love me some biscuits

“Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.” ~ Carl Sandburg

Hello Friends and Hello 2021!

Nice to be back, and I must say, you’re even cuter than you were last year. How is that even possible? Maybe it was all those cookies you ate over the holidays. 😀

I was so happy to toss out 2020 and turn the page on a brand new Susan Branch calendar. Marking the days, weeks, and months with her charming art, quotes, photos, and recipes is how I like to roll. I think of her as a good luck charm; her optimism and positive energy really keep me going.

If January is any indication, we’re all in for a BIG year. Huge challenges, yes, but I’m hopeful that with our new President, Vice President, Democratic Congress and our collective faith in the power of BLUE — we’ll be able to heal, restore, build, and move forward for the good of all.

2021 will be one heck of a feast, and I’m anxious to dig in, so please pass the biscuits!

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via JaneCBaker
IN RHAPSODIC PRAISE OF BISCUITS
by Joan Leotta

Biscuits transubstantiate from
buttermilk or Lily brand flour and
Clabber Girl baking powder
into a heavenly delight.
So, it is only right that they
are the first item passed
after prandial prayer.
Plucking one from the basket
passed to me,
my fingers tingle as they brush
the lightly crisped top.
Slowly, I separate the still warm
bread of perfection
into two perfect halves,
tamping down the steam 
with a pat of real butter
and a swirl of honey.
I lift one section to mouth
and savor the
sweetness of the topping,
aided and abetted by the salty,
creamy butter amid the
biscuit crumbs.
Edible perfection.

~ from a broadside sponsored by Poetry in Plain Sight (Winston Salem, December 2019)

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tapioca carioca

Hello, Cutie.

Put on your best bib, grab a spoon, and dig into some homemade tapioca pudding. 🙂

I LIKE TAPIOCA
by Bill Batcher
I like even the word "tapioca."
It sounds like the name of a Latin dance,
the beat of the Samba underscoring
the ritual movements of some Amazonian tribe.
"Come, let's do the Tapioca."
Or it could be the local indigenous name
of a tributary of the congo
the newsman Stanley hoped would
bring him closer to Dr. Livingstone.
"This is the Tapioca, I presume."
Or even a tropical insect,
whose bite transmits a lethal disease,
while its genes contain the secret
to conquering the riddle of aging.
"Tapioca face cream, $26.59 a jar."
Yet tapioca is more than these:
A confection that puts a spring
in my step, takes my spirit
to worlds unknown, and renews my youth,
when I loved those gelatinous pearls --
even when told they were frog eyes -- the bigger, the better.

Where is it from? There's the mystery,
unlike the rice pudding they try to pawn off
on me instead.
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strawberries: a taste of something wild and sweet

“Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” ~ Pema Chodron

 

Hello, good-looking friends. How are you holding up?

Hard to believe it’s already June. It’s certainly been a trying three months! Time to anticipate summer with a little strawberry love. 🙂

As we hunker down in our private spaces, our strength, resilience, faith and patience are being tested as never before. Each day brings a new concern as we reassess our priorities and consider an uncertain future.

Rather than perpetually bemoan forced confinement, we can mindfully pause to carefully consider, with humility and gratitude, the time we are actually being given and the challenge to use it wisely.

I’m here to tell you there is good news: Today, it’s your turn. Wherever you are standing right now, I give this to you:

 

“Strawberries” by Alexis Kreyder

 

WHAT IS GIVEN
by Ralph Murre

The likelihood of finding strawberries
tiny and wild and sweet
around your ankles
on any given day
in any given place
is not great
but sometimes
people find strawberries
right where they are standing
just because it is their turn
to be given a taste
of something wild and sweet

 

“Strawberries on Spode Plate” by Jeanne Illenye

 

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poetry friday roundup is here!

“In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.” ~ Salman Rushdie

Hello, Poetry-loving Friends!

Hope you’re feeling a little chipper today, because it’s National Chocolate Chip Day!

Thought we’d serve up a little comfort and levity to brighten your weekend. Please help yourself to as many warm-from-the-oven cookies as you like and a tall glass of milk — you certainly deserve it!

A few weeks ago, I received a nice thank you email from New Hampshire poet Jeff Friedman. You may remember that I featured his awesome “Poem for Ross Gay” back in December. I’ve never been quite the same since reading how Ross ate four Athena melons, an entire book of poetry, and all the eggs in the house, while refusing chocolate chip cookies and King Arthur chocolate onyx wafers (cause his body is a temple).

 

 

I didn’t need further convincing that Jeff is my kind of poet, but after he mentioned that chocolate chip cookies are the mainstay of his diet, there is simply no doubt.

So today, another Jeff poem — and yes, there’s chocolate in it. I’ve always wanted to work in or own a bakery. But the narrator in the poem and I just happen to be allergic to the same thing. Wrap your lips around this one, but save me an éclair. 🙂

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“Pastry Chef” by Chaim Soutine

 

WORKING IN FLOUR
by Jeff Friedman

When I walked into the bakery at my usual time
asking politely for two marble cookies,
a fudgy chocolate drop rising from the chocolate swirls,
Ida Kaminsky, who came from strong Russian stock —
a hearty vegetable stew, spicy meats rolled in
cooked cabbage — winked and asked if I wanted a job.
She offered me two bucks an hour,
half off on the marble cookies, and anything
not sold at the end of the day might also be mine.
I put on an apron, pushed through
the swinging doors to help the bakers.
The smell of flour was thick
and tree pollen spotted the windows.
Tall and freckled, Max, the other assistant,
squeezed my hand, “I’ll show you what to do.”
He taught me how to use the cake decorator,
how to prepare the éclairs and put them in their doilies,
then pointed out the brooms and mops, the industrial
strength cleansers, the double sink
with rubber hoses coiled in it. “You don’t want
paste to harden in the bowls.”
From across the room, where he scooped chocolate chip
cookie batter onto a baking tray, Julius, the baker,
snapped, “Make sure you tell him: Everything
has to be spick-and-span.” The flies heard him
and flew off the lip of the sink toward the light fixtures.
Soon I began sneezing, my hapless ahchoos
running down spotted walls, glistening
on my face and hands as I pumped the custard
through a nozzle into the delicate éclair rolls.
Later, when I worked on cleaning the floors,
Max yelled at me for spreading the dirt
in circles with my mop.
I stepped back, kicking over the bucket of lye.
All in a day’s work, I thought.
The next morning, Ida Kaminsky cornered me,
“I liked you better as a customer.”
I folded my apron neatly without arguing back
picked up my bag of cookies
and walked out into the bright spring air,
where now I understood my mother’s comment,
“You’re allergic to work” and where, for a moment,
I stopped sneezing.

~ from Working in Flour (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2011).

 

Marbled Chocolate Chunk Cookies via The Monday Box

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Now, please leave your poetry-related links below with the charming and debonair Mr. Linky. Take some chocolate chip cookies with you, and enjoy your little foray around the blogosphere as you savor all the wonderful posts. Happy Poetry Friday, and thanks for joining us!

 

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More cookies for the road compliments of the resident bakers:

 

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“I love watching keep-fit videos while munching chocolate chip cookies.” ~ Dolly Parton

“If I had any choice in the matter, I’d stay in my comfy bed and eat warm chocolate chip cookies all day.” ~ Simone Elkeles

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” ~ Nora Ephron


Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

animal crackers: a sweet memory in every bite

 

Did you know that tomorrow, April l8, is National Animal Crackers Day? 🙂

Oh, to return to a simpler, more innocent time, when it was all about glee rather than guilt!

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Frosted Animal Cookies via Life Made Simple (click for recipe)

 

ANIMAL CRACKER (no s)
by Gretchen Friel

My students are inspired to read
more poems aloud if I bring
frosted animal crackers to class.
All well and good for them,
they are not scouring the perimeter
of the grocery store lately,
choosing only fresh produce,
spinach and bananas
for sustenance.
They do not know that
I have removed the map
of interior aisles from my
shopping itinerary,
undone my bonds with
sugar and fat, so that
even the innocent glance
after snacks in aisle nine
causes guilt I may need to
confess
to someone,
my sister perhaps,
“Is there a nutritionist in the house?”
No answer.
I grasp firmly the airtight foil
bag of pink and white safari shapes.
Animal cookies with rainbow sprinkles
stare innocently at me from a
faraway land,
a past to which I cannot return.
I read the serving size and calorie count.
8 cookies, 160 calories.
20 calories for one soul.
I think,
not too long or hard,
cut the foil,
drink in a wave of sugar air,
only I could love this much,
try to decide between pink
and white.
Will they taste different?
I remove a single
white iced mountain goat,
hold him,
smell his
head

and indulge.
He travels the lonely caves
of my esophagus,
to a pit where I think
I hear him land.
Growling, you would think he is
a herd.
But no, his
is a solitary fate.
Delicious.

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