Food

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Toast with garlic and olive oil. Mashed potatoes and spinach tasting of childhood.Locally grown rucola and green onions and cilantro and red radishes and lettuce leaves smelling  of spring. Humus and lentil soup and tahini. The warm smell of vegetable soup simmering on the stove. Luxurious cakes made of fair trade cocoa and bananas and nuts. Avocado sandwiches.  All the different types of mushrooms with their subtle and complex tastes. Miso and cumin and nutritional yeast and pink Himalayan salt and black salt and red paprika.
I love food. I love its smells and colors and tastes and textures. A good meal brightens up a bland day for me. It comforts my worries. I love the creativity of preparing the food, the communal feeling of sharing it with friends. The small rituals around it. Eating it from beautiful dishes. A glass of wine with your dinner.
I used to hate cooking, to be in consequence really bad at it. To consider cooking part of the infinite, repetitive and invisible work of women (even if I would do it for myself and for people who never took it for granted). I especially dreaded the sight and smell of raw meat and I would have never ever touch it or cook it, although I would eat it prepared by others. Still, I would eat the meat that bore almost no resemblance to the physicality of the living breathing animal that used to be. Shivering in disgust at the sight of bones or cartilage. My guilt unrecognized and transformed in a dread towards the organic. I would eat my foods extremely processed abusing my body to hide my empathy from myself .
Becoming vegetarian and then later vegan meant for me to finally access a free and exuberant pleasure for food. Meant never refusing myself anything. Allowing my body to feel energized and healthy. Allowing myself the joy and wonder at the infinite variety of tastes when you cook your food from scratch, when you are open to see cooking as an everyday, useful, modest and friendly form of art. Mixing tastes like you would  mix colors for a painting. A painting about a very small hope, about an almost impossible to envision- but still so important to envision- possibility for a better world for all beings.

Restraint

I am very proud of the restraint I’ve shown today at the flea market. I have only bought three small things (and we bought a boring but very practical and cheap sprouter for our kitchen, but I don’t count that ).

A very beautiful brass Art nouveau stick pin, in great condition. Not sure about this yet, but maybe I’ll convert it in a ring or pendant at some point.

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An alpacca baby rattle from the forties.

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And a gold plated brass ring for my collection of modest but beautifully made old jewelry.

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Linking up with Vintage Bliss Tuesdays.

Wooden boxes

I bought this acorn shaped box at the flea market, thinking it was intended to be kept on the desk, holding the pen and ink bottle. Not that I would need such a thing, but it is so nicely made in beautiful wood, that I just couldn’t leave it behind (even if I try to reduce my buying and limit it as much as possible to small things). Searching it online, I realized the acorn is actually an ashtray (with a cigarette holder and a box for matches and stuff). But I also thought it would be very good for my ring collection. The ashtray is very practical to hold the rings I choose to wear, when I am deciding which ones to pick for the day. And it looks really nice on my shelf with the wooden and brass birds and the plastic deer.

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This box, another flea market find, with its collapsible compartments was also something for smoking, a cigarette holder, I guess. Now, it’s a very pretty display case for some of my favorite brooches.

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Collecting is an addiction too, isn’t it, even if much healthier and nicer than smoking.

Snapshots

Most of the antique and vintage photos I have are, of course, studio photos. But even in the ones taken outside, the people in them pose for the photographer. I like a lot these two photos, that look like the capture of an everyday moment. Neither of them has a date, but I suppose they are from the forties, judging from the outfits and hair stiles. Maybe the one with the woman walking on the street is staged, but it still has the unpredictability of the walkers by. It is definitely made by a professional photographer, obvious not just from the quality of the photo, but also from the sleeve  in which I have found the photo, with the logo of a studio in Liege. The one with the girl on the bicycle it’s an amateur photo, just a snapshot on a sunny day. It was much appreciated, though, I have found it together with some other photos of this woman in a small leather cover, made especially for holding photos. The cover was in a much too bad shape to be repaired, but I keep her photos together.

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Contact print

I think this is a contact print photo from a large sheet film. It’s really beautiful and mysterious, a favorite from my collection.

It has an inscription in Hungarian on the back: “Szeretetten emlekul”, and the signature, Seiler Kato.  I understand some Hungarian and I always thought this means “I lovingly give you this as a souvenir”. (Or, “I remember you with love”). Still, I wasn’t sure which one of these two is the right translation and I was uncertain about the form of the verb, something didn’t feel right. So I typed this in google translate. Both in Romanian and English it is translated as “They have gained as a souvenir”. Much less romantic :)… to me this sentence brings the image of something gained at a country fair. Definitely google is wrong and my Hungarian is better :).

But still, I’ll ask a Hungarian friend about it and update this later.

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Update: I asked my friend who’s mother tongue is Hungarian about the right translation and he said it is “I give you this as a souvenir with love.”

Ambrotype

I have found these two glass sheet photos in a box at the flea market and I have bought them for almost nothing. They are quite beautiful (especially the one with the children and father or older brother looking down from a high balcony). I wonder what city that is. I tried to google the text, but I found nothing. It could be Brussels, maybe? The vendor told me they bring their things from Belgium and the writing is in French. I think part of the writing is covered by the black tape that protects the edges of the glass, and this is why it makes no sense, but I don’t want to unglue that tape. There is the year 1934 hand written on the glass.

I tried to find out how this process was called, getting a positive image on a sheet of glass. It’s ambrotype or wet plate collodion process. The images are very detailed and sharp, but quite difficult to scan or photograph. DSCN8697

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