Tucson is Hopping

First, last week, after watching one of the (free) Open Dress Rehearsals of the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, friends and I lunched and then saw the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Tucson Museum of Art.  Wow!  Even two dozen of his Campbell soup cans in a block (different flavors) was a knockout.  Imagine – they originally sold for $100 each.   But I loved his endangered species theme.  Here are two of my favorites, the panda and the frog.  Love the colors.  If you want to see them all, enter Andy Warhol endangered species on Google images.  I also loved his grapes, with various patches of colors.

Saturday I volunteered for Music in the Canyon.  Don’t know what the attendance was, but the overflow lot at Sabino Canyon had hundreds of cars.

Sunday, on my way to the Tucson Festival of Books, I passed the 24th Tucson Bicycle Classic race.  Packs of 10 or 20 buff young guys crouched on their bikes with their ropey muscles, wrapped in lycra.  My, that was a sight!

Then the festival.  The entire mall at the University of Arizona was filled with vender and venue tents and the auditoriums of all of the surrounding buildings were full of authors and audiences.  I heard that there were over 50,000 attendees.

The free gold T-shirt isn’t bad except for Volunteer in large letters across the back.  But free parking at the University!   I meant to hear Bill Gates speak, but forgot to go before my volunteer shift.  Darn.

A woman with a pink parasol (which were being sold on the mall so there were a lot of pastel parasols) holding hands with a person in a bright red dog costume.  (I didn’t take a photo of them because I’d never taken pix with this cell phone, but later, when I was bored I tried it out.  Even figured out how to email myself the photos!   A young man with hair down to his knees (!!!) perhaps a Native American.  Many cowboy hats, some baseball caps, and hats shaped like turtles (see photo).  Balloons, kids in face paints.  Strollers, backpacks, a person in brightly-colored caterpillar costume.  People with dogs; one with an English bulldog in a pink dress.  (The owner said that it had been abused and because it looked so bad strangers were afraid of it until she put a dress on it, then she started getting orders for dog dresses.)

Mostly jeans, some shorts (although it was only 65°).  Lots of gym shoes, some sandals, about half T-shirts, half sweaters, and a woman at the Greek Orthodox booth in a full-length white dress with a gorgeous white fringed shawl, her hair tucked into a small white cap.  She said that yes, she was going to be a nun, but this was just a prairie dress she found.  The first two years of being a nun is spent in total silence (I never could do that) and prayer.  After that they raise goats to make goat cheese, grapes to make the communal wine, and other farm chores.  That part sounded ok.

My first assigned venue was Culinary.  The second presentation, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg (a medical doctor!) and Zoe François (a pastry chef who has written many books) blew me away.  I started making bread and pizza from scratch after acquiring Cooking for One.  But this (demonstrated on the stage while they were talking) was so much easier.  None of that kneading stuff that I wasn’t crazy about.  And with a pita bread or an Indian naan cooked in 5 minutes (!!) it’s instant gratification.

So I bought their second book and had it signed.  There is a recipe for Mesquite Bread and I learned that because mesquite flour has no gluten you can add “vital wheat gluten” which I’ll have to buy.  Looks like I also need to purchase a baking stone.  Zoe says that in the summer she bakes the bread on her grill.  (Great – I have to try it.)  And some breads (like the naan) are cooked in a pan on the stove, so you needn’t heat the oven.

The other marvelous thing is that you make a large batch and keep it in the refrigerator, and use it for two weeks.  At the end of the fortnight it’s almost a sour dough.  And the ingredients for a one-pound loaf cost only 40¢.  I am so excited.  Hint to friends – if you invite me to dinner, I’ll bring a homemade loaf of bread (you can even choosey our flavor – pumpkin pie brioche?) rather than bottle of wine.

Zoe also pointed out that a homemade loaf of bread has (for the basic recipe) five ingredients.  Compare that to the list of unpronounceable ingredients in store-bought bread.  (The book also recommended that I store my nuts and seeds, such as poppy seeds, in the freezer if I keep them over 3 months.)  Did you know that yeast is the fifth basic taste recognized by the human tongue?  (The first four are sweet, salty, bitter and sour.)  You can find a number of recipes and a video demonstration as well as photos on their web site: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

All in all, it’s been a fun week.

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4 Responses to “Tucson is Hopping”

  1. Krista Says:

    L – nice write-up on the w/e! kn

  2. Jim Says:

    It is nice to see that in some regards, Tucson has improved. From what I am told by friends, the illegal alien population, congestion, and pollution have now reached intolerable levels, because of governmental incompetence and corruption.

    • notesfromthewest Says:

      I don’t think that pollution is any worse than it was 30 years ago; most of it is from dust storms (such as the one in Casa Grande on December 23, 2009 that caused a 22-vehicle pileupand kiled 3). Congestion is probably worse, mostly at construction zones to widen roads, but it’s still not big city gridlock. As for governmental incompetence and corruption, where don’t you have that?

  3. Aretha Says:

    each time i used to read smaller articles that also clear
    their motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading at this place.

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