friday feast: practicing rapture with our surprise guest, susan rich!

#11 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010

Sometimes the nicest things happen by accident.

Not too long ago, in one of my relentless searches for good food poems, I stumbled upon Susan Rich’s “A Poem for Will, Baking.” It brought me to my knees, as I remembered losing my aunt and my cousin’s grief. The poem also resonated with many of you, and later I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Susan herself.

When she asked whether we could combine forces for National Poetry Month, I knew she would be a perfect surprise guest. She’s written other food poems, some of which are included in her new book, The Alchemist’s Kitchen (White Pine Press, 2010). What I didn’t know was how succinctly her chosen “potluck poem” would define the provocative relationship between food and poetry.

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april 2010 poetry month potluck: starters and a giveaway

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

 This is just to say,

photo by Morgan Rowe.               

Happy April and Welcome to the Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck!

I’ve set the table, chilled the wine, hired a string quartet (don’t worry, some jazz musicians will be joining us later), and am ready to enjoy a month’s worth of poems written by some of the wonderful folks I’ve met through Poetry Friday.

I’ve been hooked on PF ever since I first started blogging in 2007. Every week, I look forward to seeing what beautiful, inspiring, funny, or thought provoking poems these friends will post. Whether they’ve written the poems themselves, or have chosen the work of others, I’m grateful for the momentary glimpse into their emotional lives.

I thought inviting them to the alphabet soup kitchen for a potluck would be the perfect way to celebrate National Poetry Month. I asked each to share an original poem and a favorite recipe, and they all, without hesitation, enthusiastically agreed (further evidence of their overall awesomeness). They came through for me in a big way, even sharing recipe photos. Friends, this is going to be a supremely delicious month — a bountiful, nourishing feast for body, mind, and spirit!

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friday feast: are you a cook or a baker?

Someone once said most people are either cooks or bakers.

Cooks like the free flow of experimentation — changing ingredients at whim, improvising with whatever’s on hand, measuring by eye and sense rather than cups and spoons. They dance around the kitchen in their bare feet, taking great pride in the fact that their spaghetti sauce might turn out differently each time. Oh, the thrill of uncharted territory!

photo by dyogi.

Bakers, on the other hand, love precision — ingredients must be measured with care (pack down that brown sugar, level off those measuring spoons and cups). When dealing with yeast and leaveners, one must follow protocol and tip toe around the kitchen, lest the soufflé fall, the bread refuse to rise, or the cookies turn out hard as rock. Baking is beautifully scientific — kitchen chemistry.

Which leads me to today’s poem, which makes me sad, because it reminds me of my cousin who lost his mother just before Thanksgiving last year. You may remember my post about Auntie Ella, who was a great baker and suffered from dementia. My cousin quit his job and devoted four years of his life to her constant care.

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