I'm passionate about Food and Art. Food presentation is an art in itself. The relationship between Food and Art dates back to the Stone Age when cave painters used vegetable juice and animal fat as binders in their paints. Egyptians carved pictographs of their crops. Think about the fabulous paintings of duck and rabbit carcasses on silver platters, cheeses and fruit in art during the Dutch golden age. How about Cezanne's paintings of apples and oranges. Still life with Food is really great art.
I'm an artist and food blogger from Ottawa, Canada. My style is both impressionist and abstract. I enjoy painting food and have displayed my art at several shows over the past decade.
One of my shows featured the beautiful and much loved apple, including heirloom apples dating back hundreds of years. I first learned about the elusive White Winter Pearmain apple in a terrific book by Kingston author Helen Humpreys titled "The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America". After reading The Ghost Orchard, I too was bitten by the mystery of 'lost' apples.
Apples arrived in North America with Europeans in the 16th century. Historically, there were 17,000 apple varieties in North America, of which 13,000 have now disappeared. Today, around 15 varieties are available in our grocery stores. My favourite cooking apple is the Granny Smith. Did you know it originated in Australia? I use fresh and firm Granny Smith apples when I make my Tarte Tatin.
Some of my apples are displayed below, along with a few of their garden friends.
The Granny Smith apple originated in Australia in 1868. It is named after Maria Ann Smith, who propagated the cultivar from a chance seedling. I like to use Granny Smith apples in baking because they hold their firmness and I love their tartness.
White Winter Pearmain
Writer Helen Humphreys started researching lost apples after discovering a rare White Winter Pearmain apple from a tree near her Kingston home.
Humphreys learned that the Pearmain was brought to North America in the 18th century by a Quaker minister named Ann Jessop — also known as Apple Annie. Jessop led a life of travel and had an entrepreneurial spirit at a time when few women were able to do so.
White Winter Pearmain apples have a pale green to yellow hue with red blushing. They are exceptionally juicy and sweet, and make a wonderful dessert apple.
Reinette du Canada
Reinette du Canada is actually an old French apple dating back to Normandy, France and was first described in 1771. This apple is tart and mainly used as a cooking apple, especially in apple strudel.
Api Noir is a dessert apple that originated in France in the late 1700's. It is a sweet, crisp and juicy.
Red Russian Garlic
Red Russian Garlic comes from the Purple Stripe garlic family. Eastern European in origin, it carries a lot of heat with a mellow aftertaste.
The leek is a national symbol of Wales and is worn on St. David's Day. Leeks were a part of the Egyptian diet from at least the second millennium BCE. They are beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.