Type A: Atavistic

Thursday, May 15, 2008

In my sophomore year of college I took a photography class with probably the most eccentric, off-the-beaten-path professor. On top of his reputation for being an over-the-hill, cynical brow beater who didn't mince words in telling you that your photos were crap, he made no effort to memorize any one's name, and thus reverted to giving all of us random nicknames like "Orajel" or "green". I was known as "Minnesota" for two years both inside the class and around campus by fellow classmates. Good times. I miss him. Everyone had a love-hate relationship with him over one issue or another until he was eventually "let go" because of an accusation made by one too many students who took his critique of their work very personally. A petition was signed to bring him back but...

During the first year in his course this professor introduced me to a word that has looped over and over in my mind everyday for the past three years: Atavism. It's essentially another word for "throwback"; stepping away from modern techniques to revert back to a traditional approach. He was referring to the darkroom technique of developing images as opposed to digital prints, but that word resonated with me because it was a fresh way of describing how I approach things.

I can be a bit old fashioned (which must be a consensus among friends and family who often call me an old lady in a young girl's body lol), and I'm a champion at heart to the old school. But this is particularly true as it relates to photography, music, and cooking. My 35mm with black and white film was attached to my hip until curriculum and the photo industry demanded images be developed more quickly. I cling to my dad's vinyl album collection trying to identify samples used in today's music. That's another thing this professor taught us: study the tradition of the area you wish to pursue. The history and the root is as important, if not more so, than the product.

Cooking is perhaps the area my atavistic eye starts twitching the most. There is love, deep love, in food preparation, food critiquing, and food history. No shortcuts. I'm a beginner foodie (and secretly I'd love to be food critic, though I may be too much of a softie to give a harsh critique :). B&N allowed me to sit and read books with palatable titles like "Salt", "Cod", and "The History of Tea". ('Tis true. I'm a nerd). The former two put emphasis on how a single entity propelled or changed certain events in history. I took up the yellow folder of recipes I started a few years back (with some contributions from my grandmother and mom) and began handwriting more recipes for future reference.

Anyway, that's what I did today: went back to the roots of my interests and joys and spent time indulging in them.

I only recently discovered Ruth Reichl, a re-known food critic, but I completely love her style. I'm reading "Garlic and Sapphires", and it's hilarious to read about attempts to mask her identity as a well-known critic by wearing wigs and constructing accents just to throw off restaurants.

More food books I'm interested in cracking open...

Love the originality of the packaging on "Art and Cook".

I'm such an impulsive book buyer that within just a few turns of the page I was convinced I had to have this "Fresh Mexican" recipe book! The food looked amazing and was much needed in my shared collection of cookbooks. However, I had to keep my eyes on the prize (apt.) and even $7.95 is a setback at this rate. Here's to the wish list!

The Postal Service!

from my dad's vinyl collection

I hit up the local "Cheapo's" Record shop today. Initially I was doing a dry run to make sure I knew how to get there when I go to sell them a few CDs next week. But like I said before, forever and a day will I love vinyl so I stayed for awhile and made sure to flip through as much vinyl as I could. Rick James' "Glow" is still good today! Don't laugh.

And the Delfonics?...yessir! First time I heard them, though, was in "Crooklyn".


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