Carrying on a fine Tradition

gourd

On a recent arrival home from some time away, one of the first things I noticed was an arrangement of decorative seasonal gourds on the dining room table. Miss Z was following in my footsteps, discovering the joys of the local market and had brought home a colourful harvest for the family to share. Each one is unique and riotous in its markings, much like our tribe, and worthy of joining the painterly edits that I have been amassing over the last few years.

This particular edit brought to mind a post about the etiquette of food photography where the ongoing conversations in the comments had led to much reflection on how I wound up with so many shots of ordinary fruit and veg in my own archives.

Twenty odd years ago as my son and I were zooming up a street, I saw a kid outside of his garage selling large canvases of close-ups of the most magnificent mangoes and plums, odd veg and seafood in the most brilliant colours and rendered in an energetic impressionist style. It was just that flash of something extraordinary that made me pull up the car and go and have a look – I should have bought them right then and there, but could ill afford it and so I went to visit his other works in a few cafes and a gallery, later looked for his stuff online, googled them years after and always regretted not having deprived myself of something else to have been able to look upon that luscious fruit every day.

It marked me in much the same way that Wayne Thiebaud had an influence on how I see the ordinary. It is that driving need to tell the story of the very basic stuff of life, the things that go unnoticed, the colours and shapes we ignore in the busyness of it all – that is what keeps me taking food photos. Photography is all about the way we transform what we see so that we can give others a glimpse and get them thinking, remembering, wondering, engaging and even taking part in keeping the creative process dynamic.

So yes, I do take pictures of my food: I can revel in them at will, remember exactly what I was thinking or doing, ascribe circumstance or tradition, have them stand out as markers in that timeline of life. They are mine… and now they are yours.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Improvise

improvise

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Someone on another social media site recently said that when they were in their teens being twenty-something meant joining the ranks of adulthood (choke) but now that they were in their 20s it was pretty much alot of flailing about looking for food. I’m not actually sure that ever changes – the arm-spinning, whirlwind chaos of being, I mean. It seems that no matter how much knowledge we amass, how much life experience, on-the-job-training, travel and leisure put it in the scrapbook, document that memory stuff we cram into our brains, we are just basically winging it.

Are we that far removed from our dawn-of-time ancestors? Not really. Some of our best solutions come when we have to think fast, on the run, now or never: not so different from figuring out which end of the mastodon is going to be the least dangerous when your spear is broken and Erg has run for the hills with a panic attack.

Life can often be one big improv scene and the things it throws at us aren’t always solved with tried and true remedies or by the book formulas. Take a chance. Play. Listen. Learn by doing something new.

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge suspects that everyone can and does. “How do you jump to it?” – jerry-rig, duct-tape big, blurt out or ponder, ignite or ignore. Feel free to put your two cents about how you Improvise in the comments…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Out of the Earth comes my Pleasure

turnips

An acquaintance has a keen eye for produce (among other things) and has been kind enough to encourage my painterly treatment of his photographs. What thrills me the most is that we seem to see the natural in much the same way. This bounty of turnips could not be any more glorious for their story of early mornings, simpler times, hands pulling the harvest from the dark fragrant soil to send to market. When the divine took a brush to this humble vegetable, it was for us to look upon such things with renewed wonder and breathe in with gratitude the overlooked beauty that surrounds us.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Comfort Food

jellomore please!

The Inscrutable Dr. Fu is taking full advantage of the freedom to experiment in my kitchen and likes to put her own twist on what she jokingly refers to as “white people” food. Who am I to complain when presented with these little treats?

This week’s culinary foray is NSFKids homemade Jello made from fresh strawberry-raspberry juice and a liberal splash of vodka topped with a lovely little strawberry mint garnish straight from the garden.

The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge just knows that there are tasty tidbits and go-to dishes that make you go aaaahhhh …

“Do you have a favourite childhood treat?”  Feel free to leave your two cents about the most delicious of your Comfort Foods in the comments…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Harvest

painterly mushrooms, lettuce and cabbage

An acquaintance’s photograph of some veg from their garden a few weeks back got the foodie in me salivating for a collaboration. He was kind enough to agree – just wish I had been able to get a taste of the resulting stew.

Share something tasty with someone you love – even better, share with a stranger.

Small Pleasures are awesome

awesome

There was a time when certain foods had their own undeniable flavour and were only eaten during season. Wild local strawberries at dusk bring back filtered memories of childhood, cicada song among the sweetgrass and that sleepy satisfaction at the end of a day that the world couldn’t get much better.

I would put forward that small unexpected pleasures, like the taste of a perfectly ripe summer berry bursting in your mouth, are the ones that make it all worthwhile. They are awesome because they are more than just the thing itself: they call out to the past, inform the present and remind us how things should be – one perfect moment at a time…

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

express

For all the writers, artists and actors
slogging through another day in the wrong job to make ends meet

Find inspiration in the entries of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Lunch – Week 2

carrot soup

half way there

There is a huge snowbank in our front yard telling us that it is soup season again. Miss Z has gone to all the trouble of googling a healthy recipe for the 5 pounds of carrots in our fridge and so we set to work this afternoon. We are not really a fan of sweet soups but a large amount of ginger, garlic and onions seemed just the ticket to take the edge off what could otherwise be cloying and unpalatable. Some simple chopping, a little simmering in the dutch oven, a whir in the blender, a toasty baguette on the side and voila… tomorrow’s midday meal.

We much prefer when someone else does the cooking. No matter how tasty the creation we have concocted, it just doesn’t seem as appetizing to us as it does to everyone else. Perhaps because we have lingered too long over it, inhaled the aromas until we no longer have the need to actually eat it. No matter, there are plenty of hungry monsters in the house to devour the potful.

“What do you do for lunch?” – brownbag or five-star, sandwich or soup, miss it completely, go with a group, left-overs or made from scratch – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Lunch

coffee

the latte that wasn’t

Our metropolis has one of the largest underground cities on the continent and is filled with, among other things, innumerable tiny restaurants from sushi joints and burger heavens to artisanal bread bars and vegan fast food. We had forgotten just how many people keep this industry alive and well until we got caught in the swell of office workers pouring out of their hives at full noon. The thought of standing too long in line for sub-par snacks didn’t appeal to Miss Z so we came up for air and headed towards a little hipster café. Situated on the main floor of a building in the old fur district on a side street blocked by construction vehicles, we walked right by it. No sign on the window, just a couple of numbers because we were supposed to know where it was.

Sitting in the back at a communal table seemed a better alternative than at a windy table for two awfully close to the front door, or so we thought. Relatively decent prices and a interesting enough menu were over-complicated by a server who, after asking us if we were familiar with the café, just had to explain what the sizes of the portions were on the “pizza” and “salad”. Uh oh. Sounds of a jack hammer started to vibrate through the wall – weren’t they unionized? 15 minutes. Full on rush hour of lunchtime. The hardhats doing the renovations next door had thankfully stopped for their mandatory break. We wondered what they had in their thermoses…  20 minutes. Good thing we didn’t have to get back to a real job where someone was actually counting the minutes we were away from our desks. 22 minutes. The girls jammed in to the right who had arrived ten minutes after us were served. Their complete meal. No sign of anyone at the open kitchen prepping our food. 25 minutes. Waiting is not our forte and we started to twitch. Just as the urge to walk out kicked in, our two lunches arrived on a single wooden cutting board with one duck and feta slice cozied up close enough to kiss Miss Z’s all-veg order. Nice. Definitely not politically correct.

It wasn’t famous as far as meals go and we said as much to the server when she asked if everything was great. No, it wasn’t. The portions of duck were microscopic and looked as though they had been stripped of the carcass of someone’s dinner from the night before. The crust literally had to be sawn through which is probably why it was served with a steak knife on the side. The salad which had definitely been batch made quite a few hours, say 24 or more, previously was predominantly beets with all of 2 walnuts, no pears, one green that looked like lawn clippings and a blob of goat cheese that had the texture of sour cream. Good thing the kombucha was bottled because the barista didn’t seem to know the difference between a bowl of latte and the double-strength cappuccino that arrived at our table.

Did we want something else? Nope. Perhaps a slice with a different meat on it? Definitely not. In the end, being ravenous and afraid to be struck by lightning for wasting food, we did eat the whole thing. The salad just sat there until we could doggie bag it. Not in any rush to get us our bill, they comped us the $5 for the duck “pizza” – wow – and hoped we would come back again for breakfast or supper when the crust was thinner. Mmmm, no, we don’t think so….

“What do you do for lunch?” – brownbag or five-star, sandwich or soup, miss it completely, go with a group, left-overs or made from scratch – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

The Big 5 – “Where” do you eat? – Week 2

green apples

an apple a day

It’s been years since we had to pack a lunch for ourselves or, for that matter, walk further than a hundred feet to find something to snack on midday seeing we are “lucky” enough to live and work out of the same premises. We do, however, keep an eye on what the Ghost and Miss Z throw in their backpacks to sustain themselves through their busy schedules. Their food of choice these days tends towards the portable, bite-sized, not too smelly and unobtrusive.

The rigours of back-to-back seminars means that some days our monsters have to actually eat in their classrooms. Just as walking down the street with a coffee or bottle of water in hand wasn’t a common occurrence thirty years ago, neither was noshing down on a fragrant smoked-meat in a “State of the Media” symposium. Times change. Many of the unwritten rules of public comportment that we took for granted are long gone and we either go with the flow or run the risk of becoming stale-dated like that mystery meat sandwich from the vending machine.

Meal-time, under the best of circumstances, is no small effort and the Big 5 Challenge is curious about “Where do you eat?” – in bed or on the sofa, in front of the tv or in a cafeteria, on the road or in the air, alone or in a crowd, way too fast or without a care …

We would love to know where you chow down.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

The Big 5 – Where do you eat?

sushi

YUM

Now that the Ghost and Miss Z are out and about unsupervised and wander in when their days are done, the island in our kitchen has become the focal point for most food-related activities.  It sits plonked between the stove on one side of the room and the fridge on the other, a horrific example of how not to succeed in the concept of the “work triangle”. Get more than one person in the room trying to meal-prep or even just trying to grab a quick snack and the dance begins: the side-stepped, blocked path roundabout, the hot pan “watch out not to burn yourself” get that off there before we drop it tango of a too tight remodel not thought out long enough (our absolutely perfect kitchen has been in the concept stage for the last 20 years…). It looks great at first glance, it works marginally. Despite all that, we have become accustomed to such interaction. Like Pavlov’s dogs we know what to do when the timer on the microwave beeps and, depending on how many bodies are in play, we act accordingly.

Whoever did the redesign on our open-concept rental must have been contemplating a larger space. We do have a dining “area” with a table that seats eight comfortably but the chairs seem to attract stray coats and backpacks.  Whatever surface that could possibly be used for supper always seems to have an assortment of laptops, books and projects in progress strewn over it and only sees the light of day on special occasions. We hate it. It does not conform to our sense of orderliness.

The days of sitting down to a family meal every night seem long gone and the Big 5 Challenge suspects this is a trend.  Where do you eat?” – in bed or on the sofa, in front of the tv or in a cafeteria, on the road or in the air, alone or in a crowd, way too fast or without a care …

We would love to know where you chow down.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary such as the above on one of the five Ws (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN or WHY and sometimes HOW) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a reply in the comment box, in a new post with a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Challenge yourself to dig deep for an answer.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

SO – Create your Big 5 Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “The Big 5 Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Big 5” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on The Big 5 Challenge page.
  5. Remember to Follow to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Culture – Week 2

brekkie

 generic airport brekkie fills a need

In another lifetime morning used to find us in some sort of airline mode. Bleary from having hot-foot it onto the red-eye or woken at some ungodly hour and barely coherent in the lounge, breakfast was never a sure thing. Now, most times, we have the luxury to pick and choose departure times and destination. Somewhat more in control of being able to plan things out in advance and convinced of the benefits of foresight, we have become keenly aware of how to eliminate those little disruptions that can have unpleasant after-effects.

Thirty years ago we could stomach cold soba while gazing at Mount Fuji from cruising altitude or dig into a dish of kippers at the Park Lane but now we can’t even do an 8AM donut in Chicago. Our kingdom for a bowl of granola….

It certainly can be said that the first (and don’t forget, kids, the most important) meal of the day depends on what one is used to and what we find palatable. Depending on the company kept and where in the world one finds oneself, it can vary wildly. From the hair of the dog that bit the night before to huevos rancheros, everything is relative: we’ll stick to what we know won’t come back to haunt us later in the day.

“What does your culture look like?” – costumes and customs, meals and milestones, a country or county, monument or monolith, a pantheon of people or singular person – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

signs

closed
nothing left
but  a few square feet
on the third floor of a museum
no more celebrities
no more labour disputes
no more long lines
waiting for a taste
of smoked meat and a coke
but perhaps
the straw that broke
the kravitz’ back
was just
that $5.50 super deluxe sundae

♨︎

Read all about it in the entries of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Events

blog birthday

they say it’s your birthday

August already? It must be, for the back-to-school flyers are arriving in multiples and the stores seem busy clearing too much summer stock to make way for the dull beiges and murky browns we are all supposed to be eager to throw on any moment. We are only half aware of the change, our concentration sadly focused almost exclusively on the seasonless virtual world of our computer screen, mindful only of the minutes that pass like seconds in the countdown to looming deadlines.

Sometimes one can work too hard, become too wrapped up in projects so that we don’t see the bigger picture clearly anymore and the details fuzz out and become lost in too much tweaking. Across the Bored was definitely suffering from a case of monitor-induced vision impairment yesterday: solution – shut it all down. Step away from the keyboard. Take a breath, indulge in a cup of coffee at a streetside table, eat Tiramisu…

Today is the 2 year anniversary of this blog – we had planned something big and shiny awhile ago but then promptly got distracted by more pressing issues only to be reminded this morning by a lovely little icon in the notifications. In a sense, we celebrated the previous afternoon playing hookie, watching the real world roll by and, as usual, gathering more material to keep on keeping on. It was, like much else for Across the Bored, a turn of – Events – that turned out to be fortuitous indeed.

This fortnight “Show us your events” – big or small, happy or sad, with balloons and streamers, blaring brass bands and thronging crowds or alone on a kayak, blue skies or grey, any kind of day that it might be…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

 

C words

c words crepe

C is for Crêpes
Co-opted by Cheese
Coated with pesto
and walnuts to please
a Crisp little Cameo
of greens on the side
delectable vegetables
Cannot be denied
Cabernet Sauvignon
perhaps Chardonnay
strong Coffee to follow
Complete
for today

Chow down on the entries in Frizztext’s A-Z Challenge: C words.

B words

b words berries

B is for Berries
Beautiful treat
gorgeous to ogle
luscious to eat
Blackberry, Blueberry
raspberry red
Blended with mangoes
key lime for a Bed
Bring Bounteous seconds
so Baker may Boast
Blissful sweet tart
Beguiles us
the most

Browse the entries in Frizztext’s A-Z Challenge: B words.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

container

Before plastic and paper
stone and steel
there was a grand design
ubiquitous in its ingenuity
an elegant simplicity
in that which comes
from the earth
to the earth
returns

Unwrap the entries of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Heat – Week 2

heat

modern day hunter-gatherers stalk elusive prey

When summer hits its stride in our neighbourhood the pervasive aroma outdoors around dinnertime is one of barbecue. Not your standard throw a couple of burgers on the grill type smoke wafting over the fence but the piquancy of Italian sausage, a simmering curry, jerk pork or roasting garden vegetables, for our street is a veritable United Nations of culinary diversity. We sometimes sit on the patio and sniff deeply, trying to divine what our neighbours will be feasting on by the tantalizing odours that snake across the back yards.     Our tastebuds anticipate much but truth be told when the temperature rises higher than our age Across the Bored is much happier when someone else cooks.

We do have a very valid ulterior motive: our reasoning is that our voluntary withdrawal from estival kitchen duty forces the Ghost and Miss Z to hone some very valuable and rewarding life skills. Their palates have been curated over the years, now is the time to see whether they have the chops to create their own mouth-watering masterpieces. Marinated or mulled, mixed, chopped, sautéed or saturated, in the oven, on the stovetop or flaming barbecue this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme would like to turn up the – Heat – and  get something wonderful cooking. Serve it and we will eat. If the weather has us all wilted, just put on some walking shoes and hunt down the nearest food truck…

Last week, Across the Bored asked “How do you see heat?” – The sun on your face, a favourite beach place, curry in a pot, flames fanning hot, a tight situation or artistic creation. We would love to see your vision..

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Travel Theme: Unexpected

unexpected

black beer and pretzel artisanal donut
sweet, salty, superb
and an unexpected delight
from foodtruck friday

‼︎

Be surprised by the entries in
Where’s my backpack?’s Travel Theme: Unexpected.