Tag Archives: food

Friends, Madrid

21 Mar
Two friends eating tapas in Madrid. Alexandra Hanson-Harding 2017.

Two friends eating tapas in Madrid. Alexandra Hanson-Harding 2017.

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People Eating Tapas, Madrid

20 Mar
Tapas Eaters, Madrid. By Alexandra Hanson-Harding, 2017.

Tapas Eaters, Madrid. By Alexandra Hanson-Harding, 2017.

I’m out of words, I’m just going to draw things #2

15 Nov Chickpeas for dinner. Alexandra Hanson-Harding
Chickpeas for dinner. Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Chickpeas for dinner. Alexandra Hanson-Harding

 

I’m eating oatmeal while  child #2, the chef, is saying, “You know what would be delicious? Pancakes. You know what I want? Pancakes. You know what I wish someone would make me? Pancakes.” Father says, “There’s a package of pancake mix on the top shelf.”

“Pancakes pancakes pancakes.” says child. “Pancakes with a capital P. I want twenty tiny little pancakes that look like cereal but aren’t.” The rain is pouring down and he has a long nasty wait for the bus ahead of him to get into the city. It makes me sad, thinking of how many years I spent waiting at the same bus stop, rain pouring down the back of my legs, into my shoes. I’m more sorry for myself than the annoyance running around the kitchen.

“If only there were someone in this house who could cook.” I say. Child cooks at top restaurant in Manhattan. The other day when he was less annoying, he cooked us breakfast. Poached eggs that were lightly toasted in Panko and Afghan lamb spices, then fried, and served on top of sauteed brussel sprouts. “Poke the eggs so they go right on the sprouts,” he said.

How do you fry poached eggs? It’s like frying air. But they were delicious.

Okay, he started making the pancakes. He puts the mix into a small plastic bag, then cuts off the corner. “Piping bag!” he says. So fancy.

Husband says that he has to drink coffee or he’ll have organ failure. He read it in an article and it’s science.

“Big coffee’s feedin’ you a lie,” says child.

Child finishes his pancakes. They are the size of a quarter each.

So, a week ago, I woke up very confident about the state of this country. It was a beautiful Tuesday. September 11 was another beautiful Tuesday. The rain is drilling into the skylights.

Right now it seems very hard to want to leave this cozy little house with these crazy little people.

 

 

My Grim Gluten-Free Future

24 Feb Goddess Ceres, wheat, France, gluten
Goddess Ceres, wheat, France, gluten

Back in like Ancient France or whatever they weren’t beeyotching about wheat, oh no, they were like, oh thank you Goddess Ceres, here, we’ll make an awesome picture of you with gold leaf in it just to say how awesome le baguettes and la croissants and je ne sais quais else that’s made out of wheat is. But here in America? Non. (photo courtesy of Wikimedia, Public Domain).

You know what’s better than a piece of freshly-buttered sourdough toast? A piece of freshly buttered sourdough toast with a Belgian waffle and an everything bagel on it, that’s what. But now two (2) doctors have nagged me sufficiently to throw up my hands and say ALL RIGHT, I will TRY your stupid “GLUTEN FREE” diet even though I had an endoscopy and it did NOT show that I had celiac disease and I don’t even believe in gluten free anything and I hate the idea of being that “special” person who has to have that “special” thing at the restaurant and ask how everything is prepared. I know, I know, that’s just a form of snobbery on my part. Why shouldn’t I care what I eat? Food is life’s fuel. And, honestly, I generally eat pretty well. Much of that is the husband’s doing. He grows a fabulous garden each year and it’s always a race to stuff in as much produce into each meal as possible. He also has made me much more willing to give up on the super-cheap deals on chicken and beef in favor of the painfully expensive organic cuts where each cow has its horns hand-rubbed each evening and each chicken is knitted a pair of leg warmers so it doesn’t get cold as it roams freely over the acres and acres of Happydale Farm. Yeah yeah, I love the planet. But now I’m going to have to hunker down and do the walk of shame in Trader Joe’s and look at that package of oatmeal to see if it’s Gluten Free. Why shouldn’t oatmeal be gluten free? I guess some places, wheat hangs around the oat schoolyard and acts as a bad influence on the virtuous oat students, contaminating their virtue. So you have to make sure that they are kept away from each other. Sigh. There’s so much I have to learn. Another thing I’m confused about is that one of my doctors wants me to give up dairy and the other wants me to give up sugar. I guess it makes sense to give up sugar–even more than wheat, really. But does that mean maple syrup and honey, too? And isn’t something like organic Greek yogurt actually a very healthy food? Does anybody have any advice about how I can survive the next two heinous months?

Writing Prompt: Help a gal figure out how to go gluten free–I beg you.

Art Journaling: She Presides Over Death

9 Sep
Art Journal  selection: She Presides Over Death.

This page is from one of my six or seven (or eight, can’t remember) art journals, from a free book I got called Packing Regulations by Stanley Sacharow in 1978.

As I have become more interested in the world of art journaling, I have started more journals. After all, once you get the paint out, you can only do one page at a time, then you have to wait until it dries and you’re just sittin’ there–it’s like watching one of those hideous T-ball games that seemed to go on forever when my children were young. So why not use the paint on six or seven journals while you’re already making a mess?

My problem is that I get really interested in the subject of the books I’m using. So one of the books I found for journaling was a nice hardcover called Packing Regulations. Laugh at me if you will, but Mr. Sacharow took his job seriously and he wrote about the world of packing regulations with care. If you really think about it, how food and other items are packaged is really quite an important subject. It’s a sort of unseen until it calls itself out to you, something hidden in plain sight. It’s easy to understand on an esthetic level. Don’t those little orange-shaped Orangina bottles make the drink taste even better? But it’s also important for reasons of safety (it’s not desirable to have harmful chemicals leaching into your food), and even just for mailing things in a way that is economical yet will minimize the chance of squishing your precious Oreos or bottles of wine. It’s also important that food items conform to certain standards.

Still, it was kind of sad to see this young lady working with rows of dead chickens on a line. Yes, please someone, inspect my meat. But for a moment, I look at those corpses and they look like babies to me, plump-tummied, headless babies. So the subject of the book inspired me to make me use the picture. Which is kind of ironic, because that means I used the contents of a book about packaging to discuss contents of a package which is in the book, which means . . .well, you get the idea, it’s a bit like the Land O’ Lake Butter girl, going off into infinity.

Writing Prompt: What is one kind of packaging of a product that you admire?

July is Journaling month #16: Eavesdropping

26 Jul

Image

Currywurst–resist at your peril. (Wikimedia commons)

 

Do you ever find yourself sitting next to some very loud person or group of people at a restaurant or café? The kind of people who are so interested in what they have to say that they are oblivious to those around them, and speak in a tone that invites the whole restaurant to listen, since nobody else could have a conversation without shouting? My friends, do not waste these precious moments. I myself had the opportunity to learn everything I ever needed to know about European travel last night while enjoying my Fresco single serve pizza at an outdoor café last night. Thank goodness I had my journal to capture the voice of one very confident and assertive lady and her three companions who occasionally got a word in edgewise.

 

Lady 1: There is such a sense of Catalonian pride. They want to secede. They brought in sand for beaches. You go for tapas, the fish is swimming until ONE minute before you eat it. And there’s all this Jewish history there and this place Girona. We went to the beach. I was in my bathing suit, I felt like I was in my birka. Everybody’s topless! They’re experts at changing in their towels.

 

Man 1: The woman could be 18 to 70. It’s just what they do! Lots of gorgeous people around. AND, they ride bicycles. They’re fit.

Lady 1: Oh. My. God. BERLIN. The sidewalks were so wide, there were bike lanes. Bikers everywhere.

Man 2: Amsterdam, that’s the ultimate bike city.

 

Lady 1: And Berlin had amazing museums. They had this museum alley.

 

Man 2: I had these friends who were artists, and they went to Barcelona to see the Dali Museum, and it was Monday and it was CLOSED.”

Lady 1: That Gaudi architecture was Ay-May-Zing. Oh, and the food . .”

 

Man 1: That Inquisition thing got to a lot of people.”

 

Lady 1: And Franco. He wouldn’t let them speak Catalonian. And they couldn’t meet in groups over three people. And he let Hitler practice bombing on them.

 

Man 2: That Hitler. He practiced a lot.

Lady1: Anyway, we get on the plane and we’re like SARDINES. Luckily, we both had aisle seats. My legs are longer than his, but HE doesn’t believe it.

Man 2: We went to Italy a few years ago and nobody told us that Alitalia goes on strike every other day. They had to fly us from Florence to this place where everybody speaks German.

Lady 1: I mean, they took good care of us on the plane. They gave us water. We saw FIVE EPISODES of House of Cards on the plane. Fabulous.

Lady 2: Here’s my question—we totally didn’t get that Robin Wright business. She’s such a nasty, power hungry . . 
Man 2: She didn’t mind when he had that affair with that little Chippie.

Man 1: You know what I loved? When that teenage girl dies from choking on a peach, the way he manipulated the parents. . . Smooooooooothhhh.

Lady 1: Plus, I saw SOOOO many movies.  I saw Quartet, about three men and a woman who .

Lady 2: Is Dustin Hoffman in it?

Man 1: I saw shoot-em-ups. Like Gangsters.

Lady 1. They told us they were giving us $100 back because his TV didn’t work. Hah.

Man 2: There was this guy, pushing against my seat and I . . . “

Lady 1: We switched, I was hoping to sleep, but forget it.

Man 2: Some people put moves on their Ipads.

Lady 2: That one time we were only going to California . . .

Man 1: When my wife travels, she gets very holistic. She wants to see everything.

Lady 1: We’re gong from 9 in the morning until 11 at night. And, I like to go to the nice restaurants, I mean, not Michelin. I didn’t need that. But what I want to do is get NAMES. Like our tour guide, in Berlin, he told us two restaurants that were fabulous. We had Currywurst. It’s like a fat hot dog. They put ketchup on it.”

Lady 2: Gross.

Lady 1: It’s actually delicious.

Man 2: Those Europeans, they all smoke.

Prompt: At a café, restaurant, or party, capture a conversation. Get the rhythm of how people REALLY talk. Do their personalities come through? What do you learn from what they say?

 

 

Do you ever find yourself sitting next to some very loud person or group of people at a restaurant or café? The kind of people who are so interested in what they have to say that they are oblivious to those around them, and speak in a tone that invites the whole restaurant to listen, since nobody else could have a conversation without shouting? My friends, do not waste these precious moments. I myself had the opportunity to learn everything I ever needed to know about European travel last night while enjoying my Fresco single serve pizza at an outdoor café last night. Thank goodness I had my journal to capture the voice of one very confident and assertive lady and her three companions who occasionally got a word in edgewise.

 

Lady 1: There is such a sense of Catalonian pride. They want to secede. They brought in sand for beaches. You go for tapas, the fish is swimming until ONE minute before you eat it. And there’s all this Jewish history there and this place Girona. We went to the beach. I was in my bathing suit, I felt like I was in my birka. Everybody’s topless! They’re experts at changing in their towels.

Man 1: The woman could be 18 to 70. It’s just what they do! Lots of gorgeous people around. AND, they ride bicycles. They’re fit.

Lady 1: Oh. My. God. BERLIN. The sidewalks were so wide, there were bikelanes. Bikers everywhere.

Man 2: Amsterdam, that’s the ultimate bike city.

Lady 1: And Berlin had amazing museums. They had this museum alley.

 

Man 2: I had these friends who were artists, and they went to Barcelona to see the Dali Museum, and it was Monday and it was CLOSED.”
Lady 1: That Gaudi architecture was Ay-May-Zing. Oh, and the food . .”

Man 1: That Inquisition thing got to a lot of people.”

 

Lady 1: And Franco. He wouldn’t let them speak Catalonian. And they couldn’t meet in groups over three people. And he let Hitler practice bombing on them.

Man 2: That Hitler. He practiced a lot.

Lady1: Anyway, we get on the plane and we’re like SARDINES. Luckily, we both had aisle seats. My legs are longer than his, but HE doesn’t believe it.

Man 2: We went to Italy a few years ago and nobody told us that Alitalia goes on strike every other day. They had to fly us from Florence to this place where everybody speaks German.

Lady 1: I mean, they took good care of us on the plane. They gave us water. We saw FIVE EPISODES of House of Cards on the plane. Fabulous.

 

Lady 2: Here’s my question—we totally didn’t get that Robin Wright business. She’s such a nasty, power hungry . .  “
Man 2: She didn’t mind when he had that affair with that little Chippie.

Man 1: You know what I loved? When that teenage girl dies from choking on a peach, the way he manipulated the parents. . . Smooooooooothhhh.

Lady 1: Plus, I saw SOOOO many movies.  I saw Quartet, about three men and a woman who .

Lady 2: Is Dustin Hoffman in it?

Man 1: I saw shoot-em-ups. Like Gangsters.

Lady 1. They told us they were giving us $100 back because his TV didn’t work. Hah.

Man 2: There was this guy, pushing against my seat and I . . . “

 

Lady 1: We switched, I was hoping to sleep, but forget it.

Man 2: Some people put moves on their Ipads.

Lady 2: That one time we were only going to California . . .

Man 1: When my wife travels, she gets very holistic. She wants to see everything.

Lady 1: We’re going from 9 in the morning until 11 at night. And, I like to go to the nice restaurants, I mean, not Michelin. I didn’t need that. But what I want to do is get NAMES. Like our tour guide, in Berlin, he told us two restaurants that were fabulous. We had Currywurst. It’s like a fat hot dog. They put ketchup on it.”

Lady 2: Gross.

Lady 1: It’s actually delicious.

Man 2: Those Europeans, they all smoke.

 

Prompt: At a café, restaurant, or party, capture a conversation. Get the rhythm of how people REALLY talk. Do their personalities come through? What do you learn from what they say?

Random Journal Page: May 29, 1995

12 Oct

The word of the day is definitely food. We got up, went to the International House of Pancakes, bought a massive amount of food at SHopRite in Hasbrouck Heights, bought some more vegetables at the Farmers Market, and came home. Then, I put food away and cooked al afternoon until Woody and Elise came. Then, we ate. And we ate dessert. It was just lovly. Now I’m having a cup of tea and contemplating life and looking at and listening to the clamorous sky–there’s a biglightning storm outside. The air is fresh and cool. Steam from my cup , white with green polka dots, is sucked out the door. Meanwhile, the floor of the kitchen is getting wet.

Thinking about a lot of things. Like how amazing it is that the application of heat can cause flavors to change, not in one but in many different kinds of ways. How gentle heat introduces the flavor of tomato into the INSIDES of beans. How they are so bland and almost chalky in the beginning, but begin to take the flavor into themselves, so they have their own texture and presence and look, but also have that richness inside of them. But also how quick heat can also do so much, as in shishkebabs. I just like to think about things.

Top 31 foods of all time, no bull, says Time Magazine.

6 Oct

Yum!

http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/01/guide-the-31-healthiest-foods-of-all-time-with-recipes/#68768-2

Times Healthland says it’s putting an end to the confusion. Yeah, I know, you’ve probably been wondering. Paleo diet? Gluten free? That diet where brides-to-be were getting fed through an Nasogastric tube so they could fit into their tiny little dresses? (That’s got to be good for you).

Do you eat these foods on a regular basis? What do you think about them?

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

Black beans—heck yes! Made my own black bean soup. Lots of black bean soup.  Like, three times this week with the black bean soup.

Kale—well, it’s in the garden. Do collard greens count?

Wild salmon—very delicious. Can be cooked ona layer of kosher salt in a cast iron pan with a top on. Then you brush the salt off and it’s delicious. Also good with a sweet sauce.

Walnuts—I wish. Yum!

Pumpkin—English friend just said pumpkin was revolting. But I love it. In real pumpkin pie and also in those Afghan fritters that are so good you could cry. They suggest Pumpkin Oatmean with Yogurt and raisins. I dunno—sounds a bit ungepachket to me.

Apples—OMG! I’m sitting one foot away from a sliced apple.

Blueberries—getting expensive again. L

Bananas—I have some sliced banana next to me, too!!

Broccoli—Tuesday. Dinner. Broccoli at least twice a week. Including a little bit in the garden.

Spinach—I’ll watch Julie eat it at the ChitChat tomorrow. Good as salad or an ingredient, but plain, yuck.

Sweet potatoes—also on Tuesday (very good with black bean soup, too).

Kidney beans—very nice.

Lentils—delicious when they aren’t overcooked. Hate them mushy. They always say cook them 15 or 20 minutes. Try cooking them ten. Add the bay leaf.

Red beets—yuck

Eggplant—roasted some with zucchini and onions a few weeks ago. They always seem to soak up an inordinate amount of oil.

Brussels sprouts—a glorious treat when roasted properly. Glucosinolates

Tomatoes—hooray—beautiful tomatoes from the garden every day.

Whole wheat bread—or whole grain anything. Had quinoa and bulgar this week. Is gluten the evil killer everyone’s saying it is, or is that just to

Quinoa—seriously, if there’s one magic food, Quinoa has to be it. It’s good in a kind of sweet salad as well as a grain.

Steel cut oatmeal—oh hell yes, YUM!

Bulgur—You can cook it right INTO chili so it’s a one dish treat. Learned this trick from younger child who made it when he was sailing in Maine with Outward Bound. Delish.

Lean meat—the Mr. orders half a lamb and a fifth of a cow each year from some magical organic farm in Pennsylvania where happy grass-fed creatures gambol about until one day they get the axe—oops! And then are turned into tiny little paper-wrapped packages for th deep freeze. But meat certainly is a power food. And delicious. Can’t say it isn’t delicious.

Flaxseeds—a major source of guilt, as I have purchased a package of flaxseeds and a spice grinder to grind them up and release their inner goodness for a year. I also have a bottle of flaxseed I have not used. Oh so bad. But Dr. Oz says you still need fish oil for the best source of vitamin whatever it is. Oh yeah, Omega 3 fatty acid. Still need DHA from the fish.

Chia seeds—sorry, they belong on terra cotta puppies

Almonds—delicious, why have they been ignored?

Tuna—isn’t that shit full of chemicals? However, I did eat tuna sushi yesterday. Because it’s yummy.

Fat-free milk—husband has this thing after writing book about dairy where he thinks only full-fat milk is good. I do not understand his educated point of view but I’m sure he’s wrong.

Fat-free greek yogurt—Greek yogurt, food of the gods. From Aphrodite to Zeus, yogurt and honey surely must have been their treat #1

Dark chocolate—please don’t give me any more excuses.

Red wine—I think it’s a treat, but not a health food. That’s just me.

EVOO—I just had to say that to annoy husband because he loathes Rachael Ray. But yeah.

*Props to the lovely Rowyn K. for illustration idea.

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Prompt:

What do you think is missing from this list????