Esteemed thinker: Paul Cézanne

chef_2 If there is one activity that seems to be enjoyed by both men and women, it is eating. Dining out has become a pastime that stirs everyone’s taste buds from the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed. From breakfast to mid-night snacks food is our minds. Much of one’s morning drudgery at work is survivable by much collaboration with colleagues on where to go to lunch. Dates consist of a dinner out, while a get-together with friends at a sporting event first involves a well-executed tailgate party. Our time at the grocery store is extended by squeezing and smelling…to find just the right colored vegetables and fruits; reading ingredients on labels (that always need glasses to see), and making sure the fish at the seafood counter is “wild”.

The multitude of television programs that host reality shows with restaurant chefs, culinary hopefuls, and celebrity cooks who concoct dishes under bizarre circumstances illustrates our fascination with food. Travel shows that take us to places we cannot pronounce with hosts who eat things that challenge the stomach and palate have become ever more popular with armchair chefs. It is clear that the world has become enamored with food.

So with all this eating and cooking, why is it that when we come home from the grocery store and put away our purchases we seem to always open the refrigerator and say, “There is nothing good to eat!” Hmmmm, perhaps that’s why we head directly to the television…because there is always something delicious to virtually eat!

cezanne fruit still lifeToday’s blog brings you the esteemed thinker: Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) born in Aix-en-Provence, France, one of the most influential artist. Falling in the category of Post Impressionists, his painting inspired generations of artists having formed the bridge from late impressionist’s movement to the cubist movement. Much of his work seemed to ignore what was considered classical perspective, painting objects that allowed each item to be “independent within the space of a picture while the relationship of one object to another takes precedence over traditional single-point perspective.”

Having brought to you a great painter in today’s post we must look at his thoughts in a different way; for his ideas are to be interpreted not through words but rather transported by way of the medium he creates best, painting. And so I bring you an oil on canvas titled, Still Life with Jar, Cup, and Apples (1877) by the great Paul Cézanne. Take a virtual bite out of his work and enjoy!

First image: Chef in North Beach Italian restaurant. San Francisco, California, Photographer: Collier, John, Date Created: 1941 .

Henry David Thoreau and gifts from Mother Nature

fruit hanns skolle 1928 The earth, the sun, the rain, and man; put them together and often we cultivate a most harmonious synergy…the production of fruit. Without having to be reminded…for the agricultural industry and advertisements like to do this on a daily basis…most of us enjoy the byproducts of our very industrious workers…the farmer and his team of pickers… and we readily buy and eat without having to be coerced.

Let us consider the blueberry….for when it is in season, I make plenty of room in the refrigerator for its arrival, letting the lettuce and other more mundane items know that a special guest is to arrive. I use the term guest for like a relative that can only visit on certain holidays, its stint will sadly only be here a short time. Yet, I suppose we humans are fickle for as soon as blueberry ‘season’ dwindles down to those less than desirable plastic containers left over in the produce department; our salivary glands are once again acting like Pavlov’s dog.

Ahhhh, the cherry…now that is a most delectable fruit…but alas, her stay is much like the first flowers in spring…they appear for a short time to be enjoyed but for only that momentary occasion nature has allocated and then too…it retreats back while we temporarily mourn for its seasonal delight of return.

However, for all fruit lovers there seems to one type in particular that is always in abundance; the steadfast apple, a fine tasting fruit that magically avails itself during all seasons of the year. Much like a dog, it is dependable, forever wanting to please, and comes in many varieties and even colors…red, yellow, green, golden, sweet, tart, big, small, … they (who ever they are) were so sure of its taste that they even named one variety “Delicious” as well as touting its medicinal prowess…well… we all know the adage: “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” Oh, if that were only true! Even the trees that bare such a joyful fruit are first adorned with a multitude of heavenly flowers that perfume the air; tantalizing us with the thought of “what is to be”!

Thoreau_ Lake Waldon Thoreaus’s Cove at Waldon Pond

And so, today’s blog liberates once again the ever esteemed thinker: Henry David Thoreau: author, naturalist, and dear friend to Mother Nature; the man who helps us ‘see’ beyond the obvious through his writings and personal observations of the world around us. From his lyrical prose, Wild Apples, l have pruned a bit of his essay in order to take us on short walk through his thoughts.

“…Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye. You will discover some evening redness dashed or sprinkled on some protuberance or in some cavity. It is rare that the summer lets an apple go without streaking or spotting it on some part of its sphere. It will have some red stains, commemorating the mornings and evenings it has witnessed; some dark and rusty blotches, in memory of the clouds and foggy, mildewy days that have passed over it; and a spacious field of green reflecting the general face of Nature,—green even as the fields; or a yellow ground, which implies a milder flavor,—yellow as the harvest, or russet as the hills.

Apples, these I mean, unspeakably fair,—apples not of Discord, but Concord! Yet not so rare but that the homeliest may have a share. Painted by the frosts, some a uniform clear bright yellow, or red, or crimson, as if their spheres had regularly revolved, and enjoyed the influence of the sun on all sides alike,—some with the faintest pink blush imaginable,—some brindled with deep red streaks like a cow, or with hundreds of fine blood-red rays running regularly from the stem-dimple to the blossom-end, like meridional lines, on a straw-colored ground,—some touched with a greenish rust, like a fine lichen, here and there, with crimson blotches or eyes more or less confluent and fiery when wet,—and others gnarly, and freckled or peppered all over on the stem side with fine crimson spots on a white ground, as if accidentally sprinkled from the brush of Him who paints the autumn leaves. Others, again, are sometimes red inside, perfused with a beautiful blush, fairy food, too beautiful to eat,—apple of the Hesperides, apple of the evening sky! But like shells and pebbles on the sea-shore, they must be seen as they sparkle amid the withering leaves in some dell in the woods, in the autumnal air, or as they lie in the wet grass, and not when they have wilted and faded in the house…”

(First photo taken in 1928 by Hanns Skoll)