Friday, July 23, 2010

So it's "Mad Men" weekend?

This is a photograph of my grandmother, Marion Brown, promoting her second book, with a little help from James Beard, in New York, around 1955. The book is"Pickles and Preserves" of old pickling recipes (greengage preserves? mushroom catsup?); it was reissued a few years ago and is still available. Her better known cookbook, "Marion Brown's Southern Cooking" was a mainstay of mid-century Southern kitchens and has stayed continously in print. My grandmother died in 1995 at the age of 92, after they took away her vodka and cigarettes.

The book is not for beginners, but anyone who knows the Ball "Blue Book" probably knows what to do.

H/T to one of the best food blogs, "Gherkins and Tomatoes"!
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Chennai, India

Chennai auto-rickshaws. Very, very scary. If you can afford a car, you hire a full-time driver. Too dangerous for amateurs to drive.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chinese Colors

In Beijing, I was told "Blue is for the Heavens, yellow is for the Emperor, green for the Empress, and grey for the people". Beijing is nothing if not sensory overload, but the colors mostly are the same. Blue is usually bright cobalt blue (except for beautiful ultramarine tiled roofs) and red is always bright red, "the color of blood". Buildings are a soft warm grey.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The yellow spiky fruit on the right is durian, which has a smell so objectionable it is banned from hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia (but maybe not in China). A friend called it 'corpse fruit'.
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It's not Daddy's China

Posted by PicasaWhen my father visited mainland China in 1980, it was so filthy they couldn't use the towels and brushed their teeth with Scotch whiskey. Not anymore. The parts of Beijing a tourist is apt to see are spotless. The Beijing airport, with its spit-and-polish officials, make most US airports look even worse than you thought.

Ishtar Gate, Pergamon Museum, Berlin

The Ishtar Gate on display is the smaller of two gates erected in Babylon around 575 BC. The gate is constructed of bright blue ceramic tile that was excavated in the 1930s; one wonders how they dug this out. This gate is roughly 45 feet high, and extends through a long gallery. The larger gate is in storage.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Potsdam Politics

Potsdam is the capital of the Brandenburg province, and a short train ride from metropolitan Berlin. I think they were geared up for the election, too. This crane lifted three guys at least 120 feet, we figured, for perhaps a signal relay to a venue behind the Potsdam Brandenburg Gate.

This was definitely not the time to have either the wrong color skin or the wrong color passport. An Al-Qaeda video was broadcast a few days before the election, and it was taken very seriously. Police with bullet-proof vests and rifles at their waists were all over the train station and airports.
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