No, not either of mine, (neither of whom was known as Grandma—both disliked it), but Moses.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses was born in 1860 in upstate New York, grew up, married, had ten children (five of whom died in infancy) and began to paint in her seventies. Her work became immensely popular, so much so that she made it onto a commemorative stamp in 1969, had her picture on the covers of both LIFE and Time Magazines and has a work on view at the White House. The largest public collection of Moses’ primitive-style works is housed in The Bennington Museum. Bennington, VT. The museum also has a large collection of Bennington Pottery, permanent exhibitions including a hands-on schoolhouse and changing exhibitions –currently one called “Revealed: A Century of Women’s Underclothing” that made me very glad corsets are no longer in to say nothing of hoopskirts.

That's how you got a seventeen inch waist

Grandma Moses is credited with saying “If I hadn’t started painting, I’d have raised chickens” and “a primitive artist is one whose work sells.” Not bad, especially about the chickens.

Digressing to chickens, the trend to urban agriculture is inspiring more and more New Yorkers to raise them. Roosters are illegal because of their early morning wake-up call, (although the far more intrusive noise from garbage trucks is apparently perfectly all right), but hens are OK. Currently, Brooklyn is chicken central but the movement is on the rise. I don’t see a lot of co-op and condo boards giving a thumbs-up to hen coops but meanwhile, go urban cluckers! 





A chicken recipe seems in order. Try this:

(originally from The New York Times)

Serves 4

3 T olive oil
3 ½ lb chicken, cut into pieces (if you hate dark meat you can substitute breasts but dish will be dryer)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 large green peppers cored and sliced into ¼ inch pieces.
1 large onion, sliced thin
4 oz slab bacon (OR ½ lb thick bacon). Cook bacon first, get rid of the grease and chop)
2-3 sprigs parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Lbs. sweet peas (fresh or frozen).

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, brown chicken and season well with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from pan. Reduce heat, add peppers, onion, bacon, parsley and garlic to pan. Cook stirring constantly until garlic and onion become transparent, about ten minutes. Return chicken to pan, cover and cook over medium heat until chicken is nearly done and veggies are tender, about 30 minutes. Add peas, stir gently, cover and cook until they are cooked about 7 minutes. Check seasonings. If there is a lot of grease, get rid of as much as possible. Transfer contents of pan to a warmed serving platter and pour cooking juices over it.

(Note: I have no idea what makes this “Basque” but it’s delicious.)


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9 Responses to Grandma

  1. I adore being called “Grandma,”and this grandma can’t wait to make the “Basque” Chicken with Peas, minus the bacon.

    If made ahead, as we all know, the dish can be refrigerated for a while, and the fat can be removed easily.

    Too bad it’s raining-I’d run to the store right now!

    • marigold says:

      I called one grandmother ‘Noni” and the other “Dockie’, probably a baby version of GaGa (not as in Lady) that was told to me. Funny how kids take things they don’t really understand and turn them into something terrific!

  2. Sally Brady says:

    As soon as my peas are in I’m making that chicken. When are you coming up? I’m still wincing from gazing at the corset.

    • marigold says:

      I’ll be there for a week with Memorial Day in the middle of it. Maybe we could make something work?

  3. Peter says:

    Speaking of chickens, just yesterday we got a flyer about ‘fryers’…er.. An offer for a trial subscription to “Backyard Poultry” magazine.. About raising birds for the sheer enjoyment of it..Imagine that! “”””

    Love your tales and the recipes, too.
    Keep up the good work!

    • marigold says:

      Yes, but are you going to take the bait and raise them? Really fresh eggs are great if you’re willing to do the work – not sure how minimal it is!

  4. Carolyn Miggins says:

    The town of Maplewood, N.J. is trying a small experiment in chicken raising. I hear from my friends who live next to one of the trial families that it is sort of fun to have the experience. No chickens for me at my condo though !

    • marigold says:

      Although the eggs are genuinely better than the month-old variety at the supermarket. However, reality is reality.

  5. Elayne Glotzer says:

    Basque, smasque as long as you have a good pea. No really, in the NYTimes Dining section today, there is an article re: finding the perfect pea. Did you know that they were one of the earliest cultivated food crops, and Charlemagne planted them in his garden.
    Anyway, I would love to go to France but not just to buy peas. Thanks for the recipe
    and all the info about the chickens, but I’m pretty sure the HOA won”t allow it.
    Love to all,Elayne