Tag Archives: culinary delights

The Dead Bird

Have you ever read a book or heard a song or looked at a piece of art and marveled that you were not the one to create it, so exactly did it reflect some facet of your secret, sacred heart? That’s what happened when I recently picked up a copy of Margaret Wise Brown’s (of Goodnight Moon fame) book The Dead Bird, illustrated by Christian Robinson. A lovely, familiar, poignant poem of a book.



Of a Feather

Wow, just look at what artist Chris Maynard can do with a feather…

Check out his gorgeous shadow boxes and Featherfolio here.

Feathers, Form and Function: New Cut Feather Artwork by Chris Maynard feathers birds

Feathers, Form and Function: New Cut Feather Artwork by Chris Maynard feathers birds


What Christian Slater Tastes Like

I’ve recently mentioned that our home is heated by a wood-burning stove. That stove is currently a-cracklin’, and perched upon it is one of those steamers–the kind your fill with water to help humidify your bone-dry, ashy house. Our’s was a gift from my mom, and its lid is shaped like a grizzly bear. When I fill it I say I am feeding the bear.

Usually I add some essential oils to the water, because that’s how I roll. Bears live in the woods, and so do we, so pine and fir and cedar are my standbys. It’s all woodsy-forest up in here. But this morning, for reasons unknown, I grabbed the clove oil. Which, incidentally, is good not only for flavoring the ham I do not eat and mulling wine, but also for relieving toothaches.

First, let me say, a little dab will do you. Now for the last few hours I can barely focus on anything because it feels like my brain is no longer in my skull. My brain is actually sitting cross-legged on the white-carpeted floor of my teenage bedroom, chewing Clove gum, and flipping through Rolling Stone magazine. Seriously, it’s weird, and I can’t shake the feeling. If I get too close the stove I start salivating, and rolling imaginary spiced gum around my mouth.

Good for numbing teeth and feeling “alternative”. [pic: www.candy.org]

You remember this gum, right? All old-timey, made by the Cadbury Adams company for over 100 years, and brought back in the mid-1980s for old folks and pre-hipsters to enjoy. I was all about it. I chewed it all the time when I wasn’t guzzling grapefruit juice. Clove, and its blue-coated cousin, Black Jack.

Although I now love and crave the flavor of black licorice, I can’t say with much conviction that I ever actually enjoyed chewing the pasty-colored, anise-flavored Black Jack. And yet I kept trying.

Why? Because that is what alternative DJ hottie Christian Slater chewed alone in the stairwell in the classic 1990 Stick-It-To-the-Man film, Pump Up the Volume… and boy did I have a thing for Mr. Slater. Along with most my friends. Annie even had a life-size cardboard cut out that I coveted. Even if it was from the less-than-mediocre Kuffs.  I mean, really. I even hated actresses Samantha Mathis and Milla Jovovich for a time because they got to (respectively) slow-sway topless around a fire, and dance around an apartment in their undies with him.

To this day I’m not sure if I kept trying Black Jack because I so related to his character’s loner-misfit vibe, or because I just wanted to know that Christian Slater’s mouth tasted like. Today I’m happy to stay five states away from that man’s mouth (oh! how the mighty have fallen!), but still, this clove-scented air is scrambling my synapses. Time to put on The Pixies and dig up a big flannel.

Nostalgia indeed.

Sipping on Sun Eggs

The day pretty much began like this: me, contemplating a golden fruit.

Elsa Beskow’s rendering of a Sun Egg

Last month I spent a week in Arizona, visiting my grandma with some of my lovely siblings. My grandparents moved south several years ago, and while I deeply miss their old lakeside home in Madison, the new roost does have something I like very much. A grapefruit tree. Fully laden. Just outside the window. Needless to say, one day we filled a bucket, and got to work.

Confession: I am grapefruit junkie. In high school, my book bag clinked and clanked with the sound of glass knocking against glass. I tell you, it wasn’t because I was a boozer stealing the dregs from dusty misfit bottles of my parents’ Ouzo, Sherry, or Frangelica. It was the tell-tale sound of my three-a-day habit. Yes, I juiced.

And if that was not enough, I liked to smell like the sour citrus fruit, too. Yes, on my teen rovings downtown on State Street, I’d often find myself drawn into The Soap Opera, a beloved old apothecary of fragrant hippie delights. I liked to hang out around the sample dram display, sniffing various essential oils. Possibly muttering to myself in a British accent.

Contrary to popular belief (ahem), I did NOT wear patchouli. Much. But I did have more than one little dram-bottle of Forest Pine essence to complement my stash of Grapefruit oil, which I went through quick enough.

My bedroom then was at the end of a long hallway on a less insulated addition to our original ranch house. For some reason when we ripped out the hideous and diseased shag carpet, I got to pick my own carpet color. Silvery white. I then proceeded to leave my windows cracked in winter, and hang strings of glass icicles from the panes. My furniture was old, dark, antique oak, my bedding light blue and white…my posters of snowshoe hares, arctic foxes, and wolf packs. (Okay, and ultimately a six-foot-banner of Daniel Day-Lewis, the crown of my Last of the Mohicans shrine.) It is entirely possible I set a low base-temperature in there just to help entice the cats and dogs to cuddle with me more.

 My point is, Forest Pine is a pretty logical scent for a room that was meant to look like winter, and certainly felt like winter… so why the Grapefruit? Why the crisp, pucker-inducing scent of summery citrus, sun-bright and bee-kissed? Why here, in the white winter room?

I don’t actually have an answer to this, folks. Why does a teenager wear moccasins to school, get obsessed with Neil Young, guzzle Chocola, and dream of being an elf who rides wolves? (Or was that just me?) Because she likes to.

I really, really love grapefruits. I love watching my aunt peel them every year for the Christmas fruit salad. I love using that crazy jagged little spoon to root out their triangular segments. I love heating up the juice with hot water in the winter (really, try it), and mixing it with ice and Patron in the summer. And I really, really love drinking the fresh-squeezed juice.