Remembering David Bowie

Good articles have been written about why it’s okay to grieve for someone you’ve never met, a favorite actor or singer, for example. It’s natural when music, or art of any kind, profoundly affects us, speaks to our souls, and it’s okay to grieve the artist who sparked those feelings. This week we’ve listened to David Bowie’s music online and on vinyl. Our son played “Moonage Daydream” at an open mic. Our youngest daughter posted a photo of herself from her graduation shoot.

Kate channels her inner Bowie for her high school graduation photo. Photography by Simpson Portraits

Kate channels her inner Bowie for her high school graduation photo.
Photography by Simpson Portraits

Jim and I were discussing Bowie’s music. David Bowie’s music and journey as a human being made it okay for all of us to figure out who we were, to try on personas the way we try on new clothing and hair styles when we’re young. And then, he made it okay to wear “normal” clothes and stay home. As a family, the news of David Bowie’s passing has saddened each of us.

We watched his movies at home. Watched our favorite clips from talk shows. Our daughters plan to see The Man Who Fell to Earth on the big screen at the Academy Theater in Portland, OR this weekend.

We reflected on what his music meant to us and we shared a connection with each other and all his fans who loved his music and enjoyed his performances.

Radio stations, record stores, celebrities and fans have been hosting listening parties, and a post from Food and Wine caught our attention. We were delighted to discover that David Bowie’s favorite dish was one of our favorites: Shepherd’s Pie.

We’d like to suggest to our readers who wish to host their own listening parties, perhaps his last release, Blackstar, the humble Shepherd’s Pie would be a perfect choice to serve to your guests. There are so many variations. You can make it with beef, lamb, sausage, ground or shredded, or no meat at all. Top with regular mashed potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Serve in a large container, or individual ramekins.

IMG_3103[1]Here’s the version I made this week.

Shepherd’s Pie

1.25 pounds lean 93% ground beef
finely chopped onion
minced garlic
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup Madeira wine
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
smoked Spanish paprika
Salt, pepper to taste

Chris performing "Moonage Daydream" at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena. Photo by Marie Hildebrandt.

Chris performing “Moonage Daydream” at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena.
Photo by Marie Hildebrandt.

Prepare your favorite potatoes for boiling. Usually I use russet or Yukon gold. Whenever I make mashed potatoes I make extra for a shepherd’s pie. While waiting for the potatoes to boil, gently sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add meat; brown.

Drain excess fat. Add tomato paste, wine, and smoked paprika. Stir. Add your favorite shredded cheese to the meat.  I happened to have a dried tomato-basil-cheddar cheese on hand. When the cheese is completely melted, add your vegetables. Again, I use whatever I have on hand. Today it was fresh carrots and I totally regret not purchasing the fresh English Peas at Trader Joe’s. Feel free to use whatever fresh, frozen or canned vegetables you have on hand. When the meat is done, set it aside and prepare your mashed potatoes.

Prepare your dish by spooning the meat and vegetable mixture into the bottom of the baking dish or ramekins. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat. Sprinkle the potatoes with cheese, or parsley. I sprinkled more smoked paprika on top.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375° F.




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