First of all, the title got me....I adore figs...to grow, to look at, to eat, to use in centerpiece still lifes. And the beautiful fragrances made from them.
Then, once in your hand, it was the quality of the paper - matte and substantial, - and the photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer - seductive.
I am an instant David Tanis fan. In his own words...
"The best meals mirror nature and celebrate the seasonal."
On entertaining and feeding friends, "...what matters is that you do it."
Simplicity is key. People who cook fussy food for their friends seem to have the least fun... I'm sure you've noticed that more than once, but we won't go any further with that one.
He talks about his love of one of my favorites...'French Basque Piment d'Espelette'....a little heat goes a long way.
"This is a book about cooking by instinct- improvisational, the sort of cooking that doesn't need a recipe. I love that....with practice comes confidence with confidence comes spontaneity in the kitchen and a relaxed attitude toward entertaining...
"All oysters really need is a glass of Champagne or Sancerre." AMEN
The book is arranged by menus and for parties of 8/10, coincidentally, my preferred dinner party so it is perfect for me.
I look forward to the FEELING ITALIAN dinner and the SIMPLE MOROCCAN SUPPER ...wanderlust satisfied in the kitchen.
David Tanis has worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse for over twenty years. When you buy the book you can read more about his time and how he got his start as a young foodie.
Author Alice Kaplan vividly and poetically writes about the "City of Lights Effect" on three of the most important female icons of our lifetime, Jacqueline Kennedy, Angela Davis and Susan Sontag. Each of these women, from very diverse backgrounds, all had something in common before setting foot on the Champs Élysée...
They were destined to change our lives in some way.
Their personal and intellectual engagement with France was marked with Significant milestones in their development, aesthetically, politically, morally, culturally and artistically. This indelible influence would alter them for the rest of their lives and they, in turn, would alter ours.
Isabel Toledo has a charming, motherly approach to what she designs, that is, she names them lovingly like children, my kangaroo dress, my jellyfish blouse, my packing dress, my rattan armor jackets and waterfall dresses,and then there's the armadillo sleeve shirtwaist dress, my broomstick librarian dress, and so many more.Her description of her techniques are equally compelling....
" liquid architecture"' " manipulated surfaces " and "organic geometry"
perhaps the theme that runs all the way through Isabel's book is her joy. Her joy for life, her work and Ruben her husband and partner.
A fire inside that fuels her curiosity and contagious enthusiasm and every bit of it woven into the fabric of her creations.
This is more than an autobiography, it has advice and life lessons without one 'you should '. ( my personal pet peeve of a phrase!!).
Read it, and you will see, she had much in common with the inimitable Mrs. Vreeland for whom she worked at the Costume Institute at the MET.
The two seemed to be a perfect match. When Isabel describes. Mrs. Vreeland - "a cultural living legend" - she says., " she really wanted to know how certain clothing was made. And how it felt to wear it. She knew the act of wearing is where fashion comes to life, because it is the ultimate collaboration between the couturier and the client."
I could go on, but you really SHOULD go buy the book and read it for yourself. Isabel's journey to success should be read by all up and coming and otherwise aspiring designers, it is a real lift. kind of the way I feel when I wear some of my favorite Isabel Toledo pieces, and they are always commented on by others.
Rachael McKenna Hale has captured French dogs with attitude, posing like models on a shoot. She claims in one of her opening lines that French dogs are "...the best mannered and best trained of them all..." Is that the reason they are allowed to dine with their owners in restaurants all over Paris? Upon reflection I have never seen a dog misbehave in a French café and one of the last times I was at Le Voltaire, my friend Sarah had both of her miniature dachshunds in tow. No one lifts a brow. Smitten with LADY and the TRAMP as a child. I have always been a dog lover and a dog owner. Ms. Hale has done numerous books, some with cats. But I prefer this one as I am what people call a 'dog person'.
This is a beautiful book about canines that know how to strike a pose and Ms. Hale captured them in their 'decisive dog moment'.
Can you imagine some of the most gorgeous photos of flowers you have ever seen being created on a 12 x 17, flatbed scanner in a pitch dark room?
Ken Druse the author of this book and many others on gardening describes the photos as a "kind of Imogen Cunningham meets Mrs. Delaney." They are exactly that. This collaboration of over 200 images of flora is unique. Each group of flowers photographed represents a moment in time, plants that bloom at the same time and have been rushed to the studio from Ms. Hoverkamps minivan equipped to preserve the blooms and make a fast garden escape.
These 3D images represent pairings described as "Health and Beauty," "Good Vibrations," " Dedicated Followers of Fashion" and " The Sweet Smell Of Success." Even a non-gardener would be curious to explore these themes.
I have always enjoyed what Ken Druse writes because it has the tone of a gardening friend talking to you and giving you sound advice. Pearls such as " I contend that an arrangement of cut flowers can be made from just about every garden on just about every day of the year". A little nudge to encourage you to see everything that grows as beautiful and worthy of your favorite vase.
Take a journey to some of the world's most stunning hotels, and follow in the footsteps of influential writers and inspirational artists who took refuge in the serenity and natural beauty of these landscapes. Escape: Hotel Stories presents a global spectrum of sanctuaries from the hustle and bustle of modern life, celebrating a love of travel and nature.