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Posts from June 2009

Their vibrant presence

In solidarity with the Iranian women / Kostrena, Croatia / May 2005

“Of all the images I've seen emerging from Iran this week, those of fiery women beating policemen and leading protests have moved me the most. Throughout the past decade, Iran's extraordinarily sophisticated and well-educated women have sought for peaceful change through the existing system. Accounting for 60% of university students, Iranian women emerge from university armed with career expectations and modern attitudes toward their role in family and society. They have patiently petitioned the state to grant them more equitable rights before the law. But at each opportunity, they have been treated with contempt. Their vibrant presence in these protests is signalling to the government that they will not tolerate its discrimination and disdain any longer.”

~ Why Now by Azadeh Moaveni

Bread as an edible plate

Bread as an edible plate: pizza on the boardwalk at the Olympic Flame Restaurant / Wildwood, NJ / June 2008

Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band
Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,
To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.
Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:
“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”

~ from the poem the Aeneid by Virgil

You are the bread beneath

You are also the “in croûte” around my potatoes; Another recipe for hard times: Pommes de terre Boulangères in croûte (“Baker's Wife” Potatoes in a Pastry Crust) — looks fancy but is filled with potatoes and onions; this was fun to make as it uses puff pastry and smelled fragrant and exotic while baking / June 2009

“We had just received a platter of kebob barg, made of strips of beef tenderloin; koobideh, of spiced ground beef; and another composed of the tiny, yogurt-marinated joints of Cornish game hen. One sister tipped the platter to gather the meat juices, and explained that to declare adoration for someone, one can say, in Farsi, 'You are the bread beneath my kabob.' After cleaning my plate with some of the still warm flatbread, I got a visceral grasp of its meaning.”

~ Sara Dickerman writing in the NYTimes about a Persian restaurant in LA

... thinking of the elections being held in Iran today and hoping that the Iranian women can gain more freedoms ...

Whose circumference is nowhere

Bruno's circle drawings / Design As Art

"If the square is bound up with man and his works, with architecture, harmonious structures, writing and so on, the circle is related to the divine. The circle has always represented and still represents eternity, with no beginning and no end. An ancient text says that God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

The circle is an essentially unstable, dynamic figure. From it arise all rotating things, and all vain efforts to produce perpetual motion."

~ from Design As Art by Bruno Munari

Hard Luck Pound Cake

The Hard Luck Pound Cake / New Jersey / June 2009

Last week I went to see the doctor. On the way I heard the radio talking about how if Woody Guthrie were around he wouldn't be writing songs about “the economy” but rather how “times are hard” or these are “hard times.” My doctor asked about business and I said, oh, a bit slow — it's the economy I guess (in my head I thought “hard times”). He said that with the exception of one man (who sold some sort of internet-connection widget), all his patients talked about business being off, losing their jobs, losing their health insurance, etc. Driving home I got it in my head that I needed to make a pound cake (partially attributed, I am sure, to the weakness that comes after getting my blood drawn). I found a recipe for a swirled pound cake —the dark and light mixed together, kind of like life — and made a few “hard times” adjustments. The recipe called for 1 cup of butter; I substituted canola oil for half of the butter (butter is expensive and has more health-problem fat). The recipe called for 2 cups of white sugar; I substituted dark brown sugar for half of the sugar (dark brown sugar seems like the poorer relation to white sugar). The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract; all I had was a drop (I protest buying vanilla extract because it costs so much and I can never taste it in what I bake). The recipe called for a cup of milk and I had none; I substituted a cup of Paulo's Half-and-Half (it was in the refrigerator and is a little hidden richness to add comfort). The cake was wonderful — hard luck doesn't feel so bad with a good piece of cake. (Full recipe after the jump.)

Continue reading "Hard Luck Pound Cake" »


More of Bruno's wonderful chairs / from Design As Art by Bruno Munari / the Munari Principle: lucidity, leanness, exactitude and humor

“I had three chairs in my house:
one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society”

~ Henry David Thoreau

Chairs and chairishness

And when we are there we need some place to sit down / Bruno's chair sketches

"So there we are. Chairs must be made for indoors and out, for the drawing-room, the office, the waiting-room at the doctor's or at the railway station, for playing cards in, for taking tea in the garden, for lunch, for the seaside, for holidays in the mountains (a vast range), very low with a very high back, very high with no back at all (for the bar), for boutiques, for buses, for churches, for camping."

~ From DESIGN AS ART by Bruno Munari

Where the day rests longest

Paulo sees flowers growing in the microwave oven / New Jersey / May 2009

The blessèd stretch and ease of it –
heart’s ease. The hills blue. All the flowering weeds
bursting open. Balm in the air. The birdsong
bouncing back out of the sky. The cattle
lain down in the meadow, forgetting to feed.
The horses swishing their tails.
The yellow flare of furze on the near hill.
And the first cream splatters of blossom
high on the thorns where the day rests longest.

All hardship, hunger, treachery of winter forgotten.
This unfounded conviction: forgiveness, hope.

~ May by Irish poet Kerry Hardie; from: A Furious Place

Need to be at ease

The ease of the backyard garden and the deep brilliance of spring blooms / New Jersey / May 2009

When you're at the top of your game, it's because you've surrounded yourself with stimuli that make you feel peaceful and comfortable. Other people may work well under pressure and accomplish most when they're driven by stress, but you usually need to be at ease in order to access your deep brilliance.

~ Rob Brezsney puts me at ease by describing me