Thursday, March 18, 2010

Get Surreal

Fair warning: this post has little to nothing to do with food.

I've been in an incredibly pensive mood. I'm not sure why. It might be the uncharacteristic chill in the Florida air or the impending stormclouds or the unrectified longing to carefree days on the beach eating coconut shrimp tacos. It might me any one of those things that has me thinking about Salvador Dali, the artist and his work.

The Espace Dali, a tiny space in Montmartre, was the first museum I visited in Paris, and so bizarre were his works that they instantly captivated me. Alice in Wonderland, The Rose (above), Three Surrealist Women, all the symbolism and surrealism took me for a wild ride and had me questioning life as I knew it. What did everything around me mean in the wide world? Was I misinterpreting signs in my every day life? What was life, anyway.

The woman I worked for in Paris had a Spanish painter ex-husband whose father knew Dali intimately. In fact, her father was Dali's art dealer while he lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the Dali Museum stands today. It's a wonderful place. You should go visit it, take the tour - it's well worth the trip.

So Dali has been a part of my life ever since I was young and laid eyes on those melting clocks.

The Persistence of Memory (above) is a painting that means a lot to me, how immovable and resistent time and memory both are is something I've grappled with throughout my life. How do I get over failures and traumatic events in my life without being able to forget them completely?

Funny enough, in my current place of work, there are a group of Dali originals, the Alice in Wonderland sequence. Often, I feel like Alice in a Wonderland of plastic products I know nothing about and only pretend to understand.

When my friend Kelly and I went to Dalifest a few years ago, I bought an adorable cookbook (here's the food!) called Surreal Gourmet Bites by Bob Blumer, "The Surreal Gourmet." It's a collection of not-what-they-seem appetizers like a hangover cure that looks like Pepto Bismol but is actually a raspberry and banana smoothie, or a panna cotta that looks like a 3-minute egg but is filled with white vanilla gelatine and a creamy mango "yolk" center. It's adorable, well worth some time, and available on

Anyway, as I contemplate the rest of my life, I see it as The Rose, rising from the desert, with a glow of promise and optimism, but still too far out of reach to be of any consequence.

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