Magical realism (at J. Paul Getty Museum)
I never could love San Francisco the same way I fell in love with Boston. Those of us who travel with our stomachs along with our eyes have infinite conquests in the bay, both visual and gastronomical. And yet the many delectables and stunning vistas over napa and golden gate did not hold my sentiments, even as they held my attention.
The bay was always his place, not mine – the promise land of Tesla-driving, kombucha-drinking, inventing, and world-changing sophisticates; certainly no place for an ingénue like me. He had dreamed about this place from our dorm rooms in North Carolina, talked about the hacker lifestyle and read about all the up and coming entrepreneurs taking Palo Alto by storm. For him it was always about building something exciting and new, while I was always more comfortable inhabiting the nostalgic and worn.
More than the cold deception of sunny but jacket-required days in the middle of summer, the ego of bay dwellers rubbed me entirely the wrong way. They didn’t appreciate my preference for hard copy books or deciduous trees; they didn’t understand my appreciation for seasons – cold Christmases and hot beaches.
A year ago I showed up in San Francisco wanting to see what he saw, wondered if I was missing something, somehow unworthy of a place so mythologized, even in its name – in Chinese, jiu jin shan literally meant old gold mountain, named for the gold rush of the 1850s but somehow also a nod to the modern day gold rush of ideas and idealisms. I found myself wondering what it was about the urine tinted sidewalks of the Mission mixing with the scent and promise of authentic burritos that appealed to the restless and the brave. In the end I turned down the offer from the bay, and as a compromise, found my new address in its more measured sister city further up the coast.
In general the oversaturation of Amazon and Microsoft against the foundation’s island of global health has confirmed what I have always known – that I crave humanism over technology, history over innovation, perhaps most notably, medicine over business.
But In many ways Seattle has been a pleasant surprise for this too-neurotic, too-serious west coast skeptic. I will miss the scale of these mountains, this nature that demands to be taken seriously, and the ethos of “getting out there,” breathing it all in but not leaving a trace. I have indulged in your premium coffee beans and your appetite for fresh, real and unassuming food and drink. I have had tremendous opportunity for meaningful and impactful work. I’m happy to have been here, and in 2 more weeks I’ll leave with some bulky hiking boots and a taste for the vast and the humbling.
Here’s to the next adventure.
Telling Stories through Food with @leesamantha
For more photos and videos of Samantha’s culinary artwork, follow @leesamantha on Instagram.
"When I first started creating food art, those in bento boxes (called charaben) had been around for a long time—but I was more interested in exploring food art out of the box and simplifying the technique,” says Malaysia Instagrammer Samantha Lee (@leesamantha). “Since then, I’ve developed my own unique style of storytelling on plates that explores a variety of subject matter and ingredients,” she adds.
A mother of two daughters, Samantha started devising ways to get them to eat in a healthier and more independent way by applying creativity to her presentation. She designs scenes on plates featuring celebrities, popular characters, animals and famous landmarks, made up mainly of local and fresh edible ingredients. Samantha’s ideas and creative inspiration come from a variety of fine arts as well as from her daughters, whom she describes as having “endless imagination”.
Samantha is also careful to keep food waste to a minimum. “Before I begin putting any new ideas on a plate, I sketch out my designs and write down ideas and ingredients I’ll be using. It helps me to be more organized and prevent food waste.” Her minimalistic approach shows in her camera work as well. She edits very little by choosing to shoot in natural light and avoids using too many props in her photos to “let the food art stand out and speak for itself.”
Perhaps we’ll use this book to find colors for our next collection.
In 1692 an artist known only as “A. Boogert” illustrated a book about colors and painting by hand. Pantone didn’t release their color guide for a few hundred years––in 1963.
View all 800 pages of the original book here.
(Source: Erik Kwakkel)