a word of caution from greg pincus

#16 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.

 photo by Sakuraku Kitsa.

It always happens.

You invite a perfectly respectable group of people to a Potluck, and at least one of them brings a questionable dish. Nothing politically incorrect, you understand, like a side of beef for vegans, or pork chops without applesauce — just something a tad deceptive, maybe even a little frightening.

Friends, nothing is safe.

Good thing we have uber-cool social networking maven, Gregory K. Pincus, looking out for us.

Should we trust succotash?

photo by culinarycory.

or hash?

photo by joyosity.

What evil lurks in a casserole?

photo by grandgrrrl.

And you know what they say about beans!

photo by vbalchen.

I know. Eating is such a daunting enterprise. Take Greg’s advice with a grain of salt and pay no attention to what he says about SOUPS!


Beware of foods with names like “hash.”
You can’t know what’s put in it.
And still don’t trust a succotash
If you see the cook begin it.
Have fear of soups if they contain
Mysterious cooked greens.
Also have most great disdain
Of salads called “Five Beans.”
A casserole can hide so much.
It’s quite a frightening thing.
If there’s one food you should not touch,
It’s Chicken ala King.
Everybody knows that gruel
Is not a food to munch.
All this is why, when you’re in school,
Be sure to bring your lunch.

© 2010 Greg Pincus. All rights reserved.


Now, after this fair warning, what do you suppose Greg brought to the Potluck? Grandma’s Chicken Paprikash! Very suspect, indeed. He did not send a photo to appease my fears, so as an extra precaution, I had the kitchen bots, who know how to handle dicey onions, prepare the recipe. I cowered in the corner watched them from a safe distance in my steel apron.


Greg: This is not a saucy paprikash, as many are. Instead, this is closer to arroz con pollo or a hearty, brothless chicken and rice soup. It is wonderfully simple, a key for me, and gets tastier as a leftover.


1 large onion, diced or chopped
1 large chicken, cut up
1 can of stewed tomatoes (14ish oz. size)
2 cups rice
just in case: low salt chicken broth

In a large pot, brown the onion in a bit of olive oil. Add 4-5 shakes of paprika.

Take the skin off the chicken. Toss the pieces on top of the onions. Add more paprika, as you see fit. Cover pot and simmer.

After 30 minutes (stirring occasionally), add stewed tomatoes, undrained. Cover pot.

After another 30-35 minutes, add 2 cups of rice. There should be plenty of liquid in which to cook this rice . . . however, you may need to add chicken broth (or boiling water, if you prefer).

Keep simmering for 30 minutes or until rice is done.

* Len and I loved this! The rice cooked in stewed tomato liquid and chicken broth was delish. We were inspired to act out the “When Harry Met Sally” scene: “there is too much pepper in my parikash!” A dangerously delightful dinner ☺!

Thanks, Greg!

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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