nigella lawson
Imaginary Chef
by Robbi Nester

In my fantasies, I have the knife skills of a ninja,
carving radishes into netsuke.
Beneath my fingers they emerge
as men or beasts, crane or tortoise,
in every attitude of life.
In my kitchen, gleaming copper saucepans wink,
my mise-en-place a thing of wonder,
the cupboards perfectly arranged.
I taste the world, recognize ripeness by scent,
by the way the skin gives under my thumbnail.
Striding through fields of lavender,
or teasing out saffron with the tips of my fingers
from the throats of reluctant poppies,
I am master of every ingredient.
The earth’s simplest offerings,
onions, potatoes, garlic,
sweetening for weeks beneath the earth,
yield up their secrets to my sauce,
its splash of cream spreading
like a cloud on a blue ceramic sky.
The world is my palette,
colors capable of endless combination,
the simple act of nourishment my gift.

PHOTO: Celebrity British chef Nigella Lawson (photo by Charles Birchmore, BBC, all rights reserved).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester likes to cook, sometimes spending days attempting interesting new recipes and watching Top Chef and Chopped obsessively, but she is no great chef. However, she can dream….In between attempting new dishes, she writes poems in Southern California and is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), and editor of an anthology, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It (Nine Toes, 2014).