Doña Petrona de Gandulfo
What is coin of the realm really applies to the time when it is in our conscience.
In 1976 Spanish-born writer (he lives in Mexico City) Paco Ignacio Taibo II started a series of novels featuring a private detective (who lives in Mexico City) called Belascoarán Shayne. You soon learn that Shayne loves to listen to Gerry Mulligan.
Most anybody under 30 today would not have a clue as to who this man (Gerry Mulligan) is (was).
As a young man I remember seeing the wonderful TV series Meeting of Minds with Steve Allen in which he had famous people from the past as guests. They were all actors and Allen’s wife Jane Meadows played Cleopatra. She shared dinner with Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Paine and Theodore Roosevelt. Telling just about anybody under 30 about this would draw a blank.
For a generation of Argentines of my age (72) we all knew about a woman called Doña Petrona de Gandulfo. In the 50s no housewife would cook anything without consulting the Julia Child of Argentina.
In 1999 when Nora Patrich, her husband Juan Manuel Sánchez (both artists) and I embarked on expressing our nostalgia for Argentine with paint, pencil and silver halides I wanted to do something in relation to Doña Petrona. Our lovely (an understatement) Argentine subject Linda Lorenzo played the part in Nora’s Kitchen. Note in the picture the image of Che Guevara. Patrich is most definitely on the extreme left in her views. Lorenzo is holding one of Nora’s mates and she is wearing absolutely nothing under the kitchen apron.
It was only today that sifting through my pictures and checking with my internal Blogger search engine (I was looking for any references to Doña Petrona) that I I found a blog in which Roxana, an Argentine model (I found her through Model Mayhem) posed for me as Doña Petrona in September 2013 in Nora’s house in Buenos Aires. And it was only today that I noticed that the kitchen apron 14 years later is the same one!
It is my guess that the 2013 ghost of Doña Petrona was not wearing anything else under that apron.
It important for me to note here is that both photographs show a water kettle. In Argentine Spanish that’s a pava. To drink mate one must first boil water (a bit this side of boiling). Note, too that in the lower photo Nora has, on the right, a photograph of Eva Perón.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.