Here’s Benjamin Booker with Have You Seen My Son, because I’m obsessed with this album at the moment.
“Um, they’re called sculptures.”
“Yeah. You know a lot of people think junk is just junk, but it’s not!”
“What is it?”
I realize that lately the subtitle of Out of the Ordinary could be “Isaac and Claire talk on the way to school.” And I never intended it to turn out that way, but the truth is, I come home and I think about all of the odd things he’s told me. I think about them for hours, setting off a little chain of loosely connect thoughts which generally lead back to whatever he was talking about in the first place. Today I thought about junkyards, and I thought about the Gleaners and I and Vik Muniz’ Wasteland, and Agbobloshie, and aircraft boneyards. And I thought of the term “rag-and-bone,” which has been in my head for days, although try as I might I can’t remember what put it there in the first place. And of course that made me think of “Rag and bone shop of the heart,” so I had to look up the whole poem. The Circus Animal’s Desertion. What a name for a poem! What a poem! It ends thusly:
Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
And it’s so strange to think about Yeats lacking inspiration or feeling disappointed. It’s so strange to think about him looking back on his career with any kind of sadness or regret, or looking into his heart and feeling despair or disdain for what he finds there. I want to tell him what Isaac would tell him, that those old kettles and bottles and bones aren’t junk, they’re art materials. He can make himself a new ladder out of old iron and broken cans, a ladder that might be more true and stronger than his old one. But of course he knows that, he knows it all, because he found his inspiration, he wrote this poem, and it’s beautiful and he must have felt that in his deep heart’s core.I’ll blame it on the weather, on the seemingly endless winter, but I’ve wanted to make warm comforting bready meals lately. Last night it was this savory cake, which is a lot like a pizza with the toppings baked right into the dough. I made the dough rich and tender, with butter, milk and an egg (I think of it as brioche-like). And I filled that with my favorite combination of chard and mushrooms. I used pecans and pistachios, but you could use one or the other, whichever you have. We ate this with leftover asparagus pesto and with a pecan sauce something like this one.
Here’s Rag and Bone by The White Stripes
I also think it would be fun to live in Greece and go to lunch with friends in Paris. And that’s the origin of this recipe. My friend Sandy, (who lives in Greece and goes to lunch with friends in Paris) sent me this “non-recipe” for a dessert she had. She described it thus…
…dessert one of those fabulous french tarts (er tartes) – tart dough, then a pate of crushed or somehow pated pastichios – may have had another ingredient in pate, i don’t know. maybe a bit of a liquer or rose water or something. (it was from a pastry shop so i couldn’t ask). and on top apricots. in a sense it was like a tarte with pistachio pate instead of custard under the fruit, but the apricot was not raw – it was baked.
Well! With my obsession with frangipane, and making frangipane out of hazelnuts or other non-almond nuts(which makes it no longer frangipane!) OF COURSE I had to try this!! I made a simple paté sucrée crust, with a hint of cardamom. I made a pistachio frangipane (an imaginary beast!), and then I just sliced very ripe apricots, and sprinkled them with sugar because they’re quite tart! I liked the resulting tart very much indeed, but I have to admit that my boys wouldn’t try it because they don’t like apricots. And the apricots were tart. It was a tart tart. This appealed to me very much! I think it would be nice with some lightly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream. The tart won’t last for days in pristine form, because the fruit softens the crust. So eat up!!
When I was in Spain quite a few years ago, I stopped at a place with only one vegetarian thing on the menu – spinach, raisins, and pine nuts. It was such a simple dish, and I had such a heaping mound of spinach on my plate, but somehow it was one of the most memorable and delicious meals I have ever eaten. The filling for this pie is loosely based on that memory. I used chard instead of spinach, because of the added depth of earthy flavor, and because it seems more substantial. And I added pistachios, quite frankly, because I had them! You could just as easily use spinach and pine nuts. The flavor would be different but equally delicious. I added lemon zest to this light yeasted crust, because I think the brightness of lemon zest contrasts nicely with the earthiness of the chard.
Here’s Swiss Chard, by Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, a band we used to listen to when we lived in Boston. I hadn’t thought about them in a while. Thank you, swiss chard, for reminding me!!
Recipe after the jump…