered sugar)

1/2 teaspoon salt

How to:

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 8×8 or 9×9 inch square baking pan (or use a round cake tin and cut the shortbread into triangles.)

Put sugar, flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until it’s combined and looks like coarse breadcrumbs but is soft and pliable and comes together in a dough when you press it together between your fingers. If it’s too dry and crumbly pulse a little longer.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking pan.  Use your fingers and hands to firmly press down the mixture. Prick the shortbread with the tines of a fork, creating rows.  Or run a knife between each row.

Put shortbread on middle oven rack and bake for 30-35 minutes or until light golden and firm. Let cool. Cut and serve.

The obvious beverage would be whiskey, probably one of the fancy Scottish single malts like Laphroaig, The Macallan or Glenfiddich.  (I tried– and failed– to visit a distillery in Portree—all tours booked). For something milder go with coffee, tea or a glass of milk .

Get out those bagpipes! https://youtu.be/CH7mdlLy61Y

 

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Birds of Various Feathers

 

Lured by the communications efforts (good job, Brooklyn Botanic Garden) and ease of getting there, a friend and I went to see the gardens themselves as well the current For the Birds exhibit, a series of birdhouses set along the walks.

Love that exhibit is ‘presented’ by Warby Parker; have never shopped there but concept is great.

June 18, 2022 was a perfect day; warm but not hot, breezy and just when many flowers are in full bloom. BBG occupies fifty-two acres and was founded in 1910.  We walked casually, enjoying the various gardens: Children’s; Rose; Discovery; Fragrance; Japanese Hill-and-Pond; Herb and others. Only the Osborne Garden (friend studies Italian gardens) was a bit disappointing—formal with very little planting to break up the green.

Most of the birdhouse names or descriptions are a little tongue in cheek so they might not work for everyone. For instance, there’s one labeled A Flock without a Murder. Not everyone knows that a group of crows is a murder (as a group of whales is a pod.) Some of the houses look like they would work for real birds; others are fanciful which doesn’t make them any less fun to look at, just less practical as homes for feathered creatures  (Emily Dickinson fans take note: BF, were you here you’d be on it in a nanosecond.)

I adore poppies, setting aside The Wizard of Oz and their use in producing opium. Also love artichokes which I thought wouldn’t flourish in the NYC climate–wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It would be hard to not love these bird houses: E Pluribus Unim with mosaics, crystal beads, paintings, Americana, and household objects as well as a “wise” barn owl, American kestrel, American redstart, American goldfinch, and American robin; the 100 Martin Inn where the  notes neglect to say this bird is having a hard time keeping going and the Birdega, a cute local riff.

Birdega

 

 

We had a birthday lunch of tuna sandwiches on focaccia, chips and rosé at the outdoor café, battling heavy breezes that tended to provide plenty of spills I’m sure the birds enjoyed.

The exhibit runs until late October. If you like birds, flowers or just a nice walk in a lovely setting get there. It’s an easy subway ride.

 

And to follow up, a chicken recipe: Tfaya Baked Chicken from Nargisse Benkabbou (New York Times Cooking)

The name is Moroccan- don’t be put off—it’s a cinch and delicious with almost no work.)

2 cups raisins

3 large red onions (about 1 pound), halved and sliced

4 chicken leg quarters (I used thighs because that’s what I had)

Generous 1/4 cup sliced almonds

For the marinade:

½ cup vegetable stock (I subbed dried veg bouillon as that’s what I had—worked fine)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped (well, no)

¾ teaspoon ground turmeric

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (omitted)

 Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes or until softened; drain and transfer to a deep roasting pan. (my raisins were softish so I didn’t bother to soak)

Put stock, olive oil, honey, garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt, black pepper and cinnamon in a large bowl; mix until smooth and well combined.

Add the onions to the roasting pan and pour approximately half of the marinade over the onions and raisins. Use your hands or tongs to combine.

Transfer the chicken to the large bowl with the remaining marinade and use your hands or tongs to make sure that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Place the chicken legs on top of the onion mixture, skin-side up, and pour any remaining marinade over the chicken.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and scatter the almonds on top. Return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the almonds are nicely toasted.

I served this with orzo and a green salad.

Whatever you chose to drink, whistle.

 

 

 

 

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Stepping Back in Time

On Memorial Day weekend I visited family in the Boston area. Saturday, in  an on- and- off downpour, we went to the Museum of Fine Arts, primarily to see the Turner show. Organized by the Tate Britain in London, the show goes way beyond typical Turners of sea and sky. In Turner’s Modern World, the artist delves into war and independence, slavery and technological innovations of the era. There is an interesting video of a contemporary

A Turner at the MFA

watercolor artist ‘reproducing’ a Turner. It’s a lovely show with an unusual point of view. Applause to my family who aren’t major museum-goers but very kindly accommodated me.

 

Faith plays Matisse’s Musical Fence

The next day I joined a former Vassar suitemate (meaning singles or doubles with a shared ‘living room’–nothing fancy) for a trip to the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. The museum, housed in a huge house with an open roof, is eminently skippable but the sculpture garden is terrific. Thirty beautifully landscaped acres include some of the most beautiful trees anywhere. Walking around the park visitors (many with kids and dogs) come upon works by Sol LeWitt, Paul Matisse and Andy Goldsworthy. I thought the piece by Jim Dine the best of the lot.

Jim Dine–even better closeup

There is an excellent gift shop and a café. While I might not make a special trip to Lincoln for the Decordova, if you’re in the area it’s well worth the time.

 

That afternoon back at my friend’s home in Newton, MA, we watched the Memorial Day parade, a town tradition that has been on hiatus like most events, for the last two years. The parade featured (small) marching bands, clowns and stilt walkers of yore, lots of military and first responder floats and trucks and, in a nod to diversity, Chinese dragons and a brilliant African-American girls’ dancing group

With so much outdoorsy stuff going on, this is a picnic recipe from New York Times’ food writer Mark Bittman. He has never failed me.

Corn Salad Mark Bittman

2 to 3 cups raw or cooked corn kernels (from 4 to 6 ears) (I’ve used frozen with total success)

1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into fairly small pieces

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves (I’d sub in parsley as I’m not a fan of mint in salads but suit yourself.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the corn, tomatoes, cheese and mint (or parsley) in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat.

This is a great—and incredibly easy—side dish that goes with almost anything. Drink beer, soft drinks, iced tea, white or rose wine and give a few minutes thought to all those who have lost their lives defending our country. Then think about the January 6th event and subsequent hearings and do something—phone bank, write letters or postcards, canvass, give money… anything but don’t leave it up to others. It’s our democracy at stake folks. Get in the game.

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Utica Starts with You!

This post is in memory of a very dear friend who died last Sunday. He is deeply missed.

Utica is in the part of New York State filled with classically named cities: Rome, Troy Ithaca and Syracuse, among others. The tenth biggest city in the state, Utica lies in the Mohawk Valley midway between Buffalo and NYC. After the Erie Canal arrived in 1825 Utica officially became a city.

Today despite a slew of buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places, I can’t think of a reason to visit Utica except for the fabulous Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.  Located in a building designed by Phillip Johnson, the institute is linked to Fountain Elms, home of the Williams Family and is now a ‘house museum’ exhibiting (largely) decorative arts. The whole arts institute derives from the Munsons, Williams and Proctors, three generations of a Utica family.  The money behind the whole shebang came from textiles, coal mining, canal development and railroad/steamship transportation. Helen Elizabeth Munson Williams, (1824-94), described as a “shrewd investor” started the collection. Today the institute offers classes, workshops for all ages, tours and community education.

More bric than brac

The permanent collection is nothing short of dazzling encompassing 18th through 21st century paintings; stoneware, sculpture, textiles and a great deal more. In the lobby there is a spectacular Jackson Pollack from 1949.

Pollack in the lobby

   

 

   

 

 

       The collection has such breadth and quality it’s impossible to describe so here’s a link: http://collections.mwpai.org/objects/images

The following day we escaped the madhouse that is today’s Saratoga Springs to drive to Glens Falls for the just–reopened Hyde Collection. The core collection includes works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Seurat, Picasso, Renoir and American artists Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, and James McNeill Whistler. There are modern works by Albers, Gottlieb, Kelly, LeWitt, Motherwell, Rauschenberg and others.  I was particularly knocked out by Steve Roden’s The Silent World and a work by Myron Stout.

Steve Rodin

 

 

For an additional artistic touch, here is the recipe for Ansel Adams’s Poached Eggs in Beer from The Photographer’s Cookbook 

¼ cup (⅛ pound) butter                                                                      
Mixed spices (this one is a mystery. I’d probably omit.)
Dash sherry
1 bottle dark malt liquor or strong ale (ordinary beer is not strong enough)
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
2 pieces toast
Dash paprika

1) Melt butter in microwave oven, but do not allow to brown. Add (a dash of mixed spices) and sherry. 

2) In a small bowl, microwave malt or ale with ¼ teaspoon salt just to the boiling point. Carefully slide eggs into this hot liquid, cover with paper plate or glass bowl (to retain thermal heat), and cook as desired in microwave. (See note below on microwave cooking.) 

3) While eggs are cooking in microwave, make two pieces of toast. Spread part of the butter-spice mix over the toast.

 4) Serve eggs on the toast, and pour over the rest of the butter-spice mix. Add a dash of paprika.

I find that 1 egg in the hot ale or malt takes about 1 minute to cook, 2 eggs about 2 minutes (this note from curator Lisa Hostetler at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY)

This sounds like a breakfast or brunch dish. Depending on the weather, how about tea or coffee, hot or iced? If you want to get really artsy, try an absinthe cocktail https://www.thespruceeats.com/absinthe-cocktail-recipe-759567 as absinthe was drunk by many writers and the subject of many paintings.  Widely banned in the early 1900s, it no longer contains wormwood, popularly thought to make drinkers go mad, blind or both. Pernod and other anise-flavored beverages are often served in lieu of absinthe but the thought of this alongside poached eggs is unappealing.  Maybe just hum a few bars of Mona Lisa a la Nat King Cole…

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Jane: Her Own Urban Legend

Jane Jacobs

As in Jane Jacobs, urban planner, writer and activist who argued that urban renewal didn’t respect the lives of city dwellers. Jacobs stood up to Robert Moses who wanted to overhaul Greenwich Village where she lived and helped cancel plans for the Lower Manhattan Expressway which would have wrecked what today is Soho along with parts of Little Italy and Chinatown.

Jane is recognized on a weekend in May all over the world. In New York City the Municipal Arts Society organizes a group of free, docent-lead tours knows as Jane’s Walk. I went on one that more or less centered around the East River. Although I’ve lived here my entire life, I didn’t know about the fire on June 15, 1904 on the paddlewheel boat the General Slocum.  The fire’s cause was possibly a carelessly discarded match; of the 1,358 passengers, many of whom were women and children, 1,021 died, largely because they couldn’t swim and were hampered by the heavy clothing of the day.

 

 

 

I also didn’t know (or forgot) that York Avenue was named for Sergeant Alvin York, one of the most decorated soldiers of WWI. TCM fans probably know the 1941 movie, Sergeant York, staring Gary Cooper which brought him that year’s Oscar for Best Actor.

One more Jane-related factoid: Since its founding in 1901, Rockefeller University has produced twenty-six Nobel Prize winners.

Having tried and failed to find a recipe with “city” in it (if you come across one I’d love to hear) I’m going with a Manhattan.

2 ounces rye whiskey (or bourbon if you prefer)

1 ounce sweet vermouth

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 dash orange bitters

Garnish: brandied cherry or lemon twist

Add the bourbon (or rye), sweet vermouth and both bitters to a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.  Strain into a chilled coupe. (I doubt that you will be struck by lightening if you use a glass.} Garnish with a brandied cherry (which everyone has around the house) or a lemon twist.

Before your first sip raise your glass to Jane.

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Old World/New Exhibit

Salmagundi front entrance

The Salmagundi Club has been around since 1871 and today occupies a quirky brownstone on lower Fifth Avenue. The name is derived from the Salmagundi Papers published by Washington Irving and James Kirk Paulding in the 1820s. The word salmagundi first meant a dressed salad of meats, anchovies, eggs, and vegetables arranged in rows for contrast; in modern parlance, a salmagundi is a mixture or potpourri.

The Club has several large galleries for art exhibitions; a bar and restaurant downstairs arrived at via a room displaying paint-daubed artists’ palettes;

three vintage pool tables; a  library available only to members and a press for printing monotype. The building was originally built for Irad Hawley, president of the Pennsylvania Coal Company and his wife, Sarah.  Past members include William Merritt Chase, Louis Comfort Tiffany, N.C. Wyeth, Childe Hassam and Winston Churchill

 

Every spring the club hosts a major exhibition of works by members of the American Watercolor Society (AWS) with artists from all over the world showing their impressive paintings. All work shown must be in water soluble media: watercolor, acrylic, casein, gouache and egg tempera – only on paper, canvass not allowed. To see the works on view click  her

 

visitors in upstairs gallery

Impressive take on an eggbeater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of water, here is a recipe for raspberry/lemon infused water—refreshing, pretty and a good way to cut back on the sugar in traditional lemonade.

2 quarts water

1 cup fresh raspberries

3 lemon slices

Combine all ingredients in a large glass carafe or pitcher. Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours. Strain before serving.

I suppose you could kick it up a notch by adding vodka or gin but that would undercut the point. For additional trippiness, play or hum Starry, Starry Night.  Maybe you’ll get the urge to start painting. Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until she was 76 when her fingers became too stiff to do embroidery. You may not love her work but gotta admire that spirit!  Cheers.

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