Sunday, February 28, 2016
Saturday, February 27, 2016
DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE
AT ROGUE UNDERGROUND DINING
"Changes" was the theme for
last evening's 52nd meeting of the
Rogue Underground Dining Society,
as a tribute to the life and music
of David Bowie.
29 lucky guests were treated to
"transformed" food ingredients
in an 8-course spectacularly prepared meal.
A continuous track of Bowie's
greatest hits was played during the evening.
Great food was transformed into art.
Friday, February 26, 2016
FOR A SNOWMAN
Our recent heavy wet snow storm
which gave children a chance
to build snowmen of
every shape and size.
the snow was followed by
unseasonably warm weather --
which melted most of the snow
and made quick work of the snowmen.
(This is some crazy weather.)
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Just when we were skating into Spring
(mild winter, warm sunny February)
Mother Nature handed us a sudden storm.
Weather predictions call for "wet snow"
for the morning hours, "not a problem."
4-inches of snow, already on the ground,
highways closed, driving winds,
4 more inches of snow forecast.
(The city was completely shut down.)
It was a wet "big flake" snow.
Especially fierce winds!
Unexpected, to be sure.
(Photographers love these moments.)
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
FRENCH ONION SOUP
There was once a St. Louis department store
(some say the finest store in the Midwest)
It was the centerpiece of fine shopping,
in the 50's and 60's,
before the era of shopping centers,
and included fine dining on an upper floor.
In 1954, they offered the best
French onion soup
that became famous nationwide.
The soup was perfected by
Master Chef Manfred Zettl,
who made this his raison d'être
on the restaurant scene.
His employer, and benefactor,
Morton D. May (owner)
had a passion for the best,
and established a world class kitchen,
including French baguette bakers
and special brick ovens,
imported from France.
Alas, Famous Barr closed its doors
some years ago,
but Manfred is still consulting in St. Louis,
and a featured judge at Sunday's SOUP'S ON event.
(Here's a copy of the original Famous Barr soup recipe.)
Monday, February 22, 2016
AT 9TH ANNUAL
A local soup-tasting gourmet event
has grown to enormous popularity:
Soup & Dessert Contest
(It's the 9th annual competition!)
Finer area restaurants are invited
to enter their signature soup/desserts,
and serve at a public tasting
(with critical judging, and awards)
thus promoting their business.
Even the promoters
are surprised - no shocked -
at how large the event has grown.
30 restaurants filled tasting-bowls
for everyone attending Sunday's event
for $10 at the door.
(Thousands lined up an hour before opening.)
The results are now in:
Best Soup -- Poblano Chicken Chowder
Best Dessert -- Red Velvet Cake
(Proceeds from this event are donated
to Manor Grove Assisted Living.)
Sunday, February 21, 2016
DESPAIR IN HER EYES
This is Florence Owens Thompson,
32 years old, mother of 7,
finding herself in Nipono, California (1933)
having moved west, looking for work.
It was the Great Depression.
After driving across country,
looking for work,
her family's truck broke a timing chain,
as it coasted into a pea-picking farm in Nipono.
There were 3,000 others camped out in Nipono,
other families looking for work.
Unfortunately, a recent freezing rain storm
wiped out the entire pea crop.
So . . . no work.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA)
hired Dorothea Lange to photograph the
devastation of poor farming practices
which caused the "dust bowl" and
contributed to the Great Depression.
Ms. Lange captured the "despair in her eyes"
in this now famous photograph.
(This original photograph is now on display
at the St. Louis Art Museum,
and I was allowed to take this photo
with my own camera.)
Viewing the original Dorothea Lange print
was an emotional, haunting experience.
(Her photographs of the "dust bowl" farming disaster
helped increase awareness of the public,
and the U.S. Congress,
implementing New Deal programs
to rescue the American economy, and
the future of sustainable agriculture in America.)
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Friday, February 19, 2016
WHERE THE COLORS ARE
Even on these dreary, cloudy winter days,
there's a place that will cheer you up
with an explosion of colors . . .
The new east wing of the St. Louis Art Museum
features modern art that will have you smiling.
And even if it's classic oils you prefer,
in the main galleries, they hang on
brilliant colored walls.
(Wakes you up, doesn't it?)
Thursday, February 18, 2016
IN THE SNOW
A small, enclosed outdoor courtyard
at the St. Louis Art Museum
became the site for a unique installation
by English artist, Andrew Goldsworthy.
Goldsworthy is no stranger to
working outdoors with natural materials,
so several years ago he had the idea
of using Missouri limestone
from a local quarry.
In an impossibly cramped space,
he lowered 300-tons of roughly hewn stone,
constructing twenty-five 10-foot high arches
employing ancient Roman dry-stone engineering.
(That means no mortar!)
See 3rd photo down of artist installing arch segments.
The arches look particularly beautiful
from our recent snowfall.
(Artist installation photo, courtesy St. Louis Art Museum.)
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
More often than not,
most cities are named after people!
Saint Louis is no exception.
It was fur trader Pierre Laclede,
with a generous land grant from the King of France,
who named the village he founded here in 1764
in honor of the reigning King Louis XV,
whose patron saint was Louis IX.
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company
commissioned Charles Niehaus to cast a
sculpture of the Crusader King Louis IX,
clad in 13th century armor,
to stand guard at the main entrance
to the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
The bronze statue was unveiled October 4, 1904,
and stood atop Art Hill, overlooking Forest Park
and all the World's Fair grounds.
So there's a definite French connection to our city,
thanks to the fur traders and explorers
who settled here in the 18th century.
(Nevermind Crusader King Louis IX
and however he scourged his fellow man
in the 13th century.)
(What's the story behind YOUR city name?)