I just finished reading Cooking for Picasso by Camilee Aubray. I wouldn’t give it a thumbs up. Yes the descriptions of food and food preparation are tantalizing and seductive. And it is intriguing to read about the beautiful young French woman Odine who in 1936 could have been the subject of one of Picasso’s famous artworks Woman With A Watch.
Woman with a Watch by Picasso 1936
But my loathing for the way Picasso treated the women in his life wasn’t mitigated at all as Celine the modern- day narrator of Cooking for Picasso tells us how she discovers her grandmother Odine not only cooked for Picasso but also had an affair with him. Celine finds out Picasso is her grandfather. Although that means she inherits one of his paintings and a great deal of money, it also means she inherits the knowledge that she is the descendant of a man who considered himself ‘a beast’ in his relationships with women, a man who said he liked his women to be “submissive and shorter than he was.”
Still Life with a Pitcher by Picasso another Picasso painting featured in Cooking For Picasso
As I read the book I thought about how maybe even a year ago I would have liked it more. But last summer as I did research for the tours I gave of the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I learned just how misogynistic Picasso was and what toxic relationships he had with women. That changed my view of his art completely.
I also read Cooking for Picasso just when the news was filled with stories about famous men being taken to task for inappropriate sexual behavior. Picasso would never have survived such scrutiny.
So while Cooking for Picasso is about two things I love- food and art it is not a book I would recommend.
Picasso -Not Really A Family Man
Picasso’s Grandmother is Canadian
A Slightly Tipsy Bullfighter
Filed under Art, Books, Food
The United Church Observer carried a Thanksgiving article by Anne Bokma. She has always felt it was her duty to make good nutritious meals for her family. She figures she’s singlehandedly made more than 10,000 of them since becoming a mother some twenty years ago. She is realizing now she probably should have insisted her husband and children help out more. She decided this Thanksgiving she was only going to make soup for the holiday meal because she just expends way too much energy making a full turkey dinner on her own.
I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving at our children’s home in Saskatoon. They hosted a holiday dinner for members of both sides of their extended family. Unlike the woman in the United Church Observer article their meal preparations were very much a team effort. Both my son and his wife made shopping trips to various stores for meal ingredients and we did some errands as a family on Saturday morning.
My father carving the turkey at our house last Thanksgiving.
My son roasted and carved the turkey and my daughter in law made the mashed potatoes and green beans. My daughter-in-law’s sister had brought the soup and salad and my husband purchased the wine. My five-year old grandson even got into the act helping his mother to whip the cream for the pumpkin pie.
In our household I have always done the bulk of the meal preparation although my husband is an excellent cook and now often makes his signature dishes when we have guests.
My Dad and my father-in-law frying rollkuchen for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration.
I applaud the cooking model my children have adopted. In their home, meal preparation is a team effort. I love the way they are involving their children too! Even my one year old grandson helps put the ingredients in the blender when his Dad makes our breakfast smoothies.
In her article Anne Bokma references food author Louise Fresco who says that families cooking together makes for good relationships because it provides an opportunity to deal with tension, show tenderness and establish common routines and rituals. Cooking should be a family affair!
A Thankful Weekend
Just in case you haven’t already heard it is Burger Week in Winnipeg. Nearly a hundred restaurants in our city have custom designed burgers for their patrons. We decided to try a burger at Shawarma Khan. It’s a restaurant near our home owned by Obby Khan a retired professional football player who used to be on the roster of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. My husband Dave had read about their burger in the newspaper and it sounded delicious. It was made with lamb, beef and flafel and served on a sweet potato-poppyseed egg bun lined with melted mozzarella cheese. The meat patty was topped with roasted red pepper, seven-bean hummus, pickled turnips, sriracha coleslaw, caramelized onions and garlic sauce. The burger was fabulous as you can see from these photos. I needed lots of napkins to clean all that juicy goodness off my fingers while I ate. I LOVED the fries that came with the burger. They were crispy and spicy and hot. Owner Obby Khan came over to check how we were enjoying our burgers and Dave asked him to pose for a photo with me. Obby was happy to oblige.
We may try another burger in the coming days since Burger Week lasts till Thursday. But the next time we are going to share a burger. I was so full after that Shawarma Khan burger I could barely walk.
Burgers and Blokus
Home Grown in Newfoundland
Spectators and contestants gather for the top junior chef hot dog contest.
Who would be the top chef? Another contest during our family’s Pelee Island reunion was designed specifically for the great-grandchildren. They each picked a mentor from the next generation to help them create and name a gourmet hot dog.
My husband Dave tests the Nacho Dog.
Our senior generation acted as judges which meant we got to taste each of the culinary creations and grade them on creativity, taste and presentation.
The Hot Taco Doggie team wore sombreros and had Mexican music playing during their hot dog presentation
The junior chefs and their mentors had used hot dogs in so many different ways. The Candy Crusher dog featured chocolate sauce and hard candies. The EggsZactly hot dog was served on a waffle with a poached egg on top and the Big Mac hot dog featured macaroni and cheese. After each hot dog had been tasted and graded the teams appeared one by one in front of Judge Uncle Dave who provided commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of their work. Here the creators of the Raging Oma hot dog receive their feedback from the judge. In the end the Holy Chipotle team was the champion because the taste of their hot dog with its homemade chipotle sauce just couldn’t be beat.
A team hugs as they await the judge’s verdict on their hot dog
The contest was lots of fun but also a great exercise in team spirit and cooperation as partners worked together in the kitchen to create their hot dogs, shared ingredients with other teams and cheered on their opponents.
The Amazing Race Driedger Style
A Dog Ate the Cabbage Rolls
Name That Driedger Family Game
Zane Caplansky’s face which is featured on the front of the menus at his famous deli in Toronto might look familiar to you. That’s because Caplansky has been in movies, on television programs like Dragon’s Den, has a weekly radio show and a large Twitter following. Our son, whose work as a professional musician takes him to Toronto frequently, recommended Caplansky’s Delicatessen for lunch and he didn’t steer us wrong. The borscht had a tomato rather than a beet base. It was thick with vegetables and smoked meat bits and had a kind of sweetness about it which I loved.
My smoked turkey sandwich was thick with meat and I enjoyed trying some of the Caplansky signature mustards with it. By the way the beer at Caplansky’s is served with a pickle.
We ate on the patio and I had a great view of this mural of a young boy on a rooftop surveying the city. Loved the look of joy and wonder on his face. Art, great food, a meal shared with family equaled a perfect lunch!
A Bike Ride in Toronto
String Em Up at the Handlebar
Filed under Food, Toronto
Scott Sawatsky was a young man teaching English in Korea when he met a German brewmaster living there who taught Scott everything he needed to know about making beer. That’s the story we heard when Scott gave us an interesting tour of the beer making process at the Peg Beer Co. just down the street from our home. Scott really did learn to make beer while teaching in Korea and now works as a brewmaster himself here in Winnipeg. See the bags of rye malt used in some of the beers beside Scott? It comes from Bamberg Germany. Dave and I spent Christmas Day in 2010 in Bamberg. One of the things we did was sample beer from the nine different breweries in Bamberg.
We had a fun Monday night at the Peg Beer Co. with three other couples. First we took a tour of the brewing facility and learned so many interesting things from Scott about how the beer at Peg Beer Co. is made. One fascinating thing I remember is that after the barley has served its purpose flavoring the water for the beer, a Manitoba farmer comes and picks up the mashed barley to feed to his pigs. The kitchen at Peg City Beer Co. buys some of those pigs back from that same farmer to use for the pork items on the Peg City Beer Co. menu. Talk about recycling!
We learned from Scott that the different craft brewers in Winnipeg help each other out and share information and expertise with one another, even though in some ways they are competitors. Isn’t that great?
After our tour we enjoyed some of the excellent items on the Peg Beer Co. menu. You can go to the establishment any time for the food and craft beers, but if you want a tour they are offered on Mondays.
Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t
I was visiting a school and kids at a table just outside the gym door were selling treats to raise funds for a class outing. “Will you buy something?” they entreated.
“What do you have that’s healthy?” I asked. They were stymied. They had a wide variety of chocolate bars, chips and baked goods for sale. They suggested a fruit juice box but a quick check of the label revealed it was packed with sugar. The only healthy thing I could find were sticks of cheese. The irony of the sales table being just outside the gym door where the kids take their Physical Well Being classes wasn’t lost on me.
There were lots of positives to the kids’ sales venture. They were learning how to interact politely with the public, how to handle and count money, the importance of managing costs and profits and they were working together to achieve a goal. Could they have learned those things just as well if their sales table had featured fruits and vegetables, popcorn, yogurt, sunflower seeds, pistachios and whole grain or rice crackers? I understand those things might have been hard to sell.
It will take some doing to get kids to think healthy treats can be just as delicious and satisfying as unhealthy ones. But it’s a change of perspective families, schools and governments need to work at seriously if we are going to combat childhood obesity and promote more healthy lifestyles for kids. Thinking about what kinds of things we sell for fundraisers- cookies, candies and chocolates might be a good place to start.
Eat Like You Give A Damn
Healthy Environments- Not Gyms or Arenas