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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

 

 

The white sauce whisked to smoothness

before the cheese is added,

and the elbow noodles boiled till they’re al dente,

 

the Pyrex buttered with long looping swirls of the fingers,

the cheddar spread evenly on top.

It is not easy for most people to see

 

devotion in the mac and cheese.

It doesn’t look like prayer.

But it’s there.

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We begin by talking for an hour

about the kids, her church, dad’s health,

and how we both cry when we see acts of goodness.

We clean the kitchen. Address one mess

before starting the next. Then we peel apples,

marvel at their size—how much larger

they must be than in the time of Fanny Farmer,

who thinks we might need eight tart apples

for our nine-inch crust. Fanny, even a hundred years later,

you are still synonymous with precision,

organization and good food. And, as I recall,

you, too, practiced your art in your mother’s kitchen.

As it is, seven apples in 2018 are enough

to fill two generous crusts. Oh Fanny,

some things have changed, for instance

this Granny Smith, large as my fist. But some things

are exactly the same. A level teaspoon

is still a level teaspoon. The simplest recipes

are still often the best. And it’s still so good

to make a pie with your mother, talking

about all of life’s loose ends, measuring sugar,

filling the crusts, then cleaning up the mess

as the scent of sweetness touches everything.

 

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They are so red, the peppers,
it is impossible not to admire them
before I put them on the grate
to char their skins and sweeten their flesh.

I think of all the other hands that touched
these fruits, and I thank them: whoever planted
the seed and watered the plant, whoever
weeded and hoed and broke the green stem.

I think of all the other women around the world
speaking languages I will never know who,
in these weeks of autumn, are also standing
beside a fire, turning the peppers to roast them evenly,

all of us breathing the same smoky scent.
All of us rolling up our sleeves as we prepare
to pull off the blackened skin. All of us relieved
when the seeds fall out easily. All morning the house

smells of sunshine and basil, red peppers and gratitude.
I think of all of us doing the work to feed the people
we love, our knives keeping time against wooden boards,
our hands sticky and red with devotion.

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Using the Last Bit of Red Onion Left by Rachel

Lost for weeks in the corner of the crisper drawer,
it appears just in time to save the carrot soup.

One large hunk of red onion, partially used, still good.
I get nostalgic, remembering how Rachel, gone for three weeks,

served it with eggs, and though I didn’t eat them
I remember how delicious the kitchen smelled then.

It is her hand that chose it, her hand that sliced the rings.
I laugh at my own nostalgia. But I miss her, the all of her,

the giggling on the couch with her, the singing in the car,
cayenne and hot chocolate late night, poems, wine.

And slicing the onion, thinking about how Rachel she is,
it is right somehow that I should start to cry.

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