Happy Tuesday! Over the last couple of weeks, I have been updating my blog and moving old posts from Blogger to WordPress (which involves a lot more work than I expected!). The process has been pretty humbling – while I am super proud of the posts I am able to write, photograph and produce now, I definitely started out with far fewer skills, and some of my early posts are a (for lack of a better word…) janky. Seeing these older posts really shows me how far I’ve come with my photos (#humblebrag !), and I’m proud of the work and effort I’ve put in to improve my craft. With the exception of a photography class that I took during my junior year abroad in Florence, I’m a self-taught photographer, so I’ve really learned a ton over these 3 years blogging. I went from a standard point and shoot camera to a digital SLR camera, I actually started paying attention to lighting, and I’ve learned a ton about styling each shot and post.
The changes have been pretty dramatic (if I do say so myself), and I’m so proud of how much I’ve improved. The act of going through the history of my blog has made me take another look at some of my more embarrassing first posts (like the awful lighting here!!!), and in doing so, I’ve really thought a lot about whether or not I want to remove them. As a blogger, my blog is pretty much my resume – when people read it, I want it to look clean, organized and well-thought out, so that I can come across to readers as my best self. In thinking about it in that way, it would make sense to remove some of the older, less than perfect posts. On the other hand, these posts show my progress and the full scope of my blog. For now, I’ve decided to keep the earlier posts around, as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Sure, some of it doesn’t look that great, but most people don’t start out as professionals in everything they do – we all have improvements to make in some area of our lives, and I’m ok with looking at my blogging history like that, not just as a glaring reminder of my earlier blogging shortcomings.
Taking a look at my simpler blog beginnings every once in a while isn’t such a bad idea, and it reminds me of the work of the Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel the Elder, who was working in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Brueghel reached the height of his career during the religious Reformation in Northern Europe, which really revolutionized the current art movement. Instead of continuing the corruption and total decadence within the Roman Catholic Church that had become common during the Italian Renaissance, the Reformation questioned the emphasis on materialism as a means of religious salvation. Leader Martin Luther disagreed with the common practices of buying your way into heaven, and preached a simpler, less materialistic way of living.
Breughel fully embraced this return to a simpler life, and some of his most common subjects were scenes of peasant life. In fact, he often dressed up like a peasant so that he could join in on the village festivities and better observe the groups of people that he would later paint. The Peasant Wedding was completed in 1567 and shows one of his most memorable scenes – a rustic gathering in a barn for a wedding reception. The spacious room is decorated for a wedding, and the guests gather around a large table. As the feast continues, bagpipe players gather to entertain the crowd, and jugs of wine are refilled. No one is especially extravagantly dressed, and the bride sits before a green curtain to distinguish her from her guests. Overall the scene is modest but Brueghel also expresses the seriousness of this event, and his work is incredibly detailed and careful.
This “humble” pie is kind of anything but – it’s made with simple ingredients but is super flavorful and amazing. Try eating only one piece, I dare you!
Strawberry Ginger Lattice Pie
All-Butter Double Crust: Previously seen here
Strawberry Ginger Pie Filling:
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed and quartered
1 small baking apple, peeled and shredded
juice of one lemon
dash of Angostura bitters
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced ginger
3 tablespoons ground arrowroot
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
pinch of salt
1 egg (for egg wash)
Prepare and chill the pie crusts, and roll out one to fit in your pie plate. Gently press into the plate and trim the edges so that only an inch or so hangs over the sides. Keep in the fridge until ready to fill.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix 3 tablespoons sugar with the quartered strawberries and let macerate for at least 30 minutes. Drain the bowl of excess liquid and stir in the shredded apple. Sprinkle with lemon juice and bitters.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar (¼ cup), brown sugar, arrowroot, allspice and salt. Stir in the minced ginger. Drain the strawberry mixture of excess liquid again and then gently fold into the dry mix. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell.
Roll out the second pie crust, and cut into even ½ – ¾-inch strips. Arrange the strips over the filled pie and weave into a lattice (New to lattice tops? Check out this super helpful how-to video). In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with a little water. Gently brush over the lattice top, and top with an additional sprinkling of sugar if you want. Stick the pie back into the fridge while the oven heats up.
Preheat the oven to 425° and arrange one of the oven racks at the center of the oven. Stick the chilled pie onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 30 minutes. The strawberry filling should be oozing and bubbling and the lattice will be lightly golden. Let cool for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Recipe adapted from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Featured art: Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Peasant Wedding, 1567, oil on panel