Picture Books, Farmers Markets, and a Peach and Blueberry Crumble

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Until I became a parent, picture books were definitely not on my list of interesting reads. I think it’s because as a so-called grown-up, I assumed that books that depended largely on pictures to tell their stories were dull and simplistic, appealing solely to the youngest among us.

And then I had children, and like most of my prior assumptions about being a parent, my assumptions about the appeal of picture books flew right out the window. A picture book, I quickly learned, is a magical combination of words and art that can stir the imagination of any age.

One picture book that I especially loved to read to my daughters was Katie and the Sunflowers by James Mayhew. It features Katie, a little girl of about six, who decides to visit the art museum with her grandmother after rain washes out their plans to spend the day gardening. Upon entering the building, Katie is immediately drawn to the warmth and sunniness of paintings by the artists Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, and Paul Cezanne. In fact, Katie is so captivated by their works that she soon climbs inside several of them. The charm of Katie’s antics as she plays with, and runs from, the characters in the paintings is matched only by the beauty of the book’s illustrations. Its pages glow with the reds, yellows, blues and greens that were so beloved by the artists whose paintings Katie unabashedly explores.

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Chocolate Blueberry Cake with Mascarpone Topping, Wild Blueberry Syrup, and Lemon Zest

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I think the makings of a different sequel to last year’s sci-fi blockbuster Divergent were unexpectedly revealed last week as the internet exploded over the colors of a dress.  This time instead of five factions, however, there will be only two:  those who see the colors as black and blue and those who see them as white and gold.

And if some see the dress both as black and blue and white and gold – what faction will they be in?  Why, of course, those are the Divergents, and their fate will be the knowledge that mother-of-the-bride dresses are neither black nor white but, um, varying shades of grey?

Ok, I’m just being silly. But who can resist the urge to have some pop culture mashup fun with two recent Hollywood blockbusters and that internet phenom otherwise known as “the Dress.”    It’s my version of cat video therapy.

Well, in honor of strange juxtapositions that can arise only because of the internet, I’ve created a dessert for the Divergents among us.  It’s a chocolate blueberry cake topped with whipped mascarpone cheese and lemon zest and garnished with wild blueberry syrup.  Is the cake black, or is it blue?  What about the topping?  Would you call it white with streaks of blue and gold?  Or is it white and blue with gold flecks?

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