#4 – Free museums
I am a firm believer that all museums should be free.
I know, I know – sometimes this isn’t possible. Sometimes funding is short and demand is high and who wouldn’t want to make more money to preserve their paintings and sculptures and such? But just as with other beautiful and important things in life, preserving greatness doesn’t mean nearly as much if the audience isn’t there to enjoy and learn from it.
Rainy afternoon at the Tate Britain
That’s why I’m such a huge fan of the vast number of free museums in London. On any given day, a person can walk into the British Museum and see the Rosetta Stone. They can go visit the Magna Carta or Shakespeare’s original manuscripts at the British Library. They can take a free tour of the Tate Britain and follow a literal timeline of British art. They can form their own opinions about censorship, ownership (as in the case of the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum), citizenship (as in the Imperial War Museum – NOT free grumble grumble). Whether visitors take a free tour (offered at all free museums here and highly recommended!), stay for five minutes, or visit every day all day for a week, they can do so without barriers, without balancing the cost versus what they hope to get out of the experience.
Guerrilla Girl costumes in the V & A – this group protests the extreme lack of female artists in art museums around the world, often talking about how there are many MANY more times more naked women in museums than female artists represented. I’m a big fan!
Museums have a lot to teach us – about where we came from, how other cultures live, what we can learn from the past as we plan for the future. I think we’d all be better off if we hung out in free galleries a few hours a week, just reminding ourselves to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the world.
Period clothing at the V&A. Be still, my Darcy-loving heart!
The #4 is brought to you from… somewhere in France!
All photos are my own unless otherwise stated.
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Long, long ago, in a living room far, far away, I lost miserably on my Oscar ballot. But I like to think I still won the night with my Oscar-themed menu, with one item from each Best Picture nominated film. Check below the photos for the specifics on each recipe.
- Hershey kisses for Amour
- 70s-tastic and undercover-disguise ready peanut butter chocolate mustaches for Argo, with some “escape to Canada” Canadian Dry on the side
- Life of (Pumpkin) Pi(e) dip
- Southern corn muffins and red pepper jam from Beasts of the Southern Wild (our store didn’t have the ingredients to make hushpuppies!)
- Southern Comfort in honor of Lincoln (with cranberry and a splash of gingerale = best drink ever)
- Pigs in a blanket, perfect for eating in front of a football game a la Silver Linings Playbook (note: I never even got to eat one of these despite delivering them in two waves = major party pleaser!)
- … served with smokey BBQ sauce for Django Unchained
- A loaf of French bread and baked brie, courtesy of Valjean in Les Mis
- (Coke) Zero Dark Thirty
Overall, it was a great bash and it taught me that you can never put out the red carpet too early, there’s no such thing as too many little hot dogs… and we need a bigger living room.
Argo mustaches – made with simple chocolate molds from Michael’s – super fun and a good team activity to try to get everything perfect before it sets!
Pumpkin Pie Dip – based off of this recipe, and I made the pumpkin pie seasoning from scratch!
Corn Muffins – made from store mix, with NH-made red pepper jam (I loooove this stuff)
Pigs in a blanket in the classic style – just get some mini hot dogs, subdivide some Pillsbury crescent roll dough, and cook until the dough is lightly browned. One thing of dough and one of hot dogs is enough to make two batches to feed a hungry bunch (minus me, since they were all gone by the time I sat down!)
Baked Brie inspired by Les Mis based on my crowd-pleasing recipe from last year.
Special thanks to my sous chef Sara, my partner in crime, Katie, my coworkers who helped me come up with menu items, and everyone else who came to celebrate and talk over Seth Macfarlane’s offensive commentary with us!
The hosts of the evening, on our red carpet (which we MIGHT have left out for an extra week or so…)
Watch your back, baked brie – this mega cupcake is going to give you a run for your money!
This was the most moist and delicious cupcake I’ve ever eaten – and it didn’t hurt that it was about the size of my head. If I can figure out what made it amazing (the silicone pan? putting it in the freezer after it cooled for 15 minutes? the cake mix?) I will be sure to report back! In the meantime: nice work Chef Katie!