"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Archive for June, 2011

Working at Jim’s Steaks Philly

From the archives.  People at work series- graciously allowed me to photograph as we ordered drinks to go with our cheesesteaks.

I like the backlight of the glass door fridge, her quizzical expression, patiently waiting for our order. Tourists!

I am sorry I didn’t get her name but perhaps someone will know and comment.

In the city of brotherly love last summer for a wedding and it was late Saturday night, a line around the block to get into Jim’s Steaks.  Steve and I waited.  It was well worth the wait      And just last week, Mark said to me that it’s all in the bread.  Hmmmm. Good thing we live across the state in Pittsburgh!!!


What My Dad Gave Me in 1986

There was a time when we lived in Kentucky and the kids were young,  I used this Kitchen-Aid stand mixer almost everyday. It still works perfectly. I wanted this mixer so badly when we returned after living in Germany for 3 years. I don’t remember any color choice except white or off-white/almond?  A couple of years ago I asked for a new beater as the old one’s coating had started to peel.  The dough hook, the whisk like beater beats egg whites to stand in peaks in short order.  All so useful and good.    Laura was just turning three when he got it and now she’ll be 27 in a couple of months. I used to ask each child what kind of cake they wanted for their birthday.  That year Laura asked for a “Piggy Cake” although I am not sure why. Mark asked for a State of Kentucky cake and Matthew a GI-Joe cake. Good thing  my friend J and I took a class in Cake Decorating in Grafenwoehr!

I was thinking about what to post for Father’s Day this year to remember my dad. This gift from him has mixed a lot of cake batter and bread dough in our house.  Last year I posted a slideshow of my dad’s life in a minute.  This year I’m posting a photo of his generous present that’s been well used and appreciated.

He’s been gone almost nine years.  Missing him everyday, not just today. What special things remind you of your father?

So many possibilities.....


Jozie’s Mother- Genoeffa Sciulli- Baked a Biscotti Cake

The unexpected gift of cake!   Her daughter Jozie brought it to me at Mama D’s retirement picnic down the hill in the park on Friday night.  Mrs. Sciulli taught me how to make this cake in her basement kitchen a couple of years ago.  It is like an Italian sponge cake, light and not too sweet, perfect with coffee. Just delicious.   Today she baked one and sent it to me.  So nice of her.  I came home, cut a piece with a serrated knife and photographed it in the living room before I ate it. Mrs. Sciulli calls it biscotti but it is not like biscotti we think of biscotti, a twice baked cookie., hard and ready to dunk. This cake is light and eggy and has a beautiful crumb. Thank you Mrs. Sciulli.  And Joz for bringing it to me. What a nice surprise! It is delicious.


Stale Blue Peeps Still Life

What would you do if it’s June and you found an opened box of Marshmallow PEEPS® on top of your daughter-in-law’s washing machine in the laundry room? My son’s washing machine, too but there they were, sitting there, already opened. Someone had eaten half the double box of the little chicks. And true, Easter was the end of April so how hard and dried out must they be by now? Then I thought to myself, I like them with a bit of stale crust, not fresh. When was the last time you ate a Marshmallow Peep?

Darn, they’re BLUE.

I’m always going on and on about how I don’t like to eat anything blue. Wah Wah Wah. Blue food grosses me out I always say. Blueberries are really deep purple not blue. I never liked those raspberry popsicles, either. Blue food seems so fake, like the frosting on a Smurf Cake!

HA! Okay, I won’t eat one but– there was some great light streaming through their foyer windows, even with the new UV protection film they had put on last week. What to photograph? The older kids at dive team, youngest sleeping, Jack watching Tom and Jerry. I took the box of blue PEEPS, put them on the stone tile floor, turned them a bit, let the light catch on the cellophane and reflect from their sugary skin. Oh yes, I was photographing the stale blue peeps, how interesting the light was. I could see a bit of sparkle from the sugar coating. I wondered if they were still moist inside? When was Easter, I calculated the degree of freshness. That stale factor seemed attractive to me and I what does it matter anyway because remember I don’t eat anything BLUE.

I’ll just separate the one from the herd, flock, group, family, row…..yes, there it was, the white marshmallowy interior of a PEEP. \

The guts exposed.

Let me adjust the white balance on the camera settings with the white insides showing now. See how the light reflects on the white?

Oh I remembered the Mother Goose Rhyme about old Hannah Bantry or maybe she was young.

Hannah Bantry,
In the pantry,
Gnawing at a mutton bone.
How she gnawed,
How she clawed it,
When she found herself alone.

And you know what happened next. I broke the cardinal rule about Don’t eat anything BLUE. I ripped off the tail end of that PEEP and it was chewy and very stale. Dried to perfection. Just seasoned not raw or gushy. Totally disgusting. Delicious. Childhood remembered, but they were yellow then. I ate it, chewed it, swallowed the sweet sweet sweetness of the sugary confection. And photographed the evidence. PEEPS® and I are about a year apart in age.

I put back the other ones in the still opened, airing-out-box of PEEPS®, right back on top of the washing machine in the laundry room.

I confess.

I ate it AND enjoyed doing so but limited consumption to a lone PEEP. Honest. Even though it was BLUE!!

There are all sorts of shapes, recipes and crazy info about PEEPS® and the Just Born Manufacturers.

What will you admit to eating when no one is watching?


St. Joseph the Worker 24 FT Statue Waits in a Church Parking Lot

Today my friend J(of Pittsburgh, not Omaha) and I went to the Tin Front Cafe for lunch.  We heard about the St. Joseph the Worker statue having been removed from the nearby church.  Judith Tener told us where to find him in a parking lot and so after lunch we wound around one- way streets and asked a few people for directions but eventually we climbed up hills and back and found this beautiful statue waiting for us. He was striking.  There were the huge stone barrels pouring molten steel out onto the world.  Flames carved in stone.  See detail below on image three.

A big crane erected this statue (which was blessed in Italy by Pope VI) on St. Michael the Archangel Church in 1966 in Homestead.  Many Slovaks helped build this church.

When the church closed, the diocese took the statue down in 2010.

People missed looking at St. Joseph high above the buildings, overlooking Homestead and the Monongahela River.

A memorial to the hard workers of the mills in this town. He was loaded on a flatbed and taken to St Anne’s now 3 combined parishes to form St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish.  Read the names of the people etched in bricks- Vehec, Tarasevich, Godleski, Milchalk, Straka, Pavlik, Sklencar, Sayko to name a few.

The statue was designed by sculptor Frank Vittor  (b. 1888 in Italy) who also made the Honus Wagner Statue now at PNC Park.  His story on the link if you click on his name tells how he came to work with Stanford White and then  a week later White was murdered…but that is not the main idea of today’s post and I am getting off track.  It was just incredibly interesting. Vittor taught at Cooper Union in NYC and also at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University)

Here are two views of the giant St Joseph the Worker statue. And a detail shot, too.

There are plans in the works to get him relocated in a place of honor but will keep you posted when this happens.

There is an historical marker honoring sculptor Frank Vittor by the Columbus Statue in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh

detail


BLT Essential Ingredients from Local Bryant Street Market

I enjoy shopping in a smaller market. A place that isn’t an airplane hangar or cluttered with patio furniture and piles of stuff at the ends of the aisles. Just down the hill is a reopened market on Bryant Street, cleaned up and offering La Prima coffee to grind, a delicatessen case filled with all sorts of meats, cheeses and salads. Sandwiches to go. Enrico’s Biscotti. In the freezer they have Donatelli’s Italian Ravioli-mushroom, artichoke, roasted red pepper and traditional cheese. They sell Allegro Hearth Bread, fresh produce and Turner dairy items, Bob’s Red Mill grain products, spices and Chuckles . They’ve extended their hours and will deliver to your home. After my appointment I stopped in to get lunch ingredients as a friend was coming over to eat. BLT on T shouts summer to me!

Shopping list- Vine ripened tomatoes, sliced with serrated knife

Head of garden lettuce, washed and patted dry

Boar’s Head bacon slices, cooked in cast iron skillet and drained on paper towels

Hellmann’s mayo, in a glass jar

Allegro Hearth Bread, toasted in the fancy toaster V gave me for my 50th bday

Potato chips

Tahitian Vanilla Gelato, for dessert

Front porch, to sit out and eat

A summer day

A friend to share the meal.

Bryant Street Market
5901 Bryant Street
Pittsburgh PA 15206
Phone: (412) 661 8720
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 AM to 8 PM
Sat 9 AM to 7 PM
Sun 9AM to 5PM

This Scene Reminds Me of Alfred Hitchcock’s – The Birds

Many people have seen The Birds (1963). These birds seemed as if they could have been in that film.  My friend J was Tippi Hedren for Halloween one year at her office, a blazer torn up in spots, some other touches I can’t remember but maybe she will write and I will add them. These Turkey Buzzards and the Catbird made interesting silhouettes.  Shot with a 70-200mm lens.  Couldn’t decide if which wings made a stronger composition. Image one or two?

J sent me an email about the details of her Halloween costume at work….” My H’ween costume started out innocently enough – hair up, dark stockings, skirt, blazer.  As they day progressed a few stuffed birds started to appear on my desk.  By mid-day lots of birds and my hair got messier, a bit of blood appeared on my face and neck.  Then my blazer got ripped at the shoulder seam and bloody  bits on the blazer.  Then the dark stockings got horrible runs, and more blood and more birds and by end of day it was gruesome. ” Thanks J for the details.   6/15/11


City Sidewalk Stairs

In Pittsburgh there are lots of staircases winding up hillsides and slopes.  Paper streets are defined on existing on paper but not in reality but in Pittsburgh there are streets on maps that are actually stairs. Some are incredibly steep and long.  The other day I was at another red light in McKees Rocks and saw this sidewalk/steps. The bench ad for Pierogies Plus  is true as they are delicious. A book written by an architect librarian and archivist at CMU. Author Martin Aurand‘s book  The Spectator and the Topographical City describes the formation of the topography of Pittsburgh’s hills and valleys.


How a Green Thumb Starts

Maura put on her mom’s gardening gloves, picked up a trowel, dug in the dirt and transferred a shovelful from one part of the flowerbed to another.  I asked her, “What are you doing? and she held up the little spade to show me!


Sudden Service in McKees Rocks, PA

At a red light, shot through the windshield, but isn’t this a great sign?  Sudden Service. Open for business in McKees Rocks, PA. How making the same photo black and white it can feel like I took this photograph years ago.  Try four days ago!Dry Cleaners McKees Rocks


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