A blog of art, photography, food and writings.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


5 x 7" watercolor and ink
by Rena Williams, watercolor artist
Auburn, Alabama

Rena Williams's Blog
Rattling Gourd Gallery website

Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


by Sarojni Mehta-Lissak

It's late August and the sun
drips a wet heat on the city
below. Desperate figures move
along a cement causeway like a
trail of ants in search of food.
Shock masks grief on the faces of
those seeking higher ground; fear
follows along, for this is their
new companion as hours melt into
days, leaving hope behind.

A woman lies in repose, bloated
skin tight over her frame, flesh
bulging around the watch on her
wrist. Her head rests on its side
as if in deep slumber, and her legs
extend forward like tines on a fork.

She's dead. And nobody came to save
her. Death took her first and deposited
her on a bridge for the world to see,
for a country to witness from afar.

Survivors press on...

I watch on my TV in utter disbelief,
The American Diaspora fanning out to
unknown destinations, while those left
behind begin to die from the heat, or
drown from the flood of tainted waters.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Big Mind Wave at 5 am

9 x 12 "
by Rena Williams, watercolor artist
Auburn, Alabama

My comment on this piece:
I am in the desert right now, where temperatures are hovering at or above 105 degrees. Any image of water helps soothe the burn of a searing hot day...


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.

-Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

9 x 12"

by Rena Williams, Watercolor Artist
Auburn, Alabama


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


As of late, I've been obsessed with the burn on the back of my throat when eating olive oil on various dishes I've prepared. At times, I think it's in my head, an imaginary pungency. How could the benign olive create an oil that has heat? I ask myself.

At the dinner table, I pose this question to my family, "Do you feel it?"

"Feel what?" my husband and daughter blandly respond.

"The burn. The bite. The fire," I press on.

"Nope, don't feel it," they say in unison.

I take another bite of olive-oil drenched veggies, then start to cough and sputter all alone at the end of the table. No one else is having this reaction.

When we reach this type of crossroads--the "food analysis" juncture--I realize that I'm often alone. Though my husband does love food, he inhales it so quickly that there's no time for savoring the subtleties of an ingredient or complexities of a dish: my main objective when eating. I love to hash over the culinary details, talk about the nuances of flavor--even try to uncover the reasons why olive oil has heat.

Thankfully, I sometimes get my answers from Harold McGee, the food writer and kitchen chemist.

For months now I've been on a search for a smooth olive oil. I've bought bottle after bottle, thinking that the next one will be cool like custard. But then, I continue to cough when the pungency reaches the back of my throat.

So why does this happen?

According to Harold McGee's recent blog posting on June 22nd, the culprit is oleocanthal, a phenolic compound. This cough-inducing chemical is supposed to provide a balance to the fruity flavor in the oil. But for me, it's too strong.

What I've discovered after buying numerous brands and spending lots of money, is that hands down, Paul Newman's organic olive oil is the winner. Smooth, and not pungent. Perhaps it's just a personal preference, but if Mr. Newman's brand keeps me from coughing while I'm trying to enjoy a meal, hey, that's good enough for me.

But Harold...I have a question for you? Why do some people feel the heat and others don't? Perhaps we'll get to the bottom of this burning inquiry at another time...

Harold McGee's blog posting on olive oil pungency and bitterness


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


watercolor, by Rena Williams, Auburn, Alabama
from her "Sketchbooks" collection

Rena Williams's Blog
Rattling Gourd Gallery website

Visit Sarojni's website
Email Sarojni