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

Capon on the pleasures of drudgery

I despise recipes that promise results without work, or success without technique. … Technique must be acquired, and, with technique, a love of the very processes of cooking. No artist can work simply for results; he must also like the work of getting them. Not that there isn’t a lot of drudgery in any art…

Cherry and hazelnut cake

I don’t recall nuts when I was a kid. I do remember mum passing around a square each of Cadbury’s fruit ‘n nut after the fish & chips were done, and dad’s Christmas jar of chocolate coated peanuts not so generously shared. But apart from those, nuts were not a thing. I like them now….

Food: the time of our lives

‘Foods and the meals we make of them are our clocks. They are our faithful calendars. In a real sense, they are the time of our life.’ Jeremy MacClancy This morning I drank coffee with my beloved. Then there was breakfast. At midday, or thereabouts, I’ll eat lunch and tonight I’ll make dinner for my…

Kitchen Rage

There’s something centring about the act of cooking. Put it down to my churchly vocation, but I’ve long imagined the preparation of food as a contemplative act — there is a spiritual calm that comes with it. Whatever the day has held, an hour at the kitchen bench brings me home. As I dice, sauté…

Writing about food: celebrating the trivial

I am a glutton for good food writing. At its best it can transport me to far-away tables, tempt me with new tastes, prod my memories of heritage and family, confront prejudices and sharpen my sense of justice. With nothing but words, my imagination is fed and my living is challenged. I am richer for…

Lemon tea cake

There were lemons in the Garden of Eden. I’m sure of it. To imagine a place of perfection without these yellow jewels of acidity is impossible. Though northern India claims its origin, the lemon has been regarded the most significant fruit in Middle Eastern and European cuisines for centuries. And for good reason. In the…

Cooking and Writing

Cooking and writing. They’re the two activities I gravitate to if time is spare; the two things, frankly, I would rather do than most anything else. Yet they are different, so counter in process and reward. The fact is, I can’t do both at the same time. And therein lies the distinctive magic of each….

How to cook like a man

A few years back I read Daniel Duane’s book How to Cook Like a Man. I was intrigued by the title. The truth is, as I look back, the cooks I have most respected are women. While their gifts and technical skills were often admirable, what I came to value was their innate understanding of…

Fruit cake … with plums

I have a thing for apricots. Dried. Every week I buy a bagful from fruit-n-nut-man at the market. They’re not those dry, inedible nuggets you get in sealed plastic at Woolies. These are large, moist, succulent. I love them. A few weeks back I arrived at the stall to collect my stash. Fruit-n-nut-man smiled, looking…

Stephanie’s obsession

‘He’s obsessed!’ I heard a friend of mine described that way recently, behind his back. It’s a powerful tag. Most often it infers dysfunction. Proponents of that holy grail — work-life balance — paint obsession a failing, a roadblock in the pursuit of health and wholeness. But I do wonder, does obsession deserve a little more credit? I am…

A ‘grace’ from the Hindu tradition

As thou has set the moon in the sky to be the poor man’s lantern, so let thy light shine in my dark life and lighten my path; as the rice is sown in the water and brings forth grain in great abundance, so let thy word be sown in our midst that the harvest…

A ‘grace’ from the Inuit people

The lands around my dwelling Are more beautiful From the day When it is given me to see Faces I have never seen before. All is more beautiful, All is more beautiful, And life is thankfulness. These guests of mine make my house grand. The Eskimo people of Northern Canada and Alaska are known as…

A ‘grace’ from Chief Dan George

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass,   speaks to me. The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm of the sea,   speaks to me. The strength of the fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun, and the life…

A ‘grace’ from Walter Rauschenbusch

A circle of friends is a blessed thing. Sweet is the breaking of bread with friends. For the honour of their presence at our board We are deeply grateful, Lord. Thanks be to Thee for friendship shared, Thanks be to Thee for food prepared. Bless Thou the cup; bless Thou the bread; Thy blessing rest…

A ‘grace’ from Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank thee for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the health, the work, the food, for the bright skies that make our lives delight, and for our friends in all parts of the earth….

A ‘grace’ from Pakistan

God, we thank you for all your gifts. This day, this night, these fruits, these flowers, these trees, these waters— with all these treasures you have endowed us. The heat of the sun, the light of the moon, the songs of the birds and the coolness of the breeze, the green, green grass like a…

A ‘grace’ from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Author of my wellbeing, source of knowledge, fount of holiness, height of glory, all-mightiness of eternal splendour! I shall choose that which he shall have taught me and I shall rejoice in that which he shall have appointed unto me. When I put forth my hands and feet, I shall bless his name; when I…

A ‘grace’ from Julian of Norwich

Be a gardener, dig a ditch, toil and sweat, and turn the earth upside down and seek the deepness and water the plants in time. Continue this labour and make sweet floods to run and noble and abundant fruits to spring. Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship….

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…