For this week's 'In Her Permanent Collection' feature we caught up with Sloane Crosley, one of the most consistently charming and funny people we know, and incidentally also the bestselling author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake (a 2009 finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor) and the recent essay collection, Look Alive Out There. We asked her to name the one thing she most identifies with her personal 'Permanent Collection'.
Sloane Crosley: I collect rocks from every shore so long as they’re okay to take. I keep them under a bell jar as if they were alive. This one is my favorite.
Permanent Collection: Why this one in particular?
S.C.: It’s like a heavy egg. And it’s just so fancy. Look at the sparkling divots, the little hints of what’s inside. I don’t know what that brownish organic imprint is, but it looks like the map of an unknown country. The actual country it’s from is a secret.
P.C.: We love that people choose things that truly worthless for this series––we get a lot of rocks! But it's wonderful, because it signals that beauty and curiosity and sentimentality and nostalgia and happiness can all be wrapped up in something that just one person has decided to assign personal value. Which brings me to the next question: What's the best gift you've ever received?
S.C.: A little oil painting of my cat. Because it was the perfect alignment of giver and object and subject. They’re all top notch.
P.C. What’s your trustiest flea market, thrift shop or vintage shop of any kind?
S.C.: Crescent City Books in New Orleans and, of course, The Strand. For things that you only wear under other things, Le Grand Strip in Williamsburg. For actual clothing, LA has the best vintage stores in America. I have a long 1960s skirt from The Way We Wore that’s one of the few things I’d save if my closet were on fire.
P.C.: What’s your favorite museum or gallery?
S.C.: I love them all (who answers this question with “Fuck the MoMA?”) but the MET is special. It’s like going to temple. Not “like,” it’s got a literal temple in it. I’m also partial to the Angus MacAskill Museum on the Isle of Skye. He was the tallest non-pathological giant to have ever lived. Non-pathological is an actual medical term. It’s also not what you’re asking. My favorite galleries in New York are probably David Zwirner, Canada and Leslie Tonkonow.
P.C.: Do you have a dish , or food, that would be the equivalent to your ‘permanent collection’ thing? Something that's in your ‘forever repertoire’?
S.C.: I like to crisp-up greens, shallots and mushrooms in butter and drop them on a steamed sweet potato. Then I put a fried egg on top. Then I congratulate myself on being a professional chef. But if I’m being lazy? Pad See Eew. If I have a flight that gets in late, I order it from the cab and time the delivery for when I get home. The trick is to order it after the tunnel but before 14th street. It’s been my comfort food for about two decades so we can safely call it permanent.