Monday, March 23, 2009

He's a Little Bit Henry Kissinger, a Little Bit Paul Cézanne, and Just un Soupçon of Julia Child

In case you were wondering how L. Paul Bremer, the former Proconsul of Iraq, is spending his spare time these days, here's a story from the Washington Times Arts section of a few days ago: Former Diplomat Turns to Oils (the kind of oils you paint on canvas, that is, not the kind that powers the world's economy).

Mr. Bremer says he decided to take up painting after finishing his 2006 book, "My Year in Iraq." These days, he serves on several corporate boards but devotes most of his spare time to painting and cooking. He has taken art classes taught by local painter Walter Bartman at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo and plans to sign up for another course this spring. "I am just a beginner," he says.

You can see his paintings at the website of Bremer Enterprises. They are impressionistic rural New England landscapes of the nostalgic sort, snow-covered barns and such, kind of 'P. Buckley Moss Goes to Vermont.'

Bremer does not paint desert scenes, but he does create great dessert scenes.

Time spent in Baghdad has had no influence on his painting, he says, but he uses Iraqi ingredients such as pomegranate molasses and dried limes in his gourmet cooking.

When Bremer isn't painting, he's using his training in classical French cooking to whip up things like Fontainebleau garnished with pomegranate molasses. Here's his recipe for Fontainebleau, but be warned that you'll need to prepare this one day in advance. It seems that Bremer used to make this dish with plain old raspberry coulis and whole raspberries as garnish, but his year in Iraq introduced him to exotic local fruits like pomegranate that add a nice Middle Eastern twist to the classic French dessert.

Wow! With Bremer doing so much painting and fancy cooking, I'm amazed that he still finds the time to sit on corporate boards.

No comments: