Tag Archives: poetry

Metaphors of Motherhood

Shel Silverstein’s, “The Giving Tree” is the ultimate metaphor for the loving sacrifices of motherhood. I never understood the incredible balancing act carried on by mothers every single day until I became one myself.

It’s funny, I’ve been a mother for over eight and a half years, and I still don’t really think of Mother’s Day as a holiday for me. I still think of my mom on Mother’s Day.

Motherhood is nothing if not sentimental. These spiky red blooming trees remind me of my mom’s mom because there was one near her home. As a child they seemed so exotic, I had never seen one anywhere else. This one grows right outside my office, so my grandma says hi to me every day.

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Preparing to greet me…

To celebrate all of us moms, this is my meditation on the wonders of motherhood.

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Wonder

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Play is both learning and learned. Children remind us to play.

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It smells like chocolate.

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Food is love.

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Art is everywhere, as it should be.

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We are all a little nuts, and that’s okay.

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Tears are happy, sad, glad, and mad.

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A little patience goes a long way.

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Mothers are always behind

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fading into the background.

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Stolen moments are sweet too, and make better mothers.

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Gratitude is awe.

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There really is such a thing as buried treasure.

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For all mothers everywhere, Happy Mother’s Day.

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Filed under Parties, Holidays, and Holiday Parties

Farmer’s Market Chronicles – Again At Last

It is difficult to put into words why the farmer’s market makes me so absurdly happy. I arrive on my lunch hour feeling like this

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buy some of this

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Break it. Break another little piece of my heart now baby. Go on, break it. Break another little piece of my heart I know you will.

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sit on a bench as waves drift by

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and by

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and by

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under blanketed sky

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Filed under Culinary Travels, Obsessed with Produce

April’s Promise

Winter’s jagged edge softens

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Spring brings sweet release

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Summer is a promise of yellow days

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Fallen petals drift like unmelted snow

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Filed under Uncategorized

Ode to Kale

When I first got kale in my CSA box last winter, I was a little intimidated. Tough, leathery greens, stiff stalks, essence of bitter seaweed, are you sure this is good for me? According to my Whole Foods grocery sack, kale and collards score 1,000, the highest nutritional value you can get from a single food. I don’t normally take health advice from a paper bag, but it is a rather impressive number. My only question was, how could I make it taste good?

I’ve heard of some interesting techniques when it comes to winter greens. Massaging the leaves with salt to make them tender sounds ridiculously intimate and labor intensive. Just the other day I read about brining kale so you can create a wilted salad with a creamy vinagrette, not a bad idea if you are into raw food. (I personally haven’t had a raw kale salad I’ve been able to smile through.) Last winter I made a chard pesto that was divine (recipe here). I’ve also tried roasting kale to make crispy  “kale chips.” Those were actually pretty tasty, but the recipe I used needs finessing to evenly distribute the seasoning, a project for another day.

My favorite method I’ve adapted is quick, it takes about 20 minutes, and is reminiscent of Southern greens. I eat it for breakfast because I’m the kind of weirdo that prefers olives to doughnuts at 7 a.m. Popeye ain’t got nothing on me!

Simple Southern Style Kale

1 bunch kale
½ onion, diced (optional)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup broth or water
2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet to medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until softened and starting to brown.

Remove thick stalks from kale and discard. (You can chop up the stalks and cook these too, but it takes longer to soften them. I’m not usually that patient.) Roughly chop kale and add to the onions.

Sautee for a few minutes stirring frequently until it starts to wilt down.

Add broth or water and cover the pan (I use my pizza pan as a lid since my large skillet didn’t come with one). Cook for about 5-10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. 

Turn off the heat and add apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Crispy bacon bits or diced ham and a glass of orange juice make this a complete breakfast.

Ode to Kale

lacy, leathery dragon wings
bitter turned sweet
by heat, vinegar, and salt

Popeye’s no match
for my breakfast Knock Out

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Filed under Ingredients, New Recipes, Obsessed with Produce, Techniques

Surviving Sanitation

Two weeks ago, I started two new culinary adventures equivalent to taking a trip to Antarctica and Tahiti at the same time. One might go to Antarctica for scientific pursuits, but Tahiti is the balmy antithesis. I am so glad I found an unexpected way to enjoy both trips simultaneously.

On Tuesday, I started my very first class in the culinary program at a local community college.  (Antarctica) Unfortunately, it’s probably the only class in the program that makes you not want to eat or cook, possibly ever again. It’s the safety and sanitation class.

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can lurk in everything from meat, to produce, to pasta or rice. Yes, that’s right. Nothing and I mean nothing is completely safe. Are there simple ways of reducing your risk? Absolutely. But can you reduce your risk entirely? Probably not without spending hours duplicating a pricey science lab protocol in your kitchen.

So how can you eat, or responsibly feed your children in a sanitation-obsessed country where food-borne illnesses are on the rise? Without going completely overboard? I think the answer lies in striking a balance between awareness, and blind faith. Washing your hands before handling food, keeping foods at the proper temperature, and avoiding cross contamination of raw and cooked foods can prevent most illnesses.

And yet, the human race has survived for eons without any knowledge of e coli strains or salmonella. Our immune systems are rather incredible. Generations-old recipes for prosciutto are not considered “safe” by the FDA, yet people have enjoyed it, and lived to enjoy it again for centuries.

The same week I started my sanitation class, I stumbled upon my Tahiti at Newsbeat. While hunting for a calendar, I found something I believe will get me through this year even better than twelve months of palm trees pictures. Alimentum; The Literature of Food is a literary journal that is not just about food because food is not just what you eat to survive. Food is culture. What and how we eat defines who we are.

Why oh why did no one tell me that my two favorite things to do are celebrated every winter and summer in the same binding? Obviously, the word needs to be spread (like a good virus).

The 5th Anniversary Issue, Issue Eleven serves up edible fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The short story by Ann Barry Burrows, Long At Table, alone is worth the price of admission, and the very thought of recipe poems may change my cooking and writing life forever. Ordering back issues of Alimentum will be absolutely essential to sustain me through this sanitary semester.

I think it’s safe to say that after these next few months, the world in which I eat will never again be the same. Alimentum and my breakfast this morning inspired this, my first foodie poem for your eating pleasure:

Food Memories

Food memories live longer
are sunken deeper
than a picture
or a thousand truffles

Soft boiled eggs and buttered toast
are my dad
biscuits with sausage gravy,
Grandma Faye
homemade mac & cheese,
that’s my mom
in all her Walton’s glory

They live
in the soft spot
under your ear, behind your jaw
and in the passages
of your nose

They warm your insides
steam up your windows
hug your throat
and tell you not
to forget your raincoat

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Filed under Cookbooks and other Book Reviews