Friday, September 21, 2012

Falling In.

I get it now.  It all makes sense to me. 

It's hard to articulate something that is so abstract (even ethereal), but I think I've managed to construct a concrete understanding of what it means to be an artist. 

I started reading a book a while back called, 'The Storytelling Animal' and it goes into depth about the origins of storytelling, why we do it, and what makes it so important.  As artists, we get to be storytellers.  And the awesome part is that, we all do it in a way that is unique to us. 

This is not to say that it's an easy road.  The lifestyle of an artist is not like others, because it is not linear.  Not only do you endure the ups and downs of your own personal life, but you must do the same with your career.  There is no certainty in what we do, but that is what it's all about.  It's not about safety, and it's not about getting it right.  It's about being truthful and present, even if that means being uncomfortable.  It's about surrendering to the possibility of experiencing something you had no idea could happen; allowing yourself to be vulnerable and real, because people need that.  In fact, they crave it.  We can spend so much effort into appearing like we have it all figured out, instead of admitting what's really going on, and so we seek comfort elsewhere.  Art lets us know that we are not the only ones who feel this way, and that we are not alone.   

This is our job.  This is what we do.  And when we do it well, others welcome it gladly.  As artists, we must go to the places that no one else dares to, seek out the unknown, experience it, and then report back.  Sharing these stories is essential to our nature.  It's what makes us human.

And everyone loves a good story. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Mood for Good Food

Sometimes, I find I have too much time on my hands.  This leads to baking.  And eating.  And my continued quest to find others who do the same.  If that's you, speak now, or forever hold your piece.

I'm so clever.

This weekend, I got the awesome opportunity to volunteer at KCRW's Good Food Pie Contest.  The annual event takes place at LACMA, and in it's 4th year, had over 200 entries.  Each baker entered two pies, one for judging, and one for public view/purchase, and my job was to schlep pies back and forth, all the meanwhile, wearing a cute little apron.  The work itself wasn't very difficult, and since I was part of the staff, that meant hanging out in the air conditioned loading area, where the judges were and helping out with occasional cleaning.

This year's panel included Russ Parsons (of the LA Times), Sherry Yard (of Spago), Huell Howser (a hilarious TV man, I had yet to hear of, but now adore) and a personal favorite, Joy the Baker (of Joy the Baker ).  I had no idea she would be there, and was thrilled to get to meet her, since I'm an avid follower.  If y'all don't know her yet, you should.  She's wonderfully awesome.

ONE of the FOUR tables of pie.

There were 5 categories for judging (Fruit, Savory, Creme, Nut, & Metropolis (based on Chris Burden's Metropolis II Sculpture)).  Once the judges had finished deliberating, which was a very intense session of hand-raising while still plunging forks, my real purpose came into play.  Meaning, I got to sample the remaining pies.

WARNING: The following images may invoke hunger, cravings and/or irrational behavior.  View with caution.  

Candied Mint is delicious.
Best pie, by far.
Mo Butter DOES mean Mo Better 

 You can tell, I'm a fruit gal.  Another favorite was Blueberry Lavender, which was off the charts.  And I don't use charts.  Some were kooky, like Artichoke Pie, and Shoofly Pie, and FISH Pie (I did NOT try that one).  I tried to give my love to all the bakers I could, but after a while, I began to feel the expansion that comes with eating too much food.  

As the day came to a closing, and the winners were announced, the remaining bakers came to pick up their empty pie plates.  Even though most of them hadn't won, I wanted to give them a little high-five for just being awesome.  It wasn't about the ribbon, it was just the fact they had made the effort and went for it.

After all, the proof is in the pudding.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Happy September!

As we transition out of the over-heated summer, and into the sumptuous fall, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than attending the LA Times anticipated event,  'The Taste'. 

Now, some people like to think of heaven as a never-ending, angel singing, cloud lounging paradise.
For me, it's a weekend devoted to tasting the best restaurants and having an unlimited supply of wine, beer and gin.  I love me some gin.

The 3 day extravaganza is spread out into 5 different events, the first one being 'Field to Fork', serving as a nod to all the Farmer's Markets in the area, as well as the ultra trendy movement of farm-to-table dining.  I'm a FM devotee, and love getting to know my farmers, how/where they grow their produce, and learning all I can about the process.  It makes cooking so much more enjoyable, because you know where your food came from.  You'd be surprised how little people know about what they put into their mouths.  Educate yourself.

Okay.  Back to the weekend.  I had been looking forward to this for some time, and was so excited to spend the afternoon on the Paramount Lot with friendly faces practically handing me free samples.  There were several stages set-up for demonstrations, including a cook-off between two notable chefs (Ray Garcia & David LeFevre), with the secret ingredient being...melon! Unfortunately, I didn't stick around to find out what they made.  I was too concerned with getting my fill of food and drink, as the event was only 4 hours long. 

Paramount Lot turned food mecca

Roxana Jullapat of Cooks County, making leftover dough into a yummy snack

Each booth was set-up with prepared samples, so there were never any long lines.  Some of my favorites would have to be:

A/K/A Bistro-Goat cheese polenta with honey dates
M Cafe-Peanut Kale Salad, along with Curry Tofu crisp
Valerie Confections-Candied Basil Panna Cotta.  I had this one twice.  Please do yourself a favor, and stop reading, drive over to the bakery and order this dessert.
Rocio's Moles-Chicken Mole, and Summer Squash Fritter

These are just a few out of the 28 restaurants I ate from.  It's times like that, you wish you had a second (or third) stomach, so you don't walk around feeling like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.  And just when you think you can't eat anymore, you find it in yourself to grab another tiramisu sample. 

 The event goes on today and tonight, as well as tomorrow, ending with a Labor Day Picnic.  Me? I wish it went on forever.

Foodie Love :)