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Posts Tagged ‘food’

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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You are not a passive observer in the cosmos. The entire universe is expressing itself through you at this very minute.

—Deepak Chopra

 

 

Even as she made the cauliflower soup,

she was a deep space explorer.

No one else in the room seemed to notice

 

she was floating. No one noticed

how gravity had no hold on her.

No, they only saw she was chopping onions,

 

noticed how the act made her cry. How was it

did they not hear her laughter, astonished

as she was by her own weightlessness,

 

by the way she could move in any direction?

Perhaps the novelty explains why

she forgot to turn off the stove,

 

untethered as she was to anything.

It’s a miracle she sat at the dinner table at all,

what, with the awareness that she was surrounded

 

by planets, spiral galaxies, black holes, moons. Yes,

miracle, she thought as she tasted the soup,

and noticed deep space not just around,

 

but inside her: supernovae, constellations,

interstellar dust,

the glorious, immeasurable dark.

 

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Shabbat

for Peter and Lisa

 

 

We covered our eyes with our hands

and repeated the sacred words that Peter said,

blessing the pomegranate juice, blessing

 

the challah bread. And when we were done

with the prayer, we removed our hands

from our eyes and the candlelit world

 

was surprisingly bright. Such a simple faith,

kindness. The willingness to invite another in,

to make them bread, to offer them soup,

 

to say to the other, Here. Feast. Rest. To share

ancient stories and offer new wisdom.

To pass the braided bread, hand to hand,

 

and eat it together. To listen to each other

until the candles had burned through all their wax.

To continue to listen after the light goes out.

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Two Loaves

IMG_4898

 

 

Oh, this alchemy of wheat,

salt, water, yeast and heat.

Something so holy about the art

 

of transforming grain into loaves,

how the scent of the baking infuses

the whole house with earthy incense.

 

I whisper poems into the bread,

sing to it as it rises, as it rests.

I think of every other woman,

 

every other man who, for over 14,500 years,

has kneaded and shaped the living dough.

I imagine all of us, flour on our cheeks,

 

pressing our hands into service,

all of us certain of one thing:

we are called to feed each other.

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I mean, are you kidding me?!

 

 

They’re just grapes, sure, but

more like what every kiss wants to be—

surprising and unpredictable.

Intensely sweet, spicy, too,

and tough, unwilling to be summed up,

making me pucker at the same time

I long for more, something

I happened to find in the store,

but the taste, the round essence, is wild,

unable to be tamed.

It’s enough to make a woman wonder

how she’s never tried this before,

as if the world’s been holding out on her—

and if this new thrill is possible, well, then

what else might be out there for a woman to find?

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It’s just a piece of toast.

Bread. Heat. Butter.

Last season’s apricot jam.

It’s just breakfast. Just

simple carbs and a little fat

so that their brains can

function better, bodies

can move without hunger.

It’s just a few bites

that disappear in moments.

No one looks at the meal tenderly.

No one thinks, oh, my mom

must really love me—

look at the way she spread the butter

so evenly to cover all the bread.

No one thinks, she knows

just how light, just how dark

I like my toast. No, they just eat it

and rush toward the door.

Some part of me is grateful

they take it so for granted,

believing love is as easy

as pushing down a toaster lever,

as simple as saying thanks.

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Ode to the Patty Pan

 

 

 

I can imagine not everyone would look

at this plate of grilled pattypan squash

and start to salivate. I was one of them once,

 

those who think they dislike zucchini, crook necks,

patty pans. I, too, shunned the spongy flesh,

the seeded core. I was a scorner of squash.

 

I don’t exactly remember when it changed,

when I stopped wishing it off my plate,

began to grow it myself. Began to crave it—

 

and not just grated into sweet bread.

Not just sliced and forgotten in a rich tomato sauce.

No, I came to delight in the very squash-ness of it—

 

the way it embodies the abundance of summer.

The way it takes on other flavors but never

abandons its own. And here, tonight,

 

stacked on my plate like small green suns,

blistered and sweating from the grill,

the pattypan squash are luscious, delightful,

 

so utterly themselves. How hard it used to be

to appreciate them. I remember. How easily

it comes now, this thrill in what summer provides.

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