Growing up on the Texas/Mexico border my friends and would regularly go “across” during our high school lunch break for a leisurely lunch of Doritos con chile and a frozen margarita. Not exactly healthy – not to mention age appropriate – and little did I know that I was about to embark on a life long fascination with tequila and on a trip to Oaxaca in the early 2000s, would discover mezcal. READ MORE »
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum have complementary exhibitions on view through July 31st, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium. Each exhibit highlights a different aspect of the controversial artist’s complex body of work. LACMA focuses on Mapplethorpe’s relationship to New York City’s underground sexual and artistic scene while the Getty explores his fascination with classical forms.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has a fascinating and timely exhibit on display through March 21st, Y.C. Hong: Advocate for Chinese-American Inclusion. Curated by Li Wei Yang, the exhibit provides insight into the early history of the Chinese experience in California and embraces the importance of immigrants in American society. The focus is on Y.C. Hong, an immigration attorney and political activist, who, together with his wife, Mabel, was largely responsible for the creation of Los Angeles’s Chinatown.
Early images of Chinatown naturally got me thinking about Chinese food and its history…
In early modern Europe, food was spectacle. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, ostentatious court and civic banquets were de rigueur, and illustrations of these feasts endure in the books and prints designed for the Italian and French courts. Of course, the production of such lavish spectacles required a cook and a kitchen brigade. The early concept of the “celebrity chef” emerged in the late 16th century; by the 17th century, chefs were revered.
Centerpiece for the feast of Senator Francesco Ratta, Giacomo-Maria Giovannini after Marc’Antonio Chiarini, 1693. From Disegni del convito fatto dall’illustrissimo signor senatore Francesco Ratta (Bologna, 1693), frontispiece. 1366-803.