Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is Anyone Still Doing Self-Portrait Wednesday?


I haven't seen a self-portrait post on anyone's blog
for a long time, but I always loved them.

Most of us hate to be the subject
of a photograph,
captured for all time
the way someone else sees us.

Bloggers, especially, at least the ones I know,
vastly prefer to be the one seeing through the lens.

But I told Relyn of Come Sit by My Fire that I'd take up
 the challenge to tell at least 7 things about myself
that aren't widely known.

So here goes,
complete with a self-portrait from last August
before those journeys of discovery
that were supposed to transform me.



1. When I was a 20-something and a feminist activist,
I won ribbons for my cooking at the State Fair of Texas.
A third place ribbon for salad (potato) the first year.
A third place ribbon for drop cookies,
a second place ribbon for spectacular desserts (puff pastry),
and a first place ribbon for salad,
the second year.

One of the salad judges came and told me that
it was an outrage that the Waldorf salad
was given best in show
because mine should have taken it,
but the other judges thought my salad
 was too expensive to make.
(And, I'll note, it had no mayonnaise.)

Ah - politics in the cooking world.

But I have to admit,
the third place/white ribbon
for drop cookies was the one that thrilled me most.

You see, there weren't many entries in the salad contests
or the spectacular desserts
or even the casseroles, a category in which I never competed.

Cookies and bread were the two categories
in which you had to be damn good
in order to win,
because the sorority of cooking women from
East Texas had those categories nailed.

Now. . . .
the admissions.

I had never made cream puffs from scratch
before the contest and I don't think I've made them since.
(I made a from-scratch French vanilla custard filling
and topped them with sifted powdered sugar).
And for those of you who are wondering
what I would have done if they hadn't been
 all tender and puffy and creamy delicious,
well. . .
I would have been licking a wooden spoon
for a long time and I wouldn't have gone to the Fair that day.

I've lost my recipe for the drop cookies.
They were a very delicate cookie made mostly
from shortening and sugar
with orange extract for flavoring.
They were very thin and you had to make sure
you kept a close eye on them
and snatched them out of the oven
just before the edges started to brown
so they were a lovely pale whitish color all over.

I don't have the recipe for the potato salad either.
It's one of those "a little bit of this and a lot of that"
recipes that require a lot of tasting and adjusting
and then I scribbled the "recipe" down
per contest entry requirements.

Now I laughingly say
I only cook for ribbons.

And since I've bored the snot out of you
telling you this long rambling story
about one thing
that is little known about me,
there's not room for the other six.

I'll save them for another post.

11 comments:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

i've never participated in self portrait wednesday, but think it sounds like a super idea for a theme thursday!

i to love looking at people's self portraits - the famous and the ordinary

lakeviewer said...

Oh, you were brave, and talented from an early stage. Glad to know these things about you.

Kamana said...

that you were a feminist activist doesnt surprise me. totally fits my image of you :)

and how lovely to know you won ribbons for your cooking.

rebecca said...

i adore you!
in the kitchen or out...
and all the more with a camera in hand.

come see my photos today..i am whetting the appetite for a san miguel adventure.

xoxoox.
rebecca

Bill Stankus said...

The comment about transformation caught my eye. I wonder, is transformation really possible? Or is it just part of personal development along a slightly predetermined continuum?

Seems there are so many things believed and hoped for - for the purposes of change. And there's a ton of proposed mental activities meant to trick or start one on new paths. Most of these are pseudo.

Yet age transforms us, whether we want it or not. Medications transform and ditto anguish, violence and other out-of-the-blue occurrences.

But to control transformation? Can we grasp air and think we've captured something?

Eryl Shields said...

I love the image of a twenty something feminist activist entering cooking competitions. It strongly defies the pigeonholing that feminists seem particularly subjected to. You must have been a toughie: I remember feeling, in my twenties, that I had to choose between feminism and traditional female activities and thus pretending that I hated cooking, even to myself.

6p00e54fc021b58833 said...

ribbons? i think iron chef is calling! ;)

6p00e54fc021b58833 said...

ribbons? i think iron chef is calling! ;)

deb did it said...

i did one yesterday...and I love this one of YOU! and now I am hungry!

Bagman and Butler said...

Okay...I'll try to remember next Wednesday. I must admit your cooking exploits have shattered my short-sighted stereotypes of feminine activists. The ones I knew in my 20's just put pot in brownies.

Meri said...

Kim - I'm with you. I'd love to revive a theme day with self-portraits.

Rosaria - As I told you, I have no doubt you were the same.

Kamana - Am I that predictable? Oh my.

Rebecca - great photos! I'm dreaming of Mexico and beautiful doors.

Bill - no more thoughts since my email to you, but I think you've given us something to ponder.

Eryl - that's exactly why we took on the state fair cooking challenge. And in those days, I had a little floral print dress with pin tucks on the bodice and lace around the collar (pink and white dress, white lace) that I'd wear when I was testifying before the legislature on reproductive issues or talking to the District Attorney. Feminism, Texas style, was perhaps more pragmatic than in places like New York.

Sperlygirl - Iron Chef? Not I. My handcrank popcorn popper is the most-used pan in the kitchen.

Deb- great pics of you and I'm so sorry you're having to go through the chaos of rebuilding.

Mark - my blog hero - I can honestly say that marijuana is one spice I never added to any of my dishes, though it seemed a big condiment for others during my law school days. Parties at the professors' homes would have placards by the food, indicating which jambalaya was "with" and which was "without." Little Me, being a bit naive, was shocked that officers of the court could be so blatant.