Thursday, May 27, 2010

The humble cookie

Is there anything more comforting than a freshly baked cookie? Seriously, I can pass on cake, pie and even ice cream but there’s something about the humble cookie that begs
“eat me”. I’m sure we could all contemplate the many reasons why cookies are so irresistible, the chewy vs. crispy debate ( I’m a chewy in the inside crispy on the outside kinda gal) the sheer economy (one little cookie never hurt anyone) or the nostalgia that the cookie brings to our collective consciousness.

I’m really more of a cook than a baker. I like to grab a bunch of really great ingredients and see what happens when I start chopping, sautéing and drizzling.
Baking doesn’t work that way, believe me I’ve tried it. In my tenure as a young idealist mother, I attempted to convert a family brownie recipe into a healthy snack by replacing the chocolate with carob, sugar for honey and white flour for whole wheat. I still remember the look on my daughter’s face when she bit in to the brick like square.

I do make cookies. Mostly one particular cookie that my children lovingly named
“ mini-pans”( short for Panaro). This cookie’s provenance is suspect. I think I started with the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe and just experimented from there.
This cookie is pretty legendary around my circle of friends, family and students. I do not give out the recipe, the only recipe I do not gladly offer to anyone interested.
Most of the time I bake up a large batch and freely supply anyone within an arm’s throw
but a few times a year, I package them up in little bags and sell them.
Perhaps it provides me with that small taste of what it must be like to have people throw hard cash down to eat something you made. That little fantasy that some day I could be the next Mrs. Fields.

In real life, I much prefer the humble offering. If you’re within an arm’s throw this Thursday evening or Friday morning (see details below) and mention this post-a bag of free cookies are waiting for you.

a.ware pre-memorial day sale

join us for happy hour
sangria & small bites 5-9pm
Thursday, May 27
coffee and cookies 10am-1pm
Friday, May 28

534 W. Coronado Rd. Phoenix

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A thing of beauty

Friend and colleague, Angela Ellsworth ( has been busy globe trotting these days due to an invitation by curator David Elliott to show at this year’s Sydney Biennale. For more information and an insider view of the event, you can read Tania Katan’s blog: Those who know and adore Angela's partner, Tania (, will not be disappointed in her funny and irreverent glimpse at all things “Biennale”. I pulled this quote by David Elliott from her blog this morning.
Wise words.

"Contemporary art can be an expression of many things: a celebration of survival, resistance, freedom or intransigence in the face of threat, as well as of the joys and horrors of what it is to be a live. But it’s not an instruction manual or tool for life, and it will not 'tell' you anything, particularly not what you should either think or feel about it or the world. Each art work stands alone, to be appreciated as a unique experience. This is the beauty of art as well as the beauty of distance. Distance allows us to be ourselves, despite the many capacities we share. We are all the same, but different, and it is our difference that make us—according to the circumstances—beautiful, terrifying, attractive, boring, sexy, unsettling, fascinating, challenging, funny, stimulating, horrific, or even many of these all at once. All this is underlaid by our essential similarity to each other, often much greater than many care to acknowledge. More importantly, the idea of distance expresses the condition of art itself, which is to be of life, run parallel to life and sometimes to be about life. But for art to be art, it must maintain a distance from life because without this it has no authority. Art can reflect the sweetest or strongest of emotions and also represent the most threatening or traumatic events but, unlike in life, nobody gets hurt."

David Elliott, “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age”

Angela Ellsworth
Seer Bonnet VI
15,564 pearl corsage pins and fabric

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spilled salt

I am not the superstitious type but spilled salt tends to unnerve me. Mostly, I'm just annoyed by the inconvenience of it but somewhere in our collective history, we have absorbed our ancestor's anxiety.
Most folklore about spilled salt tends to lean toward bad luck,inviting evil into your home and all around malevolence.
My Italian family was very superstitious particularly concerning the malocchio or "evil eye". Whether it was wearing a cornetti around your neck(lit. "horns")or giving the hand signal resembling the popular gesture used at Metallica concerts,my Americanized family seemed to easily resist these superstitions in the land 'o plenty.
My preference would be to think as the Brits do, that each spilled grain was said to represent a tear. To acknowledge the shedding of tears seems a perfect metaphor. We all cry and when we do it is an act of spilling our insides,allowing something to run over and it can be quite messy sometimes.But,always a cleansing act of release and renewal.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

the morning after/the night before

As retirement parties go-I would say this one was for the books.
Students, faculty, friends and family all here to celebrate a life devoted to art, photography and education.
The universe smiles.
The Dude abides.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Do we really need to hold everything together, and can we?

Indian Buddhist teacher

As I type the quote the computer selectively places a green squiggly line under the “ I should” and I have to smile at the connotation. There you go again, girl, saying the should word.
As a mother, the should is a like a mantra. You should is a more liberated delivery than you must or you need to. And yet, it still sounds like judgment day every time it comes out of my mouth.
As a mother, when one of my kids is in need of advice or is in some sort of crisis mode I have this curious inner discourse that goes something like this:
“ What would my mother do? “ like the ebullient WWJD Jesus bracelet. I look at the situation, imagine how my mother would respond and basically try to do the extreme opposite. I’m 55 years old and still rebelling against my mother’s parenting.
My mother really did believe that she could and should and would hold everything together by simply telling you how something is done, her exact way, do it immediately and that’s the end of the story. She believed that whatever situation she had been through, by simply telling me how she blew it; I would avoid the same mistakes. “ Carol, that’s what parents are for. To tell their kids what is right and wrong. Learn from my mistakes. If anyone did stupid, I did stupid. Don’t do stupid.”
Okay, mom.
Now that my kids are grown up, I am beginning to see her point. I mean, wouldn’t it be a perfect world if your kids listened to all your advice, did exactly what you said, because you are wise and have been through it and know how it’s done?
Except that this perfect world would consist of a bunch of safety clones who never got the opportunity to get their fingers burned in the flames of first hand experience.
So, I will continue to repeat, “You do not need to hold everything together.”
Again and again, and feel the heady euphoria that begins to creep in as I begin to really believe it.

The Margarita face-off

The tallies have yet to be calculated but word on the street is while the "Hajicek Blend"
was smooth and elegant, the "Segura Suave" delivered the punch.
A fun time was had by all.
Thank you Adrienne and Hung for a memorable evening.