Time flies as we all know. It's already July and so much has happened at my Montalvo home. Since April I have cooked so many meals for some really interesting people who helped me understand the meaning of courage. Last month, there was that 106-pound haul from the Six River National Recreation Area of burn morels in just one day, there was the presence of music pioneer, storyteller and 2016 Pulitzer prize winner Henry Threadgill, who is the real deal in contemporary music sharing his stories of childhood growing up in Chicago with the jazz greats like Coltrane, Duke and his mother who had a cake baking business out of the house. Every surface covered in sugar. Not to mention my new favorite southerner Matt Petty who musically and visually explores visionary folk art of the South, meaning people who have visions and then dedicate their lives to a project given to them by god (building a stairway to heaven is one such project). Very southern and a world I do not know until Matt graced us with his presence. Then there was the return of Cassils, a visual and performance artist who explores sexuality, its suppression and their literal fight to expose injustice. Cassils is also a body builder and uses the body as part of their practice. Their work (pronoun meaning one transgender person which takes getting used to, at least for me in a grammatical sense) is powerful beyond most meters of power. They are kind and bright beyond most specrums of color. Cassils's wife Christy, a dominatrix by past trade and now a nurse, trainer and musician, has emmense power and humor in her own right. And to add to the creative mix is Jonas Becker, who makes sound and visual installations that are rich in simple beauty and deep ideals. Jonas also has changed his pronoun. I mention this only because it is a sign of the times where people can be free in this country to be who they want to be. It's courageous. The dark wave of violence in Orlando, Fl. or the rhetoric from the bully representing the republican party should not change that. This leads me to mention Karen Finley who was here with Bruce Yonemoto making a commentary film about the founder of Villa Montalvo Senator James Phelan, a known racist of the day who penned the Asian Exclusion Act to "Make America White Again" as to bring the subject to the present state of political affairs. So the past is the present in many ways. The film will explore that theme since that bully is using the exact same language that led 120,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps . We need to fight for a county where people can be who they want to be without discrimination of any kind. Intense times at Montalvo! Time for growth. And more good food. Here are a few images of the season:
It's been a while since I wrote on this blog and it's time to start up again. I am at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga working as a "culinary artist" a term I take with all seriousness. Time is flying and I have been cooking up so many yummy things.
Now I get to put those creative daily spurts of mine into books. I am working on two and they both connote the deep flavors of the earth.
Earthy is one word to describe my style with some salt and brine elements of the sea mixed in too. One book project is with the fabulously talented visual artist Kija Lucas who is doing all the photography for an art and nature-hungry seasonal cookbook. Many of the things are wild and foraged and all the recipes will be inspired by my intense cooking time and exploration at the artist residency at Montalvo.
The other book will be focused on food and drink of the cider house. Apples! And on that one, I get to work with another wildly talented person— my sister who is co- owner of the artisan Carr's Ciderhouse in Hadley, MA. Ever heard of switchel or cider syrup? Now you will. It's amazing stuff, old school ingredients brought to the contemporary era...artisan food at its finest and most ethical.
For over a year, I have had the pleasure of working at Bloomfield Farms in Sonoma County making and creating my own artisan products. Check out my blog there and see what I am making for the American Pantry!
Thanks to everyone who took part in the picnic at Montalvo and for bringing food craft that represents the abundance of creativity in what we eat and drink! Here is one photo and there are more to come! Thanks so much for taking part.