RITUAL Old Time Jam
Traditional music is all the rage
The French Issue
Bringing the Christmas Pudding Break out the kitchen blow torch
Tapping into Tapestries
Ancient photojournalism at PEM
December 2012 SEPTEMBER Volume 2, Issue 58
EVERY THIRD THURSDAY OF THE MONTH
Charleston/Chaplin: 1920s Style
Café Samovar: Indian Fusion
MARCH/21 Celebrate Creative Communities
Performance Art Inspired by Nick Cave
North Shore Art Throb
161 Essex Street | Salem, MA 01970 | 978-745-9500 | pem.org
Image: Keisuke Eguchi
These unconventional gatherings feature cocktails and conversation, art making and music, culinary demonstrations and surprising experiences. Artwork from Montserrat’s Study Abroad Program in Italy Carol Schlosberg Gallery 23 Essex Street, Beverly MA 01915
Ritual December 2012, Volume 2, Issue 86 6 10
Start a new ritual of your own.
by william legault Be healthy in mind and body
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8 12 Top Left: Bread baking, photo by Anna Kasabian Middle Left: The Whodunnits of Masterpiece, illustration by Michael Lowe Top Right: Fiddle, photo by Mary Shea Bottom: Conquest of Tangier (detail), c. 1471-1475, Probably produced under the direction of Passchier Grenier, tapestry merchant, Tournai (Belgium), 1470s, wool and silk, Diocese of SigüenzaGuadalajara and the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain. ©Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Photograph by Paul M.R. Maeyaert. The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries is at PEM through December.
q & a with jay finney
by jim mcallister A downtown artists' hangout by dinah cardin What does PEM's expansion mean for us?
by bill woolley f Biking to work year round
by robbin lynn crandall Our writer masters a traditional New England recipe
the stuff of life
by anna and david kasabian Husband and wife foodies heat up the kitchen
by joeann hart Ancient photojournalism at PEM
watching the detectives by sarah wolfe Gathering around Brit TV
old time jam
kung fu fighting
by laura quayle Creating a musical tradition by jennifer jean A Beverly martial arts master talks
ABOUT THE COVER:
The cover photo taken by Anna Kasabian captures the spirit of one of humankind's earliest rituals, breadmaking. Kasabian shares insights into breadmaking and recipes in her article on page 27. Kasabian and her husband David have authored three cookbooks and regularly write about food together. She also writes about interior design and architecture, is working on her 14th book, and is a local potter (snowboundpottery.com).
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from the editor A
s the winter solstice approaches, as well as the new year, many people start to follow certain seasonal rituals. How will I beat the cold? Stay healthy? Use these long winter nights in a productive way? Exploring the theme of Ritual, this issue features interviews with people who are working on their mental and physical health. We also offer recipes for holiday pudding and bread baking and essays from writers sharing their personal and familial traditions. Just in time for the holidays, Salem has received an honor from the Massachusetts Retailer's Association as the state's hottest place to shop. This has been attributed to the "hip, new magic" found in our eclectic eateries and charming boutiques. In the last three years, 60 new businesses have opened downtown. Along the lines of commerce, Salem historian Jim McAllister shares the history of a former photoshop in downtown Salem — a hub of creativity on Essex Street for years. McAllister’s piece transports us back to a time not so long ago to remember two things that now seem lost and precious: when photography was a craft and when time moved at less of a lightning pace. Folks had time to gather at the shop, chat about city issues, make jokes and, oh yeah, talk about photography. If they wanted to buy something, they could put it on credit. Meanwhile, the idea of ancient photojournalism and the ritual of weaving is explored by Gloucester novelist JoeAnn Hart in her story about the new tapestry exhibit at PEM. Also read our Q & A with the man who
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heads up PEM's marketing to learn more about how locals will benefit from the museum's expansion, which takes off in full force at the beginning of the new year. We’ve certainly kept our own rituals here at Art*Throb for the last two years in meeting editorial deadlines while balancing the creative process. It’s been a wild ride since our first issue hit the streets in April of 2011. We have been on a daily, weekly and monthly ritual of producing a magazine. Here is an abbreviated version: plan content, assign stories and photos, communicate ideas with contributors, sell ads, compile calendar and table of contents, edit, flow pages, design pages, copyedit, deliver file to printers, receive a proof, edit again, receive final proof, approve and print, distribute all over North Shore. Repeat. You’ve played a part by being a reader and perhaps a supportive voice by telling others about us and making sure they find a copy, too. We held an online campaign in October that helped pay for our 18th issue, which you now hold in your hands. This winter, we will be hibernating with the rest of you. If you miss seeing us on the streets in print these winter months, find us online and in your inbox. Thank you to our readers, advertisers, contributors and supporters! Here’s to a Happy 2013! —Dinah Cardin Editor-in-Chief
our staff CREATIVE DIRECTOR << LILLY MCCREA A wild multi-tasker, at any moment Lilly can be found overseeing a photo shoot, behind the camera, writing an article or laying out Art*Throb’s print publication. She also freelance designs. Find her online at lillymccreadesign.com.
WRITER << ALEX MILLER has a masters degree in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh. He and his wife returned to the US in 2010. They now live in Beverly. Also a writer of poetry, fiction and criticism, Alex teaches writing and literature at the high school and college level.
North Shore Art*Throb is a free publication that incubates a regional movement of sustainable communities invested in the arts, a local economy and cultural engagement. We cover Boston’s North Shore, including the communities of Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Lynn and Gloucester. To learn more or for exclusive web content, visit us at www.nsartthrob.com
BUSINESS/EDITORIAL MANAGER >> JONATHAN SIMCOSKY is a native of Kansas City, MO, who came to Salem via Brooklyn. When he’s not gallivanting about the globe, he can be found cooking, eating, and talking about how much he loves to do both. He’s blogging his most recent adventure at www.jonathansimcosky.com
WRITER >>LOU MANDARINI is an attorney who lives in Beverly Cove and enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, politics, traveling for both work and play, and writing something other than legal briefs.
Art*Throb is published by Fireheart Communications LLC. Our authors and advertisers speak for themselves. Their ideas and messaging are their own, and can not necessarily be attributed to Art*Throb. Copyright © 2012 Special thanks to: Kylie Alexander, graphic design intern
COPYEDITOR/WRITER << SARAH WOLFE has contributed to a number of publications, including Boston Magazine. A self-confessed linguiphile, she began writing stories at a young age, inventing an imaginary world that she still visits from time to time. Sarah enjoys singing old jazz songs and, to stay centered, doing mountain poses on yoga mats across the North Shore.
Kathleen Anne Casey, web managing editor PHOTOGRAPHER << MARY SHEA got her start taking pictures of people and landscapes in her childhood home of Martha’s Vineyard. She is drawn to the North Shore for its oceanside communal feel. She holds a fine arts degree in photography from Mass Art, and a Masters of Social Work degree from Salem State College.
Want to advertise? email@example.com Want to subscribe? Sign up for our newsletter at nsartthrob.com. Our address? 8 Front St., Suite 215 Salem, MA 01970 Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
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december calendar Saturday 12/1Sunday 12/2
Iceland at the ICA
Christmas in Salem, Seaside
'A Celtic Sojourn'
Icelandic artist and musician Ragnar Kjartansson will stage An die Musik, a multi-hour performance, in the ICA’s Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater. First staged in Zurich, Kjartansson sings Schubert’s An Die Musik, an ode to art as a refuge from the stress and strain of everyday life, in constant repetition for four hours. The artist will be joined in this herculean task by a fellow Icelandic musician and several Boston-area singers and pianists. 5 to 9 pm. Tickets $5 ICA members, $10 nonmembers. icaboston.org.
Brian O’Donovan’s acclaimed A Celtic Sojourn from WGBH comes to Rockport to celebrate the holidays with a festive program featuring an exciting line-up of singers, musicians and dancers. Shalin Liu Performance Center, 35 Main St., Rockport with performances at 4:30 and 8pm. Tickets are $58, $48, and $39. Call 978-546-7391 or visit 35 Main St. in Rockport.
Enjoy an early start to the holiday season by participating in the 33rd annual Christmas walk through historic Salem homes, sponsored by Historic Salem, Inc. This year the tour will feature seaside homes in Salem Willows, which were built during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Saturday tours are from 10am to 4:30pm and Sunday from 11:30pm to 4:30pm. Tickets are $25 for Historic Salem, Inc. members and $30 for non-members. Proceeds will support renovations to the Bowditch House. christmasinsalem.org
Greening of the Great House: A Winter Festival
Friday, 12/7 Holiday Shopping in Gloucester Purchase wearable art for your holiday gifts at the Saunders House at the Sawyer Free Library, 2 Dale Ave., Gloucester. Visit with local jewelers and fiber artists while enjoying holiday shopping and the exquisite interior of the Saunders House and its WPA murals. Cape Ann Big Band Jazz Trio will entertain. Light fare and beverages. 5 to 8:30pm. searts.org.
Saturday, 12/8 BSO Decks the Halls For the first time in more than 50 years, Beverly’s Cabot Street Cinema will become a venue for live music. The 22-piece Beantown Swing Orchestra will fill the theater with big band holiday music, featuring American Idol finalist John Stevens and semifinalist Jen Hirsh. Founded in 2006, BSO is made up of musicians in their 20s who create original arrangements and songs with the goal of bringing big band swing music back to younger audiences and the mainstream. 4pm family show, 8pm concert. beantownswing.com
Wednesday, 12/12 'Gloria' Christmas Concert Chorus North Shore and the affiliated Honors Youth Chorus will perform Vivaldi’s Gloria as well as other traditional seasonal favorites at Our Lady of Hope Church in Ipswich. chorusnorthshore.org
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Saturday 12/1Sunday 12/2
Vintage postcard of the Salem Willows, Courtesy of Historic New England
Friday, 12/14 Multi-cultural Holiday Songs with Winterbloom
Winter is a time for gathering, and it's in this spirit a tradition of friendship and music has emerged. Singer-songwriters Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson and Natalia Zukerman have been touring together as Winterbloom since 2008. Experience a multi-cultural holiday celebration with songs in Hebrew, Tibetan and German, weaving Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and family-related themes. Doors open at 6:30 and 9:30 pm. Club Oberon, at American Repertory Theater, is located at 2 Arrow St. at the corner of Mass Avenue in Harvard Square. Tickets $25-$35. For more info and tickets visit americanrepertorytheater.org
Find us online at nsartthrob.com and sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly listings.
Join the winter celebration at the Great House on Castle Hill in Ipswich, which has been decorated for the holiday by area florists and designers. Enjoy live music, a dance performance, a children’s Eye Spy game, refreshments, and much more at this winter festival. Friday evening will feature live jazz music and a cash bar. On Saturday and Sunday, the Gift Gallery will be open to shoppers seeking unique holiday presents. Visitors are encouraged to donate unwrapped gifts for the “Giving Sleigh” to benefit needy families through Ipswich Caring. Saturday noon to 6pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm. Admission $5 for Ipswich residents; members $10 for adults, $5 for children; non-members $15 for adults, $8 for children. The Crane Estate is located at 290 Argilla Road in Ipswich. Call 978.356.4351
12/1-12/23 Fundraising for 20-foot Santa The 17 Cox Gallery in Beverly has launched an “investi-bition” as a result of a 20-foot Santa stolen from Coffee Caboose in New Hampshire. The gallery has sent out a call for artwork to be sold as a fundraiser for a replacement Santa. Founded in 2010, 17 Cox features “experimental visual ideas.” The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4pm or by appointment at 978-712-8858.
winter wheels by bill woolley
I’ve heard that snap diagnosis about
my mental stability for nearly 20 years, every time I show up at work rainsoaked or snow-encrusted after my daily commute on a bicycle. For the past six years my trip has been 14 miles, round-trip, Beverly to Salem. Take your best shot, Mother Nature, because I do it year-round. Storm after storm, I’ve recited the same three-part response to all those amateur psychiatrists. It helps me stay in shape ... it’s less expensive than driving a car ... it’s better for the environment. Those reasons are all true and, I suppose, constitute the best defense for my sanity. If sheer numbers help, I’ve also seen an increase in rush-hour cyclists lately, all dutifully pedaling along, presumably to and from jobs. I’m not talking about the sinewy cyclists who wear superhero helmets and seal themselves in Spandex so brightly colored they look like they rode straight off a LeRoy Neiman canvas. I’m talking about commuters who portray Quasimodo on wheels — the ones who slog doggedly along, hunched down under bulky backpacks stuffed with a brown-bag lunch and a wrinkled change of clothes. Granted, though, during foul-weather days I become a much more solitary figure rolling along the roadside. While we were all suspended in watery fluid for nine months in utero, most of us don’t particularly care for biking in it ... especially in its flaky frozen form. The day before Valentine’s Day, five years ago, a blizzard barreled across the Midwest, suspending thousands of redrose deliveries for days. The remnants of that storm arrived the following afternoon, suddenly burying the North Shore in snow shortly after lunchtime. It prompted employers to let their people head for home early, but not early enough. Snow and cars piled up on dimmed roadways in Salem and Beverly, leaving cars strung like Christmas lights across the connecting bridge. The next day,
my co-workers shared and compared woeful stories of their Valentine’s Day commutes, most reporting rides that took as many hours as miles. It had been clear on the morning of the storm, so my six-mile commute from Beverly to Salem was cold but uneventful. Going home, however, chunks of snow flipped up from the treads of my knobby tires as I pedaled merrily along, wearing my snowsuit, boots, gloves, balaclava and ski goggles, passing cars as if they were standing still. Because they were. I made it home, had my clothes in the washer and was getting steamy with a Swiss Miss in less than an hour. Still, honestly, all those practical reasons for cycling to work are just available to me on an as-needed basis. I recite them to make myself seem rational among friends who have yet to realize that “America’s love affair with the automobile” is pretty much a toxic relationship. The truth is that riding a bike to work — or anywhere else, for that matter — is just plain fun in any kind of weather. Can’t you remember being in the fifth grade, maybe even before anyone had ever heard of bicycle helmets, throwing a leg over your Schwinn and winding your way down the street to a playground? Maybe you could get up enough speed to glide, swerving and swooshing along the smooth pavement. Sometimes I’d employ a springy wooden clothespin to clamp a playing card to my bike frame. Properly positioned, the card would slap against my spokes as the wheels turned, making my bike sound gas-powered. As a kid, of course, I used to think that was impressive. Didn’t you ever laugh out loud with a friend when you got caught in a storm and pedaled home during a downpour? Or maybe you can you recall a youthful time when you pleaded, “C’mon, Mom. Why can’t I ride my bike in the winter?” I suppose the most honest reason for my penchant to pedal, as an adult, is that it appeals to remnants of the fifth-
Illustration by Kylie Alexandar
grader in me. That was back when I had an intoxicating crush on my teacher, my toughest decisions were whether to spend my allowance on comic books or baseball cards, and I somehow managed to “friend” other people without use of a computer. Psychologically, I suspect, you could call it regression: “a defense mechanism where one abandons adult coping strategies in favor of earlier, more childlike patterns of behavior.” Frankly, I’m OK with that. I suppose, however, if some engineering genius ever perfects a jet pack or rocket belt someday, I’d probably find that an even more enjoyable way to commute than biking. Imagine how much fun it would be to strap one of those on your back, have it lift you slowly into the air, and fly you to work during a snowstorm! I know, I know ... I must be crazy. Bill Woolley wrote an ending to his 22-year career in weekly community journalism in 2006. He currently works for the City of Salem and can be spotted happily biking to work weekdays, year-round, from his home in Beverly.
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Detail of The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries, on display at PEM through December. Image courtesy of PEM.
By JoeAnn Hart
et me just say this, before assuming you don’t care a stitch about the textile arts: open your mind and go see The Invention of Glory, the Pastrana tapestries show at the Peabody Essex Museum. Brought out into the clear warm light of an exhibition room, these tapestries, recently repaired, deloused and suctioned clean, are neither musty nor boring. They are not even dated. They are like coming upon an old WWII photo spread in Life magazine, with pictures so exact yet universal they allow one specific war to stand in for all wars. The people in the tapestries are alive, modern and intensely human. The fact that they are also medieval, well, that’s just too cool. Back in the 15th century, when these panels were 8 ∙ nsartthrob.com
woven, only the elite and the clergy knew the written word, so tapestries were a way to share myths, Bible stories and historical battles, while simultaneously keeping the damp castle walls warm. What is unusual about these four monumental panels, each one 36 feet long and 14 feet tall, is that they relate a contemporary event — Portugal’s military victory over two cities in northern Africa in 1471. King Afonso V, spurred by revenge from an earlier failed attempt by Portugal to gain control of the region (some people have likened these conflicts to Bush I and Bush II) and under the guise of the Pope’s directive to expand the Christian world, crossed the Mediterranean with 30,000 soldiers and 400 boats and took the cities of Asilah and Tangier. In the days when kings still led
their soldiers into battle, Afonso lived to tell the tale through the photojournalism of the day — tapestry. The narrative, from landing to victory, is told from left to right, from one panel to the next, like a graphic novel. In fact, the designer’s drawings for the weavers is called a cartoon, and the term is still used today by modern tapestry makers. “You have to have a damn good plan before you start, because a correction means un-weaving, which is just as time consuming as the weaving.” Meet Micala Sidore, of Hawley Street Tapestry Studio in Northampton, MA, who gave a lecture and demonstration at PEM to augment the show. “The term tapestry is culturally defined,” she says — agreeing with TWiNE (Tapestry Weavers in New England), of which she is a member — that if you call what you do tapestry, so be it. Some tapestry starts with a canvas, but the Pastrana tapestries started with nothing. The cloth was created as it was woven on looms, with the weft moving over and under to cover the warp. The design is built up with each bit of yarn exposed. “Think of it as pixels,” Sidore says. The tapestries were woven in Belgium's esteemed Tournai workshops, but the designer is unknown. Weaving was guild work, done by highly-trained men in a collaborative system, where the designer was part of the team, not a superstar. But whoever it was, was very good. “The Pastranas are such exciting tapestries because they are rich in detail and psychologically real,” says Sidore. When the landing isn’t going well, you see it in the men’s faces as they cling to broken masts, or rescue their mates. The soldiers’ chins are covered
in stubble and feathers sprouting from their helmets are so authentic they seem stuck in the fabric. Afonso’s feather is held aloft by what appears to be a falcon’s claw grasping the top of his helmet, and his son rides a horse draped in brown velvet. The imagery throughout is so dense there is just a sliver of blue sky, and in between the chubby boats, a splash of stylized sea. Muskets, cross-bows and spears are a visual encyclopedia of medieval artillery, especially the cannon on wheels, a new weapon which enabled the Portuguese to crack the walls of Asilah. The armor of the king’s herald is so accurate that it was identified as one at the Toledo Cathedral. Monkeys scramble on the ships’ rigging to tell the viewer "You Are In Africa." Good thing, because not much else does. The designer might have had facetime with the artillery, but not Africa. The palm trees look like spruce and the one-dimensional buildings are European and out of scale in a Monty Python sort of way, creating a juxtaposition of realistic faces in an unrealistic landscape. Who needs single-point perspective, anyway? As Sidore says, the perspective is “not about limitations, it’s a difference in aesthetic judgment.” This freedom from the laws of physics allows the designer to better tell the story, compressing some scenes and expanding others. To keep track of the action, follow the flags and banners. Looking somewhat like a car axle or a lobster, Afonso’s insignia is a water wheel, extolling the king’s power and life-giving properties. There are Latin inscriptions at the top of the panels,
Process of stabilizing the fragile parts of the fabric of the tapestries on restoration benches, ©Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Photograph by Paul M.R. Maeyaert
some of which have been cut off over the years, praising the determination of King Afonso in battle and his generosity in victory. “The most liberal king gave all the booty to his soldiers.” A security guard commented that Afonso and his army were like the Borg on Star Trek, aliens whose mission was to travel the universe and incorporate everyone into the hive. Some things never change. In the fearful wake of the assault of Asilah, the next city on the list, Tangier, was just handed over. What is it the Borg say? “Resistance is futile.” The last tapestry in the series shows the Portuguese army on the left, an empty Tangier in the middle, and the unhappy, departing Tangerines fleeing on the right. Even their horses look sad. A woman leaves with a child on her back, another by the hand, while carrying a baby who stretches out her little hands towards their former home. This invasion opened the door for Portuguese exploration on a bigger scale in the next century, as Vasco da Gama discovered the maritime route to Asia. For the first time, Portuguese kings could commission ceramics directly from China. The show concludes with a Chinese export porcelain bowl emblazoned with the royal emblem of King Manuel I, Afonso V’s nephew, from PEM’s own collection. Both the Pastrana tapestries and this porcelain bowl celebrate Portuguese maritime and military power, as well as the glory of a Portuguese king. One of the many reasons the National Gallery in Washington, DC, asked PEM to host the exhibition is because of Massachusetts’ large Portuguese population. PEM is one of only four museums in the US to feature the show and it’s also the last venue on the tour, so this is your last chance to see the tapestries before they go back to the monastery in Pastrana, Spain, where they have hung since the 17th century. (No one knows how they got from Portugal to Spain.) So go. Think of this: 600 years from now — the same time lapse as between us and these tapestries — people will look at our own hi-definition digital photographs and feel the same way about us. “The faces, they look so life like. So human!” JoeAnn Hart is the author of the forthcoming Float, which combines plastics in the ocean, conceptual art, the mob and marital woes to produce a comic novel of our ecologically precarious times. joeannhart.com north shore art*throb ∙ 9
ageless rituals by william legault
Leanne Terry of Swampscott ran the Marine Corps Marathon at age 45. Photo by Mary Shea
ach day in search of our fate, we all rise from our beds and begin anew the business of living. We sit up and put our feet on the floor. This is not a ritual, it is a necessity. Staying in bed is seldom an option. We all have certain rituals that we perform on a daily basis. You may not even be aware of some of the rituals that are part of your everyday existence. What happens after we put our feet on the floor is where ritual may come in. I always reach over to the nightstand where a glass of room temperature water waits. After drinking the contents of the glass I immediately hit the 10 ∙ nsartthrob.com
floor and do a set of military style push-ups. This two-step ritual begins my every day. Up until now I have alway thought of ritual as physical. A ritual was something you did. The three people I spoke to for Art*Throb did not dispute my notion, but they most certainly did help me to look at things from another perspective. Each is physical in their rituals, in their own way. It is their understanding of why we do what we do that that I found educational and profound. Brian Gordon met with me at the Front Street Coffee Shop early on a sunny weekday morning. We knew each other on a very casual basis just from seeing each other around Salem. We were getting together to speak about ritual in the life and health of a person transitioning into their 40s. I was ready, or thought I was ready, for the conversation. Brian sat down and threw me a curveball. "Are you self aware enough to know what your rituals are?" he asked me. "Each day you need to ask yourself three questions: Am I alive? Am I a good person? Do I desire to be happy?" It took me but a moment to understand that this conversation with Brian was going in an unexpected direction. He believes that it is critical to "keep your brain fresh.” Rituals should be process oriented. Some years ago Brian would do push-ups every day. He would do them quickly and with a fervid energy. He eventually realized that this ritual was actually a bit of an obsession. "There is very little difference between a ritual and a bad habit," he says. The push-ups, it seemed, were counter productive. While he still craves exercise, he has found it is best to do it in a way that doesn't feel like exercise. He prefers to engrain rituals that are more intellectual and less physical. Inner strength drives him more than physical strength. "Work out the mental muscle like you would a foul shot in basketball,” he says. “That way you don't have to think about it, you just do it." "Dare to make a difference and you will already have the internal validation," are words that Brian lives by. This would be ritual as positive thought and action. Leanne Terry of Swampscott swept into the Gulu-Gulu Cafe for our appointment. We had never met but somehow I knew that the darkhaired, high energy woman scanning the room was looking for me. An empty nester in her early 50s, Leanne ran in the Marine Corps Marathon when she was 45. That experience, "birthed a passion for running and for soldiers." Since then she has always made sure that
there is time in her life for training and for service work. Her workouts are her rituals. Her advice is succinct: "You have to have discipline, the workouts are non-negotiable. Regimen and structure must be there from the beginning." She will reschedule and move things in her day around to accommodate her workout ritual. The nutrition to fuel the exercise also falls in line as ritual. Sunday is the day for cooking in Leanne's world. She always prepares her meals a week ahead. Meals are prepared, packaged and stored until they are needed. Chicken meatloaf cupcakes are a favorite. Her advice to someone looking to improve physically and mentally is simple: What are your goals? What do you like? Answer those questions, find a trainer or join a group. "Being accountable to a trainer or a group will help you and will help others." Her best advice would be, "Make it fun. You need to go out and enjoy the ride." If you want to speak with a person whose perspective on life has been altered by experience, a cancer survivor would be a good place to start. Pamela Schmidt is just such a person. We have been casually acquainted for a few years, but this interview was our first actual conversation. Pamela decided to get healthy during the unhealthiest period in her life, while she was enduring the ravages of cancer. She decided, "to be a warrior by swimming, altering [my] diet and by telling the cancer to get out." She set out on a path to the "practice of being well by taking care of [my] mind, stressing creativity and maintaining relationships." Traveling that path, Pamela discovered that, "difficulty can empower you. Work with it, use your strength, don't open your door to fear. Always evaluate what you hold onto and what you need to let go of. How you view your life pertains directly to how long you live." For Pamela, ritual comes down to thinking positively and acting posi-
tively. When she swam in the pool, she wasn't just swimming, she was "hitting the tumors" that had invaded her body. By doing this she was "exerting some control over what you can't control." Her home near Salem Common features a garden and patio that she created herself. When she decided to plant there she discovered the soil was rancid with paints and other chemicals associated with light manufacturing. That is not unusual in Salem. Exerting control over that situation involved planning and lots of work. Pamela did not accept her fate or the fate of her backyard as predestined. "The process of creating (growing) is restorative. Don't let negativity be prominent. It is a feature of life, but should not be dominant." Brian, Leanne and Pamela use ritual in the physical sense, but they also use ritual on an intellectual level as they try to understand why they do things. By striving to create and use positive energy they also employ a third level of ritual, the metaphysical. When we lose our desire to learn, when we cease to question ourselves,
when we think we have it all figured out, we can no longer grow. After speaking with these three exceptional people, I realized that I am still growing and in search of what I love.
Brian Gordon is a stand-up comedien who now works with children with autism. Photo by Mary Shea.
Pamela Schmidt is a professor and painter who works with aging and arts therapy. Photo by Mary Shea.
"Each day you need to ask yourself three questions: Am I alive? Am I a good person? Do I desire to be happy?" â€” Brian Gordon William Legault is a Salem native, military veteran and, like many in the area, a struggling creative talent. He sees himself as the chameleon who cannot change his colors.
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watching the detectives by sarah wolfe
Illustration by Michael Lowe
ercule Poirot, the handlebarmustached Belgian obsessed with order and method. Inspector Foyle, a subtle master of human nature solving crimes amidst WWII. Miss Marple, the misleadingly absent-minded spinster, always with her knitting. These characters have become so familiar to me they’re practically family. The reason? My family has watched Masterpiece Mystery! since I was in early grade school. Sure, we enjoyed Columbo, Magnum PI and Simon & Simon, but suspenseful plotlines riddled with creepy stone manors, steam engine trains and remote English countryside have been a part of my landscape since childhood. You could say British mysteries are a family ritual. I can’t remember exactly when my parents introduced me to Mystery!, but I know I was one of its youngest fans. I also tuned in for Full House and Family Matters like friends my age, but — unlike them — I was as well acquainted with the illustrious Jeremy Brett as
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Sherlock Holmes as I was with Jaleel White as Steve Urkel. Add my love of black and white films and it often made me odd girl out at the lunch table. “Hey, did you see Sherlock’s Hound of the Baskervilles last night?… Anyone?...Anyone?” Almost every time I visit my folks these days, we continue our ritual of gathering for a British whodunnit, either a recording of the latest episode or something from years past. Their collection is staggering: Poirot, Foyle’s War, Miss Marple, Inspector Lewis, Midsommer Murders and Sherlock Holmes, including its most recent revival... No Downton Abbey for us; give us a good ol’ British mystery dripping with intrigue and atmosphere — and red herrings galore. Our ritual of viewing these treats typically goes something like this: “You feel like a Brit?” “Sure, what are you in the mood for?” “A Foyle? A Poirot?” Proceed to my mother rummaging through stacks of DVDs and VHS tapes, reading off titles to see if something catches our
fancy. “Poirot – The Yellow Iris?” “Nah, we just watched that two months ago.” “Foyle – Bleak Midwinter?” “How about something with more humor?” This typically goes on for a good 15 minutes. When we finally do settle on something, the kettle’s put on the boil and cups of tea are poured. We then settle into our respective spots: Mom on the left, me in the middle and Dad on the right. Sophie the cat typically migrates from the floor to a lap during the course of the program. Vincent Price was the first host of Mystery! I ever saw. From his highbacked armchair he’d tell us in that melodious voice of his what we were in for — a playfully sinister gleam in his eyes. Then there was the elegant Diana Rigg, posed in sequined dresses against a living room backdrop illustrated by Edward Gorey. The most recent host was Alan Cumming, who brought his mischievous charm to the role. But now they’ve sadly reduced the format to just his brief voiceover narration.
Though it no longer has hosts, Mystery! thankfully has retained some of its introduction, which features a wonderful Edward Gorey animation. I await my cue each time to “weep” along with a damsel in distress draped across a ledge, waving a handkerchief over her head and wailing. Then we’re off on an adventure with our British sleuth of the evening. Often we end up at a sinister mansion with thunder crashing outside. Its occupants are dressed for dinner in gowns and tuxes, stealing nervous glances at each other across the table. Our daring detective stands before them, ready to reveal the murderer in their midst. There’s a formula to these shows, you see, and yet it never seems to get old for us. Along with this blueprint, there’s the usual template of suspects the detective has to investigate: the drunken, troublemaking rich son; the demand-
ing patriarch/matriarch who runs the household with an iron fist; the snooping household staff; the lovely romantic interest who’s supposed to be 18, yet always seems to be played by a 30-yearold…and the list goes on. Though we’ve watched some of these mysteries numerous times, it never fails that once the show ends we have a round of what I like to call, “And Another Thing!” With Agatha Christie in particular, there tends to be an impossible series of events that leave you going, “Oh, come on! Really?!” For example, how did the heiress overhear a conversation that happened clear across a busy intersection? Or, why did the butler not recognize his master’s new wife as the former cook? And where did the original will go? Despite the ridiculous amount of “coincidences” and plotline holes, these programs are still loads of fun — and highly addictive!
Growing up with this ritual has certainly given me a love of anything with a sense of suspense as well of the supernatural. Many of those great British authors, after all, hinted at larger forces at play to spice up their plotlines. These programs also developed my appreciation for subtlety. Instead of the non-stop action and snatches of mediocre dialogue many American shows had (and still have), these quieter gems allowed for a study of human nature and required an eye for detail to pick up clues. My family’s ritual has carried beyond their home and into mine. I find myself bringing home British mysteries from the library — ones I’ve seen many times — and popping them on in the background while I cook dinner. They offer a sense of comfort. And, they make my home feel more like home.
E D A I
Ideas Made Visible (Designer of this magazine.)
S LILLY McCrea Design Marketing & Design Services lillymccreadesign.com
Old Time Jam
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by laura quayle photos by mary shea
When the Irish, Scottish and English
moved to the American south, their respective musical traditions blended with African American sounds and evolved in isolated mountain communities. The folk music that was born in the Appalachians, known as Old Time, is both gritty and quirkily rhythmic. Its creators were not playing Stradivarius instruments, to say the least, and probably had little or no formal music training. In some cases, the fiddler playing tunes out on the porch was the only entertainment in a community and square dances relied upon the one available musician to provide both melody and a driving rhythm to the dancers. As a result, complex and sometimes baffling bowing patterns and unexpected rhythms became incorporated into the Old Time tradition — a challenge to any skilled fiddler or classically-trained violinist. Several amateur Salem musicians are charmed by Old Time music and regularly carpool into Boston to play
in open jams. One summer evening, after loading three fiddles, a guitar and a ukulele into a friend’s car, along with three Salemites and a Beverly fiddler, I wondered why it was that North Shore folks had to battle with Route 128 just to play traditional folk music in good company. We had all the raw ingredients needed for a jam before the car even rolled out of the McIntire District. A few days later, I sent out an email to the other Old Time carpoolers, and a plan was hatched to meet next to the Friendship for a little jam. We brought folding chairs and played tunes until the sun began to set and we watched the moon appear over Salem Harbor. Children danced in passing and a few adults in zombie costume stationed themselves at a safe distance to listen. We continued to meet on Mondays and the Salem Old Time Jam grew steadily. As winter approached, we searched for an indoor home for the jam and landed at Salem’s Café Polonia. Today, the second and fourth
Mondays of each month have become a ritual of Old Time music at this cozy Polish restaurant. Teachers, writers, Air Force personnel and retirees, aged 20 to 90, gather together at the wooden benches around the corner table for an open jam. Striped pillows lie beckoning across the bench and the table has been turned to just the right angle to accommodate our numbers by Dawn, the cheerful waitress, who anticipates our arrival each session. Banjos, fiddles, and guitars emerge from cases as greetings are exchanged and wine and pierogis ordered. The ping of lone strings is heard as each instrument is tuned, and fiddlers methodically apply rosin to the length of their bows. Someone dives into the first tune and others join, in no particular order, until all are playing together. Many know the tune by heart and leap in with their own personal flavor; others may be hearing the tune for the first time and only pick up some of the notes here and there. We play this tune over and over, Jump to p. 16 north shore art*throb ∙ 15
We brought folding chairs and played tunes until the sun began to set and we watched the moon appear over Salem Harbor. until all of us have emerged from our separateness — our own busy days, our existence in different towns and different generations — and have landed together in one beat and one melody, which starts in our fingers and comes to permeate the entire restaurant. When it feels like the tune has reached a conclusion, a player raises a foot in the air to signal to the group, and we stop as one body moments later. Anyone is welcome to join and everyone plays together as the spirit of this music emphasizes community rather than individual solos.
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In the year that has passed since our first jam at the Friendship, the North Shore has become a mecca of traditional folk music — Old Time and Celtic alike — inspiring many Boston musicians to load up their cars regularly to head north for jams, which have sprung up at O’Neill’s in Salem and Atomic Café and Kitty O’Shea’s in Beverly. Recently at the Polonia jam, a fiddler who commutes from Bedford remarked, “The sessions are drying up around Boston. It’s all up on the North Shore now.” Perhaps the statement was an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that Salem is fertile ground for new music rituals. Any local could understand why a tradition based on the blending of different cultures, and built upon a raw gritty tone and a rhythm all of its own, would resonate deeply within the City of Salem. Laura Quayle grew up in the Adirondacks and is a middle school teacher at Cape Ann Waldorf School. When she is not teaching, she is either playing fiddle, dancing, running or biking.
community exposure By Jim McAllister
Peter Zaharis at his camera shop on Essex Street. Photos courtesy of Jim McAllister.
t happens to me from time to time on the streets of Salem. I run into somebody I know from the “good old days” and get to reminiscing about Pete Zaharis and his iconic photographic “emporium” the Essex Camera Shop. And then, inevitably, one of us says wistfully, “There will never be another place like it.” And there probably won’t. In 1980, 62-year-old Peter Zaharis left his job as chief photographer at the Salem Evening News to take over Joe Vaiche’s landmark camera shop in the Salem YMCA building on upper Essex Street. The deal between two “old school” types, Peter was proud to say, was consummated with just a handshake and a passing of the keys to the store. Based solely on appearances, there was little to suggest that the Essex Camera Shop was anything special. The dark tiled floor, with areas long overdue for patching or replacement, and the fluorescent lighting set the tone for the shop’s generally timeworn appearance. Eight or nine fading Kodak advertising posters — one featuring a pair of chimps decked out in vests and bow ties — ringed the upper walls. A small collection of old cameras and outdated, never-to-be-sold, photographic products added to the air of antiquity and clutter. Camera bags and tripods were hung on utilitarian rounds or peg boards, and the stacked cardboard boxes in the back of the store reinforced the no-
frills ambiance of the place. The counter that held the cash register was, to be generous, rustic. The only new decorative element that I can recall was a large color photograph of Pete and Joe Vaiche. The store’s southern exposure and recessed picture windows somewhat mitigated the drabness. So did the rows of colorful — mostly Kodak yellow and red — packages of processing chemicals, film and darkroom supplies that lined the shelves and the brightly-lit glass display cases that held cameras and lenses. Scattered around the store were a couple of old chairs and a high stool. When not waiting on customers or working at his computer, the proprietor could usually be found seated in a wooden swivel chair with his feet up. On more than one occasion he was caught dozing in the late afternoon by a customer. Underlying the almost depressing décor, however, was a tremendous vitality. Under Pete’s ownership, the Essex Camera Shop would become a lively gathering spot for photographers and colorful characters who felt a kinship with its quirky proprietor. It seemed there were always people hanging out in the store, visiting with the owner or, if he was busy, with each other. It’s been called “a Greek coffee house disguised as a camera shop.” But in reality, the store was a photographer’s Jump to p. 18
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paradise. In addition to cameras, lenses, film, batteries, and other standard items, one could also find rare projector bulbs, chemicals that hadn’t been made in years and great deals on used equipment. In addition, the shop’s generous owner lent equipment, dispensed advice and (usually) positive criticism and even found occasional jobs for freelancers. Pete was also known for his easy credit terms, a great help to professional photographers trying to eke out a living at their craft. The proprietor even provided free coffee — somebody was always running to Bowman’s Bakery with money plucked from the till — and dog biscuits for visiting canines. “The Greek” was equally generous with the knowledge he had accumulated during his years as a photographer. He taught a generation of young shutterbugs how to bounce flash off one’s own forehead, to repair a scratched negative with nose grease and to dry negatives over a hot plate when on deadline. Pete also shared practical business lessons learned from his years as a self-employed commercial photographer. A self-described “health nut” who took dozens of vitamins daily and adhered to a Spartan diet, Pete dispensed nutritional advice to those willing to listen. I was in the store one day when a man came in to thank Pete for an herbal remedy suggestion that had helped his wife avoid an unpleasant medical procedure. Although the owner was organized and methodical by nature, business at the Essex Camera Shop was transacted in a casual and often unusual manner. Many regular customers wrote up their own sales slips, and some even made change out of the register. Others, to avoid the hassle of having to find parking, would arrange to pull up in front of the store and honk. Pete or one of us would then dutifully trot out with merchandise. And if a customer couldn’t get to the store before closing, the proprietor would leave the package on an outside ledge over the front door. Payment would be dealt with later. Trust was a cornerstone of Peter’s relationship with his customers. A foreign tourist once bought a camera to
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A glimpse inside the former Essex Camera Shop, a photographer's paradise. Photo courtesy of Jim McAllister
replace one he had damaged, and tried to pay with a credit card Pete didn’t accept. The astonished visitor was told “Just send me a check when you get home”, which he did, accompanied by a glowing and heartfelt letter of thanks. When a customer entered the Essex Camera Shop, there was no telling what he or she might find. Pete might be conversing in Greek with hair stylistphotographer Alex Panos or engaged in a technical conversation with Carl, a Canon camera repairman, which was Greek to the rest of us. If it was early on a Monday morning, another camera “repair guy”, Gerry Farese, would be sitting on the stool, drinking coffee and regaling all present with colorful tales of his native Lynn. On any given trip to the shop, a photographer was likely to run into others of the profession. This usually called for a trip to Bowman’s for coffee and an extended visit. The place got really crowded when one or both of Pete’s daughters, Pam and Mimi, showed up with their husbands or Mimi’s two girls, or both. Usually they brought their lunches with them, and the glass display counter was pressed into service as a table. Part of the Essex Camera Shop’s charm was the constant good-natured banter. And so Zaharis, who admitted to having a contrary streak, eventually adopted as a store motto “Where you
get nothing but abuse, but plenty of it.” The phrase was proudly emblazoned on his business cards and his popular Essex Camera Shop T-shirts. The tees also featured a lively illustration of the store façade by local artist Racket Shreve. Pete was a relentless kidder. When asked “Do you take checks?” he would reply “Czechs, Russians, Greeks, anything but Irish (an inside joke between a Greek and this half-Irish writer).” And when at the conclusion of a transaction a young woman reminded Pete that he hadn’t returned her credit card, he pointed to the place on the machine where it said “Swipe card” and claimed he was just following directions. The store was a clearing house for jokes, and Pete loved them all. A couple walked in one afternoon to buy film and he was laughing so hard at a joke that he couldn’t even breathe, much less wait on them. But Pete was incapable of repeating one without botching it, and resorted to prodding others to tell them in his place. Frank Kulik was called on frequently to tell his epic “Murphy’s Nails”, Pete’s favorite joke... Shortly after Pete took over the store, a core group of regulars began going out to lunch after he closed at mid-day on Saturday. This tradition continued for nearly two decades at various downtown Salem restaurants, including Finkels and Caffé Graziani. The group
On any given trip to the shop, a photographer was likely to run into others of the profession. This usually called for a trip to Bowman’s for coffee and an extended visit.
generally numbered between four and eight people, and on a given Saturday might include Lynn Camera Club members Charlie Miller and Bob Sinclair (for many years they covered for Pete on Tuesdays when he went to Rotary) and the likable “King of Cheap," Leon Pacquette. Salesman Danny Leavitt; photojournalists John Hurley and Scott Lanes; Frank Kulik; Sam Northrup, Pete’s daughters, Pam and Mimi, and myself were just a few of the other regulars. The group came to be known as the Essex Camera Judeo Christian Photo Clubbo. The highlight of the Clubbo’s social season was the annual February bash hosted by the Zaharis family at their Summit Avenue home. It seemed that Pete was always giving something to somebody. He sometimes lent money to friends in need, and served as a father figure and mentor to some of his younger customers. Chris Offutt, now a nationally-known author and sometimes television screenwriter, discovered photography while living in Salem in the 1980s. “I went to Pete’s store every day, sometimes twice a day,” he recalls, “and Pete never tired of my questions.” Thanks to his mentor, Offutt was able to support himself as a traveling child photographer until he turned to writing. But more importantly, says Offutt, Pete “believed in me as a person and helped me learn to believe in myself. As a college teacher, I patterned myself after him — the nodding patience, the willingness to be light about serious work, the generous support to young people.” Lasting friendships were made through the store and its owner. Pete brought Salem State College photography and visual arts teacher Frank Quimby together with an auto mechanic named Charlie Johnson who had recently taken up photography. The two began photographing and socializing together, and even went into a sideline business as partners. Charlie moved to Arizona years ago, but the two still talk almost every day. His generous nature paid dividends for “The Greek.” In 1985, a group of Pete’s grateful admirers planned an impromptu
Bob Crosby, a visiting photographer from Lynn. Photo courtesy of Jim McAllister
party in his honor. The Hawthorne Hotel donated a room, the Salem police chief, Bob St. Pierre, volunteered to help organize the event, and Mayor Tony Salvo arranged to give Zaharis the ceremonial “keys to the city.” When Pete nearly died of an aneurism, friends helped keep the store open during his recovery. When he had to move to a different storefront in the YMCA building, dozens of volunteers showed up to do the job. And when Zaharis finally called it quits in 2001 after 21 years, he was honored at a private ceremony by the Salem Police Department and at a potluck luncheon given by many of his friends. The latter event was mobbed. In retirement Pete went back into the darkroom and began printing 40-year-old negatives. True to form, he distributed the exquisite black and white photographs to his friends. The closing of the store, and Pete’s passing in September 2007, were deeply felt by his friends. For many of us, it marked the end of a gentler time when friendly small shop owners were the rule rather than the exception, and friendship was an important part of doing business. Jim McAllister is a Salem historian, photographer, author, teacher and tour guide. Since founding Derby Square Tours in 1983, Jim has conducted countless tours of his adopted Salem. He has lectured extensively about the history of Salem and Boston's North Shore and has served as an historic consultant to the City of Salem, the Hawthorne Hotel, the Peabody Essex Museum and a host of other local organizations and institutions.
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q & a with jay finney by dinah cardin
The Stephen Jones Hats Fashion Show at PEM on November 15 was attended by more than 250 people. Photos by Lilly McCrea.
The new year will mark the true beginning of
PEM’s $200 million expansion. Staying mostly on its current footprint, the museum will add a second atrium, additional jobs in the creative sector and become one of the largest art museum in the country. We asked PEM’s Chief Marketing Officer Jay Finney to answer some questions about how locals are going to benefit most from the improvements. By now, Salem residents are seeing evidence of work toward the expansion. What do you think are the top three things that Salem locals will benefit from when the expansion is over? A greatly expanded museum with more of our collections on display and special exhibitions that we create and that we bring in from around the world. Also, locals will see a greatly expanded public program schedule and more school groups visiting the museum. There will be a destination restaurant that fronts Essex Street and we’ll have a secondary entrance that will enliven Essex Street and make the downtown more interesting. Can you tell us what to expect with the new restaurant and construction of a roof deck that will take advantage of water views? The building will be going up five stories, but each story is set back from the next, so it will create opportunities for terraces and, on the fifth floor, views of
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the harbor. Also on the fifth floor, there will be space for events, lectures and films, and we’re talking about a gourmet chocolate bar. There are also plans for an enclosed Japanese or Chinese garden, open to the sky. It will be landscaped and quite beautiful. The museum's contemporary art initiative is so exciting. The Stephen Jones hat show and continuing Freeport installations are drawing a different crowd. Upcoming shows like Midnight to the Boom, Nick Cave, and the new collection from Iris Apfel are all examples of PEM's dedication to this initiative, as well as PEM's hiring of a Contemporary Curator a few years ago. How do you think this focus will benefit locals who still might not get to the museum much these days? The museum has always been collecting contemporary work. To continue to collect and show art of our time is nothing new for this museum. Our Contemporary Curator has shown unusual exhibitions, but the museum isn’t making a dramatic left or right turn. It’s just a balance of work from the past. We have a dialogue from the old and the new throughout our galleries. There’s always been a mixture. We aren’t a history musuem. This is part of a continuum and didn’t stop at the turn of the century. We are a museum of art and culture. We will be bringing on a new Curator of Chinese Art and a new Curator of Indian Art and a new Curator of Fashion and Textiles. There will be a gallery
named for Iris Apfel. Iris was a perfect person to connect with because she thinks like we do, that it’s important to have a mixture of art and culture and different cultures and timeframes and materials. I would think that the artistic community working on the North Shore and in the greater Boston area would be excited to see another museum have a significant commitment to contemporary art just like MFA, ICA or Isabella Gardner Museum.
We will continue to hold community meetings to explain where the museum is going. We’ll be using every media outlet that we can to update people on all the major milestones. The nitty gritty of construction will be posted and emailed to those who sign up.
How do you think PEM reflects the direction that Salem is headed culturally? Can you draw a line between the beginning of the museum and Salem's days of trade and the PEM of today and Salem's current creative economy?
What we’ve seen since we reopened in 2003 will continue. The museum was wonderful for revitalization of the downtown. It engendered a level of quality of life to the city and attracted people moving here, new retail and restaurants. I don’t think the museum is solely responsible for that, but it certainly was a catalyst. Five years from now, the museum is still on its same footprint, but has gotten larger and improved. The symbiotic relationship that the city and museum has now will continue and be amplified. There will be infrastructure improvements and improvements to the Essex Pedestrian Mall. The city and the museum will be working together to improve that from one end to the other. All of that will continue — revitalization, walkability and an attractive place for people to come work, play and stay. We want the process to be as transparent as possible. We want the community to be informed ahead of issues that might come up. We want to listen to the community’s input along the way. There will be some disruption and a lot of changes going on in this city and we want to be a positive force. I would like to avoid some misunderstandings that took place in the last go-around. That’s why we hired a Director of Community Affairs to get feedback and collect information from those in the area and to inform people ahead of time and be proactive about it. We will continue to add to the critical mass and gravity pull of downtown. All the museum can offer a visitor, of course, continues to be free. Even if you’re not a museum-goer, the improvements to quality of life in the city will continue by an expanded museum.
Our history of bringing objects and culture back from India and China, Indonesia, Africa and native tribes gives Salem the connection to the rest of the world. The vision of our founders was to show Salem-ites that they were connected to the world around them. We are still about broadening perspectives, fostering understanding and tolerance. The past expansions brought the museum closer to the vision of the museum’s original founders. Now we can bring collections from around the world out on the floor. Salem is not just about history. We have a long and glorious history that includes the beginning of our country. But like the rest of America, we are in a global society. We have traded on our history, but always from the beginning have had a global perspective. That’s what the museum came back to in 2003 and will push toward in 2017. There will be more to Salem than just its connection to the past. It connects us to cultures both near and far and you hope that’s what Salem becomes known for as well. Our sister city is in Japan and our restaurants are focusing on international cuisine. There is an international flavor to Salem that we think will be reflected certainly in the museum, but also as the city looks outward.
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How do you see Salem and PEM sharing a culturally symbiotic relationship in five years that benefits both the museum and the city?
Iris Apfel was Honorary Gala Chair on November 3 at Fashion Forward, PEM's Annual Gala, which was inspired by the art of personal style and the Rare Bird of Fashion herself. Photo courtesy of PEM.
Locals may be receiving your construction updates via email. What are some other ways they can keep up with what's going on these days? Are there more public talks in the works, planned evenings for sharing expansion plans? In the new year, we will be revealing materials and design. Each time trucks and cranes come in, we send notices. The best way is to sign up for our eblast about construction and any road closings. Essex Street will remain open throughout the process. During the first quarter of the new year, we will reveal design drawings at community meetings. Our Director of Community Affairs, Claudia Chuber, can communicate those plans. The website will have updates and we will try to place stories and engage the press in reinventing the museum. The building is just a shell within which we will be creating experiences. It’s not that we ran out of space, but we are taking advantage of the incredible generosity of a number of donors to add back-of-the-house features like loading docks and things we couldn’t get to in the first expansion. The majority of the $650 million is going toward the endowment and then infrastructure improvements, additional staff and enhancing facilities to do more special exhibitions.
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kung fu fighting
by jennifer jean
How did you first get interested in, and involved in, martial arts? My grandfather boxed to make money during The Depression, and I was close to my grandparents so I grew up with boxing all the time on the television. I started boxing when I was 10 years old. Because of Bruce Lee’s popularity in the 1980s and because I was such a small kid, I then went to the local Karate school and then the local Taekwondo school. But me and my younger brother, we said, "We can find better than this!" During a Celtics half time performance we saw a demonstration by the Boston Kung Fu Tai Chi School and that’s what got us interested in that school, which was located right across from North Station. I was 15 then and my brother was 13, so our parents let us take the train in. I know that there is an internal aspect to Kung Fu. Did they teach you that then?
Chinese meridian points. Photo by Mary Shea
Jennifer Jean recently caught up with Stephen Murphy of the Mystics Athletic School at Porter Mill in Beverly to talk about the art in martial arts. 22 ∙ nsartthrob.com
So, I started in 1980. And it was interesting that at that time when [Kung Fu master] Bruce Lee was popular, so was Muhammad Ali, and so was Arnold Schwarzenegger. A fitness craze began. I was caught up in that. The internal aspects of Kung Fu — I didn’t even realize. When you’re younger, you don’t look at Tai Chi because it looks boring because it’s slow. You want to jump around, bounce around. But I got cancer, got Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 23, and that’s when I said, “Well, Tai Chi should help me.” That’s when my internal education came in. The movements, poses, postures are sort of like yoga — they’re for bettering your body. That’s where acupressure points and meridians come in. So, I was working on the internal without knowing it. And, the terms become blended because Tai Chi means “grand ultimate” but Kung Fu means “work hard"… so in a way Tai Chi is a type of Kung Fu; it is the “grand ultimate working hard!” The way you use the terms kind of washes them together. So the Tai Chi brings in the education of, “Why am I doing this pose?” Yes, for self defense — but also, and more importantly, for health. And you can defend yourself from being hurt which is healthy! Can you talk a bit more about your cancer scare and healing process and how Kung Fu helped? Here I was, 23, I could do anything with my body with ease. And then my doctor said I had cancer and that I wouldn’t live long. “Time is not on your side,” they said. It’s time for surgery, it’s time for radia-
tion. I had a tumor half the size of my fist in my chest…near my heart. So they removed a couple of my ribs, took biopsies, and it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma so I had radiation. And it wasn’t pleasant — burnt tongue, burnt skin… Right after that I opened my school. I thought, “If I’m not getting trophies I’ll help other people get them.” It was at that time that I met Tom Tam…He came to my school to do workshops in traditional Chinese medicine. He said to me, “What is cancer? Abnormal cell growth. What does radiation do? It kills cells. If you keep killing cells — eventually you’ll be dead.” He put his thumb on my back where there was a painful lump, right behind where my cancer was near my spine, and said, “This lump, which they refer to as blockage, is what’s causing the abnormal growth. If you get rid of this lump the cells will grow normally and the cancer cells die on their own. You don’t have to kill cancer cells, you just change the reason that the cells are growing abnormally.” I was a skeptic of anything that seemed like hocus pocus. It was too strange. But the more you learn the more it makes sense. Plus, there’s this Jamaican expression: "He who feels it knows it." So when he pressed the lump and hit it with a magnetic hammer, it hurt so much. But when he was finished I felt the original pain was going away. I felt the freedom in my back. So I began to study Chinese medicine, and continue to study. If I didn’t have the cancer in the first place maybe I wouldn’t have gone in this direction. How long did you get treatment from Tom Tam? I’ve continued treatment for 22 years. It’s like brushing your teeth. Do you think America would be in a health crisis if East and West worked together? Tom Tam tells me, “People need to realize that if they don’t move or eat or breathe properly then they’ll be in trouble. The surgeon general says that if Americans ate 40 percent less food we’d have a healthier nation.” The surgeon general says this! There’s an ancient
fasting practice called Pi-gu — not a very attractive name, but it’s a Chinese practice that’s considered a high level of fasting practice. The Hebrews have this, the Muslims have this in Ramadan. I wondered when I was doing it, am I weak? No, I realized, I’m just calm. I’m not used to being calm. Have you fasted? Yes, definitely. And, I always wonder why I’m NOT as scattered as usual! There should be moderation in everything…especially in exercise. That’s why I got the Hodgkin’s — because of overdoing exercise. Overdo work, you’ve got a problem; overdo food or anything there’s a problem. After learning the internal aspect of Kung Fu…I relaxed. Have a cookie. Have a beer. Just don’t live on it. Don’t think that more sit-ups is better. Pi-gu is the practice of longevity — like the new cars: less fuel, more mileage!
Stephen Murphy in his studio at Porter Mill in Beverly. Photo by Mary Shea
This interview is for Art*Throb so I have to ask: What about the word “art” in the term "martial arts?" Before any of this, before boxing, before Kung Fu, I loved art class…I went to Montserrat College of Art as a child…when it was behind the music theater in Beverly. It was a little studio, and there was a teacher there named George Gabin and I’ll never forget him. Anyways, a good Kung Fu person should do poetry, calligraphy, art, carpentry,
gardening, so you’re considered a well rounded person, you’re not ignorant of the important things in life. Also, Wushu [a Chinese term for "martial arts"] translates literally into “war art.” So, because “art” follows “war” it can be translated as “no-fighting” or “stop fighting.” It’s saying that what happens in war and in the training for war is used for health and an art form — so that it’s not for war but for art. I tell children that Kung Fu comes from church. From the Shaolin temple. From people who wanted a peaceful life. Who built their own schools, grew their own food, built their own communities. It’s helped this entire country of China to be recognized for this 5,000 year old art form, for this multi-billion dollar enterprise that is martial arts. Why do you think girls should be attracted to Kung Fu? The gymnastics! I coached girls gymnastics competitively for six years in Danvers…a lot of it is the same stuff… And part of the art of martial arts is what you’re wearing! We have beautiful, colorful, traditional silk outfits…Most people equate martial arts with Karate. A young girl coming here now for two years keeps referring to herself as someone who’s not athletic, but she’s artistic. She’s about 14 years old…but this girl who’s not athletic is certainly doing well in flexibility and building up strength. I want people to not think of the punch and the kick, but of the health, the beauty, the art. And when it comes to the family anyone can do it! If you’re a boy, if you’re a girl. If you’re older you can do it, if you’re overweight, if you’re short, if you’re tall — you can do it!
Jennifer Jean teaches writing and literature at Salem State University and UMass Boston. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, and she's published three poetry chapbooks. Jennifer is an active committee member of the Salem-based Massachusetts Poetry Festival. For more information visit fishwifetales.com.
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Not many people probably know that plum pud-
ding, an English Christmas tradition from the 17th century, was initially a method of preserving meat. Also called Christmas pudding, it is not to be confused with figgy (containing figs) or hasty (similar to polenta) puddings, or the somewhat-dreaded fruitcake. English-Americans continued their pudding-making customs, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that it became an icon of Christmas in New England. My husband has memories of his mother’s pudding, but my family never made it while I was growing up. What I contemplate now are the imagined rituals of igniting the brandy-dosed pudding and bearing it into our dining room filled with beloved holiday guests, making a grand entrance amid delighted exclamations and enthusiastic applause — much like Mrs. Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ treasured story, A Christmas Carol. It is this image of glory and tradition that delights me, and so the search for the perfect recipe is on. Recipes for plum pudding vary, but the dominant fruit is typically raisins or currants. Some have diced citron, and all have chopped apple. Oddly, plums are nowhere to be found in plum pudding. The word “plum” had a different meaning in the 17th century, and referred to raisins and other fruits. Rumors abound regarding the ease of making plum pudding, from the ability to find “suet” (raw beef or mutton fat), to hours of slaving away over a steamy hot stovetop. Thankfully, suet has disappeared from most recipes but can still be found in cookbooks focused on traditional recipes. One of suet’s main functions is to make tallow — a product historically used in candles and, today, used to make biofuel and flux — a soldering cleaning agent. For these reasons alone, my husband and I choose a recipe without suet, and one which calls for whiskey or rum. As non-drinkers, we’re not certain which to choose, so we buy a bottle of each, hoping to later let the best man — Captain Morgan or Jack Daniel — win.
Plum pudding was usually made four or five weeks before Christmas. There is conflicting information given about the ritual of stirring: either everyone held the spoon at the same time, or they held it individually, to give the batter a good stir. Either way, it’s certain a wish was made during the process. Another tradition involved the baking of silver coins or small charms into the pudding. The discoverer of the object then got to keep it. Each treasure had a different meaning: a silver coin meant wealth in the coming year, a tiny wishbone ordained good luck, an anchor indicated safe harbor, and a silver thimble symbolized thrift. In England, you can still purchase these small trinkets to bake into your pudding. It’s tough to find a local bakery that sells plum pudding. There are companies in Connecticut and Wisconsin that do, and baking companies in England sell it too, but making it seems the best option. For various reasons, David and I decide to make our plum pudding for the New Year. So the week after Christmas, we get down a large soup pot and a metal mold originally intended as a Bundt cake pan. It has thick walls, a fancy design, and works beautifully. I make fresh, fluffy bread crumbs in my food processor (decidedly not of Puritan design). We grate fresh cinnamon and nutmeg and melt two sticks of butter. We chop raisins and currants and decide to use the Jack Daniel’s, pouring in a mere one-half cup. With the last of the ingredients added, the concoction is ready. We pour the batter into the buttered mold, cover it with wax paper and foil, and set it inside the pot on a trivet, partially filling the pot with water. We put on the lid, wait and watch, adding more water as needed. After about six hours of steaming, we test it and are delighted with the result; it looks walnut-brown, feels firm, and smells delicious. Thankfully, it looked beautiful after carefully getting it out of the mold. We wait a day or two, since puddings taste better with age. We get out our best china and silver, and cut small slices, drizzling a zabaione sauce we have chosen to make — one in which Captain Morgan makes an appearance this time. We can’t believe the flavor — the richness nearly knocks our socks off — and make no mistake; you can clearly taste the alcohol. It’s outstanding, and we vow to make one every Christmas. A fortunate characteristic of plum pudding is that it keeps well for a surprising six months. Ours lasted for three — into March, we were still enjoyJump to p. 26 north shore art*throb ∙ 25
ing it. Admittedly, it was a lot to polish off ourselves, and we got in the habit of offering a slice to anyone who stopped by. We made no mention of the fact that it had been around for three months. Without exception, all loved it. It wasn’t until the pudding was gone that I realized we’d forgotten to ignite it after all. Plum Pudding for Christmas Recipe Source: Chef Julia Child The Way to Cook – 1996 (Alfred A. Knopf) Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 6 hours Ingredients Pudding: 3 c. (lightly packed down) crumbs from homemade type white bread — a 1/2 –lb loaf, crust on, will do it 1 c. each: black raisins, yellow raisins and currants, chopped 1 1/3 c. sugar ½ tsp. each: cinnamon, mace and nutmeg — more if needed 8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, melted 4 large eggs, lightly beaten few drops of almond extract ½ c. bitter orange marmalade ½ c. rum or bourbon whiskey, heated before serving sprigs of holly, optional 2 c. Zabaione Sauce Zabaione Sauce: 1 large egg 2 egg yolks small pinch of salt 1/3 c. rum or bourbon whiskey (or Masala or sherry) 1/3 c. dry white French vermouth ½ c. sugar Special equipment suggested: A food processor is useful for making the bread crumbs and chopping the raisins; an 8-cup pudding container, such as a round bottomed metal mixing bowl; a cover for the bowl; a steamer basket or trivet; a roomy soup kettle with tight-fitting cover to hold bowl, cover, and basket.
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Timing note: Like a good fruitcake, a plum pudding develops its full flavor when made at least a week ahead. Count on 6 hours for the initial, almost unattended steaming, and 2 hours to reheat before serving. Directions: The pudding mixture: Toss the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl with the raisins, sugar, cinnamon, mace and nutmeg. Then toss with the melted butter, and finally with the eggs, almond extract, orange marmalade, and rum or bourbon. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more spices if needed. To microwave plum pudding: Butter the dish you are cooking the pudding in, then cover the bottom of the dish with a buttered piece of wax paper. Pour in batter. Cover dish with plastic wrap and pierce the plastic with a knife in several places. Cook at "defrost" (low speed) for 30 minutes. If your microwave oven does not have a carousel which turns the dish during cooking, stop the process several times during the cooking and rotate the dish manually. Finally, cook at 5 minutes on "bake" (high speed). Let the pudding set for a few minutes before unmolding. The pudding is ready when it is firm to the touch. The microwaved plum pudding is somewhat paler than its steamed counterpart. To steam a plum pudding: Use a special pan made for this purpose. You must have a container with a very tight lid which will stay sealed throughout the cooking. Steaming — about 6 hours: Pack the pudding mixture into the container; cover with a round of wax paper and the lid. Set the container on the steaming contraption in the kettle, and add enough water to come a third of the way up the sides of the container. Cover the kettle tightly; bring to simmer, and let steam about 6 hours. Warning: check the kettle now and then to be sure the water hasn't boiled off!
When is it done? When it is a dark walnut-brown color and fairly firm to the touch. Curing and storing: Let the pudding cool in its container. Store it in a cool wine cellar, or in the refrigerator. Ahead-of-time note: Pudding will keep nicely for several months. Re-steaming: A good 2 hours before you plan to serve, resteam the pudding — it must be quite warm indeed for successful flaming. Unmold onto a hot serving platter and decorate, if you wish, with sprigs of holly. Flaming and serving: Pour the hot rum or whiskey around the pudding. Either ignite it in the kitchen and rapidly bring it forth, or flame it at the table. Serve the following Zabaione Sauce separately. Zabaione Sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together for 1 minute in a stainless saucepan. Then whisk over moderately low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the sauce becomes thick, foamy and warm to your finger — do not bring it to the simmer and scramble the eggs, but you must heat it enough for it to thicken. Serve warm or cold. Ahead-of-time note: The sauce will remain foamy for 20 to 30 minutes, and if it separates simply beat it briefly over heat. If you wish to reform the sauce, whisk in a stiffly beaten egg white. Makes about 2 cups. Yield: 12 servings Robbin Lynn Crandall is a Food & Travel Web Copywriter, Social Media Consultant and Freelance Writer at Crandall Copywriting. She works with small- to mid-sized business owners to improve their marketing strategy and social media presence, along with a slew of marketing materials. Contact her at robbin.lynn. email@example.com.
Good Things Are Happening
Retail and Office Spaces north shore art*throb âˆ™27
the stuff of life
story and photos by anna and david kasabian
Baking photos by Anna Kasabian
We can’t imagine a winter kitchen being more
inviting than one with the aroma of baking bread wafting through the air. It’s also very grounding and gratifying to be kneading dough while the wind whips past your front door and snowfall begins. In this article, we share two of our favorite bread recipes, concocted in our own kitchen through experimentation. Beyond that, we offer you the critical basics of making a delicious, hearty, healthy loaf of bread or rolls. Few foods are as gratifying and satisfying as wellmade whole grain bread. It exudes alluring aromas that can be sweet, spicy, smoky and earthy, all at the same time. The rustic golden-brown tones of its crust hint at texture that is sometimes chunky, often dense and always substantial. And it’s catching on in a big way. The growing popularity of whole grain bread is certainly fueled by its well-deserved reputation for better nutrition than white wheat flour which is usually labeled as all-purpose or bread flour in the supermarket. Whole grain delivers far more nutrients in much greater variety. But the other reason for the surge is almost certainly because it is so profoundly satisfying to eat. Plus, it’s almost in-
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finitely variable. You can experiment with a number of different grains in different combinations, and you will find you’ve created breads that each have a distinct aroma, texture and flavor. Of all the grains commonly grown around the world — wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, millet and rye — only wheat contains enough gluten proteins to produce a yeast-risen bread. And, that makes all the difference in the texture and flavor. Add water to wheat flour and knead it, and two proteins, glutenin and gliadin, bond with each other to form a strong, elastic protein called gluten. As kneading progresses, gluten strands stretch in every direction, forming a massive web that captures carbon dioxide gases created by the yeast. This in turn makes the bread dough rise. When the risen bread dough is baked, these gas bubbles expand further and are held in place by starch granules in the flour that soften, stick to each other and then bake into a semi-solid (soon to be delicious!) mass. Flour that contains little to interfere with this gluten development will produce a higher, lighter and chewier bread (like the recipes here). In fact, white wheat flour has had its gluten inhibitors —
bran and germ — removed leaving primarily gluten and starch, making white wheat flour the perfect breadmaking material. Remember too, the more whole grains in the dough, the heavier the loaf and richer the bread will be. Most readily-available bread flours, including King Arthur brand, contain 12 percent gluten and that is sufficient to get a bread with all of these great qualities. Some bakers like to augment the gluten in bread flour by adding vital wheat gluten, a nearly pure gluten protein product refined from wheat flour. Even whole wheat flour itself is guilty of gluten interference. Unlike white wheat flour, it still contains the nutritionally-important wheat germ, a fatty nodule that hinders gluten development. It also contains healthful bran, a sharp insoluble cellulous fiber that cuts gluten strands during kneading. To lessen this effect and improve the gluten structure, try kneading whole wheat and other whole grain breads about half the time called for in white wheat bread recipes. You could also add whole grains later in the kneading process, after the gluten structure is well developed and the whole grains have less chance to do damage. Whole grains find their way into bread in three forms. Whole grain flours, like whole wheat flour, rye flour and spelt flour, are thoroughly milled to a fine powder that readily hydrates (absorbs water), develops a thick paste in the form of dough that sets in the baking process and is fundamental to the structure of a baked loaf of bread. Flours from any grain other than wheat will dilute the gluten in bread dough, affecting the structure. The second form of whole grains is meals, which are partially-milled grains like oatmeal, cracked wheat and cornmeal. Although they can contribute to the structure of a loaf in an incidental way, their culinary purposes are texture and flavor. Some must be cooked or soaked in advance of making the dough. Oatmeal and other rolled cereals are usually steamed before rolling, so they hydrate and cook more quickly and are
often added to dough straight from the package. Meals also dilute the gluten, cut gluten strands, and sometimes just get in the way of the gluten network due to their physical size. Finally, whole grains are used in the form of complete seeds, much the same as they are harvested from the field, less their husks. Hard and soft wheat berries, oat berries, whole grain barley, amaranth and millet are common examples. Because their starches are intact, they hydrate very slowly, release little or no starch, and contribute nothing to the bread’s structure. They are included entirely for their texture and flavor, and that’s a good thing. Whole grain seeds must always be thoroughly soaked in water or other liquid, sometimes for as long as 24 hours, or thoroughly cooked and cooled before adding them to the dough. If you don’t do this, the dough will get dry and tough because the seeds will absorb moisture from the dough. It’s also a good idea to partially crush some of the larger seeds before adding to the dough to avoid a hard texture, particularly on the crust. While it is important to follow a recipe the first time, it is more important to understand the results and know how to improve your bread each time you make it. Practice and experimentation will bring you great bread and enjoyable times in the kitchen. Read these over, choose the recipe that most interests you, put on your apron and enjoy the rise, the knead and the bake. Wheat grains without their husks that add a nutty, chewy character to breads: · Quinoa (keen-wa): Quinoa are tiny bead-shaped grains with a light, delicate taste, a little crunch, and lots of protein. · Amaranth: Rich in protein, iron, copper and magnesium, this pepperyflavored seed has three times the fiber and five times the iron of wheat. · Flax seed: Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, flax seed imparts a pleasant nutty flavor and texture to breads. · Oats: High in soluble fiber, oats are available in many forms — including
berries, flaked, steel cut and rolled — and lend a light, slightly-sweet bite to breads. · Rye: A hardy, fibrous grain, rye has some gluten, but is best known for the deep rich flavor it adds to breads. · Barley: Thought to be the oldest cultivated grain, barley adds vitamins, minerals, fiber and a pleasing, sweet, chewy quality to bread. · Triticale: This is a high-protein hybrid of wheat and rye that has a sweet, nutty taste and chewy texture. Jump to p. 30
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Whole Grain Health Bread
Seeded Rye Bread
1/3 cup quinoa 1/3 cup amaranth 2 cups water 1 cup raisins 2 cups warm milk 2 packets yeast
½ cup soft wheat berries ½ cup oat berries (groats) 2 packets yeast
Multi-Grain Dinner Rolls 2 packets yeast 1 tbsp sugar 2 cups warm water, more or less 1 cup 5-grain rolled cereal
1 tbsp kosher salt ¾ cup brown sugar 1 tbsp kosher salt 1 cup chopped walnuts 1. Plump raisins in a 1¼ cups milk
1 tbsp kosher salt 1. Combine yeast, sugar and ½ cup of water and let stand until yeast foams. 2. Blend remaining ingredients in with dough hook and running on medium. combine. Slowly add remaining water until dough comes cleanly away from side of bowl and is tacky. Knead by hand on a
plastic wrap and towel and place in warm area to rise for 90 minutes or until dough has doubled. 5. Turn out, punch down, and cut dough into 2 inch cubes. We left them as squares, but you can roll them on counter to create dough balls and end up with round rolls as well. Place on greased bakplastic wrap and towel and allow to rise for 2 hours, or until more than doubled. The rolls should be touching. minutes, or until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 190°F. Yields 20 rolls
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and plumping milk.
1. Cook soft wheat berries and oat berries in 3 cups simmering water until absorbed and berries are tender. Chop in food processor for 1 minute. Cool. 2. Combine yeast, honey and ½ cup water and let stand until yeast foams. 3. Combine remaining ingredients in
remaining milk. Let stand for 30 minutes dough hook and running on medium. 3. Cook quinoa and amaranth in two cups simmering water until absorbed and grains are tender. Cool.
5. Add cooked berries and knead for 2 minutes. Then add splashes of water until the dough comes together and is tacky.
with dough hook and running on medium. plumping milk and knead for 30 seconds. 5. Add quinoa, amaranth, raisins and walnuts and knead until dough comes together and forms a tacky ball. Add plumping milk as needed. Knead for 6
wrap and towel and allow to rise in warm place for 1 hour, until nearly doubled.
and let rise for 2 hours, until more than doubled. and towel and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour, until nearly doubled.
than doubled. minutes until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190°F.
minutes until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190°F.
Anna and David Kasabian have authored three cookbooks and regularly write about food together. Anna also writes about interior design and architecture, is working on her 14th book, and is a local potter (snowboundpottery.com).
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Published on Dec 5, 2012
Welcome to the ritual issue- our December 2012 issue in its digital form. Exploring the theme of Ritual, this issue features interviews with...