Meet the Artist & Anthologist: Bascove

Sustenance & Desire: A Food Lover’s Anthology of Sensuality and Humor, is a compilation of works that encompasses all things we love at Manhattan Fruitier;  still life paintings & poetry and prose by well-known writers all explicitly detailing man’s sensual & humorous relationship with food.sustenanceanddesire

Artist, anthologist, and long-time friend of Manhattan Fruitier, Bascove, recently let us in on the inside scoop on Sustenance & Desire: A Food Lover’s Anthology of Sensuality and Humor. 

What was your inspiration behind  Sustenance & Desire: A Food Lover’s Anthology Of Sensuality & Humor?

Still lifes have always been a genre I adore. Over the years I have painted dozens. It’s a joy to study and interpret a thoroughly delicious subject. I had already produced books on two of my passions; bridges and reading. Food seemed like a natural addition.

 With all the available food literature by great writers, how did you go about selecting which authors & works to include?

I was familiar with the work of most of these writers. How could an anthology not include Proust’s glorious reveries from the taste of madeleines or Nabokov’s from hunting for mushrooms? Thinking about food, thinking deeply, brought about many issues; it’s necessity, of course, but could any other subject be so steeped in social, political, and spiritual components? I read through stacks of books of poetry and prose, it was like a treasure hunt. It began to take shape as a collection about food as love, as laughter, as need, as memory, and as the multitude connections between families, lovers, and friends.

 Which specific piece in the anthology resonates with you the most?

Colette and M.F.K. Fisher’s sensual writings about food were the initial inspirations, a passage from Fisher begins the collection: “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others”

Have you had any experiences where fresh fruit played a prominent role?

Yes. In Paris, in the fall, the markets have copious amounts of the most sublime fruit, most noticeably fresh figs. I had never experienced any taste quite as grand, I would go through bowlfuls of them.

My work was shown at a gallery in Paris for over 20 years. I would schedule my exhibitions for the fall so I could satisfy my addiction. My dear friend, and owner of the gallery, would often have a “demi-kilo” waiting at the little hotel where my husband and I would stay.


If you were an insect, what fruit would you want to pollinate?

Figs are infinitely appealing, but being claustrophobic I would never have the endurance of those implacable female fig wasps. Cherry pollination seems like a safer trade.


How many servings of fruit do you eat on an average day?

Three to four, but in summer that number can easily increase.

If you were limited to only one fruit forever, what would it be?


bascoveWith Solo exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York, the Arsenal in Central Park, the Municipal Art Society, the Hudson River Museum, the Noble Maritime Collection, NYU Fales Library, and The National Arts Club, Bascove has documented and celebrated the Bridges of New York City. She has worked with The New York, Brooklyn, and Roosevelt Island Historical Societies, and has lectured and arranged events with the Museum of the City of New York, the Central Park Conservancy, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Municipal Art Society, NYU Fales Library, and the Hudson River Museum. Three collections of her paintings have been published, accompanied by anthologies of related writings: Sustenance & Desire: A Food Lover‘s Anthology of Sensuality and Humor, Where Books Fall Open: A Reader’s Anthology of Wit and Passion, and Stone and Steel: Paintings and Writings Celebrating the Bridges of New York City. As a writer she has been a contributor to Arte Fuse, Stay Thirsty, The Three Tomatoes, and New York Arts Magazine. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Noble Maritime Collection, the Harry Ransom Collection, University of Texas at Austin, The New York Public Library, MTA Arts for Transit, The Library and National Archives, Canada, the Rachofsky Collection, the Norwalk Transit District, Time Warner, the Oresman Collection, The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University, and Musée de Cherbourg.

Color Your World!

Tutti Frutti

In a tech-filled world of tablets, gadgets, phones and drones, what adult among us hasn’t wanted to step back to our childhood, at least for an afternoon, back to the blissed-out zen of breaking in a new coloring book with colored pencils or crayons? Well, sometimes you can go back.

Grown-ups are actually coloring again, and it’s really o.k! Adult coloring books have found their way to the top of best-seller book lists in the U.S. and Europe and, what’s even more amazing, they are bringing joy, creativity, and relaxation to the masses – when we all need it the most.

Coloring Party

We are big on coloring at Manhattan Fruitier. Our own Lauren Westbrook learned first-hand the joy of coloring as an adult when given The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford as a gift by a childhood friend. One rainy afternoon at her friend’s lakeside cottage they sat, side-by-side, each coloring a page, just as they did when they were girls. They found the activity just as satisfying years later, but what seemed different was the sense of tranquility it brought as well as the undeniable desire to play with unexpected colors and shading. She highly recommends coloring as a creative outlet for all, especially gratifying for the non-artistically inclined adult.

We are excited to carry the work of two illustrators who have designed the most beautiful tools for this growing phenomenon. Johanna Basford, whose books are responsible for this new wave of fun – and Louise Fili, award-winning graphic designer, author, lecturer, illustrator, and friend of Manhattan Fruitier who has designed gorgeous colored pencils for filling in and outside the lines.

 Johanna BasfordJohanna Basford

Johanna Basford is an illustrator and ‘ink evangelist’. Growing up on her parent’s fish farm in native rural Scotland, her intricate work stems from the flora and fauna that surrounded childhood life. She graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, specializing in silk screen prints and drawings. Johanna Basford’s success has become familiarly known to us with commissions by Starbucks, DKNY, and Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” Author Series, to name a few.  She describes her detailed drawings as, “every piece starting as a simple pencil sketch…organically evolving…and slowly creeping over the paper.” Her work for adult colorists is distinctive and with her books an imaginative adventure awaits.

Louise FiliLouise Fili

Louise Fili, renowned graphic designer, has used elegant and original typefaces and an Italophile aesthetic to transform many a corporate logo, including the logo of our own Manhattan Fruitier. Her work is found in permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Bibliotheque Nationale.  We offer her splendido set of twelve “Tutti Frutti” colored pencils, inspired by classic Italian packaging and stationery. These double-sided pencils with complimentary hues of brilliant color will inspire your written words and drawings. Buon divertimento!

This gift from our Spark Collection, combines Johanna Basford’s newest coloring book, “Enchanted Forest”  with the superb quality and elegant style of the “Tutti Frutti” pencil set designed by the incomparable Louise Fili. Guaranteed to bring smiles and evoke childhood memories while it unleashes the tranquility and creativity for grown-ups who are young at heart.

Manhattan Fruitier Staff Summer Getaway Top Picks

Summer’s in full swing at Manhattan Fruitier and we’ve got vacation on the brain. While it’s always busy here, it’s also a time to book our trips and schedule some long weekends. We’re all city people but we like to get away – even for a day.
Where are you going this summer? Wherever it is, we hope it’s Beachy Keen.

If you still have some undecided weekends in your near future, maybe we can help. Here are our favorite local and not so far away haunts that we enjoy. Cheers!

Lisa – Production  “Usually I take Metro North to Cold Spring in Putnam County. It’s a wonderful little town on the Hudson river. It’s cooler there in the summertime, being right on the Hudson River. Lots of hiking trails and kayaking opportunities. When I want a getaway closer to home I head to the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Their Frieda Kahlo show this summer is a must see.”

 Cold Spring, NY
Cold Spring

Arlinda – Production  “I go to Manhattan Beach almost every weekend. It’s near Coney Island and Brighton Beach but nowhere near as crowded. I just love it. The parking is free and the water and the sand are much cleaner.”

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn NYManhattan Beach Park

David – Head of Customer Service  “ I do day trips to Southampton in the summer. It’s just beautiful there. I get up early, jump on the jitney and spend the day at the beach then around Main street for the shops and cafes. When I don’t leave town, I grab a drink and head straight to the Highline. It’s the best urban oasis the city has to offer. ”

High LineThe Highline

Charles – Head of Expediting & Facilities “My getaway is Cape May. You can get there quicker, but I like drive to the end of G.S. Parkway and jump on the Cape May Ferry. It’s kind of like the Hamptons but better in my opinion because it’s all coastline. Beautiful views, old houses on stilts and little casinos. Tons of history if you want to visit the little museums. Sometimes we do mini-golf and there are great restaurants that serve seafood that they catch fresh that day.”

Cape May, NJCape May

Jackie – Production  “City Island! I love it. The scenery is beautiful, the air is so fresh.I like watching the speedboats, walking around and then get a table at Sammy’s Fishbox for Coconut Shrimp. They are the best!”

City Island, NYCity Island

Hugh – Finance & Bookkeeping/IT Manager  “I have two favorites for day trips in the summertime that both a short ferry ride away. Governer’s Island and Snug Harbor. Governor’s for the great food carts. I grab a bite and go to the big grassy area at the top of the hill where you can look back on the Manhattan skyline. Snug Harbor for the Chinese Scholars Garden.”

Chinese Scholars GardensChinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor

Jehv and Lauren – Co-Owners  “Lauren and I like to sneak away for a day – preferably in the middle of the week – to Point Lookout Beach on the south shore of Long Island. PLB is a pretty well-kept secret, which means it’s relatively quiet. It’s a very long and deep beach so it’s not hard to find a little island of serenity in the sand. You get there as if you’re driving to Jones Beach, and then take the Point Lookout exit just before the Jone’s Beach toll plaza. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Manhattan.”

Point LookoutPoint Lookout

Sara – Marketing Manager “I like spending  the summer taking day trips all over the NY area, but I am especially fond of the Pine Barrens in NJ. You take County Rte 539 through the barrens and along the way are lots of country towns with markets and farm stands on the weekend. When it’s blueberry season it’s a great road trip since that’s where they are mainly grown and there are tons of roadside stands to pick up quarts (or pick them off the trees on a hike!). Sometimes I’ll go back out in the fall for the Cranberry Festival. They have cranberry bog tours in early October.”

 Pine BarrensPine Barrens

Sarah – Product Development, Purchasing “Summer and I have an uneasy relationship since I burn in a hot NY minute, so I seek out the the shady places. I’m fortunate to live down the street from my favorite place in the city, Greenwood Cemetery. I spend a lot of time there every week walking the paths. There are over 8000 trees and most are giants, the oldest trees in NYC. It may seem a bit morbid but it’s the most idyllic, peaceful place. Plus, the cemetery really encourages tourism with tons of events – theater, dance performances, picnics, trolley and walking tours.”

Greenwood CemeteryGreenwood Cemetery

 Amanda -Customer ServiceShakespeare in the Park (Central Park). My sister and I will go at least once this summer. We bring a picnic blanket and some folding chairs and wake up really early for the ticket line.”

Shakespeare in the ParkShakespeare in the Park

More Reasons to Send a Gift AND Tips on What to Say!

If you think about it for a few seconds, you could probably come up with a handful of occasions appropriate to send a gift. While giving a gift can be a perfunctory gesture, usually a gift is sent to convey a particular feeling that shows you care.

As part of getting to know our customers better, we decided to take a closer look at the reasons why people send Manhattan Fruitier gifts, and give you some guidelines on how to write the perfect gift card message.

In descending order, here are the Top 8 reasons Manhattan Fruitier customers send gifts:
Holidays —  including Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Purim, Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Rosh Hashanah, Halloween and Thanksgiving! Around half of all of our gifts are sent for specific holidays; These are easy! You can’t go wrong by saying “Happy [fill in the holiday]!”


Thank You — for a job well done, for the referral, for helping in some way, and sometimes just for “Being You”. Use Thank You notes to introduce a personal element into your business relationships;


Sympathy a tasteful alternative to flowers, particularly in the case of Jewish condolences.  In the case of condolences, sometimes the simplest card message is the best.


Get Well — whether sent to hospital, rehab or home. For people who are seriously ill and/or not expected to recover, it is obviously inappropriate to say “Get Well Soon”. Something along the lines of “Thinking of You” or “I hope you are having a good day” would be more suitable.


Birthdays — of course! A late gift and birthday wish is much more preferable than none at all


Congratulations — on your new job, graduation, promotion, engagement, marriage, commitment ceremony, marathon, etc. Make sure your message communicates genuine happiness for the person without a hint of jealousy over their good fortune.

Congratulations Hamper A

New Baby — and this includes gifts for the baby as well as gifts for the new parent(s). You can write this note card either to the new baby directly or to the new parent(s).


Anniversary —  another way to say “I love you!” The most memorable cards are the most personal. Whenever possible, use your own words to speak to your gift recipient and say what you really mean.

Other Reasons to send a gift…

While not as popular as the above reasons,  here are a few other reasons Manhattan Fruitier customers love to send gifts. Apologies,  welcoming neighbors, hostess gifts, care packages to colleges, etc.  Apology gifts are sent more often than the other “others”. An apology note MUST be sincere. And don’t ever say “I’m sorry, but….”!

So these are the reasons our customers send Manhattan Fruitier gifts.
For more detailed suggestions about what to say for each specific gifting occasion, visit:

How Well Do You Know Peanuts?

Before you eat another peanut, test your knowledge by taking this quick quiz and learn something in the process!

Whether you’re The Nutty Professor or Nut Job, almost everybody loves peanut butter, right? But people tend to be very particular about how they like to eat it

We surveyed our Manhattan Fruitier family to see how much variation we would find when we asked the question:

“How do you like your peanut butter sandwich?”

The first big surprise was that one person hates peanut butter! Another surprise was that quite a few of us liked it the same simple way: on two slices of bread with either grape jelly or strawberry jam, although people were quite specific in their preference for chunky/crunchy versus smooth/creamy.

A few of us gave quite detailed descriptions:

– On whole grain bread, smash a banana on it and cover with crunchy peanut butter and a pinch of salt, then put the whole thing in the toaster oven.

– Butter a single slice of toasted white bread and spread smooth peanut butter and mixed berry jam on top. Must have it with a glass of tomato juice.

– Only eats peanut butter (crunchy) on celery sticks.

– Lots of chunky peanut butter, lots of grape jelly on  untoasted white bread. The peanut butter has to be spread all the way to the very edge of the bread and the peanut butter and jelly has to be on both  slices of  bread.

– Open-faced on multi-grain toasted bread with smooth peanut butter, sliced banana and drizzled with honey.

How do you prefer your peanut butter sandwich?