In the eye of the beholder

pipe and wire

Some people collect agate marbles or Japanese netsuke. Martha Stewart collects everything!

My goals are more modest. I collect textures. So when I found this abstract image of a pipe and electric wire on an old stucco wall, I was delighted. It wasn’t a Mondrian or a Rothko, but in my book, it was pretty darn close.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

My formula for living is quite simple.
I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.
In between I occupy myself as best I can.
~Cary Grant~

 

 

The hat makes the man…or the woman

hats of the trade

Once upon a time, a millionaire of immense wealth decided to retire from business. He built a huge estate and in one small room off his library he kept his hats of leisure: a boater for the concerts given on the Aeolian pipe organ in his billiards room, a jockey’s hat for riding along his bridle paths, and a pith helmet for building the elaborate network of trails to the top of every mountain (there were six) on his estate.

I live in a less formal time, and I’ve owned a different collection of hats. There was the small blue hat-with-a-veil that I wore to my own wedding. A black velvet mortar board (with a tassel of real gold) that I wore to my doctoral university graduation. A hiking Tilly hat that has seen most of Arizona. A gardening hat made of paper which, I understand, will melt when it rains.

The first two have disappeared into the mists of history. The last two I still have, but I keep a close eye when storm clouds gather overhead!

Every night before I turn out the lights to sleep,
I ask myself this question:
I done everything that I can…
Have I done enough?
~Lyndon B. Johnson~

 

 

Book Review: The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer

The Art of French Pastry


The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love to read cookbooks. The good ones have yummy photographs, I get to “sample” meals that take days to fix, and best of all, there are no calories involved. So when I picked up The Art of French Pastry I was set for a treat–and I wasn’t disappointed.

The author’s father was a baker in Alsace, France, and the young man apprenticed to a professional pastry chef, and then emigrated to America where he established a famous bakery school. The cookbook is part memoir, part a precise methodology of the BEST way to do things. And what things!

Napoleons, macarons, raspberry sachertortes, pate a choux, and of course, chocolate eclairs.

He tells you why to use sea salt (table salt is too salty for pastry), why you should weigh your ingredients rather than use measuring cups (more exact), and why you put your custard in an ice bath before refrigerating (the eggs won’t spoil).

He cautions you to read every recipe twice before starting, and often to allow several days to complete a masterpiece so that the flavors have a chance to meld.

In between recipes he shares tales of ruining a cake he was delivering because he was paying too much attention to a pretty girl instead of the truck that pulled out in front of his bicycle; making 4000 eclairs; and dealing with an alcoholic master chef that never let up.

If you like to cook, or even if you like to dream about cooking, this book is for you!