Poetry from the kitchen #13

Fish Magic Here lies the holy fish: its fading glossComes off as tacky sequins on your hand.Nothing averts its eyes of milk and glass,Or improves the dead sournessOf its downward mouth. White meat conveyed to the white tooth,That melts in a memory of salt,That leaves its last taste on your tongue —But it leaps to…

Poetry from the kitchen #12

A la Carte Elisabeth Rowe Let me prepare for youCorn fed carp with a coulis of saffron marmaladeFilo parcels of snails in sorrel sauce Let me bring to your tableCaribbean caviar with galette of pistachio and endiveBallottine of quail with mozzarella Consider tonight’s specialRack of pigeon with Roquefort and chargrilled pinenutsRed mullet in a maple…

Poetry from the kitchen #11

The Simple Truth Philip Levine I bought a dollar and a half’s worth of small red potatoes,took them home, boiled them in their jacketsand ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.Then I walked through the dried fieldson the edge of town. In the middle of June the lighthung on in the dark…

Poetry from the kitchen #10

Green Apples Elisabeth Rowe Orchard applesacid greentwist the face in sweet distaste Snuggled in theirporcelain bowlshadowed curve and shining sky Granny Smiths’innocencesours the tongue’s experience Seditious thingsapples arehardcore hate in skintight love Watch outEve left herdental records in this fruit

Poetry from the kitchen #9

Recipe for Psalm 23 In one of Cameron Semmens’ many delightful books of poetry, Love is the New Black, he offers twenty-three versions of Psalm 23. This one is in the form of a recipe and does my heart good today. INGREDIENTS 1 LORD — in shepherd form. 1 LAMB — in human form. 3 PASTURES…

Poetry from the kitchen #8

 Chicken stock Begin, rinsing foods we do not eat: onion skin, broccoli stems, parsley stalks. They drown factually, cooking: unreal green. I push a chicken’s carcass underneath [simmer gently, for clearer juice]; the long neck-bit, the giblets. Peppercorns, whole. A clove, or two. Not grey, but a weak winter-field-gold is what I aim for; like…

Poetry from the kitchen #7

Gratin They wanted gratin. I found potatoes and the carefree of surplus milk; I washed the potatoes in the shadows of water. Peeled, sliced, and layered a scatter of onion, slices; like the photons Persephone unpicked from the loom each morning. Could you do this? I washed the potatoes in the water’s shadows. No crisis,…

Poetry from the kitchen #6

Give us this day our daily taste O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles…

Poetry from the kitchen #5

The grace of good bread My partner makes bread. The habit went dormant for a while, but it’s back. Though it’s upped by daily consumption of carbs, there is something of grace in good bread made at home. It comforts, sustains and nourishes in a particular way. The Canadian-American writer Monica Shannon (1905-1965) was raised on…

Poetry from the kitchen #4

Nancy Willard on how to stuff a pepper An award winning writer of children’s books, the late Nancy Willard was also a novelist, poet and an observer of ordinary things. Even better, she wrote recipes … my kind of recipes. I’m a cook who doesn’t like to be told. Entice me with visions then leave the rest to me….

Poetry from the kitchen #3

We have shared our table with friends these last few days. A reminder of its gift. DELIGHT by Michael O’Siadhail Let the meal be simple. A big plate of mussels, warm bread with garlic, and enough mulled wine to celebrate being here. I open a hinged mussel, pincering a balloon of plump meat from the…

Poetry from the kitchen #2

Meredith’s ode to cooks We may live without poetry, music, and art; We may live without conscience, and live without heart; We may live without friends; we may live without books; But civilised man cannot live without cooks. He may live without books — what is knowledge but grieving? He may live without hope —…

Poetry from the kitchen #1

Sometimes words are as beautiful as those things they describe. Each night, in a space he’d make between waking and purpose, my grandfather donned his one suit, in our still dark house, and drove through Brooklyn’s deserted streets following trolley tracks to the bakery. There he’d change into white linen work clothes and cap, and…

Poetry at the table #5

My friend Stefanie passed on these words in response to others from Garrison Keilor posted here. Though quoted by David Adam in one of his many books of Celtic prayers, I’m unsure of where they come from originally. If you know, I would be glad to know too. Be gentle, when you touch bread, Let…

A little Shakespeare

‘This night I hold an old accustom’d feast, Whereto I have invited many a guest, Such as I love; and you among them the store, Once more, most welcome, makes my number more.’ William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 2, line 20

Poetry at the table #4

After reviewing Keeping the Feast yesterday, some words of poetry from the author communion we pass the silver plate of broken bread with less confidence than we pass the peace easier perhaps to hug than to admit to our hunger we take and eat without a word and wait for the wine’s weaker friend shot glasses…

Poetry at the café #2

The coffee lover’s psalm (with apologies to David) Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze. It maketh me to wake in green pastures: It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses. It restoreth my buzz: It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of…

Poetry at the table #3

Last week I attended Mass at St Francis here in the city. It was not a planned thing. I just happened to be in the neighbourhood. It’s a familiar place. In fact, I used to take my students there each year. In an introduction to spirituality, we visited several churches of various brands, St Francis included. I…

Poetry at the café #1

New year’s resolutions are fine, really. But when a friend told me earlier this year he’s resolved to give up coffee, quite frankly he crossed a line. I like coffee. Coffee is good and I’m sure there’s a sacred text somewhere that says so. To imagine my daily round without it is … well, it’s…