Saturday, December 10, 2011

Maira Kalman & Cake at the American Academy in Rome

Maira Kalman and American Academy pastry chef Mirella Misenti were co-conspirators in the creation of a delightful afternoon of pleasure to the palate and the eye. Maira briefly shared her reflections on Rome, her life, her career and what inspires her....cakes do. Illustrated edible cakes, and edible illustrations of cakes.

Our cakes were delectable: a three layer pan di spagna with two different fillings between each layer: lemon cream filling and whipped cream. We were also served bite-sized ginger snaps and tea.

There is no rhyme or reason as to what Maira illustrate; these days, she says, it's simply what appeals to her at that moment. She's illustrated an eclectic assortment of  publications over the years including the New Yorker magazine, The Elements of Style (a book originally published in 1918 by William Strunk Jr focusing on the rules of usage in literature), and most recently Michael Pollans' Food Rules. Maira has also published a number of her own adult and children's books.
Food Rules is a simple handbook of intuitive, numbered rules on how to eat sustainably, that can be just as easily understood by an elementary school student as an adult. Michael Pollan is a journalist turned culinary sustainability expert and spokesperson. Food Rules is his seventh book. I use Food Rules as a bible in my intro culinary sustainability classes. When the revised addition with illustrations by Maira Kalman was published last month I was no less than ecstatic. It's delightful! Make sure you pick up a copy; you won't be disappointed!

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