End of December & End of Year 2008

End of December & End of Year 2008

To end this year here is “December,” a drawing/collage from my Calendar series with a poem by Nicole Brossard. This song will be part of my new CD to be released in spring 2009:

“Whisk, don’t Churn!”
A Live Recording
Nicole Peyrafitte with Michael Bisio

Remember, if you are in NYC on New Year’s Day do come to see us at the St Mark’s Poetry Poetry Project 35th Annual New Year’s Day Poetry Marathon. Pierre Joris, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte & myself –and about an other 140 poets, musicians & dancers– will perform from 2pm into the euphoric early morning. We are scheduled to appear in the early afternoon (between 2 & 3PM) and I also will be flipping crepes in the Parish Hall until I run out of my gallon of bater. Voilà for now! & Thank you for reading my blog and some of you since I have started back in March. The readership is seriously increasing but I would love to get more feed back.
Until next post: Bona Anada, Bonne Année, Happy New Year!




Pour John & Wayne

The sun has set too fast today.
Can a water lily show me the way?
An impression by Claude Monet
Let Giverny bridge Albany.
Wet paint into wet paint
Emphasizes your qualities.
The perception of your movements
Belongs to les effets de soir.
Your blue shadow is a landscape
Your reflection a guide.
Like a painting by Claude Monet
“Impression, Sunrise”
Impression, soleil levant

Bay Ridge -Sunday, October 26, 2008
Bass: Michael Bisio
Photo/Voice/Text: Nicole Peyrafitte
Recorded Live at Justin’s in Albany N.Y by Sten Isachsen -Bender Studio-November 20, 2008

Preview Recording & Thanksgiving

Preview Recording & Thanksgiving

Drawing Y.K.

Wow! my last post was over a week ago and I didn’t get a chance to write anything since then. So let’s go back in time a little bit:

The gig with Mike Bisio at Justin’s in Albany N.Y was a lot of fun and we couldn’t have had a better audience. If you were there: thank you so much for your undivided attention. Pierre Joris produced a live recording of the concert and and it looks like we might have enough material to cut a live album; Sten Isachen from Bender Studio in Delmar, NY did a great job recording us.

Michael Bisio & Nicole Peyrafitte

If you wish you had been there or want to listen to our very first song of the night, you can! Click to hear arrivé ici (though be aware that this is a very rough and not yet “mastered” mix). Arrivé ici or Come here is a poem by Pierre Joris from “hjr” published by OtherWind Press. Do not hesitate to let me know what you think.

Monday I rushed back from Albany to make sure to get an organic turkey from the Park Slope Food Coop and get all the my Thanksgiving food shopping done as Tuesday and Wednesday were going to be taken up by work. Below you can see the photo reportage —mostly photographed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte— of the preparation, but first let me give you our collaborative family menu:

Pumpkin & Passilla Chili Potage topped w/ crema, cilantro & chopped fresh jalapeño
Served with Marge’s Corn Bread
Stuffed Turkey *My Way*
This stuffing is closer to the one for French Dinde de Noêl or X-mas Turkey. Ingredients are ground pork, shitake mushrooms, onions, celery & carrot (very little), garlic, parsley, brandy, lots of freshly ground pepper, salt — and finish with eggs to bind. The turkey was in a brine for 48 hours.
Mashed Potatoes
Haricots Verts
(Joseph Mastantuono & YK)
Oyster Dressing (Joseph Mastantuono & YK)
Roasted Celeriac, Carrots & Shallots with bits of Bacon
Simple Cranberry Sauce
Orange & Shallot Gravy

Plum Tort (Dawn Clements)
Mousse au Chocolat (Joseph Mastantuono & YK)
Sweet Potato Pie
Cranberry & Orange & Peanut Butter Pie

Also, I wanted to forward an interesting op-ed New York Times ( I swear it was in the *real* New York Times!) article that has us thinking of a totally different menu for next year. Cocorico!
read on:

Coming up & Le *Faux* New York Times

Coming up & Le *Faux* New York Times
Mike Bisio & Nicole Peyrafitte. Photo Dan Wilcox
Photo Dan Wilcox

Thursday Michael Bisio -double bass- and I -voice & sounds- will be performing original works and contemporary poetry at Justin’s in Albany. Mike and I have collaborated since 2005. Over the years, thanks to Mike’s unconditional dedication to a very atypical artistic adventure, we have developed an ongoing and challenging conversation taking place at the borders between sound & sense, music & word. Cookin’ with Mike is about whippin’ not churnin’! see video.

Pierre Joris, poet, translator, editor & also my partner of 18 years has decided to produce a live recording of the event. Sten Isachsen from Bender Studio in Delmar will be once again our recording engineer. I did record my cd “The Bi-Continental Chowder/ La Garbure Transcontinentale “ at Bender Studio. This is very exciting and I hope you can join us:

Thursday November 20th 2008
VOICE & BASS unleashed!

Justin’s on Lark
301 Lark Street Albany NY
9PM $3cover
reservation recommended

And now, just in case you missed it or want to know more about the incredible work of Extraordinaires “Liberal Pranksters” : LE FAUX NEW YORK TIMES and all the news I wish for. It was distributed Wednesday November 12 2008 & dated July 4th 2009. I was so exited to be one of the hundreds of anonymous distributors.

faux times

My favorite article was:
Maximum Wage Law Passes Congress”. Salary cap will help stabilize economy
but check out:


& do not miss the *real* New York Times blog reaction.

See you here or there!

Purple Dragon Carrots

Purple Dragon Carrots
Purple dragon carrots from Nesenkeag Farm
Mange des carottes, ça rend aimable! Eat carrots and you will be kind! or, eat carrots and they’ll make you a pleasant person!
How many times did I, like any French person, hear that saying? Countless times. As a kid, I can’t say I disliked carrots, but the moral value that supposedly came with them infuriated me. What did that imply? Was I not a sweet little girl? I do, and still do, take sayings (too) seriously!
At the family restaurant carrotes rapées were always on the crudités cart, dressed with vinaigrette and garnished with parsley. Another carrot dish that appeared regularly on the menu, and that I liked very much, is carrotes Vichy. These sweet glazed carrots would be flanked by a slice of beautiful veal loin roast drenched in flavorsome intense jus. My grand father’s recipe was simple and looks like the same recorded on his (now mine!) Escoffier cookbook:
Carottes à la Vichy:
Place the (sliced) carrots in a skillet with enough water to almost cover them, add 30 grammes of salt, 30 grammes of sugar and 60 grammes of butter per 1/2 litre of water. Set up “en timbale” (in this case it means to fill up a greased individual ramekins with the cooked carrots and turn them out on the serving dish or plate).
The carrots I took pictures of are Purple Dragon carrots. They were the last veggies left over from my wonderful trip to Nesenkeag Farm a few weeks ago. I never had these carrots before, I usually stay away from “trendy” foods, but Liana & Eero generously send me home with 2 lbs of them and I got curious.
One anecdote before I get into carrot history:
I brought a few to Alime at Aunt Halime’s Halal Meat, as she always shares Turkish delicacies. I though it was going to be a hit, but Alime looked at the purple carrots made a very disapproving face and said something like “beurk! chemicals, you can’t trust supermarket!”. I am not sure she trusted me about the carrots exquisite provenance, but it got me even more curious and I decided to look closer at the history of the carrot. Have carrots always been orange?
This summer I got a French book (thank you Pierre!) called “La Fabuleuse Histoire des Légumes” or “The Fabulous History of Vegetables” by Evelyne Bloch-Dano. Yes, I have translated “légumes” by “vegetables” because that is what the word means in the French sense of it. The book tells stories about leguminous plants, such as beans and peas, but also artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke and others. About carrots she writes:
In the 1930’s Vavilov, the Russian biologist and his team were doing research in the context of the improvement of cultivated plants in the service of Soviet Agriculture. They discovered spieces of volunteer and hybrid carrots in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Their appearance differs from wild carrots under our climate : their roots are meatier, bear little ramifications and most of all their colour ranges from purple and pink to orangy yellow…
Then Evelyne Bloch-Dano mentions Ibn al-‘Awwam, the 12th century agriculturist from Seville, who in turns reports on a 4th century book on Nabatean Agriculture and the fact thatred and yellow carrots were known to Palestinians. Ibn al-‘Awwam also speaks of red carrots in Spain at that time. In Spanish carrot is Zanahoria, and the origin of the word is quite controversial and interesting.
It is common to find entries giving an Arabic origin: safunariyat, isfranija. But the word may also possibly have a Berber origin, asfenaria . Mais encore, a Basque origin is not excluded: zain and horia which means “yellow root”, and carrots where more often red and yellow than orange. Others again posit as Aramean origin…Well, I am letting you sort it out and if you are germanophiles look at the entry below by the distinguished German linguist Hugo Schuchart:
Bloch-Dano reports that Apicius mentions a white “carota”, eaten fried or en salade, and that white carrots were mistaken for parsnips. But when did the carrot became orange? She notes that we can follow the appearance of orange carrots through Dutch paintings like Pieter Aertsen’s (1508–1575) ” Market Woman with Vegetable Stall “. She argues that Dutch painters recorded orange carrots about 200 years before any agriculture treatise; 1721 would be the first mention of the orange carrots from Holland. We don’t find any record in France until 1770.
Market Woman with Vegetable Stall 1567
Oil on wood, 11 x 110 cm – Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Voilà! I was just going spend a couple hours writing a quick blog about carrots; and here I am, eight hours later and sore from kneeling on my computer chair (told you I was brought up catholic!). After traveling virtually through continents, countries, languages I can now answer confidently:
No! carrots have not always been orange! Looks like they are a Dutch invention to celebrate the Orangist movement.
Yes! I ate my Purple Dragon carrots. I sautéed them with cabbage, ginger and garlic topped this with a steak haché (hamburger, with no bun, I don’t do sandwiches for dinner). Purple Dragon carrots are good, though I must say they have a far more interesting look that taste. The juxtaposition of purple and orange is stunning. For taste I prefer the orange ones. I ate some of the Purple Dragon carrots raw tand they do taste nuttier and stronger it is no doubt a hardier vegetable.

One more thing before I go stretch and breathe some fresh air: there is a great article and photo montage on the Christian Monitor website about Nesenkeag Farm: An organic farm grows all the peas and pods

Nicole’s Thursday night quick dinner:
Simple pan fried Hamburger with
Sautéed Purple Dragon carrots & Nappa cabbage with garlic & fresh ginger