12-05-2021, 07:37 AM
Bring forth your menu of culinary poetry. Fill us with your gustatory fantasies. Freshtival ain't got nothin on Foodfest : )
There is not a chance in heaven or hell that this is anywhere near finished, but I'll start things off with this:
White Clam Pizza Dreaming
In New Haven, Connecticut there is a pizzeria that makes the best white clam pizza in the world. I have proof.
Being there, tucked inside the dark green
high-backed vinyl upholstered booth numbered “9”
time slowed to the sound of banter commingling
with the smell of garlic and a coal-fired oven.
Heaven filled the air. I would ensconce myself in it...
...Today my kitchen invokes the ethereal memory
and heaven calls to me. I have everything
I need to create the gustatorial alchemy:
Fresh ball of dough, alive, rising
stretched out to skin with a rim of chub
Chopped canned clams
Anchovies and capers
Olive oil infused with garlic
Pepper pepper pepper salt.
Hot stone slab radiating
in a 500-degree oven.
My age-charred peel slips the offering in.
The vigil begins. Hope and dreams
have ferocious appetites when combined.
Alexa says it's done.
I peel it out and place it on brown paper,
dissecting the imperfect circle
into imperfect triangles.
Steam escapes, rises.
Heaven arrives in threes.
...But you can do better than that : ) Pull up a chair. Dig in.
Last edited by Jim Moonan; 12-05-2021 at 09:04 AM.
12-05-2021, 12:10 PM
Thanks, Jim. Your clam sauce version is a winner. I usually prefer a Sicilian slice and diet coke.
Off the bone pile:
Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Of God and Eggs
Defeating darkness, an egg’s my paragon,
capable of hatching life again
when bearing from God’s essence seed and ovum,
passed on in progeny of Eve and Adam.
So, when pondering eggs in life or art,
I know that death’s as certain as life’s start,
but grimly smile, since as God’s clone I beg
for grace, bedeviled as a scrambled egg.
Last edited by RCL; 12-05-2021 at 02:39 PM.
12-05-2021, 12:22 PM
Omegas & Alphas
raw & cooked
soft & hard
whole & scrambled
pure & deviled
shirred & coddled
poached & painted
in rebirth baskets
& natal nogs
on our faces
& in our noodles—
eggs are words
& words are eggs
first & last
last & first
from Sonnet Stanzas & Ghost Trees
Last edited by RCL; 12-05-2021 at 12:28 PM.
12-05-2021, 06:22 PM
These are great Ralph. Especially Omegas & Alphas. Next up: Chicken
I used to juggle eggs. Badly. Intentionally. Successfully.
I taught a creative writing class to kids and each week gave them a plastic egg with a word to break open and play with. The next class we took the words and put them into a sentence or two. (They were allowed to add words.).
I'll come up with something to add to this foodfest menu at breakfast tomorrow morning.
12-06-2021, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA; Santa Fe, NM
Here's and old one that I actually looked up and used (I forgot the roasting temperature) when doing this year's Thanksgiving dinner.
You take your brussels sprouts
and rub their little snouts
in olive oil and sel de mer.
Then bake at four-five-oh
for half an hour or so –
add some goat cheese, and you’re there.
Last edited by Michael Cantor; 12-06-2021 at 01:22 AM.
12-06-2021, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA; Santa Fe, NM
Another semi-oldie. This (with a shorter "glossary") was in my 2019 collection, Furusato.
The Love of Sushi Sue
I lived near Tokyo’s Hama-Zushi bar
those years I was a seafood sybarite –
would start off there with monkfish caviar
and sweet live shrimp, to set the appetite –
then grab a cab to narrow streets where night
melts into dawn, to hunt for something more.
I’d often wander home about first light
to meet Old Hama, sweeping out the store.
He’d eye the girls I hustled past his door,
but knew my true love was an artful blow
fish broth, or chunks of fatty tuna, raw,
caressed with strands of gleaming herring roe.
Good food was all I worshipped and revered
and women, though amusing, interfered.
In time, the real-life girlfriends disappeared,
replaced by fantasies of Sushi Sue
who, naked as a salmon, commandeered
my reveries - slim sushi ingenue
enshrined behind Old Hama’s bleached bamboo.
She worked like nude quicksilver, with a blade
in each small hand - Hama’s fish swam through
her fingers and in seconds were fileted -
embraced by rice and seaweed, and arrayed
with fat carp’s heads and pouting silver bream,
sea urchin eggs, fresh squid and trout - displayed
as backdrop for my slick, wet ocean dream.
But Sue repelled me when I cupped her breast:
“A sushi girl cannot make love to guest!”
Although all that was years ago, the quest
remains. My thoughts have never wandered far
from Hama’s pickled prawns with lemon zest,
the earthy taste of slow-baked arctic char -
or Sushi Sue’s small room behind the bar -
where I now nibble her hirame, coax
the sweetness from her uni, feel a star
in me explode as she adroitly strokes
my ana-kyu, and whispers private jokes.
At last, with sake sips and salty nips,
I polish off a banquet that evokes
a sigh - and mirugai - from parted lips.
“I’m glad that you like raw fish,” she will coo,
as I finally taste the love of Sushi Sue.
hirame: Halibut. Often served as a sashimi style first course, with a ponzu dipping sauce (lime juice, soy sauce and sake). Good hirame should be so fresh and sliced so thinly that you can see through it, and detect the pattern on a plate; and it is often ordered as a first course to enable a gourmet foodie to quickly evaluate the sushi shop.
uni: Sea urchin gonads.
ana-kyu: A conical, hand-made sushi specialty of rice, cucumber strips and ocean eel, rolled in seaweed and topped with a thick, sweet sauce. This is much more elegant than the tight “California roll” style popular in the States, and superb ana-kyu is regarded as one of the criteria of a fine, traditional sushi establishment. (Warning - it’s impossible to eat without having the impenetrable dark brown sauce drip through the bottom of the cone and down your arm; and ana-kyu devotees are distinguished by stains of honor on their wrists and forearms, not unlike the nicotine-drenched fingers of post-war French intellectuals.)
mirugai: A large clam. Analogous to a New England quahog.
12-06-2021, 01:00 AM
(My filing system being virtually non-existent, I can't remember whether either of these has appeared anywhere.)
xxxxLunch with Lewis
Invited to lunch with my friend ‘Lewis Carroll’ –
The Reverend Dodgson – immured in his cloisters,
I thought to surprise him by bringing a barrel
Containing six dozen delectable oysters.
He chatted incessantly, one of his habits,
And wondered if goldfish would grow into sharks,
Bemoaning the shortage of gloves for White Rabbits,
And blaming the dearth on sartorial Snarks.
He spoke of policemen who knitted a truncheon …
His thoughts, it appeared, were beginning to drift.
Believing the moment had come for our luncheon,
I offered my ostreicultural gift.
“How kind, my dear fellow! But – don’t think me selfish –
I eat only salads prepared by my cousin.
Alas! I’m allergic to all kinds of shellfish.”
He nibbled his lettuce. I ate the six dozen.
xxxxDinner with Tennyson
I went for dinner with Lord Tennyson
Expecting that a plate of venison
Would be, as usual, our evening fare.
Not so! “Tonight”, he said, “We’ve something rare;
I caught the creature in a nearby lake,
And trust I can induce you to partake.”
He offered me a glass of hock and soda;
The dish was served; a fishy, gamey odour,
A disconcerting taste, not wholly pleasant,
Half-way between a mackerel and a pheasant.
I murmured somewhat guarded approbation,
And complimented Tennyson’s collation.
He beamed. “Time was, I favoured deer or beef,
But find this succulent beyond belief,
So now, all other meats I have forsaken,
And dine exclusively on roasted Kraken.”
Last edited by Brian Allgar; 12-06-2021 at 01:16 AM.
12-06-2021, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA; Santa Fe, NM
Memories of 1956
Alberts French Restaurant on the corner of University Place and East 11th St was founded in the 1860’s, and turned into a steakhouse in 1946 with the slogan “All the steak you can eat for $2.35,” though the name remained unchanged and the servers still wore berets. By 1955 the steak had climbed to $2.95. Nothing else changed.
At Alberts French Restaurant the slogan was splashed –
all the steak you can eat for just two-ninety-five –
on the menus and posters, the building, the staff.
The key to a business was how to survive,
so what was a French place now sold only steak:
all the steak you can swallow and walk out alive
but the waiter's berets remained firmly in place,
and their accents, well polished, resisted New York.
It still was a French place – except for the steak.
As a penniless student I often would walk
past the restaurant and dream of the glories of France –
though my accent and background were purely New York
and, in truth, what I dreamed of was simply a chance
to prance into Alberts and pig out on boeuf:
all the steak you can scarf was my favorite dance.
So I talked a few friends into sharing a booth,
and we each found five bucks for the steaks, tip and beer –
three schmucks from the Bronx with no class and less couth.
“Bonsoir” said the waiter (was that a slight leer?),
“You’re bright college boys - I could tell it tout suite.”
We agreed with his judgement, and let out a cheer.
With students, and tour groups, and other elite,
we felt right at home there, and splurged on more beer,
awaiting our steaks and an orgy of meat.
The steak, when it came, wasn’t great, just ...sincere –
it was tasty, but tiny – not more than a wish.
“An hors d'oeuvre”, we chanted, demanding much more.
The second was huge – almost covered the dish –
but was basically bone, interlarded with fat;
and the third was half frozen, and smelled like bad fish.
We stared at our waiter; he boldly stared back.
“So, schmendricks, smart college boys, you like the meal?”
The accent had vanished, as quick as a cat.
“Tell you what, little boychicks, I’ll make you a deal -
I'll bring you one more decent chunk of meat each –
but a good one – and you’ll eat it, say mercy – and leave."
Well we talked it all over, and of course we agreed -
after screaming and cursing and all of that jive –
and we did stiff the waiter (the Bronx has its creed).
It was one of those lessons in life young men need:
be good to your elders; don't drink when you drive;
and always be careful of people who preach
all the steak you can eat for just two-ninety-five.
Last edited by Michael Cantor; 12-08-2021 at 12:56 AM.
12-06-2021, 12:34 PM
Soon to join its brethren in the bone pile:
I’m opening a pizzeria,
calling it Sicilian Slices,
thin crusts made for mama mia’s
sugo with her special spices.
And to make a meal finer,
my Sicilian pizzeria
serenades its evening diners
with singing by my Angelina!
A favorite of Louis Prima! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztzvAiX8ybg
Last edited by RCL; 12-06-2021 at 12:59 PM.
12-06-2021, 02:35 PM
I think this was about the third or fourth poem I posted at the Sphere, five years ago.
On the Decline in Orange Sales
It's true the thumb pressure
is tricky to judge: not too shy
yet not so bold you spray keyboard
or cuffs with sticky mist.
They won't be missed by those
who want an easy time with tangerine,
who strips with a shrug, twirls
in your fist, her single garment
looping to the floor. Instead,
you gouge and cajole, pick and pore
over your prize, consumed,
all conversation stopped. Still,
you will find a certain space when
you peel an orange,
earning the flesh that breaks
against your teeth. The pips
that press and roll around your mouth
will feel like yours to spit.
Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 12-06-2021 at 02:51 PM.
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