Monday, December 22, 2014

Food Nasty: Potato Pancakes with Awesome Sides!!!!

Food Nasty: Potato Pancakes with Awesome Sides!!!!: Happy Hanukkah!!   Whatever holiday you celebrate, there is not a single person who can say they don’t like latkes! I mean come on, a del...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

WPA (Works Projects Administration) Posters

During the Great Depression the Works Project Administration (WPA) became the New Deal's largest employment agency - hiring millions of unemployed Americans to carry out public work projects.

Its goal was to provide one paid job for all families who suffered long term unemployment, and for the years 1935 through 1943 the WPA provided almost 8 million jobs.

One of the small projects was one called the FEDERAL PROJECT NUMBER ONE. This group consisted of five areas of employment: 1) the Federal Art Project, 2) the Federal Music Project, 3) the Federal Theatre Project, 4) the Federal Writer's Project and 5) the Historical Records Survey.

The Federal Art Project was run under the direction of Holger Cahill, a museum curator and authority of American  and Central American folk art. At one point Cahill was acting director of the newly formed Museum of Modern Art in New York City from 1922-1923.


The peak employment year - 1936 - over 5,300 artists were working on over 100,000 easel paintings, 17,700 sculptures, 11,200 print designs and 2,500 murals. In addition the Farm Security Administration  hired photographers (among them Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans) to document life in rural areas across the country. They produced 122,000 b&w negatives, 66,000 b&w prints and 650 color transparencies.*

Walker Evans
Allie Mae Burroughs by Evans

Dorothea Lange
"Migrant Mother" (Florence Owens Thompson) by Lange

Evans and Lange produced two of the most iconic images of the Depression "Allie Mae Burroughs" and "Migrant Mother."

Any list of artists employed by the Federal Art Project features such recognizable names  as Thomas Hart Benton, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, Ferdinand Leger, Louise Nevelson, Jackson Pollock,  Mark Rothko, John Sloan and Grant Wood.

Thomas Hart Benton, "Social History of the State of Missouri" (1936) located at the Missouri State Capital
John Sloan "Sixth Avenue and Fourteenth Street (1934)


My interest is centered on the wonderful posters created for the various sections of the Federal Art Project encompassing an eclectic range of subjects. Printmaking was revived during this era by FAP artists, and the development of different techniques (particularly silkscreen) enabled mass production of these posters.

These posters reflected a variety of topics tackled by the FAP:
The Nation's  System of Parks and Recreation

a Variety of Health Issues Facing Americans
Part of the FAP was the Art Teaching Division. Free art classes were offered at community centers all across the Nation, and frequent exhibitions were held.

And a wide variety of other topics


None of the New Deal programs succeeded in convincing the representatives of the American people that federal art patronage was such an important activity that it should be considered as a proper function of government, and therefore be continued. All New Deal art programs died with the arrival of World War II. In the prosperity that followed the war, the objective of supporting artists during a crisis could not be maintained. Not until the arrival of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the flourishing of various public art programs have U.S. government monies funded artists' works, though not to the degree that the New Deal programs did.

The General Services Administration (GSA) is now responsible for all of the artwork produced by the WPA and the Federal Art Project. They are trying to recover artwork from this era, and have produced a short documentary "Returning America's Art to America." The link to the film:

(statistics gleaned from various Wikipedia articles)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snail Mail

I came across this wonderful blog "THIMBLE", and loved the post about snail mail - one of my interests.

I have a shop on Etsy called the REIMAGINED PAST, in which I sell greeting cards that have vintage images which I have embellished.
Great Scott - it's a dancing scottish terrier on this birthday card this is the most popular card that I sell!

To get a card or letter in the mail is something really special. You know that the sender put the effort into saying "hey, you're great...I'm going to take the time and show this person I care about them."

And to receive a letter in the post...when was the last time you were lucky enough to get something?????

this is a post from Thimble:

Snail Mail
Few things make me happier than sending snail mail. Below are some hand painted watercolour envelopes I sent out :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

good food - Food Nasty Blog

My daughter and  her boyfriend  have been working on their blog:
for a couple of years.

She's an artist and he's a chef  and they love coming up with new recipes and posting them on their blog - along with beautiful food photography - which is pretty tough to do. (doesn't hurt that she has  used our beautiful ceramics from Deruta, Italy!)

Here are a couple of my favorite recipies:

Stone Fruit Summer Roast
Summer is about to end, though here in Los Angeles it feels as if it never will. If I could get some rain we will be happy campers, so will LA! The end of summer brings some amazing stone fruits, especially at this time when it is so warm, they get so juicy and delicious. There is no better way to honor the summer than creating a simple roasted fruit dessert.

We roasted some wonderful pluots, peaches, and nectarines, topped it with some sweet goodness and sprinkled some fresh mint! If you don’t want to use these specific fruits, you can use whatever large stone fruit you like. Delish!!!

Ingredients: Serves 3-4

2 peaches
2 pluots
2 nectarines
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 -7 mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and cut fruit in half, removing the center stone. Place fruit cut side down. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, flipping fruit oven half way through.

While in the oven, make simple syrup, boil water and sugar for 5 -7 minutes. You want the syrup to start to become sticky and a bit gel like, not super gooey though.

Next make whip cream by combining heavy cream and almond extract and whipping with an electric mixer until it starts to form peaks.

Lastly chiffonade mint by rinsing the leaves, then roll up and slicing in small strips.

To create the beauty that is this dish, loosely arrange fruit cut side up, pour some simple syrup over but not too much! Plop some dollops of whip cream on, and then sprinkle the mint.  This is a guaranteed dish to wow anyone, and is so simple to make.

Cheers to the end of summer!


Valentines Day Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!  I try to spend every day like it is Valentine’s Day, telling Michael how much I love him, loving my family, my friends, my dogs, and always being kind to others. What are your Valentine’s Day plans this year?

When I think of what makes me happy when it comes to food, it isn’t something incredibly fancy or highly intricate, it is the simple comfort food that melts in your mouth and makes you feel good. We have created an elevated grilled cheese and tomato soup combo for you, a more decadent version of a loved classic. So enjoy our heirloom creamed tomato soup with a Swiss Gruyere Emmentaler grilled cheese sandwich!

*It helps to have a blender, sieve, and food brush handy, and if you cannot find a bag of grated cheese, just buy blocks and grate equal amounts.

Ingredients: serves 4


6 large heirloom tomatoes
1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
¼ cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Yellow onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Parmesan rind
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Pinch of salt

Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
Block of soft baby Swiss cheese
Grated bag of Emmentaler and Gruyere cheese (they will be under fondue cheeses)
Sliced sourdough bread
1 Tablespoon melted butter

Start by assembling your mise en place by dicing the onion and garlic and setting aside, and then chopping the heirloom tomatoes and canned tomatoes. In a large sauce pan heat oil, then add onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes until translucent.

Add tomatoes, then parmesan rind, thyme sprigs. When you add the rind make sure that there is no paper stuck to it. Put to medium heat and let cook 25 minutes. Remove the rind and the thyme.  

In small batches (if it is too large you may burn yourself), puree the tomato soup. Pour the mix into a sieve over a bowl, and using a spoon push through the sieve until you are only left with the fiber and no liquid. Discard of the fiber. Do this until all of the soup has been strained.

Pour the soup back into the sauce pan, turn to medium heat. Add butter, pinch of salt, and cream. Stir. Return to medium low to keep warm.

To make the sandwich melt a Tablespoon of butter in a bowl, then brush both sides of bread with butter, not so much that the bread will be soggy. Heat a pan to medium high heat.

Place first piece of bread in the pan. Let heat for 3 minutes, then add Emmentaler and Gruyere, then Baby Swiss. Let cook for 2 more minutes. Add next slice of bread then flip, cooking the next side for about 3-4 minutes. You just want the bread to brown and crisp, but not burn.

To serve, slice sandwiches in half, and serve with small bowl of soup and a kiss!

And the last recipe I'm posting is my favorite!

Cinnamon crumble apple muffin

Instead of giving your teacher (or kid’s teacher) an apple, give some crumbled apple muffins. There is a specific smell that comes along with fall cooking, its warm, comforting, a little spicy, and always a savory and sweet sense at the same time. These muffins start to fill your house with a wonderful smell the second you place them in the oven. We wanted to combine an apple pie, with an apple strudel, with a muffin, and we were left with this fabulous thing! So enjoy this recipe, make it for the family, the neighbors, anyone you like, because it is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

*brown sugar is a huge part of this recipe, so pretty much just have a cup of it set aside.


2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup chopped apples (we prefer honey crisps, or pink ladies)

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tlb. flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tlb butter

3 Tlb powdered sugar
2 Tlb milk (give or take)

When baking the best thing to do is to measure out all of your ingredients and set them aside. In cooking this is called mise en place, this will make it so easy to just put your ingredients together, not have to search around for stuff, and alleviate a potential headache. So measure everything out, preheat oven to 375, grease and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin papers, and fill each one with a spoonful of brown sugar to hold it down and to create a bit of crust by patting down with your finger. In a sauce pan heat and slightly soften a mix of your very small chopped apples and a few spoons of brown sugar, then set aside.

In a medium sized bowl mix together your dry mix: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a larger bowl mix together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and then stir in apples, leaving as much of the melted sugar to the side. Once they are mixed in, slowly mix in flour, small portions at a time. The mix will seem pretty thick and dry, but when it bakes it will be the perfect consistency, and the apples will moisten the cake as well.

In a separate small bowl, mix the 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 Tlb of flour, ¼ tsp of cinnamon, and 1 Tlb of butter. Beat together until it starts to create small balls of sand like looking things. This is where a lot of the tasty is!

Now using a large spoon load it up with batter, and fill each cup about ¾ of the way, and then sprinkle with your crumble. Once all are loaded, place in oven, and set for 20 minutes (at the half way point turn the muffins around in the oven).

While the muffins are cooking, make the icing by pouring a little bit of milk at a time into your sugar, until you reach the consistency that you desire.

When muffins are done, remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then drizzle icing on, and eat up! Damn they are good!!!

Here's the team at

She's turned out to be a wonderful, talented, beautiful, compassionate young lady who teaches art to kids!! I love you Francesca.