Category Archives: food

Life in gardens: tea in Egypt

Tea in Egypt 1, Matson Col., LoCTea time in the front garden of Mena House, an hotel in Cairo, Egypt. Taken between 1934 and 1939 by the Photo Department of the American Colony of Jerusalem, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (both photos).

I think that tea has come too late for the lady in the foreground, who seems to have nodded off.

Tea in Egypt 3, Matson Col., LoCView of a pyramid from the front porch, Mena House, Cairo, Egypt.

The hotel opened in 1890 and featured Egypt’s first swimming pool.  Famous guests have included British and Egyptian royalty, Winston Churchill, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Charlie Chaplin.

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Tuinhuis garden

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The tuinhuis or ‘garden house’ (shown in the fifth slide above)  is a small cafe on the grounds of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The surrounding garden was a very pretty place to rest after a long ramble around parts of the city center and the Museumplein, during a one-day travel stopover last week.

About half the area is composed of wide gravel paths around a simple boxwood parterre — which is filled with cottage annuals like variegated nasturtium and lime green flowering tobacco.

On the other side, white marble (I think) outlines the narrow planting beds.  Currently, you can see a free exhibition of Calder sculptures in the garden, as well.

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The Sunday porch: Venice patio

Venice hotel patio, Library of CongressProfessional photographers Gertrude Käsebier and Frances Benjamin Johnston eating together on a hotel patio in Venice, Italy, 1905, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

(Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Johnston — from Washington, D.C. — and Käsebier — from New York City — had traveled across the Atlantic at the invitation of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.  On the same trip, they also visited France, Switzerland, and Italy.

The older and more successful Gertrude Käsebier had been born in a log cabin in Iowa in 1852.   After marrying* a successful businessman of aristocratic German origins and having three children,  she began to study photography at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  Within ten years, by the late 1890s, she had opened a studio on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

At the time of this photo, she was  “one of the best known photographers in the United States,” according to her Library of Congress biography. Her portraits of women and children were shown in major exhibitions and won her critical acclaim and financial independence.

Käsebier’s ability to discern the complexities of situations helped her achieve conflicting goals. She aimed to be associated with fine art and the upper classes but she enjoyed the relatively déclassé technical art of photography. She also wanted to earn a living, a desire that brought criticism from [Alfred] Stieglitz for sacrificing art to commerce, while society frowned on women participating in any kind of business. At a time when a salesman challenged women’s right to purchase high quality photographic equipment, Käsebier encouraged women to enter the professional world. For example, she befriended and supported Frances Benjamin Johnston, whose ambition and need to earn an income may have surpassed her own.

Kasebier worked until the mid-1920s, when she turned her studio over to her daughter, Hermine.

Johnston had a long career as well, ultimately specializing in architectural and garden photography.  She retired at age 81 in 1945.

*It was an unhappy marriage and inspired her to make this photo.

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Vintage landscape: O cabbage gardens

cabbage garden, FBJohnson collection, Library of CongressCabbages in the vegetable garden of Chelmsford, Greenwich, Connecticut, ca. 1914, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Alaska cabbage garden, via Library of CongressA cottage garden in Alaska, between 1909-1920. By National Photo Company, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

garden history giant cow cabbageBrassica oleracae longata, called tree cabbage, giant cow cabbage, long-jacks, or Jersey Kale. It is found on the Channel Islands, U.K., and is grown for making walking sticks. The ca. 1900 photo above via gardenhistorygirl.

Cabbages, Samuel Bell Maxey Hse., via Texas State ArchivesThe vegetable garden and cold frames of the Maxey House, Paris, Texas, undated, from the Samuel Bell Maxey Collection, via Texas State Archives Commons on flickr.

Norris gardenMrs. Jim Norris with homegrown cabbage, Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940, by Russell Lee, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

eternity swallows up time
                        O cabbage gardens
summer’s elegy
                        sunset survived

Susan Howe, from “Cabbage Gardens

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Life in gardens: coleslaw, anyone?

cabbage, Library New Zealand“A cook holding up a giant cabbage at a camp in Wairarapa[, New Zealand],” ca. 1890s, photographer unknown, via National Library of New Zealand.

One of my favorite coleslaws is made by tossing shredded cabbage, a chopped apple or underripe mango, and some chopped peanuts with the dressing part of Vietnamese green papaya salad (recipe here).

At Samoa, hardly unpacked, I commenced planting. . .
I plant cabbage by moonlight, set out more cacao.
The heart of a death’s-head moth beats a tattoo in my hand.

Carolyn Kizer, from “Fanny

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