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Watercolor on 140 lb Cold Press Fabriano Paper
I have not yet traveled to Austria so this is my vision of this beautiful country in my dreams. It is inspired by my son's sweetheart who is a native Austrian. He is going there to spend the Christmas Season with her and her family. In preparation for his visit, her family will be creating some traditional Austrian recipes. These crepes, desserts and beverages represent just a few!
We had this beautifully rich cake every Christmas morning at my grandma’s house on the Canadian prairies. While she and my grandpa made a cozy life here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she always longed for her hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia. This pound cake brims with ruby red glacé cherries and (a whole lotta) butter, giving it a delightful sunny yellow colour. From my research, it seems than in many places on the east coast of Canada, this type of white cherry cake often replaces the spicier, darker traditional fruitcake around Christmas time. Funnily enough, even though the recipe was from my grandma’s side of the family, every year my grandpa dutifully rolled up his sleeves and made it for us. Not sure if that was his love of baking or his love of her and wanting her to feel at home, though she was so far away from Truro. Maybe a bit of both ;)
One of my favorite culinary experiences is dim sum: a Chinese tradition where bite sized dumplings, buns and other small dishes are constantly served in moving carts and eaten alongside a steady stream of hot tea.
The dishes are countless - ranging from soft steamed buns to dumplings, deep fried rolls and many more delightful dishes. It has a long history and has since evolved into a staple as the classic weekend brunch spot for Chinese families.
I remember going to dim sum with my family as a child and loving the classic dishes such as ha gao (shrimp dumlings) and xiu mai (pork dumplings) along with rice cakes and egg tarts. It was always a scrumptious time - a magical place where we were allowed to take bites of dessert in between every bite of "real food."
GLOBAL CUISINE. One of my very favorite childhood memories is my grandmother’s palacinkes, a crepe like pancake rolled with stewed fruit or jam, sprinkles with powdered sugar &/ or sour cream. HEAVEN ON EARTH! Since then, I’ve come to learn that almost every county/culture has their own special version of a pancake, & I’ve yet to meet one I didn’t like!
My mother recounted her first Christmas with her Italian in-laws as a non-stop party: people always coming over to visit, food always on the table, and drinks always on tap. I imagined an antipasto platter shaped like a wheel that automatically refilled on the way up, which later turned into tire tracks and roads. So I drew the antipasto roads on six of the hills of Rome. The seventh hill is dedicated to the luminarias. At my first Christmas with Nonnie and Nonno, I helped fill the bags for the luminarias and everyone who lived on their hill did the same. When they were all lit on Christmas Eve, I thought I had never seen anything so beautiful!
Russia is known for her snowy and cold weather most of the time. And in order to eat fruits and vegetables during the winter, Russians love to make a preserved cucumbers,tomatos, mushrooms, pepers and every desert includes home made jam.
I remember my mother used to do lots of preserved vegies and cook many sorts of jams from different fruits we gathered during the summer. And in a snowy winter we used to sit around the table, drink a hot tea and eat our treasures from the summer.
I used three inspirations for this panel:
1) In the mid 1980's, my friend Maria invited me to assist her in preparing her family's holiday tamales. After all these years, I can still smell and taste her pork and garlic filling!
2) In the mid 1990's, my husband and I went to Cancun. Instead of staying on the strip, we opted to shop, dine and stay downtown. We ate dinner at a friendly neighborhood restaurant, had the best tortilla soup with a clear chicken broth base, and were serenaded by musicians.
3) My sister makes a deee-licious Mexican cranberry cosmopolitan!
My aunt and I traveled to Portugal and I totally fell in love with the country! I took an unusual delight in photographing shaped breads in the shop windows (and mourned for the poor crocodile who lost its arm!). As I recall, I always ate chicken for dinner while my aunt always ate sea bass. I'd go back in a heartbeat!
My grandfather was Finnish. I would have liked to feature one of his favorite meals, but he didn't like Finnish food! I remember that when he and Grandma were planning to travel to Finland (they, and others in the family were world travelers), he was SO worried that he wouldn't be able to eat. However, Grandpa did have a sweet tooth. So, I incorporated traditional holiday cookies and mulled wine into this panel. Also, it's my understanding that mistletoe is not a custom in Finland, so for my "sweetheart sphere" I used a ribbon-wrapped, clove-studded orange that is commonly used for holiday decorating.