Saturday, August 2, 2008

Permanence and Transience: Cooking vs. Art


My mother is an excellent cook. She can make just about anything from Moroccan tagine to traditional pot roast. And she can cook for the masses, catering my entire wedding, my cousin's wedding and both mine and my sis's Bat Mitzvahs. Absolutely none of this talent was passed on to me. Or maybe it was but never fully realized as I hate to cook.

I like the idea of pleasing my friends, exacting their love and admiration through gastronomy; but I loathe the notion of spending time creating these pleasures. Food is temporary. Hours spent, adding a pinch of this, a spoonful of that, seem wasted on transience.

Please do not get me wrong. I love cooks. I love food. I love home cooking. I am fortunate to reap the benefits of those whose creativity is ignited by food, whom are impassioned by the combination of spices, the grouping of flavors.

My art, however, is born out of a yearning for permanence. I screen print my images so they will last for centuries to come rather than using a computer to lifelessly copy my work. I hand-paint my cards so they are kept; records of a time and place serving as personal histories. The notion that what I create may last lifetimes excites me and serves to motivate.

But a good meal is remembered. I will never forget the calamari in Turkey or the steak in Belgium or my mother's homemade grapeleaves. And that recollection I pass on to others, as I do now. Thus cooking is not momentary, rather the memory intangible.

Thus I present Bouillon Kub (my homage, painted in gouache on wood, to the original bouillon cube packaging in France circa 1920 and, from what I understand, still used today) to all the amazing cooks out there. May your food be forever remembered.

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29 comments:

heidi said...

I love grapeleaves!!!!!!!
Beautiful painting, by the way :-)

pve design said...

Awakening the six senses with taste, smell, sight, sound and touch are all transient yet so permanent in my mind as an Artist. Creating is inspired by each sense!

Chucka Stone Designs said...

Yes I am with you on this one, cooking & I are just not friends. Except spaghetti sauce. Now that I will painstakenly spend hours over the stove creating for some reason. This is a wonderful tribute to cooks everywhere! Beautiful piece of art indeed :)

Di Overton said...

Love the painting but I also love FOOD

Rosebud Collection said...

Your mom sounds like a real cook..Can't beat home cooking..Your art gifts are wonderful too..Look at your beautiful work..food for the "eyes"..

Kat said...

what a cool illustration!

quaint handmade said...

i know what you mean. my mom was a great cook and created the most beautiful dishes. she also thought of ironing as an art and loved it when i bought something with ruffles.

i also like things with some permanence and i'm astounded by artists like andy goldsworthy who work in mediums that may only last minutes.

i love your painting.

Chris Stone said...

I'd love to get into cooking more... but a stir fry or salad works so well!

love the Kub!

design for mankind. said...

Ahhh, I used to suck on these. Gosh, Im weird.

please sir said...

Great work, and I agree - I love to remember amazing meals...I can just taste them now.

Curly Girl Glass said...

Art is all fine and good, but what about blueberry soup? huh? ;)

LeaKarts said...

You are such a good writer, I hope you know that. You make me crave a good meal and lovely artwork all at once.

Krissy said...

Lovely painting. I am fascinated by anything relating to food :)

Callooh Callay said...

I feel the same way about gardening as you do about cooking. I admire it, it looks like something I should do, I wish I had a great garden, but I pretty much hate it.

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

And may some of my food be forever forgotten, like that sponge cake I made last month that smelled strangely like shrimp!

I like the comparisons here, though, and think you are making interesting commentary about two very different kinds of art. I love how you've merged the two in response, with your bullion kub.

kim* said...

Everyone has their own talent and it is fun to share them with others..although food is the winner in my book. everyone needs it and there is such a variety to share with everyone :) i am not that great but i am learning.

tangobaby said...

My goodness, I love this! Usually I'm all about the fashion and shoes that you do, but this is such a classic image. I want it for my kitchen!

ps. I just bought my Belle Vie magnets (one for me and some for friends)! I'm so excited...now I'll be waiting by them mailbox like a puppy.

blazedanielle said...

Hey there! ;)
(I have a special announcement on my blog! ;D)

espionage said...

So freaking beautiful! Your painting and your words.

I will never forget the lemon cake my best friend painstakingly made for my wedding (which also happened to be her birthday, nonetheless!!!) The lemons were picked from our neighbor's tree... oh, how wondrous!

Mary-Laure said...

But you know, some dishes can be made so fast and are still delicious! My mum was always making dinner fr unexpected visitors in just a few minutes and she's everyone's favorite cook!
I adore cooking for my friends and feeding them...

Cakespy said...

What a lovely tribute! Not to get too intellectual, but you've really "condensed" the flavor into one intense, simple yet powerful piece of art! :-) Love it.

A World in a PAN said...

Cooking is about learning and even if you feel you have no talen t, I siggest you give it a try - and avoid "Bouillon Cube"!

Jeremy said...

I have to respectfully disagree. We both agree on the transience of food, but coming at it from opposite directions!

I write computer software on and off, both professionally and as a hobby. Software has permanence in a way that can be negative: for years and years following the release of something that might have taken a week originally, people write to me. It is rarely just "thanks", but more often "Can you add this new feature?" "Can you fix this problem?" "Can you help me find similar software that does what I want?"

When I started cooking, it was exactly to avoid permanence. I just loved the fact that no matter what I did -- however good or however bad -- it'd be completely done by the end of the evening. I'd have a blank canvas the next day.

By the way, I found my way here by way of our Ketubah, which you drew - it's simply lovely. Thanks again.

--Jeremy

Bonbon Oiseau said...

the KUB is one of my favoritwe packages of all time!!! i have one on my stove that i need to replace each time i go to france--thank you for a wonderful post and beautiful painting as always!
love,
your blogger pal bonbon, and polar opposite , who loves the ephemeral nature of things--glass that might break, watercolors on newspaper and cooking a meal to disappear immediately!

Mrs.French said...

I love your sweet "kube"...I don't think you could possibly fit any more talent in you, so leave the cooking to others...cheers!

Pfeiffer Photos said...

Can relate to this...I love to eat but don't enjoy the cooking as much. For me the dread is in the prep. Meals that can be made quickly are the best unless someone else is doing the making and then the fancier the better! Your writing and your art are superb--will add you to my blog list tonight! :0) ~tina

Rosebud Collection said...

Just so you know, I keep checking in on your blog..

Krissy said...

hope all is well with you...

Dawn said...

Your creativity excites me. Not only are your backstories enjoyable but the heart in your art ties it all in like frosting on a cake. Very sweet indeed!