with Yellow Portal, Kurt Vonnegut, screenprint by Joe Petro III
In addition to writing much-beloved novels with a sci-fi bent including Slaughterhouse Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions and many more, Kurt Vonnegut was also an visual artist. He first gained attention for his illustrations with the abundant felt-tip drawings included in Breakfast of Champions (1973), interspersed throughout the novel so as to be integral to its tone, structure and meaning. Irreverent, postmodern and meaningfully quotidian, the first appearance of "the asterisk" has ten parts and represents "an asshole." It has taken on mythical status; tattoos abound. Vonnegut often signed his books with a simplified asterisk of eight parts, which one can find on the spindly of any of his books printed by Dial Press Trade Paperback. It's unclear whether this illustration, titled Yellow Portal, is a reference to its ten-part counterpart, a signature, or something else. Yellow Portal is included in Vonnegut's limited edition collection of silkscreens printed by his good friend Joe Petro II. It was signed by the artist in 2006, a year prior to his death. You can read more about Vonnegut's illustrations here, or purchase a screen print here.
I paired this artwork with an easy, simple recipe for mango lassi and topped the beverage with an asterisk made of ground cardamom. Refreshing in the summer, delicious any time of year, a lassi is an excellent way to use mangos that may have slightly over-ripened, and pairs beautifully with spicy Indian foods.
Note, the taste of cardamom is unique, and strong. Sample it first to make sure you like it before including it on or on top of your lassi, and make sure to grind it very fine if using (or buy it ground).
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
4 very ripe mangoes, peeled and seed removed (about 1 cup chopped)
3 teaspoons honey (4 if you prefer sweeter)
a dash of finely ground cardamom (optional)
small handful of ice (optional)
1) Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, taste for sweetness, and enjoy!