Monday, July 28, 2008

Jet lagged, but ready to roll

I am jet-lagged, but very happy to be home. Having been away, I have lots of ideas, many stolen while on my trip, and lots of enthusiasm. I returned to a smoothly running machine. The Museum of the American Cocktail opened, so now the experience of visiting SoFAB includes MOTAC. That is a richer experience.

We are busily preparing plans for new exhibits as the current ones begin to cycle. I guess that we will never again be opening all of our exhibits at the same time. Our participation in The Big Read project, reading To Kill a Mockingbird, is really developing. Our own website, bigreadnola, is established and developing.

We are also working on a food and music series that will be beginning in September. More on that as it enfolds.

All of this while we continue to expand our library, collect menus, expand our collections of artifacts and archives, hold camp, expand the newsletter and do so much more. We are on our way to being a serious institution. I hope that you will continue to walk with us on this journey.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Au revior to France

This is my last day in France. We leave tomorrow morning. I have made many connections and new friends, as well as cemented relationships for SoFAB. One new relationship is with the Musee Escoffier de l'Art Culinaire in Villeneuve-Loubet. The museum is located in Escoffier's childhood home and holds mementos and other artifacts connected with this famous chef. The notebooks, the menus, the recipe notes, his tools, etc. Besides learning more about him, I was interested to see how things were displayed and how intimate the museum permitted the visitor to be with the materials.

This initimacy with the exhibits has been a serious lesson learned here in France. Even in the largest museums, the exhibits seem within reach and very human. It is a lesson that I hope that we can translate into our own exhibits at SoFAB.

I look forward to getting home, sharing more things that have been learned, and I want to start attending those fabulous programs that I have been reading about. I know I have really missed a lot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Weekends at SoFAB

If you haven't made it to any of our weekend events, you are missing out. I didn't make it to our shrimp and grits demo this past weekend, and I am positive that I missed out. We also had a presentation and demonstration of oil and vinegar infusions two weeks ago. Every one took home beautiful bottles of, what should have become by now, strawberry vinegar and rosemary oil. We learned that blanching green herbs and adding a bit of parsley to the mix will make the oil vibrant green. We talked about curry oil, guajillo chile oil, and a carrot oil emulsion.

We are extremely happy that this Saturday at 2 p.m., IAN MCNULTY will be here to sign his book, "A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina."

The cost is only the price of admission to the museum. Of course, a membership will allow you to attend all of these events for free. And that way, you won't have to regret missing delicious, informative events at SoFAB. Maybe, I can talk Wesley into a sequal to the shrimp and grits demo...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

On the Road

This will be quick post from the Route National in France. Tonight we will sleep in Montpellier and begin the classes in gout. But I have tasted the tastes of the Cote d'Azur and Provence. I have obviously not mastered the international keyboard. I have seen people make huge pans of ratatouille, seen fields of sunflowers and much more. I will share more when I return.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

getting better

A few weeks ago, I left work feeling like I should take my laptop home with me and just keep working. How in the hell would I ever get caught up? Then Liz told me to accept the fact that I would never, never, ever get "caught up" and if I did, it would mean my job was over. You would think that would be daunting advice, but actually it was kind of liberating. Now I don't look at the whole pile. I look at each piece and I can now honestly say: Every day it's just getting better.

We reprinted the wrinkled panels. We only have a few typos left to fix. I filled out some holes in the captions department. More people keep volunteering every day (though still not enough, come on folks, sign up!). Stephanie has filled in programming till November. I just wrote the "Kid's Scavenger Hunt" and am going to have a dry run of it with the kids at camp. The gift shop is really filling out. People keep writing nice things in the guest book. The Museum of the American Cocktail is open. I've left work each day this week and actually felt like I made a dent in the looming, towering pile of "THINGS TO DO". Progress. Satisfying progress. Unfamiliar. Feels nice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Looking ahead

There is so much exciting going on with SoFAB that it is hard to keep it straight. The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) will be opening very soon (July 21), I will be traveling to Montpellier, France next week to study at the Institut du Gout, and we have begun programming on a regular basis. Starting this Sunday there will be something happening at SoFAB every week-end. This week-end our own chef-educator, Stephanie Carter, will be demonstrating flavored oils and vinegars. What a great way to use those herbs that are overgrowing in our gardens. The demonstration is free with admission to the museum. There is no charge to members.

If you have paid for your membership and haven't received your card, please ask at the desk.

Please join us as we develop into a mature institution with layers of meaning and complexity.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

unexpected support

So I come to work every day and look around at all the things I need to attend to. The cabbages that are starting to wilt. The several dozen new emails taking the place of the four I managed to answer the day before. Fixing typos. Making new captions for new artifacts. Making coffee and tea for our tasting exhibit. Writing proposals for exhibit funding. For visitor funding. For me funding. And sometimes I get cranky. Why bother even cutting the head off this Hydra? I'm never going to be "caught up." I bit off too much and no matter how much I keep chewing, the metaphorical bite of po-boy just keeps growing and growing. And then I read the guest book. I'd forgotten we even had one. And I read things like "Great Job!" "Great Start" "I learned so much!" The unchecked use of exclamation marks usually drives me crazy, but in this instance, it made me smile. Then I got an email from a woman coming from the West Coast who is bringing people to work for Habitat for Humanity and wants to help us out while she is here. And she said "I think the work you are doing is underrated and amazing." Underrated and amazing. Yep, I think I'll just chew on that for a while.