Oh, The Times They Are A-Changin (Parmesan Artichoke Crisps)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

riverview-5

This is a picture of my old high school shortly after it was built in 1958.

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This is how it looked when I went there.

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This is what it looks like now.  A parking lot will soon take its place. 

Riverview-collage

And, this is the new and improved Riverview High School set to open its doors to students, including Mini SGCC, for the first time tomorrow.

The original Riverview High School was designed by Paul Rudolph, one of the leading architects in the United States during the 1950s and 60s.  Rudolph was considered a pioneer in the field of modern architecture and was a major figure of the “Sarasota School of Architecture”, which gained international attention for its modern, minimalist and innovative ideas for building American homes.

The Sarasota School of Architecture or “Sarasota Modern”, as it is sometimes called, is characterized by its attention to climate and terrain. Its unique approach to modern architecture considered the local sub-tropical climate and created a relationship with the landscape, employing large sunshades, skylights, open air hallways, oversized sliding glass doors, floating staircases, and walls of jalousie windows which are featured in many of these buildings, mostly built from the late 1940’s to the early 60’s.

Riverview was the first public building in Florida designed by Paul Rudolph.  The buildings were arranged in a “U” shape, creating an open courtyard in the center. A freestanding covered walkway constructed of horizontal, precast concrete planes completed the square on the fourth side. This configuration ensured that students were always protected from the sun and rain.

riverview 17

The two-story classroom buildings were designed with extra-wide corridors open at both ends to ensure a constant cross breeze. High transom-like windows, called clerestory windows in the classrooms ran the length of these hallways.  On the second level, the floors once had narrow slots opening down along each side, so that hot air was naturally drawn down and out of the classrooms and corridors, rising up and out of the clerestory windows in the hallway.   At the time it was considered groundbreaking and daring stuff!

Those were the days before air conditioning was readily available.  The school was designed to keep students and teachers cool and comfortable in the blistering Florida heat, and it worked. Unfortunately, the addition of air conditioning was the beginning of the end for the Riverview.  It was never designed to be airtight, and the buildings suffered from mold. Many inappropriate alterations and modifications in the next few decades followed, as well as poor maintenance. The school had become the diametric opposite of what it was originally intended to be- clean, green and comfortable.  The students needed a new, safe place to learn and the cost of restoring the existing structures became prohibitive, despite an international movement to save it.

riverview-4

So, on June 13, 2009, Riverview High School, in Sarasota, Florida, was reduced to a pile of rubble.

RIP – RHS

Since Mini SGCC attends RHS, I spent lots of time there this past year.  I also only live about a mile and a half from where the old school once stood, and I drive by there often. A few days before its scheduled demolition, I paid a little visit there to say my own private goodbye.  As I roamed those big, eerily empty halls, the ghosts of students past were everywhere. I closed my eyes and stood very, very still until I was 17 again, laughing and chatting with my friends as we whooshed along, hurrying from one class to another.  Memories long buried for years came flooding back to me.  I relived it all – the joys, the heartbreaks, the angst and insecurities tempered by dreams of bright, shiny futures.

I don’t mind telling you that I shed a few tears that day the wrecking ball took its first swing, and several times since.   It was a bittersweet day for me.  Bitter, because a part of me is gone forever.  Sweet, because Mini SGCC and her classmates will now have a brand new, huge, gorgeous, secure, state-of-the-art facility in which to continue their educations.   They deserve that, and I am grateful for it.    I’m also grateful that my daughter did get to spend at least one year wandering the same halls, eating in the same cafeteria and hanging out in the same courtyard that I did many, many years ago.

I’ve remained close with several of my high school friends.  I still keep in touch with quite a few others.   Through the magic of Facebook, I’ve been able to reconnect with a lot more of them and even develop a few new relationships with people I didn’t even really know in high school!

What does all of this have to do with food?  Absolutely nothing.  But, it’s been weighing on me for months, and I just needed to get it off my chest.  And, I really appreciate your indulgence, so I am going to give you a great recipe for your trouble.

artichoke-appetizer-2

Earlier this Summer, my class held a mini-reunion here in town.  Over a hundred of my classmates attended, many flying in from all over the country. One of the events on the agenda was a pilgrimage to our alma mater for one last look. The rest of the weekend was spent eating, drinking and catching up.   I had such a wonderful time!

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was reconnecting with an old girlfriend of mine that I hadn’t seen in almost thirty years.  Her name is Tracy and she was one of my favorite lunch buddies.  Even after all these years, I recognized her instantly!  We chatted for a good, long time and realized that we have a lot in common. We’re both married, are moms of daughters, and share a love of good food and cooking.  I told her all about SGCC and she promised to share some of her favorite recipes with me.  Since then, we’ve continued to keep in touch via email and Facebook.

Not long ago, Tracy sent me a terrific appetizer recipe that I just had to share with you.  They’re called Parmesan Artichoke Crisps and are creamy, cheesy, crunchy and delicious!  Best of all, they’re super quick and simple to make.

artichoke-appetizer-4

Thanks, Tracy!  It’s been so nice getting to know you all over again!

 

Enjoy!

*Photos of Riverview High School courtesy of Sarasota Architectural Foundation, Riverview High School and Sarasota Herald Tribune

32 responses to Oh, The Times They Are A-Changin (Parmesan Artichoke Crisps)

  1. On August 23, 2009 at 11:38pm, Kalyn said...

    Hey, my class had a mini-reunion this year too! So much fun. I don’t feel that attached to the physical school building, but I wonder how I’d feel if it was torn down? Not sure.

    Love the sound of this recipe! Now that’s a good friend to give you a recipe like that!

    • On August 24, 2009 at 9:58am, Susan said...

      It’s funny. I didn’t give the school much thought for years, until my daughter started attending. I didn’t think I would feel so sad about it being torn down, because we desperately needed a new facility. But, I did.

  2. On August 23, 2009 at 11:53pm, peabody said...

    Yum! Those look awesome. I love all things artichoke.

  3. On August 24, 2009 at 12:55am, maris said...

    FIRST these parmesan artichoke crisps sound delicious!

    And second, It’s amazing how fast things change. I haven’t even been out of high school ten years and I already feel like it was ages ago! I ran into some college friends over the weekend and we said the exact same thing – time FLIES! My mom’s class just had their high school reunion (40 years! Eek!) But she said it was so touching to see people she’d grown up with after so many years.

    • On August 24, 2009 at 12:09pm, Susan said...

      I’ve gone to all of my class reunions, and it is so interesting to see how everyone turned out and what paths they have taken. Lots of surprises!

  4. On August 24, 2009 at 2:10am, Big Boys Oven said...

    this artichoke must be delicious! :)

  5. On August 24, 2009 at 2:52am, nina said...

    It is sometimes sad to say goodbye to the “old”, but at least you got to say goodbye!! Good friends are such a rare thing these days, you are extremely fortunate!! The crisps are making my mouth water!!

  6. On August 24, 2009 at 5:48am, Lola said...

    Wow, those rounds look scrumptious! I can actually feel the crunch and the soft inner surprize…
    I will make them today for antipasto, I have just the right wine for them, a sassy Falanghina chillin’ in the fridge.

    Sorry to hear about your school, it’s so sad to see these things happen. I find America has this habit of tearing down and making anew that is so removed from anything we’re used to here in the Old World. My apartment building still has a bomb shelter where folks would go hide during WWII curfews…

    Lovely post, I love how you mix life and food. I do that too.
    Ciao,
    ~Lola

    • On August 24, 2009 at 12:11pm, Susan said...

      You are so right. We’ve become a very “disposable” society. Preserving history and tradition is so important for our children. You have to understand where you came from before you can know where you are going.

  7. On August 24, 2009 at 6:44am, Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

    My high school was also torn down to build a new, more sterile, more generic structure. I left town right after graduation and never went back, but I was in the last class to graduate from the old building, and I remember how sad that felt.

  8. On August 24, 2009 at 7:14am, Jennifer said...

    Susan-I’m sorry that your high school was torn down…that has got to hurt. Here’s hoping mini SGCC has a wonderful high school experience.:)

    Take care…thank heavens for memories.:)

  9. On August 24, 2009 at 7:22am, Amy J said...

    Thanks for sharing your story. That would’ve been difficult for me, not quite understanding how it couldn’t have been made to work, etc.

    Creamy, cheesy, crunchy. Maybe that could be another site for you? Looks like good tailgating food for sure.

    • On August 24, 2009 at 12:12pm, Susan said...

      Lol! I have enough trouble just keeping up with this site! :o

  10. On August 24, 2009 at 7:29am, Kevin said...

    With artichoke hearts, mayo and melted cheese these sound really good!

  11. On August 24, 2009 at 7:45am, Natasha - 5 Star Foodie said...

    I’m sorry about your high school. My school back in Ukraine was torn down shortly after I left and there is a new building right nearby but of course I’ve never seen it and it’s weird to imagine.

    These rounds look scrumptious – love the combo of cheese, artichokes and prosciutto!

  12. On August 24, 2009 at 10:02am, Rosa said...

    Things change, indeed!

    That recipe is wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  13. On August 24, 2009 at 10:26am, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    Great recipe. This would make a wonderful appetizer for my next dinner party.

    A couple of months ago I attended my niece’s dance recital that was in my old high school. My high school was built in 1974 and it was considered an architectural feat, but it really wasn’t all that well laid out. They built it for looks and not for practicality. I was there with my husband. He had attended my 20 year reunion a few months earlier, so he had met the people, but had never been inside the place. It was fun showing him such a big piece of my life. The National Honor Society plaque was still right inside the main entrance with my name among the names of the Class of 88 (How I was inducted I will never know – my grades weren’t *that* stellar).

    After hearing about all of that architectural wonder it really is a shame the building couldn’t be saved. It sounds as if it really could have achieved landmark status. Is it just me or does the new school look a bit like a nice Florida hotel?

    • On August 24, 2009 at 12:15pm, Susan said...

      I’ve done the same with my husband too. I’ve dragged him to everything. Fortunately, I’m still close with some of my BFFs from HS and he know them pretty well.

      There was an intensive movement to restore the school, but with the economy the way it is, the School Board just wouldn’t bite. There wasn’t enough private money to fund it.

  14. On August 24, 2009 at 10:51am, Krystle said...

    Sorry to here about your school! But your appetizers look great! Would be great for a dinner or cocktail party.

  15. On August 24, 2009 at 12:32pm, ingrid said...

    My high school is still standing though ever evolving. My children will not be attending it as I don’t live in that same town. They’re pleased about that, too. It was a GREAT high school for us but it is located in a “rough” area of town.

    Thanks Susan and Tracy for a great recipe. It looks easy enough and very good!
    ~ingrid

  16. On August 24, 2009 at 12:45pm, Donna said...

    Sad when this happens but I guess it is the way of the future… The new school is beautiful! Loved the recipe… Thanks

    (((HUGS)))
    Donna

  17. On August 24, 2009 at 1:03pm, Lori @ RecipeGirl said...

    I love that you share the tidbits of your life on your blog. It really helps your readers to get to know you. I’m happy to have met you… it makes it so much easier to read someone’s blog when you feel like you ‘know’ them and understand them. I knew that you shed tears about the demolition before you told so in your post. I was practically shedding them myself!

    Sure is fun to reconnect w/ HS friends on facebook. Your Parmesan Artichoke crisps look delicious too :)

    • On August 24, 2009 at 1:09pm, Susan said...

      Thanks, Lori. That is so sweet of you to say. You’ve got me pegged. I’m hopelessly sentimental!

      I’m really happy to have met you too! And, I agree that knowing someone personally makes reading their blogs so much more enjoyable.

  18. On August 24, 2009 at 8:04pm, Veron said...

    This sounds absolutely delicious, Susan! And it’s fun to meet up with old classmates and catch up.

  19. On August 24, 2009 at 8:29pm, Chez US - Denise said...

    Isn’t Facebook fun … always running into old & new friends, love it! This recipe sounds fantastic, what a great appetizer or munchie for movie night!

  20. On August 24, 2009 at 10:30pm, Tangled Noodle said...

    First, let me say that these parmesan artichoke crisps look divinely delicious! Next, I’m sorry to hear about your high school being torn down! It’s amazing that such a beautiful and ecologically efficient structure had to be torn down. Why in the world would ACs be needed when it was designed not to them – I thought we were moving toward living spaces that do not rely on using more energy resources. Sigh. The shame is that our society is so used to tearing things down so quickly; I’m so glad that the residents of Rome, Athens or any historical city didn’t feel the same way, else we would have nothing of history to gaze upon!

  21. On August 25, 2009 at 9:36am, Bellini Valli said...

    My own highschool celebrated it’s 150th year a few years ago. I suppose that it is considered a landmark and worth saving even if it would have it’s electrical and heating problems. Go figure since a newer school was torn down last year. The parmesan chips would be worth rememberung too:D

  22. On August 25, 2009 at 11:00pm, Marie said...

    Sorry about your school, but it sounds like you have great memories. I’m bookmarking these, tell your friend Thanks!

  23. On August 29, 2009 at 7:37am, Emily said...

    I came here for the recipe and found myself reading all about the high school. It’s funny… I have had the same feelings recently for locations that I remember. A restaurant my Grandmother always took me to in Columbus, Ohio burned down and while reading up on it, I read that the Northland Mall — a mall I grew up going to — had also been torn down. It’s like when you leave a location you think it’s going to be the same forever and it’s a shock to realize that life (and progress) goes on – without your consent!

    BTW, great recipe. I am going to make today :)

    • On September 02, 2009 at 8:26am, Susan said...

      It’s true that life goes on, whether you’re ready for it or not. I didn’t think tearing down the old school would bother me so much, until it was gone!

  24. On August 31, 2009 at 9:33am, Peggy said...

    These look great! Definitely good appetizer material here! Thanks!

  25. On January 22, 2012 at 1:56pm, Mary said...

    This recipe is the best. Changed just a bit sothat I could do ahead: Did not toast the bread before adding fixture. Topped each piece as directed and placed in freezer for two hours. Then put them all in a baggy, stored in the freezer and used as needed. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. They were a hit! Thanks for sharing.

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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