CFFC: Animal Art

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic Non-Alive Animals. Of course, any representation of an animal has a real animal in mind as the artist creates it. But the rendition may be very close in appearance to the real animal, or it may be whimsical, or abstract. It all depends on the craftsman’s talent and point of view.

It was hard to choose photos for this post – so many to choose from! Everywhere I go, locally or abroad, there is animal art. Animals have been subjects for every kind of art imaginable for thousands of years…

Such as the first known painting in the world, a painting of Egyptian geese on papyrus at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo,

and the god Horus, usually represented as a hawk, at the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt.

Also at the Egyptian Museum is a throne of King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was not found until 1922, with most of its grave goods intact – it hadn’t been subjected to many tomb robberies!

This elaborate throne contains many symbols and images of gods, such as twin lions on the front. One of ancient Egypt’s sacred symbols was the scarab beetle, depicted in the cartouche on the front of the arm; the hieroglyphics within the cartouche generally are names of kings, so this may have been Tuthankhamun’s. Embracing the throne of either side are the wings of the vulture, a bird considered to be a protector of kings. In this case, he represents the king-god himself, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The ancient Chinese civilization also had many animal representations, one of the most common being the guardian lion. This one is in front of a restaurant, House of Szechwan, in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Generally depicted in pairs, guardian lions stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs, temples, government buildings, and the homes of the wealthy. The concept was to show the emotion of the animal, in this case ferocity, as a symbol of protection.

Deriving from this Chinese custom, there are people today who have a pair of lions as lawn ornaments, like this one in Des Plaines. He might look more ferocious if freshly painted!

Here are another example of a Des Plaines lawn ornament, this cute little bird sitting on an orb.

There were many whimsical animals on display for sale or as decoration in the charming small town of Poulsbo, Washington, north of Tacoma.

In Evanston, Illinois, there is a little known museum called the American Toby Jug Museum, which we discovered during Chicago’s annual Open House in October. Toby Jugs are ceramic figures, usually depicting well known persons, but also animals. The history of the toby jug, or philpot, dates back to 18th century potters in Staffordshire, England and was popularized by colonists in the United States. The top of each toby jug has a spout for pouring, but nowadays, these figurines are primarily for ornamentation or collections.

After the wedding we attended near Poulsbo, Washington, we spent a day in Tacoma before returning to Seattle for our flight home. There is a beautiful Museum of Glass there, which has many objects designed by the famous Dale Chihuly, but there is also a fine collection of glass sculptures by other artists, such as this beautiful horse.

Horses are the subject of many works of art, including statues of famous heroes mounted on horses in many European cities, but I am only including two 2-dimensional renditions, one a drawing of a palomino I drew a few days ago, and another one at a short film display at the Ij (Eye) Museum in Amsterdam.

While in Amsterdam, we visited the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam, founded circa 1213 CE. Under the seats of the choir were unique carvings – some rather bawdy! – including this one of a pig.

Most people love animals, and there are many examples of whimsical animals to delight human sensibilities. In the gardens behind Melk Abbey in Austria are some cute creatures, mostly fantastical combinations of human and animal, but there was this turtle:

In Passau, Germany, which we had visited the previous day while on our Viking European cruise, while walking around town on our own, we came across a dachshund museum! Big and little dachshund statues were in front of it.

Who could resist being delighted by several painted cows in the town across from Mont St-Michel in France? Here is one of them, my personal favorite (I love that bright blue udder!).

Our daughter loves Hello Kitty, and for her bridal shower, Hello Kitty was the theme! I bought these as party favors.

Some animal sculptures are cute,

At Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles, Illinois

but some can be a bit intimidating!…

Giant spider at Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.

CFFC: Green & Orange

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with its color series. This week the colors are orange and green separately or combined.

These combos were taken at the Park Ridge Farmer’s Market.

My zinnias in the full bloom of summer

Ripening tomatoes

A tree in the process of turning into fall color

Lovebirds in Tanzania

Entrance to a restaurant in Luxor, Egypt

Two in Amsterdam

Two at the orchid show at Chicago Botanic Gardens

5 Things & Truthful Tuesday: On the Subject of Eating

I’m combining Dr. Tanya’s 5 Things and PC Guy IV’s Truthful Tuesday, both of which are about one of my favorite subjects: EATING! This is possibly the first time I’m participating in Truthful Tuesday but I like PC Guy’s questions so probably will again.

The Questions for this week on Truthful Tuesday:
  • Are you an adventurous eater, or do you prefer to play it safe when you’re feeling peckish?
    I do often play it safe but every once in awhile I am compelled to eat something I think I don’t like and end up surprised. For example, I don’t know when I got the idea that I hate eggplant, but would never eat it until I had to sample it at a family’s house in Egypt in order not to offend. And I LIKED it! What I’ve been missing! But I also tend to choose what I am familiar with when at ethnic restaurants, especially when the cuisine is known for being spicy. I cannot tolerate spicy.
  • Do you prefer dining in or dining out?
    Both. I love to eat out but after awhile I get sick of choosing from a menu and spending more than I would spend to eat at home. So I try to see it as special to eat out. Now my husband and I live in a senior living community so we have to choose from a menu even to eat at “home.” Especially now, during the pandemic, we are having our food delivered to us. But I enjoy being able to just open the refrigerator and select from what is in there. I tend not to gain weight as much that way!

    One of the great things about eating out is that I usually bring home leftovers. American restaurants serve way too much food, but that’s okay – then I get at least two meals for the price of one!
  • When you dine in, who does the cooking?
    My husband, mainly because I’m lazy and also because he enjoys being a short-order cook. A couple of times a week, he makes omelettes with lots of veggies and usually some kind of meat, unless I protest. I get to choose what kind of bread to eat with them! He’s really good at breakfast and also he makes an awesome turkey meatloaf! We always have the option of eating in, because we have food in our freezer, but usually just eat what the dining service here offers us.
  • When you dine out, do you tend to stick to places you know, or do you look for new places to try?
    I like to try new places but also enjoy returning to the ones I have eaten at before that I like. It’s fun to try something on the menu I haven’t had a chance to order previously. And sometimes I have the urge for a certain meal I can get at a particular restaurant – right now I have a craving for ceviche so I want to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant and order ceviche on tostadas. I’ll invite a like-minded friend to go with me!

And now Dr. Tanya’s Five Things: 5 Favourite Ways To Enjoy Potatoes

This is a hard one, because I love potatoes any way they are prepared – when it comes to potatoes, I can’t go wrong whatever I decide to order or cook. But I do have favorites. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Steak fries – this is what we Americans call the British “chips” – sort of like French fries but thicker and more substantial. Leaving the skins on is great too! The kind I like are also called “potato wedges.” I usually eat them with ketchup but I also would love the garlic mayo that Dr. Tanya mentions! If I cook them at home, I’ll roast them with olive oil and parmesan cheese!

2. Mashed potatoes – definitely with butter, never gravy. The picture below shows how I like them best.

  • 3. Baked potatoes – what I order when I’m trying to eat healthy. I also like them with butter and pepper. (I do like them with sour cream, but when I’m trying to eat healthy, I won’t eat sour cream so as a result I rarely eat sour cream on baked potatoes.) Usually baked potatoes are so large at restaurants that I cut them in half and take one of the halves home. As a leftover, I like to heap it with veggies and melted cheese on top! The image below shows “twice baked” potatoes, which I also love! The things on top – tomatoes, scallions, cheese, maybe a little bacon – are the things I like to put on the leftover potato.
Twice Baked Potatoes - Jessica Gavin
  • 4. dauphinoise style or potatoes au gratin
Dauphinoise recipe - BBC Food
  • 5. Bistro chips (“crisps” to the Brits) – these are potato chips only better – usually not as greasy and they tend to be a little burnt around the edges, which I like the best!
Bistro Chips | Seasoned chips, bleu béchamel, balsamic driz… | Tom Noe |  Flickr
Don’t these bistro chips look scrumptious?

I once bought online a tool to make potato chips at home. You cut the potato (raw or slightly cooked) in thin slices, and insert them into the little slots on this potato chip maker, then bake them at a hot temperature. They turned out well but I lost the thing to put them in so I never did it again!

Potatoes are one of the foods I find hard to resist, no matter how disciplined I am about not gaining weight.

FOTD: Sunflower

Cee Neuner has had to evacuate from her home in Canby, Oregon, to her sister’s in Idaho. The fires are raging in Oregon! I don’t know if she will post FOTD today or not, but I am posting this in her honor – we’re thinking of you, Cee, and happy you are safe!

I captured this beauty at a favorite restaurant, Jimmy’s, where my friends and I like to have lunch. The owners of the restaurant have several beautiful flowering plants in front.
JIMMY'S RESTAURANT, Des Plaines - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews -  Tripadvisor

Thursday Doors: A Charming Bakery

I haven’t participated in Thursday Doors lately, since I rarely go anywhere where there are interesting doors. But last week was my sister’s birthday and we went to Highland Park to visit her daughter. My sister had heard of a Caribbean restaurant in nearby Highwood called El Burén, where there are Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes on the menu. Her husband is part Puerto Rican and loves Puerto Rican food, so she made a reservation for the four of us.

The food was wonderful – we ate outside and it was a very pleasant day – but the service was quite slow. So I got antsy and decided to walk down the block. Next door to this restaurant was a bakery with a very charming – and very pink – façade. There were miniature old-fashioned ovens on display in the window.

Here are the doors of the bakery.

I took this last photo next to my car across the street.

CFFC: What Noses Smell

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week continues with the senses. This week it is the sense of smell.

Swan noses are two thin parallel slits on their bills.
Cows smell the grass and feed they eat.
20191127_145217 (2)
Cats’ noses…
20200125_191913smell everything they encounter as they explore anything new….
…a birthday cake or
…someone’s jacket.
Cats are especially attracted to the smell of catnip, a plant in the mint family with a pungent smell. Pet stores sell little toys stuffed with catnip – Hazel’s was a carrot that we tied to her scratching post. Catnip is the marijuana of catdom!!
IMAG2510_1 (2)
Noses may be displayed in artwork, such as on this tapestry entitled “Processional Nose” at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam.
Human noses…

are also attracted to certain smells. Some research indicates that humans may choose their mates by the person’s smell (unconsciously, of course).

What could be more wonderfully sweet than the smell of lilacs in spring?
Many flowers have a pleasant fragrance, perhaps to attract pollinators.
Spices also have strong smells.
A smell unpleasant to most people is cigarette smoke – yet smokers and those who live with them don’t smell it at all! Their noses are desensitized to the smell that permeates everything they own. (This photo courtesy of Google Images)
Delaware moves closer to raising smoking age to 21 - WHYY
However, we associate some smoke smells with family barbecues.
20170710_192031Like certain songs, many odors, such as smelling a certain cuisine, can invoke memories. Many foods have strong smells, whether one appreciates them or not.
What smells can you conjure up looking at these photos?
Words associated with smell include:  smell, stink, odor, rotten eggs, fragrance, perfume, scent, aroma, smoky, musty, garlicky, acrid, reek, funky, malodorous, fetid, whiff, inhale, putrid, rancid, stench, odoriferous, sweet-smelling, flowery, redolent, pungent, bouquet, balm, savory, spicy. (Notice how many words we have for bad smells, less for good smells!)

CFFC: Yummy!!!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues exploring the senses; this week it is tasting.

We have 5 basic type of tastes registered by our taste buds: bitter, salty, sour, sweet and savory. Sometimes fat is considered a 6th taste.

The American diet contains a lot of processed foods, which add salt to them – salt is a preservative. So we eat too much salt, as well as fat and sweets. High-salt diets can cause fluid to build up in your body, especially if you have a heart condition like I do. A tell-tale sign is swollen ankles but also lots of coughing, the result of fluid build-up in the lungs. That is why I try to maintain a low-salt diet.

If we would stick to “real” food, that is, food provided to us by nature, we would be a lot healthier.

Garden tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes always taste the best! (citrusy: sour, also savory)20190817_193324
Baclava – Vienna’s Naschmarkt  (sweet – taste of honey)
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Vegetables and fruit for sale at Vienna’s Naschmarkt (mostly savory, some bitter)
sweet & savory fruits!
Breads in Israel – most breads are put in the salty category, but some, like pita bread, are classified as savory
In Egypt, I fell in love with Middle Eastern food!!

We had a home-hosted dinner at the home of an Egyptian family in Luxor.

We also had a five-day cruise on the Nile on our own private boat with excellent chefs! Rice and peppers – definitely savory!
A whole fish! – Nile perch (savory,  salty also)
A New Year’s cake (oh so sweet!)
Spices for sale at an Egyptian market – spices add flavor or heat to a dish, and some can be bitter.
I don’t normally take pictures of food (except when traveling), but sometimes I can’t resist, like this savory shrimp appetizer at a restaurant!
Holiday cookies from my church’s annual “cookie walk!” (Totally bad-for-you sweet, but the holidays are a time for celebrating!! Eat these in moderation!)
I will end where I started – with fresh grown vegetables, from a local farmers’ market.