Sunday, November 28, 2010

We're not the only ones with leftovers, right?

During Kentucky Thanksgiving the kitchen is closed to '3rd party cooks'. This means that my mother and her sisters are bustling around the stove, arm wrestling over who gets to make the special rum cake, running antsy nibblers out of the kitchen, answering the ever-ringing phone, taste testing all the desserts (how unfortunate), throwing casseroles in and out of the oven, singing, laughing hysterically (there's no rum involved here, by the way), and counting down the hours until the food is on the table and all is finished.

I am a 3rd party cook during Kentucky Thanksgiving.
But this year, here in Wyoming, the kitchen welcomed me with a double oven and a dishwasher.

As most do during the holidays, my fellow residents and I split the meal. While I did end up making the zucchini cakes, I opted out of the pumpkin dumplings and turnip greens and instead decided to go all or nothing and take on dessert:           Two pies = Me

That's right, the failed baker put herself in charge of Thanksgiving dessert.

This could have easily ended in sweet disaster but luck was on my side, along with a new pie crust recipe, and dessert was a spelt flour success!

pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, and some stray ginger

Katey's sweet potatoes and cranberries for Colleen's sauce

umm... don't lick your fingers while cooking
We were delightfully surprised when Katey decided to whip up a batch of truffles mid morning!
desserts ready to go
truffles, blueberry pie, homemade whipped cream, and pumpkin pie

rousing game of pick up sticks 
So many wild turkeys!

So the dishes are all clean and put away but the containers of leftovers refuse to disappear. 
I suppose we will continue to work our way through them until the food is gone or becomes soup, whichever happens first. I finished off the blueberry pie during a studio break last night and I'm guessing the truffles will have disappeared by now. 

Another Thanksgiving come and gone.
Safe travels back to your starting point..

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last minute thoughts for the long weekend

Always use caution when:
A. operating heavy machinery
B. whistling on a blade of grass
C. cutting things.

Maranda, get it together.

So you have, what, 12 hours to find a Thanksgiving recipe? Look no further..
Warning: I think these dishes are all vegetarian/vegan. 
They can be easily adjusted, of course, if you prefer meat.

I'll be trying my hand at zucchini cakes & pumpkin dumplings... making some turnip greens, too.
Just because.


So, Toby and my dad are cooking a 'Thanksgiving breakfast' tomorrow morning (good luck fellas!) and here's to hoping that my mother and her sisters don't set the oven on fire this year..
don't ask, you just have to know them

Wishing everyone safe travels wherever you're going..
Eat your greens (Toby, this means you!), be careful while chopping, and enjoy your week/end!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

8 degrees

It's cold but good.
Here are a few reasons why:

Treat #1
Mail from a super great lady

Treat #2 
Waking up to a warm fire in the wood stove

Treat #3
A fantastic hike into the 1000 acres and coming back to fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies.
What?? Katey you are somethin' else..
sweet teeth
       This is our mandatory hiking gear.     View of Jentel from inside the 1000 acres

Here's to hoping Treat #4 is an A+ for Toby on his Social Studies exam.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Middle Ground

Over the weekend I read an essay by Susan Sontag called "Against Interpretation" that critiques the over-intellectualization of art.
Undoubtedly, my review falls short so you can read the essay here
It's a thoughtful read, whether you agree or not, and makes me think about what we expect from works of art, what our motivations are as makers and viewers, and the fervent debate between form and content.


Wyoming and my fellow residents are so great.
We have a wood stove, we cook great food, and there's snow!

I've been planning, printing, carving, and I'm still waiting on yellow ink.
Why didn't I buy all the primary colors at once?
Lesson learned.

hand printing a woodcut

keep your carving tools sharp

To do:
finish woodcut
make sure Toby is prepared for his Tuesday test
sew signatures
venture into the 1000 acres
remind Toby to review before bed
send mail
memorize line #5
find zucchini cakes recipe for our dinner on Thursday

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't call me Betty Crocker..

because I am a failure when it comes to baking.
I like to cook. I even like baking, but pity the child who is called in to taste test my creations.

dear toby, will you ever eat another scone?

But how will you learn if you never try?
On that note, who doesn't enjoy measuring ingredients for a midnight pie?!

pears and blueberries. not quiche. 

so maybe it's not the prettiest pie... don't judge me

...and now that the sweet is finished I will happily go back to work. In the studio you will find no egg white vs. egg yolk, spelt vs. whole wheat, or altitude substitutions. hooray!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memory Maintenance

Wyoming today = sunny but cold

When I was in undergrad my poetry teacher had us memorize and recite a poem or two per semester.
I have a terrible memory but loved this challenge.

I often think about how much information I (we?) read and see and hear but don't retain, so I've decided to start helping myself by memorizing again.

1 poem = 1 month

I do this periodically. In fact, I initiated this same project a year ago. Each month for three months I memorized a poem (all of which I remember, by the way) and then I got a new job, got preoccupied, and stopped. What a shame...

Well, here I go again, again.

I've chosen the following poem for this month and it couldn't be more perfect.
There are 12 lines in this poem and 12 days left in the month.
One line per day is doable. It's good. It's better.

*Thanks to my poet-cousin Sean for introducing me to this work. I memorized one other Strand poem called 'Keeping Things Whole'. It's a personal favorite. You can find 'Keeping Things Whole' and more Mark Strand info here

Coming to This
By Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.

It's all about the wait

Doesn't everyone enjoy slow mail?
I didn't distribute a mailing address before I left, so for those of you I left in the dark:

Maranda Allbritten
Jentel Foundation
132 Lower Piney Road
Banner, WY 82832

letter lover


Orientation, trip to the grocery and Ace Hardware, organized studio, listened to a big wind storm while I finished a woodcut, noticed I'm out of practice.
Started another woodcut, realized how dull my tools were, sharpened tools (kind of), tore down signatures (for book making) from a stack of 'surprise! it's paper you had forgotten about!', ordered more paper.
Thought about how much I miss the smell of Nori paste. 
Thought about how life is always full of surprises. Decided I like that.

Ate chocolate, drank water, made lists.


Monday, November 15, 2010

This is where time will fly

Visual Artist Studios @ Jentel. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

After a long overnight bus ride, I finally arrived in Sheridan, Wyoming at 4:15am.
The temperature was a whopping 36 degrees.
Hooray for the cold and snow!     I think?

It's a little after 5:00pm now and I'm settled within the Lower Piney Creek Valley at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, Wyoming. I'll be here for the next 29 days making prints and books, tackling back burner projects, and finalizing plans for the spring!

Here is the website for this middle of nowhere wonder.
I feel so fortunate to be here.
I should pinch myself..