A Conversation with David Leite, Culinary Icon & Author

A Conversation with David Leite, Culinary Icon & Author

David Leite is a memoirist, author, and publisher of Leite’s Culinaria – the first website to win a James Beard Award. Between writing his memoir, blogging and radio appearances we found time for a short conversation about food, grandmothers, Proust, Freud and cooking naked. Gary Komarin: When did you first start taking food “seriously” and why? David Leite: When my maternal grandmother died in 1992, all the foods of my heritage–the foods I grew up with–were gone. My mother had her versions, but they were just that: versions. So I set out to recreate as many as I could as a way of staying connected to her. The unexpected result was I fell in love with Portuguese foods and culture—something I’d been running from since I was a kid. All my life I had wanted to be blond and blue-eyed and eat bologna on white bread. Not kale soup or octopus stew or sardines. That changed in 1992. And that was the impetus for my cookbook, The Portuguese Table. The book is dedicated to my grandmother. Gary Komarin: Where do you see your talent residing? Does it lean toward the analytical, the creative or some combination? David Leite: If I could answer that, I could start my own foundation and become rich as hell. I have no idea where my talent resides. It’s just there. It’s an impulse, sometimes clouded, other times fully formed. But I don’t set out to “create something.” If anything, I follow prompts, whispers, nudges from within. When I act on those prompts, I find myself bumping around in the dark a lot, like when we...
The Drip in Abstract Painting: To Drip Or Not To Drip?

The Drip in Abstract Painting: To Drip Or Not To Drip?

The Drip or the use of the Drip in Contemporary Abstraction is a complicated subject. It is natural for paint to drip. It is a liquid material, or can be made liquid to varying degrees and for anyone who has attempted to paint a house they will soon realize Paint will by its very nature drip. Throughout the world, in past cultures, the drip was not encouraged. It made little sense for a painter in prehistoric times, or the time of Christ or the Pre Renaissance or Post Renaissance to allow for drips in painting or a fresco or a mural. This diametric changed considerably with the beginnings of Abstract Painting in the early part of the 20th century. Painters began to see the drip as something with a certain ‘aliveness’ that might help to enhance the energy of a painting and this awareness of the drip came to center stage with Jackson Pollock in the later 40’s in New York, particularly when he moved from the warehouses of lower New York to the more open spaces of The Springs in East Hampton. Pollock had moved from painting with a brush to dripping the liquefied paint with sticks and brushes. He would lay the canvas flat on the floor and walk around the painting, losing track of inside and outside, top and bottom, east and west. There had been precedent for dripping paint amongst the Native American Indian sand painters earlier in the century, but Pollock took this dripping to new heights, in terms of complexity and scale, that had not been achieved before. The drip replaced the brushstroke:...