Hi darling, you've been right at the very top of my statcounter page all day which I'm so happy about - no hits from, say, Palm Springs, California; Killeen, Texas; Toulouse, Mid-Pyrennes, France; or Serra, Espirito Santo, Brazil. The Madonna of the Carnation hits have stopped as mysteriously as they started. I connect (if only in my imagination) a Concord, Mass. hit the other day to my having mentioned Ralph Waldo Emerson. I take it as a nod from him, considering that the google search that led to my blog was "we come at the age's most uncertain hour." I am sure he would believe so if he were here to see what's going on in the world. Of course he would be appalled.
Muggy today, then a good rainstorm in the afternoon, sun is breaking through now. I bought cherries at the market and watched Big Love while pitting and halving them. I'll bake pie tomorrow. D did a lot of planting (bless him) in the garden this morning, zinnias to replace those lost to frost, echinacea for a gap in the border, broccoli rabe, and a section of "walking" onion ripped out of the ground and handed to D by one of his friendly clients who gardens. The plant resembles a sturdy scallion. It grows tall, forms bulblets, gets top-heavy, tips to the ground, the bulblets take root, send up another tall stem, etc. Isn't that cool?
I did about 45 minutes of weeding just now, out of need and also out of guilt. I didn't enjoy it but it didn't kill me either.
Ironed yet more curtains (!) while watching Charlie Rose. Very interesting young chef on, René Redzepi, chef-owner of a highly regarded restaurant in Copenhagen. (His person reflects a narratively complex latter-day European diaspora in his having been born in Denmark (his parents emigrated from the former Yugoslavia), raised in Macedonia, and returned to Denmark.)
I like Redzepi's simple philosophy, and not to see E.D. absolutely everywhere, but his approach seems so beautiful and poetic that indeed I did. Kindred spirits. Rose showed a few images of the chef's dishes. They're simply and beautifully composed, reminiscent of Dickinson's striking herbarium arrangements. The chef emphasizes "time and place" in his cuisine. He commented that there's a homogeneity to certain internationally high-echelon restaurants, the same music, the same - I don't know what - willingness to oblige a weight-conscious philistine with a plate of plain steamed broccoli no matter what the innovative destination chef might have up his or her sleeve - I guess a certain high-flying set demands things a certain predictable way wherever they go.
Redzepi's not into that. He believes that if you're in the North of Europe, where he is, the restaurant experience he offers should reflect just that. So his cuisine reveals "place" in that he offers flora and fauna native to the regional land and ocean waters, and "time" in that he offers what is at the optimal time, in season, to be harvested, hunted, fished, or foraged. One beautiful composition involved blueberries surrounded by other plants that naturally grow with and at the same time as blueberries. (I think that the botanically-minded E.D. would be delighted.) Redzepi rhetorically asked Rose: "What grows with blueberries?" Me, standing there ironing, reflecting on my own garden, said aloud to the TV, with ignorant accuracy, "Weeds." Well, people, those weeds have names, and some of them are edible. I might even have wild sorrel, which when in Copenhagen will set you back when paired with blueberries.
Redzepi's restaurant, Noma, has 40 seats with only one seating per evening, is booked solid months in advance, and the prix fixe at about $160. He looked a little uncomfortable when Charlie Rose inquired after such mercenary details. This art doesn't come cheap, and Redzepi prefaced by saying that to begin with Denmark is not an inexpensive place.
But again, his poetic vision and sensibility is really very direct, simple, natural. I don't know. I was impressed. D suggested to me this morning that I catch the interview, and I can see why he did. I also responded very strongly when Redzepi spoke of how he views his cooking as a gift, that he cooks to give, because he likes to give, the act of offering, giving, loving. That is very much what has inspired me to write all the letters over the past two years. And E.D. wrote for specific readers as well. I have such a different notion of art now, on the creative side, than when I was on the analytic side as a critiquing English major. Nothing freezes me up more creatively than the notion that I Should Be Creating Great Art. No, I would like to express where I am, in my Time and my Place, and to offer it as a gift, with the sincerest hope that you might enjoy it and come back for more.
Kisses and other amuses-bouches, dearest.