Archives for posts with tag: food

Good Memory
by Donna Best

Our days were full of fizz and mint
not hunched over and grizzled.
We poured highballs in summer heat
slipped and slept through it
and desire sighed a lilt, not dull
nor offensively brilliant, until

my love’s arm rounded me from behind
and locked on my waist. His nose had
drunk the pungent sizzle of onion and garlic.
His hand took the chopping knife from mine
and I turned, cajoled by the riff
deep in his spirit’s beat.

The aroma afloat tapped into his feet.
As one, we crossed the kitchen floor.
As one, joy followed along. We shared
a paso moment, embraced the sizzle,
the quick, leaned back, stepped forward,
shifted bodies, twisted torsos,

drove elbows upwards and danced, danced,
danced our summer doble, spiced by
the waft, the tone poem flirting.
His face, his body captured the buzz.
His affinity with onion and garlic roux
always fast paced his emotion’s notes.

I still think about his bounce, acceleration
and high kicks released, not by chocolate,
oysters or figs but switched on by onions and
garlic cooking, sucking him into the kitchen,
whirling us as if Dervishes. Our feet
danced, danced, danced.

Some nights, we circled and circled,
not a question spoken, no reminders called.
Some nights, this is the best part,
our bodies heaved against each other.
We were not rich, not young but old enough
to know even summer can’t last.

Photo by Epitavi. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Good Memory” is based on my real-life experience. The memory of it always brings on a smile in my mind and takes me to a happy place.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Best writes to share how yesterday affects today, aspirations for tomorrow, the bravery of others and what we have in common across the globe. She has published in anthologies, newspapers, journals such as Better Than Starbucks and Woolgathering Review and been broadcast on local radio stations.

Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread
by Jennifer Lagier

The excursion van
pulls off the pot-holed road
as we rattle toward Hana,
stops at a ramshackle bakery stand
near an outdoor farmer’s market.

Warm, tropical fragrance
soothes nerve-rattled tourists.
One by one, we pay tribute
to the goddess of banana bread,
hand over five-dollar bills,
receive precious plastic-wrapped bundles.

We know our carnal cravings,
invest in two, one of which
we pull apart and devour within thirty minutes,
reverently inhaling steamy, succulent chunks
of cake-like confection.

Around us, fellow passengers
can’t control sounds of mutual pleasure,
experience their own multiple culinary orgasms,
uninhibited ecstasy of taste bud explosions,
courtesy of Maui’s Aunt Sandy.

PHOTO: Aunty Sandy’s banana bread. Visit Aunty Sandy’s at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem captures the experience of a day on Maui just before the pandemic hit. We were part of a small group exploring the road to Hana and stopping at various colorful spots along the way. Aunty Sandy’s banana bread was an amazing epiphany!

Maui Jen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published 19 books, and her work has appeared in a variety of anthologies and literary magazines. She edits the Monterey Poetry Review and helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Her recent collections include Meditations on Seascapes and Cypress (Blue Light Press), COVID Dissonance (CyberWit), and Camille Chronicles (FutureCycle Press). Visit her at and on Facebook.

PHOTO: The author in Maui, Hawaii.

surya nair
The Krispy Kreme That Used to Be on Austin Hwy.
by Kate Soupiset

Waiting in line during our post-church donut run, Mom asks about
baby names, wants our input. I am pudgy and nearly five — I live
for Dora the Explorer and sugar. What will soon be kid #4 presses
against the edges of Mom as I press my nose against the glass,
watching golden rings pass under a milky curtain of glaze and come
out glistening on the other side.

“We should name her Glazed,” I offer. Whether I was serious, I
don’t remember, but it must’ve come from some craving for
for sweetness, waiting for a little warm thing to hold in my hands.

PHOTO: Krispy Kreme donuts by Surya Nair.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My younger sister was beautifully named Emma and came to mind when I first wrote this poem for a prompt about a place that doesn’t exist anymore. Hence a piece about a long-forgotten Krispy Kreme location but that originated a family inside joke. This poem is the origin of our family becoming complete with Emma as the fourth and final child.

kate soupiset

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Soupiset is a fourth-year student at DePaul University. They are the author of the poetry collection False Anatomy and the chapbook Old Love / New Love. Their poems have been published in various university literary magazines, including the University of the Incarnate Word’s Quirk, University of Washington St. Louis’ Spires, and DePaul’s very own The Orange Couch. Kate grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and plans to become a Chicago public school teacher.

Berry Treasures
by Laura Daniels

I walked across six open acres into the dark woods
wearing an old white navy cap,
brim down to shade my smiling face.

Finally reached the place where
blackberries and raspberries grew wild,
sweet-tartness tingled my tongue in anticipation.

On the return trip, I used the cap to carry the treasures
stained the inside with released red-purple juices,
the walk back was not easy.

Would they make it back for pie baking?
Would they make it back?
Would they?

Probably not.

PHOTO: Blackberry bush by Deviddo.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was created from my memory of spending the summer at my sister’s farm in Wisconsin during the 1970s. She sent me into the woods behind her home to gather wild berries for a pie she planned to bake. I found the spot and collected the berries, but not many made their way back to the house. I couldn’t resist their refreshing taste.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Daniels is a prolific writer for adults and children, and founder of the Facebook blog The Fringe 999  which publishes creative endeavors daily. Published in the Visible Ink 2021/2022 Anthology and New Jersey Bards Poetry Review 2022, she is an active member of Women Who Write. She lives with her family in Mount Arlington, New Jersey.

anna cherepanova corn
Corn on the Cob
by Linda McCauley Freeman

An emblem of summer, a day
when my dad, a white chef hat jaunty on his head,
hauled out the greasy grill and dumped in charcoal
from the big bag he kept in the garage,
the same charcoal he liked to put in our Christmas stockings
long after the joke wore off.

But in summer, he’d say, “Stand back!” douse
them with lighter fluid, strike a match, as
my brothers and I jumped breathlessly
at the poof of flames that singed our eyelashes,
for we were never far enough and eyeball level
with the grill, and my mom
would bring out a tray of raw meat
she’d pounded into patties and my sister
trailing her with lemonade and then
we’d all sit together husking the corn,
revealing the bright yellow kernels,
peeling the silk strings of summer.

Photo by Anna Cherepanova. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda McCauley Freeman is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Family Plot (Backroom Window Press, 2022) and has been widely published in international journals, including in a Chinese translation. In 2022, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, she was the featured poet in The Poet Magazine, and appeared in Delta Poetry ReviewAmsterdam Quarterly, and won Grand Prize in StoriArts’ Maya Angelou poetry contest. The recipient of a grant from Arts MidHudson, she was selected for Poets Respond to Art 2020, 2021, and 2022 shows. A three-time winner in the Talespinners Short Story contest judged by Michael Korda, she has an MFA from Bennington College and is the former poet-in-residence of the Putnam Arts Council. She lives in the Hudson Valley, New York. Visit her at for upcoming events and follow her on Twitter@LindaMccFreeman and Facebook@LindaMcCauleyFreeman. Family Plot is available on Amazon.

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The Pickle Factory
by Pragya Bajpai

My grandfather owned a pickle factory
During my vacation, he took me along
That was his way of explaining the tough world

When I was six, he drove me through a trail of orchards
on the first morning of that winter to a village known for
great mango farming not far from the city
I played there by the riverside with the farmer aunty
She gifted me a pair of earrings and a bag of mangoes for my siblings
In the meantime, my grandfather made a deal
after an hour-long negotiation
then the truck was loaded with caution

He took me around the factory
Where the hall was full of huge oil drums lined up neatly
The spices were properly stacked in shelves
where the village men and women
were intently chopping raw mangoes for pickle
with the handmade iron cutter with wooden base
It wasn’t easy but he made me cut the smallest one carefully
to feel the labour involved in it
I was tired but my thrill remained intact
It was more exciting than going back
to doing mathematical calculations

PAINTING: Mango (watercolor) by Yevhen Verlen.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My grandfather, an Ayurvedic expert, established a pickle factory sometime during 1970s. The factory was located in the outskirts of the city around sprawling agricultural land. My grandfather’s pickle recipe was a revolution in taste. Mango pickle is an important condiment in Indian cuisine with plenty of health benefits, and my grandfather’s product became popular and in high demand. Produced with a high level of hygiene, the product earned government certification. Pickles were made with mustard oil and spices before they were put aside for fermentation. The pickling involved various steps in the production process that required huge manpower; but, as the company progressed, high technology machines were procured to speed production. The aroma of raw mangoes and spices filled the factory so much that one could detect it from a distance. Visiting a factory, knowing the process, and understanding the whole business from the grassroots level have been a great learning experience since childhood, the memory of which keeps me grounded.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pragya Bajpai, Ph.D., is a mother and a Central Government Officer serving on the faculty of English at the National Defence Academy. She is a post graduate from Lucknow University and holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University, India. Pragya published her debut book in 2021 titled A Potpourri of Proverbs, poems based on 51 English proverbs. She has co-edited four anthologies celebrating the armed forces. Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies and magazines.

burger fortune cookie
The Fortune Cookie
by Shelly Blankman

Caught in a storm as thick and dark
as the medical web that trapped me,
I took shelter at a Chinese buffet,

where no one could mistake my tears
for raindrops. I could sink my sorrow
in a nice, warm bowl of soup, and no one

would notice – except for Joy. Her elbow
bumped mine at the buffet bar. Oh, I’m sorry,
she said, startling me, flipping the mirror

I’d focused on myself. I hadn’t noticed her
until then. I hadn’t noticed anyone. That’s okay,
I mumbled. She was striking – a Black woman,

tall and lean, glittering in gold, from her giant
hoop earrings and jingling bangle bracelets to her
sleek ankle-length dress and stilettos. Her long,

gold fingernails pointed to her favorite dishes,
and as we filled our plates, she asked questions
about my life, as if trying to pry open a shell

I’d slammed shut a long time ago. As we parted
for our tables, she shook my hand. My name is Joy.
It was nice to meet you. She hugged me tightly,

whispered, It’s going to be okay, her faint fragrance
lingering as she disappeared into the crowd of diners
and I returned to my table – invisible once again.

Rain had begun to wane. Still imbued with the warmth
of Joy’s hug, I grabbed my coat. My fortune cookie,
safely wrapped in its tiny package, dropped to the floor.

I’d almost stepped on it, then almost tossed it. Instead
I opened it gingerly and in tiny print, the message read,
The hard times will begin to fade. Joy will take their place.

I scanned each room to find the woman in gold. Nothing.
Visited each table, asked servers carrying heavy trays,
approached hostesses and diners. No one had seen her.

I wonder even now if I had. I left that night feeling
defeated. Why hadn’t I told her how much it meant
to feel her hug, to see her smile, to feel her comfort?

Two years later, the fortune cookie message is still
displayed on my fridge. Dark times remain,
but Joy stays with me. I hope she knows that.

IMAGE: Fortune Cookies and Rice by Pamela Burger. Available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem practically wrote itself. My creative process was simply drawing on that one experience with Joy and to convey how it takes one act of love to break through despair.  How one stranger can affect another stranger’s life so profoundly without ever knowing it. How do you put such an intense experience in writing? The task was daunting. But the challenge was worth it.  Whether or not I was successful didn’t matter.  I just wanted somehow to pay tribute to Joy and to remember that on the darkest days, angels of light are present.

Blankman photo (2)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman lives in Columbia, Maryland, where she and her husband have filled their empty nest with three rescue cats and a foster dog. Their sons, Richard and Joshua, live in New York and Texas respectively. Following careers in journalism, public relations, and copy editing, Shelly now spends time writing poetry, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her poetry has appeared in the Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Super Highway, and Halfway Down the Stairs, among other publications. Richard and Joshua surprised her by publishing her first book of poetry, Pumpkinhead.

cinnamon toast resnick
Cinnamon Toast, Winter 1954
by Lynne Kemen

Norma cooked cinnamon toast
the first time I tasted it.
It in my hands, me in the wooden chair
at the kitchen table.

A blend of familiar and not.
Toast with zing, cut diagonally
sugar and cinnamon-candy
for breakfast.

With milk: warm, buttery, sparkly, cinnamon
tasted better than the red
and blue wooden sticks chewed from
my tinker toys.
Woody, a Christmas cookie sparkle,
slightly bitter.

Reddish-brown, the crayon
my dad called brick.
Toast didn’t taste like crayon.
Sugar on my face,
stung when Norma struck it off.

Cold milk. Good toast. Bubbles blown,
Norma laughed instead of getting mad
at me.

PHOTO: Cinnamon Toast by Joshua Resnick.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Senses can be strong reminders. In this case, my Aunt Norma gave me my first taste of cinnamon toast. She is now 91, and we both share this happy memory of a perfect after-nap experience.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynne Kemen lives in Upstate New York. Her chapbook, More Than a Handful, was published in 2020. Her work is anthologized in Seeing Things (2020) and What We See on Our Journeys (2021). She is published in Silver Birch Press, The Ravens Perch, Fresh Words Magazine, Spillwords, Topical Poetry, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, and Blue Mountain Review. Lynne stands on the Board of Bright Hill Press. She is an Editor for the Blue Mountain Review and a lifetime member of The Southern Collective Experience. Her second chapbook, Crows Fly at Midnight, will be published in 2023. Visit her at and on Twitter.

charcuterie 1
What We Bought at the Market
by Ralph Earle

on the old deck
by the old docks
at a weather-worn table
together after eighteen months
we raise a glass
to this meal from the old market
wild and bitter watercress
rich flesh of tomatoes
honest and humble
air-dried sausage
bakery baguette
Bretonne butter
soft-hearted Neufchâtel’s aroma
rising from a crumbling mantle
Camembert almost urbane
chèvre bleu with a bouquet
of sourness and warm chalk
strawberries unexpectedly
recalling the wild
ones I ate as a child
and red wine
arrived from the south
raised to the reunion
the sunshine the sea air

IMAGE: Charcuterie board by kgbranch, poster available at REDBUBBLE.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I recently visited my son and his family in France, I was overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of food sold at the Saturday open-air market. I was spending the month writing a new poem every morning in a variety of different forms, so the following day yielded this ode to the previous evening’s dinner, maintaining a focus on the tangible qualities of the food itself, while capturing the festive tone of our post-Covid (or intra-Covid) reunion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ralph Earle lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, where he designs websites for poets and other creative people. He holds a Ph.D. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he taught poetry before working in the high-tech industry. His collection The Way the Rain Works won the 2015 Sable Books Chapbook Award. Recent poems have appeared in Indelible, Tar River Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Sufi Journal.

cathay chinese 1982 copy
Chinese Restaurant (London 1988)
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

This is my favorite
Chinese restaurant in London,
my dad declares as we climb
a long dark flight of stairs
in a timeless building
where a hostess waits at the top.
I order cashew chicken—
the sauce is clear, fragrant
(there & yet not there).
The chicken is so white,
the cashews are fat & golden.
Rice awaits in a red bowl,
every grain tiny as a second.
As the lights go on
in Piccadilly Circus, my dad & I talk
in a circle of candlelight
by the window while the cashews
resemble crescent moons shining
on the china plate or little ears
listening avidly to our conversation
(which flows like warm tea)—
& the check doesn’t come
for hours & hours.

PHOTO: Cathay Chinese Restaurant, Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly Circus, London, England (1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My late dad inhabits many of my poems. This poem is about when I went to London on my own when I was in my early twenties. My father met me there; he was working in Germany at the time. We had a brief, splendid visit together. I wish I could remember the name of that Chinese restaurant; it was a mysterious oasis above Piccadilly Circus and had the best food ever (authentic, as they say). My dad and I talked of many things that night like we always did. He was endlessly fascinating with a gorgeous sense of humor. During our visit we also went to a Russian restaurant called Borscht N Tears, where we had caviar and encountered unruly Germans – but that is another good memory.

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to The Guardian, Britain’s first mainstream Chinese restaurant, Cathay, arrived in London’s Piccadilly Circus area during 1908, setting off the UK’s love of Chinese cuisine that has never waned.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Her poems have appeared in various diverse journals online and in print. She lives, writes, despairs, and tries to hope in America. A cedar Poetry Box called The Fox Poetry Box is mounted on a post in her front yard.