At FineLine we have a time honored tradition of celebrating birthdays. How we celebrate is not all that dissimilar to how birthdays are generally celebrated. We take the birthday person to lunch at a place of their choosing, filling up on good conversation and food. Later in the day, a special treat (cake, cookies, ice cream, pie, cream puffs, tarts, etc.) is burdened with candles and placed in front of the birthday person as we ceremoniously sing “Happy Birthday to You.”
At our last birthday celebration we were pleasantly surprised to see that the special treat was popsicles. These were not your regular, store bought, popsicles. Our Production Artist, Rochi Ladcani, in tandem with our Project Manager, Freddie Allen, had conspired to create these exquisite frozen delights together.
As we eagerly waited to receive a popsicle, two questions permeated the atmosphere. “What is the flavor of the popsicle?” and “How did they come up with the marvelous idea?” Our intellectual appetites were satisfied with the knowledge that the flavor of the popsicle was vanilla on one side and strawberry on the other. The vanilla side was light green and made from vanilla, heavy cream, and cornstarch. The strawberry side was laboriously created using fresh strawberries, sugar, and water.
The resulting combination of textures and flavors provided by the two different sides brought to mind strawberry creamsicles, but these frozen creations were infinitely better. When we pressed our two dessert chefs to reveal their sources, they produced a book titled, Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art, by Caitlin Freeman.
Caitlin Freeman is a pastry chef at the Blue Bottle café at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For inspiration, she roams the museum’s many exhibits, then selects a work of art to translate into an edible masterpiece. Caitlin’s book details her foray into the world of desserts and pastries and how she came to be the Head Pastry Chef at the Blue Bottle Coffee Company at the SFMOMA. The lure of the book is the assortment of recipes; from Mondrian cake to Kudless S’Mores to Avedon Parfeit to the Cragg Ice Cream Cone.
The birthday popsicle that we at FineLine had been fortunate to consume was none other than the “Zurier Popsicle,” inspired by John Zurier’s painting, Arabella as seen below.
Left: Painting, Arabella, by John Zurier. 2005. The San Francisco Modern Museum of Art, California. 16 April 2014. Desserts at the SFMOMA, Blue Bottle Coffee Company
Right: Zurier Popsicle, by the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. 2013. The San Francisco Modern Museum of Art, California. 16 April 2014. Desserts at the SFMOMA, Blue Bottle Coffee Company
After we devoured out “Zurier Popsicles” it was unanimously decided that art inspired cakes, cookies, confections, and frozen treats are a brilliant idea.
If anyone wants to have their eyes and tastebuds dazzled, I encourage you to pick up Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art. It is a win-win situation showcasing iconic pieces of art and beautiful desserts that satisfy your sweet tooth.