Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97: Pastimes

We’re delighted to welcome, Sue (Mac’s Girl) as this week’s guest host for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97.   As Sue has chosen the theme of Pastimes, I’m delighted to share some of my favorite activities which have given me hours and hours of enjoyment over many years.

Exploring New Food and Recipes

First we eat, then we do everything else.~MFK Fisher

An unexpected pleasure during quarantine has been rediscovering my love of new food and new recipes.

My love affair with food started when I was very young and often very hungry.   I was inspired by the true chef in my family, my Italian grandfather, who on holidays, filled an entire table with homemade ravioli, left to dry, before sliding the pillows of pasta into a boiling pot of water.

My most recent “love affair” is with tomatillos–a Mexican green tomato with a papery husk and a tart taste.  Yesterday I tried a new recipe for chicken with tomatillo sauce.  After peeling the husk of the tomatillos and slicing them in half, I broiled them with some garlic.  Then, I mixed them in a blender to create a sauce with adobo peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and other spices.  After that, I added the sauce to some sauteed chicken and onions in a large frying pan.

After several hours of cooking, the sauce intensified, creating layers of flavor–tart, spicy, and savory.  I will definitely make this dish again.

Discovering Artistic Treasures

The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live. – Auguste Rodin

This image highlights another pastime–discovering wonderful artistic treasures.  On a trip to London in the fall, our new British friend took us to Hampstead Heath, a beautiful park with dozens of walking trails and ponds and so many dogs running around that I couldn’t be happier.  But then, she surprised us by taking us to a mansion on the grounds of the park. Kenwood is the former home of several British earls and the Irish businessman, Edward Cecil Guinness, who bequeathed his art collection to the nation.  I stood in wonder in front of this work by Vermeer, who brilliantly captured the light and the spirit of the girl playing the guitar.   The artistic creations of this Dutch master are joyful and beautiful.

Learning Something New and Surprising

The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.― B.B. King

I love moments of surprise and wonder when I learn something new–another favorite pastime.

This photo marks the moment when I discovered that the famous scientist Albert Einstein had a daughter, Margot, who was an artist.  Her sculpture of a mother and child was on display in an unlikely place–in a small church in the town of Fiesole, a short bus ride from Florence.  Both the art collection and the identity of the artist were a complete surprise.

Another recent “aha” moment was when my Italian teacher told me that “quarantine” was based on the Italian words “quaranta giorni” (40 days).  That’s because the word “quarantine” originated in the 14th century during the plague.   When ships arrived in Venice from coastal cities with plague epidemics, the Venetians required that the captain and crew wait 40 days before disembarking and unloading their cargo.

Exploring New Places, Photographing Them, and Writing About Them

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.~ T.S. Eliot

A Surprising View from the Oespedali degli Innocenti

My last three pastimes will not surprise you–exploring new places, photographing them, and writing about them.  During the quarantine, we have renewed our hope and desire to continue our travels, but in the meantime, we are contenting ourselves with planning and dreaming of our next adventures.   Some of my favorite memories are those times when we stumbled upon an amazing site–like this moment captured on the roof of the Oespedali degli Innocenti in Florence.  Who would expect to find a spectacular view of the city from the roof of an orphanage?   The panorama was breathtaking as storm clouds gathered and thunder rumbled.  I’ll never forget that moment.

A special thanks to Sue for stepping in as our guest host this week.  I’m looking forward to seeing your creative and unique  “Pastimes”.  If you join us, include a link to Sue’s challenge post and use the “Lens-Artists” tag so we can find your post in the Reader. 

Before I close, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your “Cropping The Shot” posts from last week’s challenge.  I always learn something new from you!  Your presence in our online community helps to reassure us all that we are not alone and our creativity is essential, especially during times of uncertainty.

Stay well and stay safe, everyone.

Here’s our schedule for the rest of May:

58 replies »

  1. Splendid images for the challenge, Patti! I’m with you on the love affair with food. Unfortunately mine is more with the eating aspect rather than the cooking which has unfortunately resulted in an increase in dress size over the past few months. I was interested to read your comments on discovery through art. I have experienced similar discoveries recently through the stamps and I’ve learned a lot as I’ve looked into their various topics and meanings. And of course, your travel pictures are always amazing. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to host this challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should have mentioned…cooking and eating!! 😊😊. Thanks for your kind words too about my pics. I am really enjoying learning more about photography. I can’t wait to see everyone’s “take” on your challenge. It will be interesting to see all the different interests.

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  2. A Biblical scholar I once took a class from told me that the number 40 appears in Scripture so often not as an exact count of time (40 days and nights, 40 weeks gestation, etc.) but as an indicator of “enough time” for a transformation to occur. I also studied Italian in High School and college, but never made the connection of quarantine and quaranta giorni until you mentioned it. An ‘aha’ moment! May we be transformed at the end of enough time…

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    • Another “aha” moment, Priscilla! Thanks! 40 days, 40 nights…transformation. Lovely! 😊 😊😊 That makes sense, too. I share your thought about transformation at the end for myself and others…Here’s hoping. Thanks so much for your insights!

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  3. Well Patti, I think I’d like to be marooned at YOUR house for the next pandemic – despite hoping there never is one! Beautiful still life images of your ingredients, they look so delicious. And you’re right – never knew Einstein have a daughter! Lovely image of your muse there in Florence also, as always.

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    • 😊😊😊Your comment made me smile, Tina! OK. Dinner tonight is crab cakes!! Thanks so much for your kind words about the images. I’m glad that they looked appealing. Food photography is tricky….as I’ve discovered! Florence is my muse, it’s true. I’ve been dreaming about it! Take care, too. I hope you are getting out on the golf course and enjoying your runs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stunning images, Patti. The Einstein sculpture is beautiful. I don’t think we can exist if we lose our delight in learning or finding something new. I learnt from lockdown at home that retirement is looking pretty appealing. 🙂

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    • Hi, Wendy. Thank you, thank you! It’s true. I think many people are realizing the joys of being at home more often. I agree with you about learning. It’s so important for our mental and emotional and spiritual health. Thanks, as always, for your thoughts!

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    • Hi, John. Thank you! I love MFK Fisher. I’ve read all her writings and find gems all throughout them. Her descriptions of cross Atlantic trips during the Nazi era are amazingly prescient. Highly recommended. I know how much you love history, so if you haven’t read them….And thanks too, as always, for your thoughts. Much appreciated.

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  5. I love this post, Patti! Enjoy reading your love affair with food. 🙂 I didn’t know Einstein have a daughter and the sculpture. Thank you for the story. Florence is so beautiful via your lens. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy!! I’m delighted you liked this one. I do love food. For a while, I did a lot of food writing. It was wonderful! Einstein’s daughter was a real surprise. And thanks about Florence. It’s my muse! Take care and stay well. I’m looking forward to seeing your post, too.

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    • Hi, Lola. It was such a surprise to me, too, that Einstein had a daughter. Thank you so much for your kind words on the photos. I have really been enjoying learning more about photography and my camera is a joy. I hope you join us!

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  6. Beautiful images and thoughts Patti, it’s so lovely to discover new things and your cooking sounds delicious! 💚 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My wife and I have always enjoyed restaurant meals, eating out several times a week. The closure of restaurants has kindled a newfound love of cooking at home for us. I suspect that will carry on after we again can visit restaurants. I suspect that after this year, there will be fewer to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So you’re cooking, too! I feel like we’ve stepped back in time during the pandemic. So many people are spending time on their lawns, doing home projects, and cooking. I know what you mean, John about the restaurants. Some of the smaller restaurants will surely go out of business. We’ll see…Take care. Happy cooking!

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  8. The glimpses into your pastimes accompanied by fabulous photos made this post awesome. Also the fact that Einstein would have had a daughter and a talented one too, was really interesting. Was it serendipity that you found the sculpture or did you do your research very well? Anyway , thanks to you , we discover something new.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sheetal. Yes, it was purely serendipity. I had no idea her work was there. So glad you like the images. I am trying to take some new shots in the kitchen, because we’re still in quarantine. Take care and be well!

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  9. A completely enjoyable post in every sense, Patti! Food photography is something I do not manage – and you did so well! I’d love a dinner at your place – just the description in words already make it delicious… I cannot but agree with your other pastimes as well. And the images are delightful. About Einsteins daughter I did not know – thank you for enlightening me. And she looks a talented artist. Stay safe and well, Patti.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, A-C! Believe me–there have been many, many bad food shots until the better ones! It’s not at all easy to make something look appealing. Einstein’s daughter was a complete surprise. Her work was a great find. I love those moments of surprise and delight when we are traveling. I know you feel the same way. Take care, too, A-C.

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  10. Enjoyed your post, Patti….like you I have been cooking more, trying new things and learning a few new things. If we lose our curiosity, we shrivel….

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  11. Wonderful post, Patti. I did know what about the 40 days. At first I thought it ironic that we kept hearing about Italy with the virus–until it really got here. I don’t remember hearing much about Margot, but I recently read Jennifer Givhan’s poetry book Rosa’s Einstein and there is a character in there based on Einstein’s first and illegitimate daughter Lieserl. Nobody knows what happened to her so it’s conjectured she died as a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Luanne. It’s wonderful to hear from you! The book of poetry sounds interesting. I didn’t know there was an illegitimate daughter–in addition to his stepdaughter Margot. Fascinating. I’m so glad you stopped by.

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  12. Patti, what a thoughtful post. I was on my way to Florence, but the airlines went bankrupt and I never got around to it. Very high on my bucket list. Love that rooftop image.

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      • Patti, I’m sure I will love it. I must been the only one inside EU that didn’t know that the airline got bankrupt. Not one smoke signal from them. My credit card covered for the ticket.

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  13. The recipe sounds good, though it’s a little early in the day for something rich, Patti. An abiding memory from our Italian holidays was the wonderful things they could do with a simple pasta sauce. 🙂 🙂 I like surprises and discovering new things too, and there are always plenty around here. Take care, hon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jo. I can not imagine tomatillos for breakfast! So true about Italian chefs making the most simple ingredients “shine” and taste unbelievable. I am sure you are always exploring places and new ideas. That always comes through in your posts! Take care, stay safe and have fun exploring!

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  14. We have so many pastimes in common. We love art, travel and writing about both. Your photos are beautiful, and you have the art of focusing one a few rather than including so many, a skill I’m working on. Thanks for beauty and insight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rusha! Your comment made me very happy. 😃 😊. So we share similar interests. We are kindred spirits. I guess I choose fewer images for practical reasons–like the amount of space I have in my media files and how many shots I like for that week’s post. I try to limit them to 5…tops. It is an exercise in paring down sometimes, but other times I’m only happy with a few!

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  15. I, too, wish I would have known about Margot. That’s interesting.

    Your love of cooking certainly keeps your house smelling yummy, and no doubt it resonates with the memory of your grandpa when you do.

    Glad I share the love of photography with you. Feel like I got to know you even better with this theme. Enjoy your week, Patti.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true about cooking and my memories of my grandfather. I think of him when I cook sometimes. I love how blogging introduces us to new people and widens our world! Thanks, Donna.

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  16. Hi Patti – the best thing about your
    pastime of “discovering wonderful artistic treasures” is that it can be a lifelong endeavor – and cheers to that.
    Also, I had my post ready to go for last week but had some things come up –
    but will be linking it still – hope that is okay – I know it will be the buzz that happens during the current week of post shares – but there is not time limit – correct?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow! Such beautiful images and background stories. That Vermeer is just exquisite. Now I know where the word quarantine comes from too 🙂
    Thanks for bringing us along for a taste of what your travels have led to.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Patti and now I am hungry! Our work team’s social committee (which is a contradiction in terms working, from home and not socializing), yesterday asked us to share our favourite recipe and a photograph of it which they will share with the team. I was not gong to, but your post inspired me to take part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great, Abrie! Food photography looks deceptively easy, but it’s not! It’s definitely faster to eat the food than photograph it! But it’s still great fun. I’m so glad to hear from you. Working at home, eh? Sounds familiar!

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