La Gitana was a name given to me a few years back. A wonderful Palero named Alfredo had blessed me with a ticket to Miami. I was checking out some prospective design firms and he needed help bringing his Olokun back to NYC. He purchased my favorite set of tarot on this trip. An old Spanish style set and I read for his Godparents. They were impressed and as a gift bought me a Flamenco dancer doll. I fell in love with it. Alfredo got into the car. "It's special because it's like you. La Gitana, that's who you are." And it was true. I had never embraced it as much as I did at that moment. We drove back to NYC. We talked about Santeria, the Orishas, Palo, and the ancestors. I knew I wanted to be a part of it all. You see, Miami had been very good to me but I was happy to be back in the city.
We met up for coffee and cupcakes and walked around the city before deciding to do a quick photo shoot the next day. My week was packed but I felt this shoot was important. And when you get that sense you should always follow it. I went home, painted throughout the night and went to bed exhausted. Robin and I met up around noon the next day and headed into Williamsburg. I was to be posing as Frida Kahlo later in the day, so I dressed in advance, leaving only the costume change to be dealt with at four.
It was the day of coffee and mantillas. You see I had fallen in love with a comb from Spain and a black lace veil. Mantillas are gorgeous, everything about them speaks to me. Years ago I had fallen in love with Spanish culture.
Robin and I chose Williamsburg to shoot, not only because it was close to where I had to be later in the day but also for the worn brick, street art, and skyline. We walked up and down the streets stopping only when something interested us, snapping photos, drinking coffee.
This is one of the first photos she snapped as we walked down the windy road. It happens to be my favorite. There are certain moments where you just let go. You're not really thinking about what you look like, where you're going, or who you are. You're just there, being. And I think this captures that.
The next photograph both of us laughed over. It was so perfect, a decaying city, the last few sips of caffeine, and a gorgeous piece of lace flowing back and forth as the scent of the water wafted through the air.
We walked down to the water. The wind swirling around us becoming too much. She snapped what would become my favorite image of the city. Construction and all the skyline before us. It's the kind of photograph that makes you appreciate where you live.
Today I spent the day swinging on swingsets and taking it easy from the weekend. Last night I live sketched at Gemini & Scorpio's Swing House. That blog will be posted soon. Until then, here is my lovely recipe for sopa de salchichon.
1 large salchichón (sausage)
4 small potatoes cubed
1 packet ham sazon
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 c. noodles
1 tsp.mashed garlic
1 onion chopped
1/4 c. chopped celery
2 envelopes beef sazón
1.5 tbsp. Adobo seasoning
2 ears of corn cut in half
1 small can of tomato sauce
Before heating anything take a grater and peel and grate the yucca until you have a pile of shavings. Sprinkle a little adobo into the yucca and then form balls with the shaved yucca. Place in a bowl for later.
In a soup pot, heat the oil; add the salchichón, mashed garlic (a pilonazos), adobo, chopped onion and stir fry a little.
Add the water,sazón, and tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
Once it boils, bring down the heat to medium.
Add the cubed potatoes,corn, yucca balls, and celery.
Wait approximately five minutes and add the noodles.
Stir frequently to avoid excessive sticking, adjust water when necessary.
When the noodles are fully cooked, turn the heat off.
In a separate pot cook some white rice. When it is finished place in a seperate bowl. Place soup in bowl of it's own. Take a spoonful of rice and gently dip into the soup. Delicious isn't it?
This recipe is an improvised version of my Godmother's "hangover soup".