Sketchbook squash and the temple of food

Acorn squash, watercolor, sketchbook, Fran Osborne, 2013

Acorn squash, watercolor, sketchbook, Fran Osborne, 2013

In 2007, when we were thinking of moving to Berkeley, we kept coming across references to the Berkeley Bowl in articles and property listings. ‘Close to BART and Berkeley Bowl’ they would say. ‘4 bedrooms, quiet street, close to Wholefoods and walking distance to Berkeley Bowl’. ‘What’ we wondered, ‘is this local magnet that seems so essential and so desirable? Why did everyone mention it? At least we knew that BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) was the train into San Francisco, so maybe BOWL was Berkeley Old Women’s Lounge, or Berkley’s Oldest Wildest Lodge. I never imagined it might just be a grocery store. Admittedly, a grocery store like no other but, well a food shop when all is said and done. Here in California, food can be almost a religious experience and shopping for food is akin to visiting the house of your god. When so much processed food is rammed down the throats of Americans by gigantic food corporations, as so well documented by foodbabe, the Berkeley Bowl is a place to absorb the energy of huge amounts of fresh, gorgeous looking food, and marvel at the sheer invention of mother nature. I went there the other day and they had about ten different kinds of squash, sweet potatoes and onions, overflowing but neatly and beautifully arranged. You can read more about the store on Berkleyside and the comments section will give you an insight into the customers, specially those who don’t bag their own groceries. How I wish every impoverished area and food desert had better access to fresh vegetables and fruit, and the joy of looking at such gathered beauty. Being English and polite, we always bag our own of course.

Butternut squash, watercolor sketchbook, February 2013, Fran Osborne

Butternut squash, watercolor sketchbook, February 2013, Fran Osborne

Squash, watercolor sketchbook, Fran Osborne, Berkeley Bowl, 2013

Squash, watercolor sketchbook, Fran Osborne, Berkeley Bowl, 2013

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4 thoughts on “Sketchbook squash and the temple of food

  1. Thinking Cowgirl is right! Gorgeous work and with a name like Fran, how could you possibly go wrong eh? ;). I need to draw 50 pumpkins for a design class and the idea has me twitching. Thinking Cowgirl shared you with me and I am starting to see that maybe straight lines aren’t as important as the lines that you leave out? Thankyou for your lovely work. My pumpkins won’t be anywhere as gorgeous as yours but at least they might be drawn with a bit more conviction now 🙂

  2. OMG another fabulous Fran, who gardens and blogs. What a fabulous thing. Would love to see your pumpkins one day, when you’re ready to share and are happy with them. I have a stack of photos I could send if you need more reference pics. Your comment made my day, so happy not to have to delete every email in my inbox for a change.

    I completely love your blog and feel intimately connected with your life, which I must say is a privilege and can turn any miserable old fart into a grinning cheshire cat almost immediately. I suspect everyone in my family is an old hippy, though I had no idea quite how frugal, or quite how much of one my old man was until I came here. He is desperate to have chickens but we’ve already got 3 gnarly teenagers, a dog and a cat and he’s pretty high maintenance himself. Chickens might just tip me over the edge this year.

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