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Posts Tagged ‘food’

The Gift


 
It still had its leaves on it,
the pomegranate she handed me.
And holding that smooth red sphere
in my palm, I felt not only
the jeweled weight of each bright seed,
but also the weight of the many nights
the fruit had hung on the tree,
felt how the nights had slowed the growth
so the fruit could develop more sugar.
Not all things get to ripen.
 
Oh, this small gift of sweetness.
How it opened in me such red tenderness—
the memory of a boy learning how
to open and eat a pomegranate,
scarlet juice trickling down his chin.
And now. I hold it in awe,
this beautiful thick-skinned globe,
hold it less like a fruit,
hold it more like a love
I was just beginning to know.
 

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Pickling


 
 
For hours we stand in the kitchen
and slice cucumbers, peel garlic,
prepare the brine. There is joy
in preserving what is wonderful,
in letting the self believe in a future
when we will pull the jar from the shelf
and remember what it was like
this summer day—as if we could also
fit into the jar the laughter, the pink
of the zinnias up to our waist,
the chickadee song and the warm,
warm nights. To be present
does not mean to ignore the future—
but oh, as we prepare, such joy
in singing along to an old favorite song
on the radio, scent of dill in the air,
summer still unfolding in the yard,
in the jars, in our joy.  
 
 

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Potica





Sitting in Colorado
I think of my parents sitting
in Illinois,
how tonight in different
kitchens together we savor
the Slovenian sweet bread
of my father’s childhood,
the sweet bread
his mother would make—
savor not just the taste
but the memory of the taste,
the paper thin crust,
the ground walnuts,
the honey.
Savor not just the loaf
but the memory of the hands
that once made the loaf,
the happiness as we ate it,
the communion in the joy.
Tonight, I break the bread
into tiny pieces, eat it slow,
imagine us at the same
loving table now
and years and years ago.
We are alone, not alone.
The bread tastes
like family, like home.



If you are unfamiliar with this Eastern European nutroll delicacy (pronounced puh-TEET-suh),  you can read more about it here.

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            Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!


Because I can’t serve you
breakfast in bed, I’ll
serve you a poem,
and knowing how
you like cake for breakfast,
it will be a sweet poem,
with penuche frosting
swirled atop every line.
And because it is a poem,
we can imagine
that the mug with pictures
of your granddaughter
(due to arrive on Monday)
has already arrived
and that it is filled with
Café Vienna, and laced,
why not, with whiskey,
because, hey, it’s a poem,
and you won’t really
get drunk, just happily
tipsy on all the love
served between the lines,
the kind of love that makes you
lean back into the pillows
and close your eyes
and smile like you have
life’s best secret,
the kind of love that makes you
leap out of bed and laugh,
buoyed by joy, a bit of penuche,
creamy and sweet,
still singing on your tongue.

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And there you were not
on the shelf with your shiny red skin,
and there you were not in the pan
in thin pink rings filling the air,
and there you were not
in the sauce, that warm underlayer
that grounds the bright tomato—
all night I missed you.
All night, the red wine kept asking,
Where is it? Where is it?
All night, I thought of how
what is missing is sometimes
most here.

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For hours we focus
on forming what is sweet—
shaping soft dough
with our hands, with a press,
with a rolling pin. And the house
smells of vanilla and cinnamon.
And happy hours disappear into laughter
and the hands find joy
in making something good.

I think of all the other hands
in kitchens across the world—
hands working together
to serve others—
I imagine their fingerprints
right here in this dough.
I imagine us feeding each other.

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Praise the pumpkin

with its orange flesh—

how it softens

and sweetens as it cooks.

Praise the way it lends

its rich and earthy density

to pie and bread, curry and soup.

The body responds

with a something akin to joy—

tethered by humble pleasure

to exactly this moment,

as if a flavor could help us

know god—

as if a taste could help us

become who we are.

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Hankering

Today again I thank the arugula

for the way it teaches me

that sharpness, too, is what

draws us in, that we come

not just to forgive

but to crave what is bitter,

what bites us back.

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Ravenous

Perhaps I was already full

when Danny offered me

a sweet potato pancake

for breakfast, but there

he was with a bowl

of homemade batter

and a cast iron frying pan

hot on the stove, and so

I did what I longed to do,

I said yes, yes to feeding

a hunger that has little

to do with food—

the hunger for someone else

to offer you something

they’ve made, the joy of sharing

a meal together, the honor

of being served. The fact

that the pancake was delicious—

both sweet and hot—

was a bonus. The salsa

he handed me fiery—

fantastic as long friendship,

fierce as gratitude, as love.

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After cutting open hundreds, thousands

of avocados, I marvel as my friend Kyra

cuts off the top. Slices it right off.

And I stare at her, at the knife, at the tip

of the avocado listing on the cutting board.

How easily she scoops out the creamy green flesh.

How simply she cuts more rounds around the pit.

 

All these years, I’ve sliced avocados lengthwise.

It’s as if I’ve just learned a new word for yes.

As if the sun itself just rose right here in the kitchen.

It takes so little to open us, to help us

see everything new. Even that prayer I pray

the same way. These hands. This common fruit.

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