Monday, April 5, 2010

Soaking Up Spring at Black Sheep

The modern personality is based on passivity and learned helplessness.

No, that's not some post-modernist bumper sticker, but rather the underpinnings of Matthew Crawford's book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, a treatise on making a living with your hands.

Speaking at the Grace Street Theater tonight, the UVA research fellow and owner of a motorcycle repair shop on South side extolled the benefits of occupations that fix and build stuff.

Citing the demise of shop classes in our schools during the 1990's, Crawford made a case for the expectation of seeing a direct effect of one's actions in the world, something that doesn't happen in most office situations.

He emphasized that manual labor, including trades such as electrician, auto mechanic and plumbing, can't be outsourced.

"You can't fix a leaky toilet over the Internet," he said, stating the obvious.

I found it fascinating to hear a lecture about how trades suffer from low prestige in our culture from a man with multiple degrees (granted, and a repair shop) and a book that had garnered national attention.

But then I don't necessarily go to lectures to agree with what I hear, but to hear a point of view.

In any case, it gave my friend and I plenty of fodder for conversation during our walk to Black Sheep where we found a nearly full house.

Our friend was waiting tables, giving us a chance to catch up on mutual friends and have some girl talk about the beauty of long soaks in the bathtub during the summertime.

She's thinking of putting a clawfoot tube in her backyard for that very purpose.

We started with the roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese, with Chorizo sausage over white bean salad with chimichurri sauce.

Admittedly, we were starving after so much talk of hard work, but this dish was a superb combination of flavors and textures.

The white bean salad had bits of barely cooked carrot for crunch and the seasoned goat cheese melted in my mouth.

Since it's spring, we went on a pea fiesta, she with the fryer-free cod crusted in herbs and Parmesan over green pea puree and me with the Field of Greens salad of locally gown mixed lettuces with peas, asparagus (more spring!), broccoli and shrimp and perfectly seasoned with a Green Goddess dressing,

My salad was such a beautiful shades of green combination as to elicit comments from both of us about its coloring.

As striking as it was, it tasted even better, with the peas being the star; it's definitely the time to be eating them.

Dessert had been presumed from the moment our server friend had seen me, but the LaBrea Tarpit (chocolate creme brulee) was a first for my girlfriend.

Gluten-intolerant, she usually has to tiptoe around dessert menus, so I knew this one would be a big hit with her.

We ate it as daintily as we could considering we were using tablespoons.

Yes, really, but that's what we were given.

Walking home from Carver to J-Ward, a guy in his car at the light said, "You look like spring with your pink legs!"

Considering the temperature is still in the mid-70s, I feel like spring.

Not quite ready for a summertime soak in my tub, but not far off either.

My tub is a claw foot, but isn't outside; it is, however, under a great big window and from it I can see the sky, hear the birds and smell the warm air, so it's certainly got its charm.

And I won't have to worry about mosquitoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment