Dancing in Your Underwear

"Stays" aka a corset that must have been hell to wear

“Stays” aka a corset that must have been hell to wear

What a pleasure to go to a museum where the exhibition doesn’t leave  you in need of oxygen. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) is a little gem with free admission, generous hours and never an overwhelmingly large show as the space doesn’t permit it. Exposed: A History of Lingerie is in the upstairs gallery. It examines what is coyly referred to as “intimate apparel” from the 18th century to the present beginning with the corset, a garment I’m glad I never experienced first-hand. One item this otherwise very complete show has overlooked is the Merry Widow, a item from my tortured teens that encompassed a bra and body-shaper, linking the latter to garters that held up stockings (the item currently re-branded as a “corselet”  to make it sound hotter.) My MW recollections are not pretty–it was fairly uncomfortable but a must wear.

A Merry Widow of the 60s

A Merry Widow of the 60s

Some of the lingerie, like the bustle, is hilarious; some is erotic and some, like the 1924 cami-knickers, could be worn today as a sort of dress-cum-shorts item. If you want to see the exhibit, get a move on–it closes November 15th.

Downstairs, the Dance & Fashion exhibit explores the relationship between the two forms. A video is a bit of a self-promo for the New York City Ballet’s costume shop but, in fairness, it’s the only one of its kind and produces fabulous work. As the New York Times writer, Siobhan Burke, pointed out, it’s a little weird seeing clothes made for dance totally still but then again, how often can you get a close look at what dancers wear? Click here to read the whole review.

Several pairs of pointe shoes are exhibited including ones worn by Anna Pavlova as well as costumes designed by boldface names such as Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Oscar de la Renta, and even Ralph Lauren though thankfully not in his “American Wasp perfection” mode. The Martha Graham Company loaned dresses reminding me that, upon arriving at my first dance class, probably at age three, the story goes that I looked around and shrilled “Mommy, why are these ladies wearing rags?” I bet my mother did a lot of shushing.

Dancers, as we know, subsist on coffee and cigarettes with an occasional performer who admits to actually ingesting food.

This recipe has absolutely nothing to do with dance (especially as it contains half-and-half) and everything to do with the weather getting colder. It’s for an easy, delicious soup that everyone–even those who profess to dislike curry– loves.

soup

Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

1 2 lb butternut squash
3 tbls unsalted butter
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger root (you can buy this pre-made or buy a small piece of ginger and grate)
1 Tbls curry powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups low salt chicken broth
2 firm ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup half and half
Preheat oven to 375. Put a little olive oil in pan. Cut squash in half long way and put cut sides down in pan. Roast until very soft, about 45 minutes.
Melt butter in large soup pot. Stir in onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder and salt. Cook and stir until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and brim to a boil. Stir in pears and reserved squash and simmer until pears are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Pour soup into blender, filling it only halfway full. Hold down lid with a towel. Puree in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot, sit in half and half, reheat and serve.
Up on those toes folks. It’s showtime.

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One Response to Dancing in Your Underwear

  1. Peter Sour says:

    Sounds delish -what a good Fall/Winter dish!