Gastronomical Archive
by Jennifer Lagier

Mother uses her black cookbook
with a broken spine
as a portable file
for historical treasure.
Here cioppino recipes
cohabitate with obituaries,
expired coupons and cards
for religious novenas.
When I die, she says,
I give my jewelry
to your sister.
But for you, I have
saved something precious

Between Betty Crocker’s
scorned printed pages,
my inheritance nestles,
yellowed cooking instructions
written with a leaky pen,
on Sunday offering envelopes.
Secrets reside inside
this bulging cover
bound with rubber bands,
a hidden, tantalizing feast
of delectable pleasures.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I took this photo of my mother’s cookbook.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Mom’s cookbook is a treasured kitchen icon and family legend.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published 12 books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, and helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Her newest books are Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press) and Harbingers (Blue Light Press), and her forthcoming chapbook is Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Visit her at

Author photo by Laura Bayless.