Pardon, its Lardons (well, actually . . .)

I’ve been stumped for a day, trying to write something to go with my pre-selected title of “Pardon, its Lardons”: projected to be a short essay concerning a salad I ate in New Haven* (yes, with lardons, even though they insisted on calling them “bacon lardons”).

I have failed.

In art school you learn the idea of “killing what you love” which basically means that your piece will continue to suck until you get rid of the part that you’ve been clinging to madly (which has actually been draining the life blood from your piece, formally and conceptually).

So no more lardons, even though they were astonishing and the best W. or I had ever had. Instead: **KALE**.

I hate kale.

At least I did until 2 weeks ago, when I had the first of several highly positive kale experiences. At Area Four in Cambridge W. and I split the kale and brussels sprout salad. And then a few days ago I had the kale salad at Heirloom in New Haven. Brilliant, once again, and neither of them too difficult to replicate I would imagine. The thing is, I’d only previously eaten cooked kale, which I still think is dreadful. These were made with raw kale. Both of them contained candied hazlenuts and I think this is an imperative ingredient. The sweet nuttiness plays nicely with the strength of the kale. I preferred Area Four’s, which I believe had as a secret ingredient thinly sliced onions; they now list as indredients “Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Candied Hazelnuts & Pecorino, Lemon Vinaigrette”. If they have gotten rid of the kale I will cry (or make my own).

Kale contains a huge amount of vitamins and minerals. If you eat enough you will be able to caber-toss Michelle Bachman into the Charles, should she ever venture this way.

* the salad was from Caseus. It consisted of arugula with very thinly sliced shallots, shaved gruyere,  nice dressing, and a **deep fried duck egg**. I had a really nice astringent Basque Cider with it; none of that sweet fizzy stuff from Vermont with the cute animal on the label. And that’s my deep fried duck egg in the image above, in case you were wondering.

A Matter of Feet

At the small but scrumptious Yale University Art Gallery works by John Baldessari and Hieronymous Bosch hang within 200 (horizontal) feet of each other. A few hundred feet further, in the similarly rather scrumptious New Haven Green, sits Occupy New Haven.

The Baldessari piece is a text heavy painting called Solving Each Problem As It Arises (1967). When I was at the Gallery there was a tour group from New Jersey (identifiable via bus logo and accents) hating on a nearby Basquiat but oblivious to the painterly and conceptual complexities of the Baldessari.

“. . . When he feels that he has interpreted the subject to the extent of his capabilities he may have a one-man exhibition whose theme is the solution of the problem.” Baldessari writes. The people at Occupy New Haven are still trying to articulate the problem (at least in it’s more subtle nuances) but they have some very clear starting points. It’s essentially an age old issue, the subject of the meta-work of which the Bosch panel in New Haven is a part. The piece at Yale is titled Allegory of Intemperance (ca. 1495–1500); another section of the now-dismantled triptych depicts Gluttony, aka Greed.

There’s a surprising grace and solemnity to the Occupy New Haven encampment. The Green is a perfect spot for such civic engagement. Tents sit beneath the outspread boughs of coloring  trees with plenty of space left for cogitation (or more tents). It’s like a Quaker meeting or a vast quiet installation: a more organic version of a Walter de la Maria installation, perhaps, less the thunder. But maybe one day that too will come.