Food is something I think about all the time. As I’m eating lunch, I’m silently planning what I will have for dinner. I know many people don’t operate this way; my obsession is born from two things: a history of disordered eating and a real compulsion to savor everyday joys. I know, that’s a lot of contradiction. But I think it’s true. As much as food has given me grief in the past, it’s also something I adore. It’s the easiest, fastest way to gift yourself with a moment of happiness, a burst of pleasure. Out of all our cravings—and I know you crave more than just food because everyone does—it’s the most harmless to indulge (except earworms, but that’s a craving of another aural/oral sort).
And yet. Food is still so fraught, and that’s especially true for women. Hyper-realistic painter Lee Price digs her heels in and confronts the complex rat-king tangle of emotions that is nourishment in her recent series of self-portraits. “The areal view evokes the feeling of an out of body experience: the subject is watching herself engage in a compulsive behavior but is unable to stop. There is an absurdity to this act of compulsion. At the same time it is an attempt to find real nourishment,” she explains. There’s something at once both comforting and disturbing about these pictures. They feel brave. And yet. To call them brave seems strange. It’s just an artist eating food in a bathtub, right? It’s just a woman chowing down, right? But like, is it ever? (No.)
I won’t go into a big feminist rant here because I’m sleepy and that’s not really what I do on my blog anyway. But I will say this: I love her work. I love food. I hate food. I can’t imagine a world in which I would ever let someone photograph me eating in a bathtub. But Price did that to create her uncannily seductive paintings and that’s freaking badass.
In Portland, farm-to-table restaurants with eat-local missions are more common than a pair of Bean Boots. So perhaps it was inevitable that our neighbors to the north would push the concept even further. Chef David Levi’s passion project, Vinland, which turns one this month, features 100 percent locally sourced ingredients—which means that citrus, black pepper, and olive oil are all banned. With the exception of wine and coffee, everything used at Vinland comes from Maine.
I had a wonderful time hanging out with chef David Levi for this article, which was just published in the January issue of Boston Magazine. I really love writing about food—almost as much as I love eating it. That turnip soup? It’s fantastic. Tangy, rich, comforting, fresh, so good (no wonder it’s Levi’s signature dish). Read the full piece here.
Photographs by the amazing Greta Rybus
I think plants are just on my mind this week, seeing as it’s early spring and all. I spotted my first crocuses today when I was at a meeting up in Wiscasset today and I gave a tiny shout. My co-worker thought I dropped my coffee, but I was really just excited about FINALLY seeing a little flora in Maine.
I’m rambling a bit, and it’s probably because I’ve had a few glasses of wine, and while that didn’t exactly inspire me to post about Amy Stewart’s very cool sounding book, it does seem fitting, right? As I type this, I’m sipping at my own glass of alcohol and contemplating the grapes that made it, and all the many fruits and leaves and grains that go into a truly fantastic cocktail. In The Drunken Botanist, Stewart chronicles the vast variety of plant life that has been transformed by our greedy hands into creative libations and delicious intoxications.
Oh, and because I can’t not mention this fact, it’s a beautiful book with truly awesome typography. I should probably buy it for my boyfriend, who could frequently be described as a drunken botanist (when he’s not busy being a “mad scientist”).
Learn more here.
My boyfriend has been walking around the house singing “Let It Snow” all day, because here in Portland it’s snowing like nuts. Maine, you drive me crazy. It’s almost spring, and yet here I am, sitting at home when I should be working, all because of the snow day. Just kidding, that’s actually pretty awesome.
Anyway, I decided to use some of the vegetables in my refrigerator to make a winter-inspired superfood salad for lunch. I over-indulged last night at Moxy, a new restaurant down in Portsmouth (pate and fried clams and pork belly, oh my!) and I’m atoning for it today with healthy foods and shoveling snow.
Winter Super Food Super Salad
– 2 cups raw kale, washed and shredded into bite-sized pieces (stems removed)
– 2 cups chopped sweet potatoes (I like 1/2 inch cubes)
– 1 cup wild rice, cooked
– Whole-grain dijon mustard
– Apple cider vinegar
– Olive oil
– Salt & pepper
1. Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, garlic salt, and lemon pepper—or whatever spices you like to use when roasting veggies. Put them in an oven at 350 and roast for 30 minutes or until the outsides are beginning to brown, turning once to get an even roast.
2. While the tubers are cooking, massage the kale. In order for kale to be tasty while raw, you have to like, rub it. It’s a very high maintenance vegetable, but it’s also insanely healthy, so just do it. Squeeze the kale roughly while rinsing it in warm water for a few minutes and it should be good to go.
3. Mix your dressing! I know I should be more precise here, but I pretty much just mix it to taste. I use twice as much mustard as honey, about the same amount of oil, and a big splash of vinegar. I like my dressing really tangy, and I think Bragg’s Apple Cider is the best.
4. Toss the kale with the cooked wild rice (cheat and use Trader Joe’s frozen wild rice if you’re lazy) and add the dressing while the rice is still warm. Let sit for a few minutes. The vinegar will help the kale tenderize.
5. Take out your sweet potatoes, drop them on top, and eat. Feel less guilty about consuming roughly your own weight in fried pork trotter patties and other meaty items. Pretend you care about Lent and eating right. Then have some 1 p.m. wine for dessert.