Monday, May 5, 2014


Pretty in Pink

 Although raised to be the consummate girl, as defined in the 1960's by dolls and shopping and housework, sugar and spice and everything nice, I was never really a girly-girl. I just didn't fit the bill. I was never (and could never bring myself to be) a “pink and ruffles” girl; after all, prim, feminine clothes (bordering on the cute) would have simply looked silly with my ghostly white skin and black frizzy hair, my unconventional personality. I liked the unusual in clothes as I did in games, as I did in most everything, even if it meant getting teased and laughed at. If it was bright and wild, I loved it; that cherry red skirt with the bright white zipper that scooted straight up the center front ending in a huge, mod ring pull (that somehow invited, much to my embarrassment, my grade school classmates to grab, yank and run away laughing), slender gold or chunky black belts worn on the outside of my shirt rather than through the belt loops of my pants well before it was the style (junior high mocking), fringed suede vests with orange and red-striped bell bottoms (sniggering and finger pointing) and anything with the hint of avant-garde. So much more exciting and exuberant than pink

 So what lured me towards my first pair of pink high top sneakers? What motivated me to slap a whopping – for me – twenty-five dollars on the counter of that Manhattan shoe store way back in 1985? The black pair made perfect sense for someone who was gradually but deliberately growing from deep gem-colors into a stark, well-defined, thoroughly ungirly black and white wardrobe. Those sneakers were indubitably pink. A pink some would call magenta, others would define as fuchsia. The color of dahlias and bubblegum, cotton candy and watermelon. Reminiscent of Schiaparelli's Shocking.

Bought them I did. I wore them from New York to Paris via Milan. Well-traveled pink sneakers. Until they literally fell apart, the pink scarred and stained, the bottoms worn away, the laces frayed. I am now on my second (or is it third?) pair of pink sneakers and they have, somehow or other, become my signature.

 In the Pink.

Tickled Pink

 In food, I lived the same passions. Pink wasn’t my thing. Raspberries were too insipid and strawberries, that most feminine of fruits, were best eaten straight from the plant, deep red. Strawberry milkshakes, Pop tarts or cereal I shunned, left for my kid brother who relished every mouthful, pink his favorite flavor in sugary food. I never asked for a scoop of lovely, pastel pink ice cream, what was expected of a girl, or pink frosting on my cupcakes; cloyingly sweet icing, neon-colored roses were immediately scraped off and discarded. Strawberry jam to this day makes me shudder as I push the jar away with a shake of my head. Pink food was, well, girly, at once too saccharine and too lackluster for my tastebuds. Too pink.

 In fact, I snubbed anything at all with strawberries, from pie to shortcake to Pop Tarts to sodas. Not. My. Flavor. Period. Raspberries ignored and strawberries relegated to the whole in their unadulterated form.

 All grown up, my choice has fairly remained the same. Pink, that milky strawberry and boring raspberry, is left behind in favor of dark, brooding chocolate or feisty cherry the color of blood, or coffee, earthy, heady, adult. Even bold, bright, tangy rhubarb boiled down to its pinkest does not satisfy, does not titillate with its stringy, gloppy personality. Do not order anything pink for me.


 Pink jellybeans are an exception. Lovely pink Reims Roses, those classic French meringue cookies, crisp and crumbly and sweet, glazed thickly in a cloak of powdered sugar and perfect, so utterly perfect dunked in milk. Or pink Champagne. Cotton candy. Pink grapefruits.

 Mercurio: Why, I am the very pinke of curtesie. – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 1597

 A Young girl's first lipstick – metallic pink lipgloss, a pale pink barely there, shimmering, thick and sticky, handed down from mother to daughter for a special occasion. Later, traded in for a tube that glided on smoothly and smelled sweetly of berries. Rosy lips awaiting a first kiss.

Pink Slip

 Scarlet blushes, rosy cheeks, pink blooms on faded skin the color of pearls. A masculine rectangle set with crystals in shades of feminine pink: Mademoiselle, Frosted Tulip, Aurora, Amaranth, a gift from husband and sons on a birthday.

 Pink pajamas, oh yes, pink when away from the world's eyes and judgmental gaze. Pink pajamas in hot pink, mod pink, ultra pink, and pink bordering on mauve. Fandango. From head to toe, robe to slippers. Toenail polish hidden all winter long underneath hose and socks and heavy boots, cerise, fuchsia, wild berry, hot magenta. Peeping out come summer, bared to the world, a splash of color and brightness against the black, olive and tan of my warm-weather wardrobe. Fun in pink.

 'Tis the Pink of the Mode, to marry at first Sight: - And some, indeed, marry without any Sight at all. - Leigh's Kensington Gardens, 1720.


 We grew up making our own milkshakes in the blender, chocolate for me and strawberry for my little brother. My son now makes them for himself all summer long, tossing in a banana with the strawberries and always ice cubes to make the shake icier. Use more or less ice cream, milk or berries as you like for either a milkier/lighter, a sweeter/richer or a fruitier treat.

Jamie's Strawberry Rum Milkshake

1 cup (about 4 oz/115 g) thickly sliced strawberries
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup (250 ml) milk, whole or lowfat
2 Tbs dark rum

 Place all ingredients in a blender and whiz until thick and creamy. Add more ice cream, more milk or more rum as desired. Serve topped with a froth of whipped cream and berries for a real dessert.

 Notes: vanilla and rum are a match made in heaven; if you don't like rum you will still love the delicate earthy, almost nutty flavor it brings to the vanilla. Freezing your strawberries before whizzing in the blender will add an icy quality to the milkshake one usually gets by tossing in a handful of ice cubes. Using whole milk will add a bit more body and fat flavor to the shake.

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  1. Mercutio was always my favorite in Rome and Juliet. I love the unexpected pinks that Ilva has captured this week. I'm not a pink person either, but I am a fan of raspberries. That's fine with me, because I'll just eat the ones you don't want, Jamie. :)

  2. As Julia Roberts said in Steel Magnolias, "Pink is my signature color" and so it is. I loved this post and your pictures are gorgeous. Great idea to add rum to your milkshake!

  3. And, of course, gari (pickled ginger) when done well. Very nice post and photos!

  4. Love this post. It's just so beautiful... and the addition of rum in the milkshake, oh boy!

  5. Love the mortadella shot! Green was my color growing up. But I do like pink now, especially in tasteful amounts and when paired with a rich espresso brown. Of course, I can't help but think of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series! xo

  6. Always a wonderful treat to pop in for a reflective story on a plate. Pink Champagne, pink grapefruit. Yes and to the milkshake. I love the humour of the pink mortadella on the line. Bella. What a giggle.