Friday, February 13, 2009

Party Preparation

Yesterday I baked all day. These are some of the mushroom turnovers I made from one of the fantastic recipes you can find in Deborah Madison's book Vegetarian Cooking for Everybody. I have made variations of this before, sometimes adding spinach, or ham, or cheese, but this time I decided to just follow the recipe. I hope I have enough food tomorrow. I forgot to put RSVP so I am not sure how many people to expect. The weather should be good though, no snow storms in the forecast. In fact most of the snow is melting off roofs and streets since we had warm weather yesterday. It makes entering buildings a bit precarious--you want to be sure a huge pile of snow doesn't fall on you just as you enter. From my seat now, I am seeing big blocks of snow overhanging our front porch, just waiting for a bit more sun to entice them to fall. They aren't over our steps so I don't think I have to worry about lawsuits.

If you squint your eyes at the image of the turnovers, you can imagine what one of the pignoli cookies I made yesterday looks like. Heavenly crisp almond paste covered with pignoli nuts. I would buy these in NYC or Philadelphia, and when we moved to NM I bought three different books with varying recipes for them. Then I never tried making them. I don't know why, but this house in VT encourages baking. I found the recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook produces perfect cookies. I will post a picture after I set the table tomorrow.

I planned to post an image of two small weavings I did in 2000, when I knew I was leaving Philadelphia and thought I would no longer have access to jacquard weaving. Words had become essential elements of my work and I wanted to find a means of incorporating them without the labor involved in handpicking (age seems to have modified what I am willing to do cheerfully). In reading an old notebook from the early 70s, I discovered some pages of recipes I had written in the tiniest handwriting possible. (A sidenote--when I was still in high school, I won a radio contest of free tickets to see the movie Splendor in the Grass, by writing the title the most times of anyone on a postcard! I couldn't use my free tickets though because we lived on Long Island and the movie theater was in Brooklyn.) Anyway, I was surprised that even then my notebook had pages of recipes. They are found today at the back of nearly every notebook I have ever kept. So I took those pages out, cut them into strips, and wove them into two small weaves called Recipe 1 and Recipe 2. I will dig them out of my boxes and take an image to show you. 

It was a big revelation to me when I realized that words are images. I used to doodle words, not thinking of them as doodles. In fact, I thought, and still think, that I am blank of imagery in my mind. I see words, not scenes. This could be a good time to go on about simulacra, but I won't. (Though that did send me to my bookshelf to try and find the word in print to get the spelling right, and now I am filled with guilt about all the books I own that I intend to read....) It wasn't until after graduate school that I really understood that printed, drawn, written, physical words are pictorial and valid images in my work.

I don't remember anyone commenting to me about this, but pages 201 and 202 of The Woven Pixel are copies of some recipe pages from one of my notebooks. Both the Madeline recipe and the Fudge Cake were given to me by my mother, Nona Ziek. For a year in Guatemala, when I owned a restaurant, the Fudge Cake brought in customers who had heard about it in South America. They were told, on your way home, don't miss that cake! You should try it--it is a perk of owning the book.

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