Archive | August, 2012

Like Mike

24 Aug

Lately, I’ve had too much time on my hands to be true to my blog’s purpose. Instead of simplifying and re-inventing recipes, I’ve been producing elaborate desserts and dinners coordinated in a manner that rivals Martha Stewart’s monogrammed guest towels. The completion of my NIH internship in late July has afforded me this vacation overdose, a large portion of which I have spent reveling in the luxuriousness of my mom’s kitchen.

Unfortunately, it seems that unlimited time to myself has resulted in alarmingly decreased productivity – my last post was well over a month ago and a 10 am start to the day is becoming early. Apparently my food tweaking abilities best prosper when I am a bit busier, and only equipped with shoddy kitchen appliances and poor lighting.

Feeling like you have all the time in the world can lead to a lack of focus. This seemed to be true for Leonardo Da Vinci, who despite his brilliance completed no more than 30 paintings across his lifetime. His contemporary Michelangelo, in comparison, output 45 sculptures, 10 paintings, and 12 architectural pieces. Da Vinci may have been a true Renaissance man, as a painter, scientist, and engineer among other things. But he dabbled in too many different pursuits to produce a body of artwork that comes anywhere close to Michelangelo’s portfolio.

In comparison to Da Vinci, who chased after half-baked ideas such as the ornithopter flying machine – a flapping wing aircraft, and the viola organist – the first bowed keyboard instrument, Michelangelo dedicated his heart, soul, and body to sculpture.

Image

Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’ is unlike other images of Mary and Jesus. Mary is much younger, while Jesus is smaller and more vulnerable looking.

In reading The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone’s biography of Michelangelo, I was particularly struck by the sculptor’s dogged work ethic. Something that stood out in my memory was Michelangelo’s approach to constructing one of his first works, the Pieta, a depiction of Jesus on Mary’s lap. Commissioned by Cardinal Groslaye, the French ambassador to the pope, Michelangelo was given one year to complete the Pieta. In order to meet his deadline (which he had to extend by a year, due to the scope of the project), Michelangelo charted out all aspects of his time, including how many hours he could sleep each night, which was well under the recommended 7-8 hours. It was mind-boggling, even as a college student with a fairly full schedule, to envision a schedule of consistently truncated sleep hours. Michelangelo didn’t believe in weekends, I’m presuming.

Da Vinci, on the other hand, took all of 20 years to complete the Mona Lisa. (I’m assuming Lisa Gherardini, if she really is the Mona Lisa, is less impressed with the final portrait than the rest of the world is today!) And he only finished The Last Supper when his patron threatened to stop funding him.

Perhaps Michelangelo was not as versatile as Da Vinci. But he was certainly more ambitious. And just thinking about his sleep schedule while working on the Pieta shamed me into FINALLY posting again. Admittedly I am rusty. Please do bear with the dust acquired from my Da Vinci approach of late, as I attempt to re-orient myself in Michelangelo’s direction.

Another summery dessert this time! Mmm yeah.

DECONSTRUCTED BERRY TRIFLE:

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 box angel food cake

– 1 box sugar free, fat free vanilla pudding + 1% milkImage

– 1 bag frozen mixed berries

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare and bake the angel food cake according to the box (don’t bother making one by scratch either! You’re risking 12 egg whites if stiff peaks don’t form.) Make the pudding according to the box. Thaw the berries. Assemble: 1 serving angel food cake (1/12 the mix) + ½ cup pudding + ½ cup frozen berries.

CALORIES: 255

You could additionally garnish with cool whip or whipped cream. The angel food cake could also be substituted with graham crackers or something else convenient. Tweak me, pretty please!

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