Slip into your silks and satins, your high powdered poufs, your diamonds and tulle. Rouge your cheeks, flutter your fans. Today, a deliciously decadent slice of Marie Antoinette courtesy of Northern New York-based poet Christie Grimes.
I first tasted Christie’s sensual, sensory rich poem in the recently published food anthology, Joys of the Table: An Anthology of Culinary Verse (Richer Resources, 2015). Sweets are often considered a self-indulgent extravagance, and I like how the flavors of Christie’s images are enhanced with a subtle subtext of 18th century notes. How fine the line between berries and blood!
MARIE ANTOINETTE OPENS A PASTRY SHOP IN PARIS
by Christie Grimes
She calls it simply Marie’s,
fills her large store front window
with red velvet cupcakes,
raspberry crescents, cherry turnovers,
loves the clash between sweet and tart
the way it cleaves her tongue in two
seems like it will linger forever
but in a moment,
just the time it takes to blink
it is gone.
Only the remnant
of a seed
or the soft jelly coating
People come through the door
ask for coconut crèmes,
flourless chocolate torts,
but she refuses to supply them.
“Eat these cakes I have made,” she tells them
as she waves her hand at the window.
There are strawberry preserve cookies,
boysenberry crepes and cranberry blintzes.
She can’t help it.
She loves working the red fruit between her hands,
the way the juices stain her cuticle beds,
deepen the creases of her palms.
When she is baking,
she licks the spoons and spatulas
sucks on her fingertips,
savors the smooth syrup of the crushed berries,
the way they pop in her mouth
or burst under her fork,
darken the side of her bowl.
And, after they are all in the oven,
as she scoops the batter into her mouth
she always runs the edge of the spoon along her lip
indulging in the short slide of steel.
~ Posted by permission of the author, copyright © 2015 Christie Grimes. All rights reserved.
Christie: I wrote this poem gathered at a friend’s cabin for a poetry retreat day. It was a lovely location on Grindstone Island in the St. Lawrence Seaway of Northern New York State. It was a brisk day to take a boat across (it can be cold there even in July), but we were hoping that the mist and chill would burn off as the day brightened. We brought lots of goodies from summer farmer’s markets, including fresh berries and pastries. We also had an assortment of French and Spanish cheese and summer sausage, which we began cutting with a large cleaver, the only nearby blade we could find in the small kitchenette. When we nestled into the couches, all of the images – the delectable pastries, the fresh berries, the chopping blade in the other room, all swirled together into the poem.
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🍒 A LITTLE CAKE BOUTIQUE 🍓
Two things immediately come to mind whenever anyone mentions Marie Antoinette: “Let Them Eat Cake” and the sharp blade of that guillotine. By now most of us know Marie didn’t really say that, but alas, her decadent cake legacy lives on and on, compelling pastry chefs all over the world to top their over-the-top creations in her honor.
The Marie Antoinette cake seems to be a favored specialty of wedding cake artisans, allowing them to indulge their wildest fantasies in flamboyant frostings and fondant. The higher and more intricate the design, the better. Problem is, these cakes are so exquisite, you’re loathe to take a knife to any of them.
Feast your eyes:
All this cake is making me thirsty. Yes, there’s even a Marie Antoinette tea:
And interestingly enough, there’s a real Marie Antoinette’s, but it’s not in Paris, it’s in Whitby, England. 🙂
I think we should all drop by sometime soon!
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Christie Grimes teaches at SUNY Jefferson and hosts the North Country Writers Festival in Northern New York. She has published in journals including Harpur Palate, Permafrost and Passages North. She earned graduate degrees from Florida State University, Texas State University, and Binghamton University. She adores Texas fruit kolaches. Her debut poetry collection will be published by Jane’s Boy Press in early 2016.
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🎈 THE DOUBLE HAPPINESS GIVEAWAY WINNER 🎈
WHOSE FAVORITE CHINESE DISH IS
🐔 KUNG PAO CHICKEN! 🐔
Please send your snail mail address to readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com so we can get the book out to you right away.
Thanks to everyone for entering. It was such a mouthwatering treat reading about all your favorite Chinese foods. 🙂
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The lovely and talented Michelle H Barnes is hosting today’s Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty. Take her a piece of decadent cake and check out the full menu of poetic goodies being shared in the blogosphere this week.
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This one is especially nice:
Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.