16 June 1904: Bloomsday.
My favourite thing about Ulysses is not the staggering weight of the text, the convoluted language or achingly beautiful imagery it uses to describe my adopted city of Dublin, but its focus on the mundane. The text revolves around a day in the life of one person, no one particularly spectacular or note-worthy, yet it gives those hours a voice. It is grounded firmly in the 'every day-ness', the extraordinary, the life we all lead while dreaming of better things, bolder things, greater things to come.
It reminds me of a project I heard about recently, called Ten on Ten, where people are encouraged to take one photo an hour for ten hours to form a picture story, a photographic synopsis of their lives. I remember back home, as part of the Artrage festival recieving a disposable camera with the instruction to 'take a photo and pass on'. Once the cameras were full they were sent on to the artist who created an exhibition from the kalidiscope of images captured on the hundred or so cameras distributed throughout Western Australia. The poignancy of having 'one go' at capturing a single image summarising a point in time has remained with me. Similarly, in HaNoi recently I passed an exhibition sponsored by the British Counsel where six artists were tasked with capturing in words and images the everyday life of people in the city of HaNoi, not collectively-but the individual experiences of single people living in a city teeming with life. It was a fascinating exhibition, and I was delighted to discover when looking for its name to reference for this post (it is 'in a city', by the way) that the concept was inspired by Joyce's Dubliners. I love it when random musings come full circle.
In any event, Mr9BR and myself celebrated Bloomsday with a ripe Gorgonzola from Fallon and Byrne and a lovely red, which I am sure had California Wine Imports been supplying Davy Byrne's in Leopold Bloom's day would have been his tipple of choice.
In honour of the meals of Master Bloom, I have also included a sausage casserole recipe below, not traditional, or Denny's-esque but great none the less.
Ingredients (serves 4)
150 grams minced beef
100 grams beef stewing steak
100 grams chorizo sausage, preferably in links, skinned and chopped into rounds
50 grams salami, mortadella or other thinly sliced hard sausage
3 scallions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
4 vine trussed tomatoes
1.5 tsp ground chilli
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp hot paprika
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1. Brown the beef over medium heat in olive oil. Place aside.
2. Add a small amount of olive oil to same pan and lightly saute chorizo and chopped scallions for approximately three minutes.
3. Add minced garlic and stir for one minute.
4. Add the 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, ground chilli, ground coriander, ground cumin and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Simmer for one hour and at 50 minutes add the fresh tomatoes, quartered.
6. Serve with fresh crispy bread and simple rocket salad.