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Posts Tagged ‘food poems’

Mr. Cornelius Cucumber

While looking for more children’s books illustrated by Lena Anderson, I was happy to discover Anna’s Garden Songs – a whimsical, light-hearted collection of 14 fruit and veggie poems written by Mary Q. Steele.

Garden favorites like peas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, beets and onions take their place in the sun with playful rhyming verse and Lena’s fanciful pictures. I may as well confess right now that I’ve always had a thing for giant vegetables, so when I saw how Lena fiddled with scale in this book I squealed with delight. :)

Blond, mostly barefoot, bespectacled Anna is just adorable as she plants, harvests and shares the garden’s bounty with her friends, grandfather, and large pet rabbit, who happily scampers through the pages and almost steals the show (he’s especially good at nibbling and napping).

 

From the moment I opened the book and saw Anna hiding in that big pea pod, I knew I was in for a real treat. I can’t decide which I like most — Anna sitting atop a giant beet, relaxing amongst the tomato plants, or wearing a dress made from lettuce leaves.

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We are always eating
or about to, or just done.
We are hungry, we are sated,
we are wishing we hadn’t.
We are making up for it,
or planning our denials,
or confessing them.

~ from “Dieting” by Julia Wendell

I’m pleased today to welcome Maryland poet Julia Wendell, who’s as passionate about words as she is about horses. With a life marked by such difficult personal challenges as anorexia and alcohol addiction, it seems riding and writing have been her saving graces.

The 29 poems in her new chapbook Take This Spoon are presented in seven sections, each leading off with a favorite family recipe to whet the reader’s appetite. As she says in her poem “Dieting,” we spend much of our time obsessing about food. Some are addicted to eating, while others are addicted to not eating. Better to take a lesson from animals:

Self-consciousness doesn’t ruin

their appetite or enjoyment.
They don’t judge what they consume,
or long for what they won’t allow themselves.

They don’t confuse who they are
with what they eat,
fearing they won’t be loved
if they’re fat, or don’t cook,
or overcook, or nearly kill themselves
by making up for their gluttony
with fasting.

Julia explores the complicated relationship humans have with food by fixing a personal lens on her own family. In artfully crafted scenes, (a mother keeping her daughter out of the kitchen so she won’t see her drinking, a young woman bringing home a bohemian boyfriend to dinner at her mother’s “immaculate table,” a woman aching for her deceased mother as she comes across her handwriting on recipe cards), the subtexts of pain, regret, loss, and contention are plated to perfection. Her descriptions of food are lyrical and sensual, her voice intimate and honest, her ability to align what is being eaten with what eats away at the heart and soul is powerful.

Since so many of you enjoyed Julia’s poem, “My Mother’s Handwriting,” I know you’ll find her thoughts about writing, familial relationships, and the love of horses interesting.

Naturally, I asked her to share a recipe. Peanut Butter Pie, anyone? :)

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1. “Cranberry,” A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo and Jessica Lynn Bonin

2. “The One and the Other” by Hayden Saunier

3. “Sugar” by Barbara Crooker

4. THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END by Joan Bransfield Graham and Kyrsten Brooker

5. “Teatime Grouch,” “Teddy Bear Tea,” “Tea Around the World” from TEA PARTY TODAY by Eileen Spinelli and Karen Dugan

6. “Tea” by Carol Ann Duffy

7. “Color” by Christina Rossetti

8. “The Work of Happiness” by May Sarton

9. ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES by Barbara Etlin

10. WHY DO I CHASE THEE by Jessica Swaim and Chet Phillips

11. Emily Dickinson flower poems

12. “My Party” and “You Are Going Out to Tea” by Kate Greenaway

13. “Song of the Flower XXIII” by Kahlil Gibran + Roundup

14. “Calvin Coolidge” from RUTHERFORD B., WHO WAS HE? by Marilyn Singer and John Hendrix

15. IF DOGS RUN FREE by Bob Dylan and Scott Campbell

16. “My Mother’s Handwriting” by Julia Wendell

17. S IS FOR SEA GLASS by Richard Michelson and Doris Ettlinger

18. Interview with Julia Wendell (Take This Spoon)

19. POEM-MOBILES by J. Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian and Jeremy Holmes

20. ANNA’S GARDEN SONGS by Mary Q. Steele and Lena Anderson

21. MISS EMILY by Burleigh Muten and Mac Phelan

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♥ A permanent link to this archive may be found in the sidebar of this blog (scroll down to “Archival Lists”).

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MY MOTHER’S HANDWRITING
by Julia Wendell

Individual as DNA, it spoke to me
from fridge notes, Christmas tags,
and report cards I took back to school,
with her hurried scrawl at the bottom.

Even now, the ache when I find her
half-cursive, half-print,
as unique as her voice was
sonorous and youthful, even as she aged.

But she is nowhere more present
than in her stash of recipe cards marked
Vegetables and Salads, Meat and Poultry,
as if she’d just penned the headings yesterday.

I scan the green cardboard box
for something yummy and familiar,
reading her hand-me-down script,

more alive than the cherry tree blooming
outside my window, more permanent
than my own body
that once slipped out of hers,

my half-breed penmanship reduced,
like anyone’s, to scribble in the end –
the way we sign our names,
caress a cold ankle or pull up a sheet,

the way we say goodbye
or fix a perfect salad.
She returns to me in fading ballpoint pen:

Press the garlic into the sides
of the wooden bowl.
Add tons of garlic and Parmesan cheese.
Toss and serve. I savor
every dash.

~ posted by permission of the author (Take This Spoon, 2014).

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It wasn’t until I moved to Virginia that Margaret started sending me recipes in the mail.

I requested a few local favorites so I could share a taste of Hawai’i with my new neighbors: Hot Shrimp Dip, Sweet Bread Pudding, Butter Mochi, Korean Kalbi, Cucumber Kimchi, Teriyaki Chicken.

Every so often, she’d send me a surprise recipe or two — a curry vegetable dip I just “had to try,” the Waioli Tea Room Fried Chicken recipe making the rounds at work, a new pancake recipe her sister Ella couldn’t stop raving about. Some were typed on her snazzy IBM Selectric, but most were written in her generous speedy script — breezy handwriting that artfully pinned down chopped parsley, dill weed, yogurt and grated red onion before they had a chance to flit away.

These occasional exchanges, short for, you’re too far away for me to cook for you but since I’m your mother I must make sure you don’t starve to death, took the place of actual letters, which were my Dad’s forte. Busy Margaret was more about random notes, lists, a line or two in a greeting card and hastily jotted recipes, some giving rise to good stories about making, eating, sharing.

I was thrilled to find Julia Wendell’s poem at Alimentum. Talk about someone taking the words right out of your mouth! I’ve always loved studying handwriting, delighted with how size, slant, speed, shape and pressure can reveal mood and personality. Now, when I chance upon an old recipe card, Margaret returns to me “in fading ballpoint pen.” I look harder at her scribbles, hoping to hear more.

“My Mother’s Handwriting” is included in Julia’s brand new chapbook, Take This Spoon (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2014). I’ve been slowly savoring each and every food poem and yes, there are family recipes. Julia’s a new-to-me poet; I like her intimate conversational style and use of telling detail to reveal hard truths about family dynamics, personal demons, and the complex relationship we have with food. Wholly accessible with startling emotional resonance, these beautifully crafted poems are not to be missed. But I’ll let Julia herself tell you more about them, since she’s agreed to drop by soon for a chat. Stay tuned!

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♦ CHILI (BEVERLY HILLS RESTAURANT) ♦

This is one of Margaret’s ‘survival recipes’ that I’ve made several times with my own variations. She sometimes whipped up a batch during the week and occasionally served it at beach park picnics. One time she couldn’t figure out why it didn’t taste quite the same. That’s what happens when you forget the beans. :D

  • 1 lb. pinto beans (soak overnight)
  • 5 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 lb. green (bell) peppers, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons salad oil
  • 1-1/2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2-1/2 lb. lean ground round
  • 1 lb ground pork or Italian hot sausage
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed

1. Wash beans, soak overnight, then cook until tender.

2. Sauté green peppers in oil.

3. Add onions and cook until tender. Add garlic and parsley.

4. Sauté meat in butter 15 minutes; add meat to onion and pepper mixture, stir in chili powder, then cook about 10 minutes. Add beans and rest of spices. Simmer, covered, about an hour.

5. Cook an additional 30 minutes uncovered. Skim fat from top before serving.

Note: Recipe may be halved. Substitute vegetable oil for butter and ground turkey for pork to cut down on fat calories. You can also use canned pinto beans in place of dried.

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Julia Wendell grew up in the Allegheny Forest of northwest Pennsylvania. Educated at Cornell University, Boston University, and the University of Iowa, Writer’s Workshop, she left her mid-careers as teacher and editor for the world of horses and three-day eventing. Her children John Logan (a classical sitarist) and Caitlin Saylor (an actor/playwright), grew up with their mother and her husband, poet and critic, Barrett Warner, on their horse farm in northern Baltimore County, where Julia and Barrett still live and work. Julia is enamored of jumping horses over immovable obstacles while galloping cross country.

For more info about Take This Spoon and her other chapbooks, poetry collections, and memoir, visit Julia’s Official Website.

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poetryfriday180Casual poet and serious slurper Diane Mayr is hosting today’s Roundup at Random Noodling. Don your best bibs, polish your chopsticks and feast on all the poetic delights being served up in the blogosphere this week. Bon Appétit!

 

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wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Drop by for some yummy Coffee Bars and check out what deliciousness the other bloggers are sharing this week!

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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Fasten your seat belts. This one left me reeling.

via Just a Pinch Recipes

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THE ONE AND THE OTHER
by Hayden Saunier

The child hums as he carries, too late,
his grandmother’s sugar-dusted lemon-glazed cake

down the street to the neighbor who needs to be cheered,
too late for the neighbor

who’s stepped into the air
of her silent front hall from a ladder-backed chair

her church dress just pressed, her head in a loop she tied
into the clothesline, too late

he unlatches the gate,
walks up the brick walk on his tiptoes, avoiding the cracks

toward the door she unlocked, left ajar, who knows why
or for whom, if on purpose

or not, but because he’s too late
she’s gone still when he reaches the door and because

he’s too late, as he calls out and looks, brilliant sun
burns through haze

pours through sidelights and bevels
through chandelier prisms, strikes white sparks and purples

on ceiling and walls, on the overturned chair, on her stockings
her brown and white

spectator shoes on the floor
and because he’s too late he remembers both terror and beauty

but not which came first. But enough of the one
that he ran

and enough of the other
to carefully lay down the cake at her feet.

~ posted by permission of the author, © 2011 Hayden Saunier. All rights reserved. (Rattle #36, Winter 2011)

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Hayden: “I love the way objects, images and stories connect and find their way into a poem. An old friend had sent me an outrageous pound cake one Christmas and when I described it as ‘sugar-dusted, lemon-glazed,’ the story of the boy in this poem, told to me years earlier, came straight to mind. Everything came together through that sunny yellow circle with its center missing — dense, empty, bitter, sweet, gestures we make too late, a child’s ability to take in everything at the same moment, at once, and complete. It was all in the cake.”

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I still hold my breath every time I read this powerful, heartbreaking poem, as though I can’t believe what is happening, wishing I could somehow call the boy back to keep him from seeing what he will see.

The escalating urgency and suspense, and the intense crackle of opposites colliding are so masterfully executed detail by detail, phrase by phrase, in just one cascading sentence.

How fine is the line between terror and exhiliration — or are they one and the same?

We are left to ponder which is the greatest tragedy — that a woman committed suicide, that a child was traumatized, or that perhaps a life could have been saved if that cake had been delivered just five minutes earlier.

“The One and the Other” won the 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize, and is included in Hayden’s brand new book, Say Luck (Big Pencil Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 Kenneth & Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize.

I first stumbled upon “The One and the Other” online a couple of months ago while innocently searching for a cake poem, and have been haunted by it ever since. Totally unsuspecting, I could never have imagined, reading those first few words — “child hums . . . grandmother’s sugar-dusted lemon glazed cake” — that this poem would be laced with such a searing kaleidoscope of fragmented anguish.

I’d like to thank Hayden for granting me permission to share her poem and for providing a little backstory. Do pick up a copy of Say Luck; I’ve been slowly savoring and enjoying each and every poem.

♥ Visit the Rattle website to hear Hayden read “The One and the Other.”

♥ Hayden reads “Say Luck” at Listen Well.

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SAY LUCK
written by Hayden Saunier
selected by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
published by Big Pencil Press, 2013
Poetry, 94 pp.
*Foreword by Ms. Bosselaar

Hayden Saunier is a writer, actress, and teaching artist living in the Philadelphia area. She is the winner of the 2013 Gell Poetry Prize, 2011 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, and the 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, is a Bucks County, PA, Poet Laureate, and the 2005 Robert Fraser Poetry Award Winner. Click here to visit her Official Website.

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poetryfriday180The lovely, talented and snickerdoodle-loving Keri Collins Lewis is hosting today’s Roundup at Keri Recommends. Check out the full menu of poetic goodies being served up in the blogosphere and enjoy the holiday weekend!

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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