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Monthly Archives: February 2012
Wondering why every fourth year is a leap year and where that extra day comes from? One year on Earth is a full orbit around the sun, which astronomically does not add up to 365 whole days — it in fact takes 365.2422 days. Having a leap day every fourth year is meant to scoop up those extra hours and keep us on track.
It’s also Sadie Hawkins Day, when tradition has it that a gal can ask her fella to marry her. While the name Sadie Hawkins can be traced to an Al Capp cartoon in the 1930s, the practice of women being able to propose to a man only in a leap year is historically common to many cultures. It is fabled to have begun in 5th century Ireland when St. Brigid complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose. St Patrick then supposedly gave women a single day in a leap year to pop the question — the last day of the shortest month. Another theory is that the right of every woman to propose on this day goes back to the times when February 29th was not recognized by English law. It was believed that if the day had no legal status, it was acceptable to break with the tradition of a man having to be the one to propose.
In Denmark, the tradition of women proposing is tied to February 24th, not the 29th (It has something to do with Julius Caesar.) Tradition dictates that a Danish man who turns down a leap year proposal must give the woman 12 pairs of gloves. In Finland, fabric for a skirt fills in for the gloves and in Scotland the fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves. Not all cultures have positive marital connotations with leap year — in Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky.
Obviously we live in very different times and a woman does not have to wait to either ask to be asked. But whether you are planning a proposal or a wedding (or any other formal event), I wanted to share this great idea for identifying your tables: The Annieglass Text collection makes for gorgeous table numbers — you can use numbers in signals or in pairs to mark each table or use letters to spell out names or initials that have meaning for you.
Every now and again, if you are lucky, you have the opportunity to bear witness to a great talent. I had that opportunity the first time I saw Marvin Plummer’s work. It intrigued me immediately and as I examined it more closely, it took my breath away. I could feel the back of my neck tingle and I thought to myself “Who is this guy?” and “What is he doing here?”
A mammoth-sized charcoal drawing of a dog, nearly 5 feet square, loomed over me as I ascended the stairway to his work space during the Santa Cruz Open Studio tour a few years ago. The drawing was charcoal on paper— that’s all the material he used, a stick of charcoal and a massive amount of talent.
When I got to the top of the stairs I was overwhelmed by the power of the drawing and stepped a few steps back down to take it all in. I wanted it right then and there but had to wait another year to make it mine. The image is so powerful you can see it from a distance. I hung it at the top of the stairs into the house so you will have the same experience that I did when I first saw it.
I was delighted to see Marvin’s studio filled with images of dogs — different dogs scratching, preening, or wriggling on their backs. He managed to capture the essence of each one. The impish look in the eye of a terrier, the affection in the face of another looking at it’s owner, the giddy relief of a good ear scratching in progress. I could not decide what appealed to me more — the flawless way he drew or how perfectly he captured the personality of each dog on the page.
Marvin has done a large sea-inspired mural on Swift Street and a mural at Kumbuwa Jazz Center that brings the musicians to life, as well as many commissions. He he is working on a series of artist’s portraits and I am honored that he has asked me to sit for one — I can’t wait for next summer when we can start working on it. Right now, I am happy to invite you to my store downtown as we host Marvin Plummer for First Friday this week. March 2 from 5-8pm. 310 Cooper St., Santa Cruz. Come see for yourself what he is up to next!
It’s that weird time of year when your body craving warm and comforting foods like soup, but your mind is beginning to long for spring, which is still a good few weeks away. This Carrot Basil soup manages to fulfill both of those contrary desires. It can also span the seasons, with a few tweaks. Right now, it’s a great — and healthy — way to use sweet and hearty winter carrots, well doused with basil oil and well roasted and blended with chicken broth; in Spring and Summer you can use more the delicate new carrots of the season and fresh basil. It’s also delicious served both hot or chilled. Serve in an Annieglass soup bowl with a few sprigs of basil for a tasty accent.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Wash and peel the carrots; then cut into 2-inch pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and place the carrots and garlic in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt + pepper and drizzle with the basil oil and toss well to coat. Roast for about 40 minutes, until caramelized and cooked through.
Let everything cool before blending in a blender or food processor. Add enough broth to make the soup the consistency you like. Add puree to a stockpot and warm the soup over low heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve.
I’m having my annual gathering, which we have lovingly come to call our slacker Oscar party, with my boyfriend Steve and a group of my friends and family. We call it the slacker party because we very deliberately keep things casual — we order in pizza, and the dress code is distinctly non-formal. The highlight of the night is the competition — not for the Oscar, but for which one of us predicts the highest number of winners correctly. We have a very elaborate system and bet against each other using poker chips.
Who do you think will take home the awards? And what are your Oscar watching plans or traditions?
Last week I talked about how to host a recipe swap potluck dinner. Today I wanted to share some photos of dishes that Annieglass customers have shared with us. I love the creativity of both the food and the use of Annieglass — some of the savory dishes here are served on Ruffle cake stands! I hope you enjoy these photos and get inspired.