This post actually began 'growing' back in July. I had the images and tabbouleh recipe in mind for the 'Thinking of Green' post, but everything wasn't quite ready at the time—and then I got sidetracked by the green Arno reflections, the Regina Claudia plums and all of Venice's delightful shades of green.
Whenever my daughter is away I use the time for a solitary creative retreat of sorts, streamlining the usual daily distractions as much as possible. This includes being as efficient as possible with my time in the kitchen; I eat well, but very simply. One of the things I like to make is a huge bowl of tabbouleh—my daughter doesn't really care for it and I love it. So much parsley...so much green goodness...
As always, I offer 'recipes' as guidelines, with the hope that others will use what they have/what they like and adapt that which they don't.
I wrote this passage from the Piazza di Santo Spirito chapter of The Piazzas of Florence when the parallels between the studio and the kitchen were just beginning to dawn on me. It was perhaps the seed of what has grown into a fascination with photographing ingredients (usually before transforming them into something new), as well as learning how to embrace time spent in the kitchen.
After returning from the market I arrange the vegetables that will go into soup for dinner tonight. Each time I enter the kitchen my eye is drawn to the orange flesh of the pumpkin, the papery purple skins of red onions, the feathery tops of the fennel and the leafy cavolo nero, a cabbage so dark that it's called 'black'. In a brown wicker basket I compose a still life with the sunset colors of pomegranates, persimmons and new apples, then select a dark green and raw siena bowl whose colors, if mixed together, would create the same mottled hue of the dusky golden grapes now cascading over the edge. Although I often only have time to arrange the produce quickly, in my mind I am capturing these simple shows of beauty with a paintbrush or pencil. Of course, food is also a medium in its own right, offering the opportunity to express creativity for fleeting moments of time—as a weekday dinner, a long lunch, or a gorgeous dessert.
Returning once again to the green theme, here are a few more photos from the recent trip to Venice. I was already on the lookout for 'BLUE', but since I had just put together the series of images for 'GREEN' the day before we left, I found myself continuing to be alert to all things green. While Venice has plenty of blue, the lagoon is famous for its often-green shade. I'm not sure what causes the phenomenon, but it can be quite striking, and even jarring in its opaqueness (as in the second photo). The foliage of the hydrangea bush in the third picture looks rather anemic—a chlorophyll deficiency?—but was surprisingly similar to the color of the van behind it (this was on the Lido, where vehicles are allowed). I always enjoy catching the occasional mossy-green reflections of trees along the canals (bottom pair of images).
And here's one last photo, with multiple layers/textures of green, taken during a quick visit to the Rose Garden this month. I'm not sure what the sun-baked flowers in the foreground are, but they certainly caught the light beautifully that morning...