Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, March 08, 2003
From the March 6 "Nelson Report" thru Talking Points Josh Marshall:
"It would be difficult to exaggerate the growing mixture of anger, despair, disgust, and fear actuating the foreign policy community in Washington as the attack on Iraq moves closer, and the North Korea crisis festers with no coherent U.S. policy. We get the phone calls and e-mails from all over this Administration, Capitol Hill, the think tanks, and even fellow scribblers. We've never seen anything like it, and we've been here since 1966."

It's been almost five event-packed, to say the least, years since I returned home to these Kentucky hills from 18 years in Washington, DC. Thanks to the internet, phone calls from one friend and old skills honed on getting meaning from Soviet blather, I've been able to gleen an impression of life in my old "home" town after 9/11/01. The Chris Nelson quote achieves this without all the work.
Sometimes these last few months I'll sit before a roaring fire in my 120 year old front parlor listening to the passing clop and jingle of a horse-drawn carriage and try to imagine what my emotions would be like were I still living in a 12th floor apartment on Massachusetts Avenue near Ward Circle. The building, on a ridge running parallel to the Potomac River and near American University, was right along the main flight approach to Reagan-National Airport. In the distance out the living room windows I could barely make out National and the nearby Pentagon. If I'd been at home, and I would have been at the time of the attacks, would I have noticed the errant jet? When you live atop a high rise you tend to notice a jet off the balcony. I surely would have seen the smoke rising from the Pentagon. How would I have felt if...? And, then, how would I have continued to feel as a District resident watching events move to their present state?

Roasted Pepper & Parsnip Soup
4 Red and Gold Bell Peppers
5 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp Butter
1 medium White Onion, peeled and chopped
5 young firm Parsnips, peeled
8 cups of Chicken Stock
Salt & White pepper to taste

Cut and seed Peppers. Place skin-side up in oiled baking dish and
broil until skin blackens. Cool. Remove skins.
Saute Garlic and Onion in Butter until translucent. Add Parsnips, Chicken Stock and Salt/Pepper.
Bring stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until parsnips are tender (approx 45 minutes).
Cool. Add peeled Peppers to cooling mixture. Liquify batches in a blender. Serve hot or cold.

Friday, March 07, 2003
Carrot Soup
1 16oz bag of Mini Carrots
4 Tbsp Butter
1 Shallot, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 inch piece of Ginger Root, peeled and chopped
1 Tsp Curry
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
Pinch of White Pepper
8 Cups of Chicken Stock
1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk

Melt butter and saute shallot, garlic and ginger root. Add curry, salt and white pepper.
Add carrots, chicken stock and coconut milk.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer til carrots tender. Cool.
Puree small batches in blender.
Serve hot.

Please allow me to vent on a topic of, perhaps, marginal importance that, at least, touches upon two of the three topics in my heading. A casual viewer of what passes for news in our millennial now might want to look past the political figures' close up to ponder the background and apparent room decor of the interview's scene. Depth of field is, of course, variable and sometimes, where I am directing your gaze, our destination can be focused or blurred. This should not be an impediment. With apologies to the politicos' "Blah, blah, blah", scan the shelves of blurry display cases and gaze upon tabletops. We could be in the White House or somewhere on Capitol Hill. you see? On that fuzzy table back there to the left of Laura Bush in that curio cabinet behind Nancy Pelosi a baleful chunk, or several, of Asian and European pottery.
Now I do not mean to disparage these beautiful and often quite valuable examples of artistic expression. It is simply that, in this glorious land and mainly in the years of reconstruction following the Civil War, an American form of decorative art pottery was born though the efforts of women and men bent on celebrating artistic individuality through the new means of mass production. From Massachusetts and the Saturday Evening Girls Club to California and the Arequipa Pottery a craze became a movement.
Today, examples of American Art Pottery are highly sought. Check out Rookwood, Grueby, Teco or Weller on Ebay and even in today's depressed market I'm betting you will still be impressed by some of the prices.
On our public tables and inside our public curio cabinets within the public rooms of our Capitol and White House shouldn't we see examples of our native art forms?

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