Archives for category: Food

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Every few minutes, he wants
to march the trail of flattened rye grass
back to the house of muttering
hens. He too could make
a bed in hay. Yesterday the egg so fresh
it felt hot in his hand and he pressed it
to his ear while the other children
laughed and ran with a ball, leaving him,
so little yet, too forgetful in games,
ready to cry if the ball brushed him,
riveted to the secret of birds
caught up inside his fist,
not ready to give it over
to the refrigerator
or the rest of the day.

CREDIT: “Boy and Egg” appears in Naomi Shihab Nye‘s collection Fuel (BOA Editions, 1998, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED), available at

Photo: Heather Akki14, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1952, Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, songwriter, novelist, and children’s book author. Her many honors and awards include four Pushcart Prizes, The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and many notable book and best book citations from the American Library Association.




by Pavithra K. Mehta

The poetry of a croissant moon dipped in an espresso sky dusted with powdered sugar stars will enter the bloodstream directly, and begin to sing. Operatically. A pick-me-up to be slow-sipped at your own peril. Imbibe, and you risk lying awake all night. Buzzing with the beauty of the universe.  Do not say you were not warned.


ART: “Croissant moon with butterfly” by Urs Fischer, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

by Linda Pastan

I sing a song
of the croissant
and of the wily French
who trick themselves daily
back to the world
for its sweet ceremony.
Ah to be reeled 
up into morning
on that crisp,

CREDIT: “Petit Dejuner” is found in Linda Pastan‘s collection Imperfect Paradise (W.W. Norton & Co., 1988), available at

Photo: Getty Images, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.”


Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Dave Barry‘s latest novel, Insane City – which the publisher has characterized as a “dark comic masterpiece” — is available at

by O.P.W. Fredericks

Making a good bowl potato salad is not unlike writing a good poem. The selection of ingredients are important to both. When selecting the potato there are many varieties, russet, white, red, and yukon gold to name just a few, are like selecting the right words. Do I peel them or leave the skins on? Do I expose the meaning immediately, or conceal it in a thin layer that must be savored for all its flavor. Are they in big pieces or small, bumpy or smooth, old or new?

For the basic ingredients of potatoes and words they have to feel right, but they must be given the opportunity to sit a spell and be spelled right. How do I want to dress them, plain with mayo, salt and pepper, monorhyme, strophes and periods; or do I add the extras; celery and commas, onion and Ottava rima, hard boiled or Haiku – scrambled or Spondee? Do I use eggs and Enclosed Rhyme at all? A little mustard with your Meter might be nice, or sliced pickles of poetic diction, but do I want a sweet sestina or the dill of dactyls? Paprika you say, well why not some prose, if for nothing else, color is pleasing to the eye. Capers in couplets? Why not. Crumbled bacon is always nice as is a comedic ballad.

Finally there’s the presentation. Enjambment and enjoyment, how does it taste? Do you savor their flavor on the tongue as you chew, or do you swallow them greedily intent to get your fill? Are they deserving of study to appreciate the subtle complexities in the flavor of the words?

It’s up to you.

Visit the author’s blog at

ABOUT O.P.W. FREDERICKS (in the author’s own words): I was called the nursing profession in the fall of 1976. After thirty-two years of caring for the sick and injured at the bedside and in other capacities, I chose a new path, that of writer and poet. As I embark on this new journey I continue to walk the path of nurse, though in a lesser capacity during this time of transition. I cannot help but be influenced by the teachings from my professors, but more so by the people I have known as patients and fellow human beings.

Watercolor: “Feta potato salad with garlic, chives, and tomatoes” by Debra Morris, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find a recipe for Feta Potato Salad at

poem by Juan Olivarez

In the shade of my live oak tree, 

Drinking pink lemonade.

Just about as laid back as can be, 

Oh boy, I really got it made.

A little tart, a little sweet,
Best batch Elvira’s ever made.

Time to get off my tired feet, 

With a cold glass of lemonade.

I could use a cookie, I suppose, 

But I don’t want to leave this shade.

Maybe later, after I repose, 

Right now I’ll sip my lemonade.


ABOUT POET JUAN OLIVAREZ (in his own words): I was born in Nyssa, Oregon, while my parents who were farm workers were picking cherries and working in the potato fields in Idaho. I grew up in Mission, Texas, and attended Mission High, scool where I first attempted to write poetry. While in high school, I had two poems published in Focus magazine, “What is War” in 1972 and “The Clouds” in 1973. I have been in public service in my home town of Alton, Texas, as city alderman, police commissioner, and mayor pro tem. I love to play chess, play the guitar, cook, and my other true love — fishing. My first love has and always will be my wife Elvira McAllen, who against her better judgement decided to say yes when I asked her to marry me in 1973. We have six children, two marines, two musicians, a teacher, and my youngest who is currently in California in the place I love so much, the Mojave Desert. 

For more poems by Juan Olivarez, visit

Illustration: “Pink Lemonade” by Ranger Kat, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Pablo Neruda

…the round, magnificent,
star-filled watermelon.
It’s a fruit from the thirst-tree.
It’s the green whale of the summer.
The dry universe
all at once
given dark stars
by this firmament of coolness
lets the swelling
come down:
its hemispheres open
showing a flag
green, white, red,
that dissolves into
wild rivers, sugar,
When we’re thirsty
we glimpse you
a mine or a mountain
of fantastic food,
among our longings and our teeth
you change
into cool light
that slips in turn into
spring water
that touched us once
And that is why
you don’t weigh us down
in the siesta hour
that’s like an oven,
you don’t weigh us down,
you just
go by
and your heart, some cold ember,
turned itself into a single
drop of water.

Painting: “Viva La Vida” by Frida Kahlo (1954) — Kahlo’s last painting.

by Shel Silverstein

“I’m tired of eating just beans,” says I,
So I opened a can of sardines.
But they started to squeak,
“Hey, we’re tryin’ to sleep.
We were snuggled up tight
Till you let in the light.
You big silly sap, let us finish our nap.
Now close up the lid!”
So that’s what I did …
Will somebody please pass the beans?

“Sleeping Sardines” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s collection Where the Sidewalk Ends, available at



by Stephen Dunn

Six people are too many people
and a public place the wrong place
for what you’re thinking–
stop this now.
Who do you think you are?
The duck à l’orange is spectacular,
the flan the best in town.
But there among your friends
is the unspoken, as ever,
chatter and gaiety its familiar song.
And there’s your chronic emptiness
spiraling upward in search of words
you’ll dare not say
without irony.
You should have stayed at home.
It’s part of the social contract
to seem to be where your body is,
and you’ve been elsewhere like this,
for Christ’s sake, countless times;
behave, feign.
Certainly you believe a part of decency
is to overlook, to let pass?
Praise the Caesar salad. Praise Susan’s
black dress, Paul’s promotion and raise.
Inexcusable, the slaughter in this world.
Insufficient, the merely decent man.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in New York City in 1939, Stephen Dunn is the author of 15 collections of poetry, including DIFFERENT HOURS, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. Dunn is the Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Richard Stockton College and lives in Frostburg, Maryland, with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd.


I picked up DIFFERENT HOURS by Stephen Dunn recently for $1 at an Out of the Closet thrift store (the best place in L.A. to purchase used books — for the quality of titles and low prices). When I flipped open the book this morning, I came to “At the Restaurant,” which reminded me of the poem I posted yesterday (“Dinner at the Who’s Who” by Laure-Anne Bosselaar).

People who follow this blog (and thank you for doing so!) know that I often post a number of entries on the same day that follow a theme. We had days filled with poetry about hardboiled eggs, cheese, libraries, and other topics.

The two recent poems by Stephen Dunn and Laure-Anne Bosselaar are about people tired of artifices who want to speak what’s in their hearts and souls. And these wonderful poets have the sensitivity and talent to tell us just what they are thinking and feeling — and what they’d like to share with their cultured friends. Instead, they write poems  — and tell the world.

Laure-Anne Bosselaar also served as coeditor of NIGHT OUT: Poems About Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, and Bars, which we featured in a post last August. Find this terrific collection at

By Donald Hall

In the pantry the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh
Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner;
the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton
that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids.
O cheeses of gravity, cheeses of wistfulness, cheeses
that weep continually because they know they will die.
O cheeses of victory, cheeses wise in defeat, cheeses
fat as a cushion, lolling in bed until noon.
Liederkranz ebullient, jumping like a small dog, noisy;
Pont l’Evêque intellectual, and quite well informed; Emmentaler
decent and loyal, a little deaf in the right ear;
and Brie the revealing experience, instantaneous and profound.
O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses
that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.
O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,
eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.
Reblochon openly sexual; Caerphilly like pine trees, small
at the timberline; Port du Salut in love; Caprice des Dieux
eloquent, tactful, like a thousand-year-old hostess;
and Dolcelatte, always generous to a fault.
O village of cheeses, I make you this poem of cheeses,
O family of cheeses, living together in pantries,
O cheeses that keep to your own nature, like a lucky couple,
this solitude, this energy, these bodies slowly dying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donald Hall (born 1928) was the first poetry editor of The Paris Review. He served as United States Poet Laureate (2006-2007) and has been the recipient of many award and honors, including Guggenheim Fellowships, designation as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire (198401989), National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry, and the National Medal of Arts (2010).