Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Summer Notes . . .

I spoke too soon.
It's not just Halloween showing up in stores. I was having fun at a local Hallmark store, grooving in the musical-card aisle, when I looked over and saw – oh, the horror of it! -- this year's new Christmas ornaments!
Clearly it's not too soon for Halloween, even if the watermelon isn't ripe on the vine quite yet.


Yesterday I visited The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. It is a stunning place, full of powerful images, ideas, and information. If you haven't been to visit yet, I encourage you to go.
Besides the permanent exhibits that tell the story of the President's life as well as his role in the Civil War, this summer through the election in November 2008 you will find an exhibit on “Packaging Presidents.” This exhibit fascinates with its campaign memorabilia, facts and figures, even an area televising old campaign commercials. If you're nostalgic about “The Bear in the Woods” commercial, or if you want to see Michael Dukakis riding that tank again, this exhibit is for you.


Another exhibit I've seen recently is in Bloomington, Illinois at The McLean County Museum of History, located downtown in the lovely old Courthouse. In addition to a variety of permanent exhibits detailing the history and stories of McLean County, currently there is an exhibit that blends information about the early nurseries of F. K. Phoenix with the incredibly beautiful prints of artist William Henry Prestele, who illustrated the catalogs Phoenix sent out to the prairie with his nursery salesmen. Before Phoenix and Prestele came up with their artful, lovely catalogs, plants and trees were sold on the basis of written descriptions or line drawings. This exhibit runs through November 2, 2008, and will take your breath away – Prestele's prints look good enough to pluck and eat.


I made the Marinated Beet Salad from Alice Waters' book The Art of Simple Food.this morning. Can we just say – delicious! Not to mention simple, just as the title promised.
It's been a lot of fun this summer to try new vegetables and recipes; my curiosity has been tickled. Trying new things, new tastes – it makes cooking more interesting, and meals more fun.
What's your favorite vegetable recipe for summer? A curious mind (mine!) wants to know! If you'd care to share, just leave your recipe in comments.

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