Through the website of an American writer I got to know the posts of David Charles Terry, an artist from North Carolina. David always writes on the internet and has a clear and expressive way of telling his story. Curious, I searched for his own website and what I found was a site full of art, that he makes. Definitely my cup of tea. His art is just as his writing full of symbols. I invited him to particpate in “geprekken en gerechten” (conversation and recipes) David also portrays animals. In a conversation we had on Facebook, he told me that Dutch artist Rien Poortvliet is an all time favorite. I hope I can do something with this fact. Let’s see if we can make a dish for David from the answers he gives to my questions
Who is David Charles Terry?
How did your attraction for art start?
Well, I’ve always drawn and painted,since I was very young, and I was encouraged by my parents to do so. I never thought of doing it for a living until, just as I was finishing my doctorate in literature (after twelve years of teaching at either boarding-schools or Duke University), I realized that I didn’t really enjoy the profession/work anymore. Fortunately, it was at that time that I was offered my first contracts to illustrate book-covers and the book reviews for some major newspapers….So, I did so. I found that illustrating the outside of books paid more and was more fun than writing the insides of them. So, the decision to switch careers was made quite easy for me.
What is the biggest theme in your work?
Oh….ask the critics. They all seem to say “memory”, “narrative”, “southern gothic”, “literary references”, etcetera. I really don’t think about this very much, since I draw and paint only what interests me.
What is your favorite type of art?
That’s easy……Andrew Wyeth, Durer, and Cistercian architecture (of which I’m particularly fond….I spend half of my time in Europe chasing down old, Cistercian monasteries.)
Which animal do you like the most and which one you dislike? I am very curious about that
Obviously, I’m most fond of dogs. I keep many bird-feeders and am fascinated by wild birds. Cows interest me a great deal (mostly because they’re so profoundly inexplicable). I love geese; primarily because they’re so noisy and territorial and ill-tempered and generally unpleasant. I REALLY dislike (or, at least, would never have around my place) chickens and over-bred breeds of cats, such as flat-faced “persians” (more precisely, I pity any breed of animal that’s so overbred that it couldn’t survive for five minutes without a human to take care of it).
You travel a lot to France, where and what do like the most?
I most enjoy the forest-filled Perigord/Dordogne region, although I’ve spent a great deal of time in Provence and the Loire Valley (where my in-laws live and where my partner was born & raised). I suppose I most enjoy/appreciate the French way of living (at least among the class into which I’ve married)….long, carefully prepared & appreciated meals, paying attention to the garden, family-relations…it’s all very much like the area of America (Tennessee) in which I was raised, which is quite different from most parts/society of America.
I heard you are also a wonderful gardner, how does this interfere with your art?
It doesn’t interfere at all with it. I would be inclined to say that drawing and painting interferes with my gardening. Still, I’m paid to paint, and I’m not yet paid to garden….so, I do what I have to do.
And for whom you would like to cook and why?
I cook for friends all the time; I have friends over for dinner two or three times per week (perhaps I should emphasize that I don’t have children, which makes entertaining quite a bit more negotiable). Oddly enough, I suppose, I’m never particularly interested in actually eating the food once I’ve cooked it. Most of time, I simply hover around the table or perch on a nearby chair with a glass of wine once guests have arrived and begin eating. I do like the cooking-process itself (most particularly, shopping for ingredients), and I really enjoy making a special night for hardworking friends on a weekday evening. quite frankly, I know that all too many of my friends are too busy with work to cook for themselves, and I think they too-often simply opt for going-out to a restaurant. Personally, I can’t stand wasting time in restaurants…..too much bother, and it simply takes too much time. I’m spoiled, I suppose, in that several of my good friends and I are all good cooks…and we’d rather eat comfortably and relaxedly in our homes with each other.
On food, which food do you like and which you would never eat?
I like almost all cuisines and am quite adept to moderately familiar with most of the major “categories”. I suppose I tend to mostly-cook what Claudia Roden would refer to as “Mediterranean cooking”. I also do a lot of Indian and specifically French (country) cooking. I don’t think of either cusine as “exotic” or “foreign” these days. They’re both very sensible, practical cuisines (I should emphasize that I have no interest in “fancy”, Parisian-restaurant haute-cuisine innovations, etcetera….the food simply doesn’t interest me…it’s too fussy and demands too much attention for me to enjoy the meal or my company). To answer your direct question?….I don’t intend to ever even try testicles or chicken-feet, or dog or sea-urchins. For better or worse, I don’t regard eating as a competitive-sport. Also, I have no interest whatsoever in sweets or desserts, and (like most French people) I leave baking to the professionals.
Which wine do you like?
I’m sorry, perhaps to say that I “like” almost all of them. My favorites are white Bordeauxs and Sancerres. The only wine I dislike is a Provencal Rosé….but only because it’s chilled and so easy to drink on a hot day in Provence….and I end up with a piercing headache after an afternoon nap. That’s no doubt MY problem, not rosés (sorry, but I’m typing on an English keyboard and have no accents just now).
Can you tell me something about your “foodprint” We waste a lot of food in the western world?
Oh, I don’t waste any food. I made a roast pork loin two days ago (my french in-laws are visiting here for three weeks, AND my parents came for the weekend); tomorrow morning, it’ll be turned into Provencal stuffed-cabbage, and the leftover chicken from one night ago will be turned into terrines for lunch. Actually, most of my favorite foods (pates, etcetera) are made with what most Americans would regard as “leftovers”. Similarly (and like most Italian/French grandmothers) I’m well-aware that the cheapest cuts of meat are (if you know what to do with them) the very most flavorful and best……ossobuco or coq au vin (which is basically an old rooster you can’t roast or boil), for example.
What else do you want to tell?
I can’t think of anything else. I’m not, as a general rule, very interested in myself, so to speak…..
David Charles has given a lot of hints to me for his recipy. He roams around Cistercian monastaries, likes the Périgord, is not a firm lover of Parisian nouvelle cuisine flings… I think we have a match in the way that I am also very caught by the cooking process than by the eating process. The dish has also to be one he can serve over and over when he entertains and watches his friends doing the eating. His arts for me resemble a lot of the pictures you will see in Brussels’s cafés. So a stew it will be, a Flemish style beef stew with Trappist beers. In the low countries are only 7 monasteries left that are allowed brew genuine Trappist beer. You can either drink beer with this dish or a classical Burgundy wine, that also used to be made by Cistercian monks…
Ingredients 4 persons:
2 lbs beef, with some fat
2 oz butter
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb of chestnut mushrooms
3 red onions
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs of brown sugar
1 botlle of Trappist beer, like Westmalle dubbel
6 juniper berries
1 ts cinnamon
1 big carrot
1 tbs vinager (balsamic)
Salt en ground pepper
1 ½ lbs of Brussels sprouts
freshly ground nutmeg
Cut the beef meat in pieces. Put in a bowl and pour the Trappist beer. Add the sliced red onions, the carrot in dices, the brown sugar, the balsamic vinager, cinnamon, bay leaves, juniper berries and leave to marinate for 4 hours in the fridge. Cut the mushrooms in pieces and fry them. Put aside for later. Get the meat out of the beer, pat dry with some kitchen paper and cover with some flour. Add some pepper and salt. In a deep pan you heat the butter and oil and start to fry the beef til brown. In another pan you warm the beer from the bowl. When it is warm you add it to th meat and leave the meat to simmer for at least 3 hours on a low fire. At the end you will add the mushrooms and leave the dish to simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce/gravy is too thin, make it thicker by adding some ”beurre manié” I.e. knobs of butter covered with flour. Cook the Brussel’s sprouts for only 8 minutes and serve them with some butter and freshy ground nutmeg. Serve the stew directly from the pan and with some fresh farmer’s bread and salty butter.