Rebecca: I have to go. My daughter is sprawling on the kitchen floor and she’s about to start screaming.
Me: Yeah. I have to go too. I have to go to Times Square for a production meeting that will probably run past midnight.
Rebecca: (sarcastic) There you go, living that life of glamour.
I love Rebecca. She is a mother and an Alexander teacher now, but she used to do theater herself. So, she knows just how much schlepping, sleep deprivation and poverty is involved in the glamourous life of being a theater maker.
My understanding is that the term “glamour” originally refered to a particular spell that hideously ugly fairies would cast so that they would appear young and beautiful. When someone is glamourous, they are not beautiful, they have simply mastered the art of appearing beautiful. I actually have a lot of respect for glamour. I make puppet theater and I see the art of staging, lighting and manipulating objects and materials so that the audience perceives life force, intention and narrative as having it’s roots in fairy glamour.
For the last couple of months my life has been swallowed up (in a good way) by making and performing shadow puppets for an immersive theater piece called Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic. There are many glittery and nearly naked ladies dancing about. There are fancy cocktails. There are breathtaking aerial feats and vocal stylings. In short, it is very glamourous. But nestled into this wild and dazzling party is a subtle critique of the ravages of glamour, in the form of the heart wrenching story of the life and death of Ziegfeld star Olive Thomas. I have been watching the creative force behind this massive endeavor, the VERY glamourous, talented and hard working Cynthia Von Buhler, work herself into exhaustion to make this show a reality. The funny thing about glamour is that it can cause so much pain and distress to the person who is creating it. It is hard work to cast that spell!
Here are some pictures of my shadow puppets. The show has been extended to the end of June and you can get tickets here.
Lately, when I sit down to write about cooking and eating for this blog, I feel like a such a fraud! Let me explain. My life has calmed down a bit since the show opened…but I really did have about a long spell sleeping very little and of living off of french fries and cocktails. Our show is in a secret Beaux Arts theater on 42nd street. You have to walk into a diner and then through a curtain in the back to get to it. I haven’t had much time to cook, so I’ve ordered many, many batches of french fries from the diner. Our show serves delicious fancy cocktails made by Bootleg Greg. I get one free drink during each show and then usually end up buying another…or two…after.
In an attempt to cast a more positive light on my recent eating habits I am going to dress them up as “glamourous”. My diet, as of late, has been glamourous, not sad, and as a glamourous eater I am qualified to offer you some glamourous recipes for cocktails and a decadent dessert. How’s that for fairy sparkle?
There have been a few bright food moments over the last few months, all connected to socializing over food. I can’t get it together to feed myself well right now, but I can pull out my cooking skills for my friends. Also, my friends happen to be amazing cooks, so when I am not in the mood to cook they totally come through with deliciousness. All of the recipes I am posting today are from my very glamourous friends.
A few weeks ago (ack! Maybe a month ago?), one of my husband’s oldest friends, Amy, came over for an early dinner with her wife Ana and their adorable toddler, Roxy. They brought the ingredients for a delicious Prosecco and Aperol Spritz, and I’m going to get to that I promise. First though, I’d like to sing the praises of Roxy.
I feel that describing Roxy as adorable does not at all do justice to how amazingly awesome Amy and Ana’s daughter is. Roxy loved all of the food I we ate (Chicken baked in milk and lemon peel, baked potatoes, sautéed nettles and spinach, green salad and Almond Fennel Cake with poached rhubarb). I looked over at one point to see her holding a chicken bone in her mouth like a puppy dog. She wasn’t trying to be cute, she was trying to suck all of the goodness off of the bone. My kind of kid.
After dinner, we brought out my childhood puppets to play with. My husband is a very good puppeteer (it used to be his job before he started focusing more on directing and design work). He is one of those puppeteers who has the magical ability (fairy glamour) to make any object really seem alive. Roxy spent about a half hour letting an ancient fuzzy yellow puppet named Happy gently nibble on her hands and feet. Occasionally she would hug the puppet and say “CUTE!”.
But wait there’s more! Our cats like Roxy too! Roxy barely noticed the people when she first arrived because she was so distracted by the cats. I relate to this. If there are cats I find it very hard to focus on the people. Roxy is astonishingly gentle and patient for a toddler. Before long, the cats were actually coming to her!
So, basically Roxy likes my three favourite things: food, puppets and cats. Also, she really looks a lot like my sister, who was the most delightful baby ever made. I say that without any bias what so ever. I mean, look at my sister…
Roxy’s parents make a mean Prosecco and Aperol Spritz. I have made this drink for
two three gatherings since they showed me how to make it. I think that this will be my official cocktail this summer. It is not too alcoholic and the Aperol has a wonderful bitter herbal flavour that I find very refreshing.
Enjoy your cocktail while watching Ana’s beautiful new music video (shot by Paul Kloss).
PROSECCO AND APEROL SPRITZ (from Amy and Ana)
- Chilled Prosecco
- a splash of seltzer or soda water
- a slice of orange (lemon works too!)
You should experiment with the proportions to see what you like. I like 3 parts Prosecco to 2 part Aperol. Some folks like 2 parts Prosecco to 1 part Aperol.
I couple of weeks ago I threw a birthday party for my friend Sxip Shirey. It was a pot luck. We had a selection of amazing cheeses and shishito peppers with cocktail, then ate Andalusian Honey Lamb Stew, my cousin Gary’s Curried Lentil Salad, Roasted Cauliflower, Cous Cous, a green salad, and a Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake for dessert. Sxip played music with three amazing fiddlers until the neighbor asked us, nicely, to stop. Larisa Fuchs, the maven behind Gemini and Scorpio, brought the ingredients for a very serious champagne cocktail in an old suitcase. This woman throws parties for a living and she does not mess around (See before and after photos, above). In addition to making these profound cocktails, Larisa was kind enough to take the party to her speakeasy/loft when I needed to go to bed at about 2AM. God bless her. Here is that recipe…
LARISA’S SEROUS CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
- 2 part Gin
- 2 part Lillet
- 1 part elderflower syrup
- a dash of grapefruit bitters
- a champagne topper
Last weekend, my husband and I had brunch with our friends Kerthy and Paul (see the music video link above as well). These people provide important food for both our tummies and our souls. We had sausage with gluten-free biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit, frittata, Prosecco and Aperol Spritz and Bananas Foster. Friends like this will keep you fat and happy! No fairy glamour needed.
BANANAS FOSTER (from Paul Kloss)
- Bananas (1/2 per serving)
- pecans (1/4-1/3 cup per serving)
- brown sugar (1 heaping Tablespoon per serving)
- a dash or two of cinnamon
- a dash or two of vanilla
- a glug of grand marnier or cointreau and then another glug later
- Butter (1 Tablespoon per serving)
- The juice of 1/2 lemon
- The juice of 1/2 orange
- Butter Pecan or Vanilla Ice Cream (1 scoop per serving)
- Peel the Bananas and slice them lengthwise.
- Toast pecans in a dry hot pan. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
- Add Grand Marnier or Cointreau and let it flame up so caramelization begins. Stir until flame is out.
- Add the butter, lemon juice and orange juice and stir until it’s a sauce.
- Put in bananas and coat with sauce.
- Caramelize again with flaming Grand Marnier treatment and stir until the flame is out.
- Serve over a scoop of ice cream.
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