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Showing posts from October, 2014

Just right

Some days everything is right: the roast chickens moist, the green beans with the perfect amount of bite, the crunch and fluff of the potatoes, the teaspoon of freshly ground cumin on the shredded sweetheart cabbage while it steamed a good choice. The gravy makes you sing. Even the pumpkin pie you leave in the oven for 15 minutes too long survives without a scorch. 
Your friends arrived cloaked in the after-shock of six weeks of builders, work concerns, family niggles, the kind of weariness that flattens the light in people's eyes. 
Food, wine, spicy tea, chocolate, laughter and a feel-good movie in front of a log burning fire to make you smile.
Some days you do not have to try to be good to yourself or others. Some days it just happens of its own accord. An alignment of the stars? Your breath in tune with the rhythm of the season? The way you looked at the world when you got out of bed that morning and said, 'yes'? 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what…

Good soup

I wrote about my Mam's vegetable soup back in January 2011, just a few months after I started the hungry writer blog while living in France. It's a post I'm particularly fond of and a few other people liked it too. Here's one of the comments it received:
My house (in Ames, Iowa,USA) is filled this frigid January night with the heady and hearty scents of your Mam's Vegetable Soup - this weekend's treat to me.
How lovely is that?! 
'The fragrance, the tenderness.' the blogpost ends, literally and metaphorically. And they are present too every time I make it and serve it.
I made it recently for a friend of Tony's who's had 8 sessions of chemotherapy this year and will not let cancer get the better of him. I am sure he has his dark days, disappointments and fears, yet he smiles and jokes with us and gollops up Mam's soup sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan, dunking chunks of crusty bread into the broth, then digs into the cheese plate (Cheddar, Ches…

Feed me

Feed a cold: starve a fever. I've plumped for 'cold'. There aren't that many things that will stop me from eating even if eating for the last couple of days has consisted mostly of toasted organic wholemeal bread and cups of tea. 


Toasted bread - the real stuff with a crust, not the doughy, long-life, ready sliced version - has to be one of the great comfort foods of the world: a satisfying light crunch with a soft, warm heart tickled with melted butter. 
On the first page of his culinary autobiography, Toast, Nigel Slater says, 'It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you.' 'Putty in their hands,' he says.
I wholeheartedly agree with the first sentence. Not so much with the second. I'm not the most amenable of patients. I think it's the 'wounded animal' part of me. When I'm ill I just want to curl up, put my tail over my eyes, and be left alone. No, please don't stroke my head, or pat me. In fact: DON'T TOUC…

An interlude for chips

Fat

Skinny women order his fish
fried in low-cholesterol oil,
batter as crisp and sheer as glass.

He teases them about goose-fat,
the slip of it, how it dimples
under fingertips, at the right point
of tenderness how it gives
to the tip of a tongue.

He dreams of women
whose flesh parts for him
like lard – their overlap, the spill
and pleat of them, his hands skating
over their suety gleam, their excess
rejoicing under his palms.

From Learning How to Fall(Parthian 2005)


Hungry Writing Prompts Write about chips.

Fancy pants

Cucurbita:
a name lost to you over millennia  with more flash and glitz than 'gourd'  but you three are making up  for that with how you dress. 

No matter that you sound  like a growl in people's throats  when you are the vessels of history  and myth: water-carriers, birdhouses, 
drums and nose-flutes, the carriage  for a princess. Bright, hard-skinned,  your own determined selves. If the end of autumn 
is leaf-mulch and wood-smoke  then you are the unbridled  beginning, the flag-waving,  fancy-pants of its arrival.
We want more of you. We want to fill the kitchen with your rowdiness  as the days slowly shrivel, as we light the fire earlier
each night. You're the echo  of summer, the sun packed  tight within you like memories,  the ones we cannot let go. 

Hungry Writing Prompt Write about hard-skin.