Steve Scheuring

Another “Taste Of Home” painting – this one is #27 in the series – “Good’s Cheese Curls.” Oil on linen canvas. 16” X 12”. My home county, Berks, is considered “the pretzel capital of the world”, and Reading is known as “Pretzel City.” Took pretzels for granted until I moved out of the area to Houston, TX, in the 90’s – couldn’t get a decent pretzel anywhere (although I quickly fell in love with what Texas had to offer like BBQ, Tex Mex, Cajun food, and chicken fried steaks). When we moved back to Berks, I renewed my pretzel addiction. All the pretzel factories in the area make pretzel alternatives, cheese curls being one of the most popular – Good’s and Bachman’s make the best, and the recent addition of Unique Splitz “Puffzels” are welcome. My “Tastes Of Home” series features food brands local to Reading/Berks County, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the greater Philadelphia area.

This is another “Taste Of Home” painting – this one is #26 in the series – “Black And White Cookies.” Oil on linen canvas. 16” X 12”. This one’s a bit of a stretch – black and white cookies are a New York City thing. Fell in love with them when getting good deli food in NYC. Have seen these cookies migrate to my area at higher end markets. Love infusing paintings that should have little color – “black and white” – with lots of saturated color. Purple, blue, pink, and orange dominate the whites of the cookies, deep blues and purples are used for the blacks – very little black and white were used. My “Tastes Of Home” series features food brands local to Reading/Berks County, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the greater Philadelphia area.

“Corn Pie” is another one in the ”Tastes Of Home” series. Had to paint this one when we we’re going into fresh corn season in our part of Pennsylvania. I always look forward to buttered corn on the cob fresh from a local farm stand in July and August. When I was a kid, my dad would look forward to this time – one of his favorite foods was this Pennsylvania Dutch classic, corn pie. He would get corn pie from his mother, or my mom would make it. The standard recipe was fresh corn cut off the cob and hard-boiled egg wedges baked in a pie crust. Pie was served hot out of the oven in a bowl with a splash of cold milk over the top (at least, that’s how we ate it at my house). I wasn’t much of a corn pie fan when I was a kid. My favorite part – leftover pie dough scraps were used to make milk tarts (aka “slop pie”). Leftover dough is formed into smaller pie crusts. A few tablespoons of flour and sugar are sprinkled in the middle of the crust. Cream or milk is added. Tradition has it that the mix is stirred with your finger to incorporate. A few pats of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, baked for a bit, and you have an amazing custard pie…back to corn pie. I’ve learned to love corn pie. I doctor up the classic recipe a bit by adding onion, celery, minced jalapeños, garlic, and a bit of chicken base. Despite the additions, the flavor doesn’t deviate too much from the original. My “Tastes Of Home” painting series features food and food brands local to Reading/Berks County, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the greater Philadelphia area.

Part of my “Tastes Of Home” series. Hank Sauce, a relatively mild yet very tasty hot sauce, is really a taste of South Jersey/the Jersey Shore. Since the Jersey Shore is the main Summer-vacation spot in my area, I decided to add this brand to the series. The Hank Sauce fish logo is a common bumper sticker in my area – common to see on cars heading “down the shore” over the Summer. There are many flavors of Hank Sauce, but their Cilanktro, a cilantro-forward sauce, is our family favorite. My “Tastes Of Home” series celebrates food brands native to Berks County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Greater Philadelphia – the area where I live.

Part of my “Tastes Of Home” series. If it’s true that “you are what you eat”, then a quarter of me is Tastykakes. Love all Tastykakes – a Philly staple. Plan on painting more Tastykakes in this series, but decided to start with my favorites – lemon and French apple pies. French? – with raisins, heavy cinnamon, and vanilla frosting. Not sure how “French” this is, but they taste great. Also love Tastykake pumpkin pies in the Fall. My “Tastes Of Home” series celebrates food brands native to Berks County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Greater Philadelphia – the area where I live.

I usually don’t paint locations that I haven’t been to, but my daughter Emily asked. Emily and I worked on this composition together, stitching this from a number of photos she took while in Greece during a college trip. Enjoyed going through her photos and learning about her trip – lots of potential references to paint from – she has a good eye. Much of the detail in this painting is implied. Knowing this is a sunset and the sun sets in the West, you can almost pinpoint the exact place in Santorini this is painted from – the distant islands across the harbor are created by the rim of the volcano crater.

Part of my “Tastes Of Home” series. This one is a real “deep cut” – even most folks in my area haven’t heard of this one. Cup cheese is a slightly-ammoniated Brie-like cheese spread with the consistency and appearance of a cross between soft Brie and Vaseline. Appetizing, right? I think I had my first taste of cup cheese at my grandmother’s house when I was a kid. Mentioned I liked it, and my Mom got more at the farmer’s market. The more I ate it, the more I noticed the ammoniated taste until I grew to dislike it. Couldn’t find the stuff when I prepared for this painting – my Mom found it at a small local market. Tried it again – yeah, it tastes a bit weird, but Shenk’s Cup Cheese is a perfect representation of a small, of-the-beaten-track, local Pennsylvania Dutch brand. My “Tastes Of Home” series celebrates food brands native to Berks County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Greater Philadelphia – the area where I live.

Part of my “Tastes Of Home” series. Unique Splits Pretzels in Reading, PA are the best. They’re not just an ordinary pretzel – Unique does something “unique” – extra yeast? Proof dough longer? – to make their pretzels bubble up in places and collapse to form pockets in other places. Those pockets trap oil when cooked forming a “split” and make the finished pretzel extra crunchy and flavorful. This was the taste of home I craved the most when I lived outside the area. My “Tastes Of Home” series celebrates food brands native to Berks County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Greater Philadelphia – the area where I live.

Part of my “Tastes Of Home” series. I know this painting isn’t true to the series in that whoopie pies aren’t really a local “brand.” But, quite frankly, I needed a break from painting lettering and I wanted to paint a simpler painting. I enjoy painting subjects that, on the surface, seem color limited, but upon deeper observation appear to have a large variety of colors. Whoopie pies are brown and cream white, but I used red, orange, yellow, purple, and blue to get this painting to read right – there’s even a bit of green in the cream shadows. A few weeks before painting this, I visited the Wayne Thiebold exhibit at the Brandywine Museum – Thiebold is the artist made famous by painting pies and cakes – he used various bold colors on his edges, creating a halo effect on his paintings. Dawned on me once I finished this painting that I took a page out of his book – painting sweets using all the colors on my pallet – seems we’re always “standing on shoulders of giants.” My “Tastes Of Home” series celebrates food brands native to Berks County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Greater Philadelphia – the area where I live.

Part of my “Tastes Of Home” series. Love red beet eggs, especially as a side to a Christmas/Easter leftover ham sandwich (with Pilsudski mustard). Most people around here make their own red beet eggs. They’re easy to make – place hard boiled eggs in a bath of canned red beets, white vinegar, and some sugar. There are a bunch of good red beet egg brands, for those who don’t want to go through the trouble of making them, and many supermarkets in my area have their own eggs at the deli counter. I chose to highlight this brand because it’s the “Dutchiest.” I usually find this brand at Shady Maple – a PA Dutch smorgasbord and supermarket near Lancaster, PA. Some of the small, local bars have red beet eggs available as a bar snack. My “Tastes Of Home” series celebrates food brands native to Berks County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Greater Philadelphia – the area where I live.