annapurnamagazine

Annapurna Magazine Spring 2015 Issue

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2015 at 1:58 am

forrest_red_oil_on_canvas2

by Allen Forrest

************

ONIONS

by Heather Banks

My hand holds this smooth gold globe
as you once held my breast.
I strip the protective parchment skin
as your lustering eyes
peeled concentric layers
from my heart’s green nakedness—
like the pale, double core of a single onion.

This pungent, biting tang distills
morning’s verdigris of promised pleasures’ island,
pale Bermuda sands,
or golden dye of sunlit Spanish afternoons.
Such colors and aromas as onions keep
speak of pomegranates, wine,
acid oozing from slashed flesh,
the bitterness of deceit.

So many the spices we dry,
try to reconstitute
reminiscences of exotic origins.
Long braids of onions fade,
shrink to maps of a lost archipelago.

In midwinter, this sautéed fragrance summons
with sharp, musty, sexual savor
the relish of both daily victual
and consuming vital memory of summers.

Humble, homebound onions—
whose memories linger longer than all scents—
peeled, held, keenly divided
impregnate my pores, my eyes, my hands.
Why wonder then, that onions make me weep?

The Egg

by Heather Banks

You come to break me
into the fat and the fire.
Turn me
once
over lightly.
Cook me to soft consistency
not self-enclosed hardboiled contraction.
Popped too soon to a fast flame,
I’ll shrivel, bounce,
rebounding like rubber gum
from hostile contact.

Some places I might be dearly purchased
individually.
Here, we are had by the dozens.

Even in perfect-seeming uniformity,
accidents occur:
double yolks, blood drawn in the bearing—
most often, a simple lack of fertility.

Use my plasticity,
separate my components.

I can rise to heights unguessed, climb to peaks,
but must be used, seasoned, cured by heat
before the lightness falls away.

I need not be, unincubated, only an aborted life.

************
Jasmine Idlis

by Padmaja Sriram

Priya’s mother always made sure her father never left home without a plate of Idlis. Always soft, always fluffy and airy, the rice cakes were her passport to love from the kitchen—a place where non-stop noises of grinding, pounding and crushing emanated and messy cooking jostled with aromatic, spicy smells. And, when father signed off with the last bit and looked into her mother’s eyes, the streak of love light would lift away all her weariness. This happened every morning.

Boiled rice and black gram is soaking in water; and this is Priya’s twelfth attempt. The proportion is right—three is to one. This time, she has also soaked a cup of flattened rice and a teaspoon of fenugreek—to suck the gas out of black gram. She shuddered remembering how she had soaked raw rice instead of boiled rice in her first attempt. The Idlis had come out so hard, it was like concrete. What was an easy and everyday recipe was fast becoming a nightmare, eluding her with a confounding stubbornness. Every morning, most Tamil women doled out Idlis as a matter of routine. Here she was, trying out all sorts of combinations, and nothing worked.

She lay down for a while taking care not to doze off. Having worked full-time before taking to freelance in the last three months, she never took that afternoon siesta. Unlike her mother though, Priya hated cooking. She’d rather draw graphs in excel, make power point presentations and brainstorm issues than enter kitchen. In fact, dreading cooking, she sought refuge in work. But, between deep sea workplace politics and devilish cooking, she finally decided the latter was better.

The ingredients are ready for grinding. Priya filters out the water and shoves them into the grinder. Be gentle. What’s the hurry? She’s bewildered. What’s that voice? Ok, no problem. Let me follow it, she decides. Priya sprinkles a little water into the grinding vessel and switches it on. Hopefully, this time her husband may not go to his mother’s house on the next street to eat. Not that she complains, but she doesn’t really like it. To be fair, he also eats whatever Priya makes without a stray comment. But, he finds it easier to eat there. She is not able to assert as she herself is still not able to make one recipe—one basic recipe—right.

Her husband belongs to a family of foodies who had vast farmlands in ancestral villages, who vie with each other to make time-consuming, traditional dishes; who share jars of exotic pickles, sweet string hoppers and home-made fries; who discuss finer details of cooking on the phone all the way down to picking vegetables, slicing and cooking tender for hours together; and who also know which vegetable digests well, which reduces swellings, and other such home remedies for health troubles.

Priya thrusts her hand to check the batter. Has it mixed well? Is the batter smooth? Slow down. Don’t rub so hastily. It is not a chore. The voice says, again. Actually, it commands. Fine. She switches off the grinder, dips her fingers gently and checks. It is smooth. There are no rice crumbs sticking out.

In the beginning, she managed making Idlis with batter bought off stores. But, the preservatives hurt their stomachs. She piled on to her mother-in-law’s cooking in the hope that she’d stop inviting her son once she knew Priya would tag along too. The trick failed. Next, she tried to get batter from her, but her mother-in-law was not too forthcoming. Priya tried sharing Payasam, a sweet porridge (made for special occasions) with her once but that only added to her mother-in-law’s fault-finding list. Then, she circumvented the cooking exercise by making western recipes like cakes or panna cotta. It worked to keep their mouths shut, at least till the time she trained herself well.

The batter mocks her as she tries pouring it slowly into an earthen vessel. As she wipes the last of it, it dawns on Priya that there is a rhythm to cooking. She needs to be involved in the whole process, in a loving sort of way. She needs to like it. She needs to like the feel and touch of rice, pulses or vegetables. So, was that what her mother did? It is beyond ingredients, proportion or careful cooking. It is love. A love for cooking, a love for serving, a love for tending to her husband.

The batter cascades into it, filling up the mud vessel. White as the full moon, it smiles at her as she tucks it with a plate and lulls it to sleep. Through the window, the December breeze caresses the green curry leaves which flutter to the tune of old, romantic Tamil songs from a small radio sitting on the kitchen table beyond the gas stove. The crimson evening sun sets.

Well-fermented, overflowing batter—a good sign—greets her in the morning. Holding two cups of filter coffee, Priya nudges her husband out of bed. It is a quiet Sunday and he is relaxed. She is not going to announce it yet; she is not sure herself.

He’s taking a shower. This is the right time to fill the batter into the Idly plates and steam them. The Idly cooker whistles. Ten minutes of whistling and it is through. Husband hears the whistle, but she keeps off any conversation. She just wants her Idlis to come out right this time. She doesn’t even mind him going to his mother’s place to eat, afterwards.

As she places the Idlis—soft and white as jasmine—on two plates, she sees her husband taste a piece. A streak of love light fills his eyes. The morning mist leaves her eyes moist. A sudden puff of air lifts away all her woes and worries. The voice in her head—her mother—smiles with triumph and pride.

************
In the Key of Chocolate

by Laurie Lambert

chocolate is a woman’s song

truffles, cake
brownies, pudding
cookies, fudge

Pie

the whispering knife
in the delicate, artful act
of removing the first slice

the whistling whipped cream
squirting from the can
embellishing

the scratching spoon
gathering the last morsel
to your waiting lips

a wish
to make your soul dance
your heart sing

a hope
to bring comfort
succor

chocolate says
darling, beloved
sweetheart, dearest

mother’s hymn
friend’s blues ballad
lover’s lullaby

chocolate is a woman’s song
of love

take this
and eat of it

************
CREOLE CRAWFISH

by Leroy Trussell

Ralmond in de Louisiana Sunshine,
he broke into dem good days of his remembrance.
wild,n wooly dem days of youth so fine,
with his Gaiennie at de Cajun Fais do do dance.

Ralmond,and his Chromeo,
they be whoopin up de night.
till dat rooster cock did crow,
an with black creole coffee brought on de morin’ light.

Now they brought dem self ta’ de bayou,
put dat bacon on de string.
paddle out in de swamp,in Papua Cairo’s pirogue.
through de gators ta’ git dem crawfish things.

Ralmond,n Gaiennie got dat buchet plumb full,
they brought them self home,dem mudbugs,for Mama Dorcelia ta’ boil.
cept what jump out,are Gaiennie did cull,
den makin’ Creole Gumbo,Etouffee on dirty rice riyal.

Now some we do,
on dat fire really hot.
with taters,n ounyons,and we make dat coonass rue,
in dat big ol well used cook pot.

Mama Dorcelia make some Jambalaya,
ta’ put on dat dirty rice.
Jacqueline pick,n made a blackberry pie,
an Beau’s got dem cold Bud beer on ice.

************

************

lemonade stand

by Erin Locks

i
used to capture
lemons in the gnarled
citrus tree
in my backyard
lemons as large as
grapefruit
brilliant yellow
round nobby
imperfect
sun rays high
overhead
i
held the magnificent
lemon catcher
twice
as tall
as me
contraption with
a red metal basket
atop a white rod
a gangly skinny
straight blond wispy
haired girl
blue eyes wide
spent hours
retrieving the
large fruit
in the hot
California Sun
blazing overhead
sparkling pool
beckoning to me
breeze lightly
caressing my face
bluest cloudless sky
salty air
i
remember in my
mind’s eye
squeezing the tart
yellow orb
zingy and zesty
in the old electric
squeezer
snorting giggling
laughing tasting
as my mom
my sister and me
run our freshly cut
fruit on top
propelling our precious liquid
no seeds please
liquid squirts and whirls
into the glass bowl
white mountains of sugar
arm tingling stirring
until it is just right
refreshing and cold
dozens of sugar cookies
baking in the oven
ready to sell
licking
my sugar soiled fingers
grimy with wet dough
10 cents a glass
10 cents a cookie
i wrote on
a cardboard sign
my sister and i
six and eight years
respectively
i am
the big sister
idea maker
she is
the follower
happygolucky
bouncy kid
cars whizzed by
i
enjoyed the view
red and yellow and blue blurs
many stopped
front yard next
to a freeway
juniper trees swayed
in the lingering breeze
guava tree on the side of our house
covered in white blossoms signalling
a new crop of greenish gray fuzzy guavas
warm tender and juicy
tastes like the languid air
on the way
we sell in the hot sun
enjoying our bounty
dimes
silvery and shiny
years fly by
i am still
making lemonade
out of lemons

************
Beef Stroganoff

by Ryan Lee

Beef in sauce over noodles pours
onto my plate.
My father is staring
at my mother who is the star
with a pan in her hand.
She makes it for him. All five of her
fingers work on the final scoop.
He grins. And pokes the stuff
forking the egg noodles–
releasing chemicals in his brain.
After a big gravy bite:
a memory about his mother.
She made this for him when
he was little; when he would wait
Irish eyes, budding temper,
for a father that never came home.
For a Russian dish that never tasted so well
as tonight.

************
Chef Philosophers and Artists

by Roo Bardookie and Louis Marvin

“Guys and gals, fellow chefs extraordinaire, connectors of the new worlds, and connectors of our old lives to the now.”
Chef Matty T salutes, with a rather expensive glass each, of a nice champagne.
“They can dream it up, they can have a robot cook it, they can do it in the “creationeers”, but only as well as their imaginations will let them. Understand this please, we are the truest art form, an experience where each and every patron, tastes your creativity. As sure as a sculpture, as vivid as a painting with shadow and light as spice and texture, we are the artists of the new age.”
His dream was taking hold. Even Johnny Sweet was becoming more impressed with this Scottsdale Master Chef. He was getting a little nervous as it was soon to be his turn. Matty T’s magic came from his love of his art. Johnny Sweet created things because he wanted to lick them together with the trenchcoat woman. There were hints and confessions when the Texas walnuts were on the icing, but his true love was his baking muse.
“So I hear you are going to be up in that space triangle deal. I could see it in that Dr. Wang’s eyes. She had a vision for you, weather you knew or not. Women can see each other cooking up the goods for men.”
“What do you mean?”
“I knew when I heard her mention the President, and leave you a card, and all that about changing your life stuff.”
“But it’s you I bake for. Before you I was good, but when you flashed your baby blues, and tapped the glass counter with your maroon nails with the white roses, I knew something was going to happen.”
“You are so sweet, Mr. Sweet.”
“Are you up for adventures my detective of love?”
“Man, you are really hitting the sugar bottle today!”
“It’s my last chance to talk to my mystery lady and love of my life.”
She took off her dark shades, and she had tear pools in the bottom of her eyes. The blue was even bluer, the red of her lips even redder.
She leaned forward over the glass, and her tears dropped. She grabbed his face and kissed Chef Sweet, passionately. Then she pulled away.
“I can’t leave my beloved New York. And you, with your passion and desire, your success, your beautiful soul, are a girl’s dream. I know I am a fool to not fly off with you.”
Johnny’s eyes were wet. The old rich ladies who came in all the time had long stopped talking, and they were looking across the table at each other. They were all looking deep into each other’s teary eyes. Each of them was in the here of this baker’s passion, and each of them was thinking back on the love of their lives too.
One of them whispered to the other ladies, “Oh God, take me with you Johnny.”
The ladies turned in their seats, and as the woman’s hand left Chef Sweet’s hand, the lady in the black trench coat turned and walked out, leaving just the tinkling of the bell echo behind her.
The women were holding their hands up to their mouths. It was better than a romance novel. It was right in front of them. They looked at each other and smiled through the tears.
Johnny watched her get into her cab. She waved.
“Helloooooo, Chef Sweet,” called Matty T.
He cleared his throat, “Sorry, thinking back on Brooklyn for a second.”
“What’s in the future man?”
“OK, for my current creations, I think we have found that perfection that seems to come around just a time or two in our kitchens. This deal with the Texas Walnuts and the Arizona syrups is out of this world.”
A few laughs, a few giggles, and on with the presentation.
“Chef T and I are thinking that right along with our recipes and our working with each other in each community, that we should run it like post doctoral seminars. In other words we are going to be putting on master classes for each other, so that we are excellent not only in our speciality areas, but we can add to the awesomeness of the team by unlocking potentials.”
The door opens and in comes plates of Johnny Sweet creations. Cupcakes and champagne anyone? Everyone.

       It’s Hard to Believe Padre

“Ah, mi hija! It has been so long!”
The padre hugged the beautiful Texican girl. When she pulled away she noticed how the padre had aged, but was still handsome and rugged. A very good looking Mexican man with a collar and sparkle in his eyes.
“Echaba de menos a tu padre.”
“Ven y sientate en mi oficina.”
She sits and looks around, seeing things that she remembers as a young girl who grew up in this church. There are some of the same books and pictures, dustier and faded, but the titles and faces from the photos she recalls. It was his same simple desk.
“Do you want te or cafe?”
“I’ll take coffee padre.”
He pours them two coffees in the paper cups that they always used after the services. I have something special in the refrigerator. He steps through his door and goes across the church to the Cocina. He says hola to Senora Garcia-Lopez and blesses her. He returns to hs office with a large cupcake. It has cut up nuts on the top.
“Guess where the nuts are from?”
“My father’s farm?”
“Exactamente!”
“That is why I am here. And, I must confess father, my cousin says you and a certain sonora had some church y ciudad problema.”
“Well, as much as I would like to have kept that private, I blurted that out during my sermon. It was most embarrassing. It was unprofessional. It caused trouble for both Senora Garces and me.”
“Why did you do that padre?”
“It was the truth.”
“How long have you loved her?”
“From the day I saw her when I arrived. We were both young then. I don’t even think you were born.”
“Wasn’t she married?”
“Si, si, nunca hable de ella.”
“So why blurt it out now? Even though her husband is gone, you can’t marry her.”
“I know mi hija, but it just overwhelmed me.”
He cut the cupcake in half and put each half on a small paper plate.
“I think that the walnuts have something to do with it.”
“Like they made you sick?”
“No, they make you better. Like you see only the truth.”
“From my father’s farm? That whiskey drinking, asesino de mi madre?”
“He is not the same man. He doesn’t even drink anymore. He attends church two days a week.”
“I don’t believe you padre!”
The father looks at her with some hurt in his eyes. He hands her a half of cupcake and a small plastic fork.
He points the fork at her plate, “Try it. This Sweet cupcake baker from New York is amazing. The flavors are often from this syrup place in Arizona.”
“I will try this, and I will try to see my father. But, I can’t make promises padre.”
They are enjoying their quiet time with coffee and cupcake, while the senores rise and kneel at the cross in their little dusty, Tejas church town. Nothing seems to have changed. But everything has changed.

************

The Dining Table

by Wilda Morris

The old wooden dining table remembers
the prayer Grandfather recited,
always the same few words I’ve forgotten.
The table recalls how Grandfather

always sat at the head, near the window
and Grandmother sat at the rear, nearer
the kitchen in which she cooked
like a pioneer housewife or German immigrant:

hardy stews she learned from her mother;
chicken fried in lard or bacon grease each Sunday,
drumsticks reserved for my sister and me;
home-canned beans, peaches and applesauce;

home-baked bread, cakes, cookies and pies,
and now and then a surprise recipe she cut
from Good Housekeeping. The dining table
remembers how tired Mother was at supper

after a hard day as a waitress or later, a clerk
at Montgomery Ward, how relieved she felt
to get off her feet for a while and renew herself
so she could play cards at the dining table

with her daughters before they went to bed.
The table remembers the feel of matches
given out for points in Michigan rummy,
the Bicycle Cards dealt and slapped down

in pairs or runs, and the Rook cards used
to play Orange, a game that helped us girls
learn to add. The walnut dining table recalls
the laughter we shared as we played

and listened to Fibber Magee and Molly
or Bob Hope and his friends entertaining the troops.
The table still breathes in the dust
of the jigsaw puzzles and feels the scratch

of the pencils which subtracted and divided
or scrawled out the poems thought up in our heads.
The table remembers the can of Rediwhip
bought when it first came on the market, the can

that exploded as Grandfather topped his desert,
turning the room into a snow scene with a curdled smell.
The walnut table remembers holidays
when it was joined by other tables to make room

for aunts, uncles and cousins, the smell
of turkeys Grandfather carved, mashed potatoes,
yams, cranberry sauce, all the pies
topped with cream Grandmother whipped,

and the oyster stew served at New Years
because custom said it would help us prosper.
The dining table has not forgotten the smell of coffee
and the feel of spilt milk, or the wartime rule

of no more sugar today if you spill some,
for fear our rationing coupons wouldn’t last.
The dining table is grateful Grandfather decreed
no one could be sent to bed without supper.

After all these years, I still smile to remember
the old dining table, the table that saw me grow
from a toddler squirming in a squeaky wooden high chair
to a young mother serving dinner to children of my own.

Submission for Clarify

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Our cut-off date was midnight Sept 28th, and we are now preparing for the reading, about 5-6 weeks.

Thank you all for your support! We are excited to have a yearly print anthology. It will cut into our pub month in the winter, but gear up for submissions in early spring!

June 2014- Seafood Sky Issue

In Comfort Food, cooking poetry, Dining Out, dining poetry, food magazine, food photos, Food Poetry, Louie Clay on June 7, 2014 at 8:01 pm

cake_jackfruit2

                             
                   Jackfruit Cake by Louie Clay

                          ************

DESSERT

     by Mike Giglio


 
Temptation, is it?
   your plan of attack-
Look so delicious...
   while I’m putting you back.
In the fridge you will go
with your sprinkles and
                   fluff...
white cream filling and other good
                   stuff...
You know that I love you
   just not today,
I ate you last evening!
   I must put you away

Michael Giglio is from Chicago, Il and has been writing poetry since the age of thirteen. His work is also featured in a print anthology coming out in Aug. ’14 titled, “Puff Puff Prose Poetry and a Play”. .

***********

THE PERFECT MATCH

by Gayathri Jayakumar

 

Flowers I see all around me
But which one to choose for honey?
Honey I need to fill in veins
Of the match I make to share your pains…

Eden grounds have yielded to my needs
With the strawberries for her cheeks
And the fresh glowing grapes for her eyes,
Butter I’ve churned for her beautiful thighs…

Pearls I’ve chose from the deep blue seas
To perfectly line her sparkling teethes,
Ripe cherries to suit her juicy lips
And sweet sugar sauce to coat its tips…

Honey will flow through her tuberose veins,
Of the match I make to share your pains,
Strands of hair I wove from moon’s rays
And stars I’ve chose to garnish her eyes…

Milk chocolate bones and icing sugar flesh,
Rose petal skin I’ve made for her fresh…
Dew drops for earrings and a small necklace,
By her beauty you shall be amazed…

For my love whom I live this life,
I’ve made for you a perfect wife…
And here! I pluck out my pumping heart,
To bring alive this beautiful art…

For, here I give you my masterpiece,
My love, with all the purity you seek…
For my face might be ugly ,won your hate,
But look! my heart!!, it’s pure, this is fate…

For you now have your love, my love,
I have given her my heart by now…
For you shall have a perfect mate to suit
Your handsome face. Let cupid shoot

His most powerful arrows to your chest
For this beauty, I have bequeathed you my best…
For my love will live till your soul depart,
Till then with this new shape let me be your part

For love will pump through her beautiful veins.
I have replaced my ugly face ,to share all your pains…

 

Twenty-one year old Gayathri Jayakumar hails from Kayamkulam, Kerala, India. She is currently doing her Post Graduation in MSM College, Kayamkulam under the University of Kerala. She is an authorized SkillDevelopment Executive under the Gov. of Kerala and also a member of TheHuman Rights Protection Mission, an NGO wing accredited under the UNO. A self-taught artist and poet from small ages; she earns as a ghost writer and website- content writer. Her work was published in an anthology, Harvests of New Millenium (Volume 7 Number 1, 2014).

************

THE STRETCH OF THIRST

by Patricia J. Esposito

He clips the shot glass in the perfect C
of thumb and finger, slim body stretched
with unbridled thirst, then throws back
his head to swill the midnight drink:

New Year’s tequila, reposado, though
there is no rest in this quenching.
His neck pulls taut; fine-lined muscles
push the burn of agave’s hot-blue fuel.

The larynx shuts at the silver surge,
Adam’s apple rippling its command,
and elongated cables pull like a call,
a shot for our own mouth’s watery

need: to tongue the burnished sheath,
flushed and fiery with immaculate flame,
to pursue his strong-jaw shine asking yet
for another, past charcoaled chin, to lips

that toast who knows what feat or desire,
hand to mouth, a clip on our mineral thirst.

Patricia J. Esposito is author of Beside the Darker Shore and has published works in anthologies and magazines, including Apparitions, Queer Fish 2, Scarlet Literary Magazine, and Rose and Thorn. She has received honorable mentions in “year’s best” collection sand is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

************

SeafoodSkyIssue

Greenpoint, NY Seafood lunch at Noah’s by Chef E

************

BANQUET IN THE SKY

BY Heather M. Browne

He shakes out our tablecloth
covering sky
floating rolls of azure blue
winded breezes rippling sky
He tosses white crumpled napkins – our cirrus clouds

Knowing our thirst,
Lemon tea cupping glistening heat – our sun
and places brightly colored plates, platters –
candy apple red, asparagus green – Jupiter, Venus, Mars
Beads & cords edging place-mats – encircling Saturn
Bowls for us to savor new tastes & explorations
Mashed potatoes – cratered moon
Steam billowing the Milky Way
Sprinkling – salting stars upon our blue to shine
Anything under the sun

Our meal – a universe
Ready & waiting to be explored

Heather M. Browne’s a recently emerged poet, published: Orange Room, Boston Literary Review, Page & Spine, Eunoia , Poetry Quarterly, Red Fez, Electric Windmill, mad swirl. MCI published her chapbook, We Look for Magic and Feed the Hungry. Follow her: http://www.thehealedheart.net

************

FOOD PYRAMID

by Louie Clay

Title: Rays of light shimmering off the Pacific Ocean at Magic Island under a great tree canopy in Ala Moana Park—next to where the SS MInnow set sail for a 3 hour tour

My pic-nic on the good side of the food pyramid:

romaine lettuce, celery and almonds dipped in Newman’s Own creamy ceasar

Yoplait strawberry yogurt

sardine steaks in mustard sauce

water with lemon slices

an apple

Island Onion macadamia nuts

coffee of the day with a shot of espresso

ALL GOOD, ALL GOOD

Chef Louie Marvin-Clay is a pot cooking specialist from a tropical island in the Pacific. He is also a photographer, plays tennis, snorkels, and hikes in mountain bamboo forest. Chef takes care of his Chinese girls, and Chef Matt Tabor of Scottsdale is his nephew.

************

LIFE ON THE HALF SHELL

by Maelina Frattaroli

LIFE ON THE HALF SHELL

First I looked for the promise in the pearls,
The ones that don’t beckon in shells above the ice,
But adorn the decollate of the well-to-do.
Thirty-six Blue Points glistened on clear cubes,
Welcoming the ceiling light to whet raw hearts.

“Just try it,” they’d always tell me
“And let it slide. There’s nothing like it.
It tastes just like the ocean,
A gentle rip tide along your palate.
Just let it happen.”

Then I looked for the promise of warmth,
The spine of stone frigid to fingertips.
The life that once was met my gaze.
Like Mom told me, I closed by eyes,
And began this shell-life’s next journey.

A tongue-tied kiss gone wrong,
Confusion collides with salt,
As I walk on shells that hold it,
Over thin ice that keeps it pure,
Wondering where the other halves
Have gone.

Is this the world,
As my oyster,
Or is it life on the half shell?

Maelina Frattaroli is an accomplished poet from Fairfield County, CT. She belongs to a dedicated group of poets at Write Yourself Free, a writer’s workshop in Westport, CT. Her poems center around universal truths inherent in all of us.

************

SECRETS OF THE IMMORTALS

by Anne Tammel

Amber, the essence of liquor in Zupa Bursztynowa,
enters the earth in this neutral sweet pine resin,
the spirit of the dying tiger.

Lotus Seeds, for Sup Hat Sen,
bloom in various shades of pink and white, an aphrodisiac
symbolizing spiritual cultivation in temple ponds.

Huang Jing, the golden essence in Eel Soup,
or food of the immortals, elicits the great yang
principle of the sun, producing a sweet taste.

Nutmeg, the nutty aroma in Lobster Crepes,
or flesh nut, once cerebral stimulant in aristocratic
Greek and Roman circles, now produces delirium.

Astralagus, the fresh herb for Snakehead Fish Soup,
with its twelve leaflet pairs, increases wee chei or surface energy, and protects
the body from the Six Evils—extreme environmental energies.

Angelica, melted in butter on Grilled Seabass,
and its bittersweet root stalks, produces the most balancing
of elixirs, the Great Tonic for all Female Deficiencies.

Licorice, for Poached Salmon,
the honey grass or Gate of Life, once buried with pharaohs,
balances all twelve of the body’s forces.

Sandalwood, ground to coat Blackened Ahi,
enhances mental clarity, harmonizes emotions, and settles
vital energy in the Elixir Field, just below the navel.

Anne Tammel’s professional and creative works have been published in numerous publications. A professional speaker and guest editor, Tammel also runs Poets and Dreamers, as featured in CBS Los Angeles. Tammel’s background includes an MFA in creative writing. http://www.annetammel.com

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LEAN MISERY

by Nicholas R. Larche

Eat as the cavemen did, they professed. Greens, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. What misery cave dwelling is without, Flour, butter, salt, and yeast. “one’s questionable commitment to the Paleo diet. As William Cobbett so aptly put it, “Without bread, all is misery.” ~ NRL

Nicholas R. Larche is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and currently resides in the Denver/Boulder, Colorado metropolitan area. His poetry and fiction have appeared in a number of literary journals, including Arizona State University’s Superstition [Review].

************

DON’T EAT THE POTATOES

by Joshua Gray

DON’T EAT THE POTATOES

The spuds are buried, pale as ghosts
when pulled from their mother’s shelter.
The Devil is up to his old tricks.

But a 1% drop that chills bones,
an exponential increase in anarchy,
and who cares what the priests say.

Too many. God is law. Subterranean gold
remain unplucked as grains grow
into a drunken brew.

Forget The Black Death.
Cold, drunk and starved, no wonder
Europe is dying.

Joshua Gray is an internationally published poet whose poems have been published in journals such as Poets and Artists, Front Range Review, Iconoclast, Zouch Magazine, Tar Wolf Review, Chaffin Journal and Blind Man’s Rainbow. He was the DC Poetry Examiner for Examiner.com for two years where he wrote reviews of books by local DC authors as well as reported on the local poetry scene. He regularly writes critiques of individual poems which can be read or linked to from his Web site. His book Beowulf: A Verse Adaptation With Young Readers In Mind was published by Zouch Six Shilling Press in 2012 and he is the editor of Pot and Sticks, a collection of poetry by Charles A. Poole, and Principles Of Belonging and Mera Bharat via Red Dashboard LLC Publishing, and works as a co-Editor and eBook Editor. He currently lives in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India.

************

Scallops Under an Orange Sky

Main Course

by dl mattila

So here’s the rub: turmeric powder root,
a custard-yellow aromatic, ground
and lightly glaced (to taste) but not without
a dash of pepper-salt to dust each mound

of scalloped grace, medallion morsels mild
and sweet when pan sauteed and butter seared,
prepared to take the heat (at room-temp, not chilled,
the chubby chunks frizzle for max reward).

With wooden spoon, deglaze, dislodge and pour,
then add chopped chives and pureed parsnips, beets:
a bon vivant’s delight, but wait, there’s more,
(forewarn the guests) the sky – it’s not to eat:

a touch of citrus, in this case, a filled
balloon with eau d’orange, not much, a trace,
but just enough when pierced and popped, to spill
its tiny droplets, tinge the air, and lace

each pan-seared mollusk-top with misted fare,
inflated, latex bag release, a pricked
event. Impractical fete? Au contraire!
it’s pyreautechnic – scent with sound effect.

Adapted by Gastronomer Andreas Viestad from a recipe in Marinetti’s “The Futurist Cookbook” (Bedford Arts, 1932).

dl mattila is the author of Quietus, a collection of poems. Her work has been published in Downhome Magazine (NL), Shot Glass Journal, and The Rotary Dial (CA), among others. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

************

SeafoodSkyIssue wine Bayberry Path Cafe 2nd Floor View, Wine Country, Long Island, NY by Chef E

************

WINE TASTING

by Peter Herring

The wine we tasted
on that warm autumn day
had been put in the bottle
when I was twenty-five.
Neither it, nor I
were young anymore. And the white
haired winemaker, with slightly
crazed eyes, who was losing
his mind, would die
in a few years. That was September,
2000, off a narrow road
in a hidden valley
of the Umpqua hills. The last
millennium had closed
on its spent blood
and we were birthing the next
in yellow light, red wine
beside the old vines.
The next year my wife
decided she was lesbian
and left. My Dad’s wife died
and when I went to get him
grief had blasted the last
neurons bourbon hadn’t trashed
and he became my charge
for his last three years
of dimming life. I hardly recognized
the sky that arched each day
above these ruins, didn’t recognize
my grown son when I met him,
and marvel even now
at the body’s deft communion
of organs that drive on without a life
at their center,
breathe and wake and rise
one morning, then the next until
history breaks against
present light. In ‘79
that cabernet found its way
from grapes to crush to vats,
charred oaken slats
and finally to glass, to be
corked in, all its essences
cached, settling in time,
harsh tannins yielding to the softer fruit.
I‘d warned him, I can’t buy
any $70 bottles today.
He pulled the cork and laughed –
can’t take it with you. So we sat
one of us as close
to death as a baby is to birth
one of us eyeing the paths
of yellow vine rows curving up
into the sky, drinking glass
after glass of what he then admitted
was the last bottle,
strangers talking of wine
and the virtues of old vines
knotted in red soil, of gauging the slow
sure surge of sugar, till the rush
to harvest in a moment. The yellow leaves
loosening. The barrels stacked in rows.

Forty years ago Peter Herring wrote a lot, published some, and edited a literary mag. Since, he’s raised four sons, ran an ad agency, wrote travel articles, and cooked. Now that he knows spices & words well, Peter treats recipes like first drafts.

************

ODE TO CANNERY ROW

by Thomas Piekarski

In the epoch of that great
Italian champion Joe DiMaggio
whose record of getting a hit
in fifty-six consecutive games
will stand immutable as long
as Earth revolves around
a nourishing sun,
immigrant Sicilian fishermen
navigated choppy Monterey Bay
always in the unfathomable night
looping purse seine nets
around massive shoals of sardines
that glowed a green phosphorescence
under dim moonlight
when they’d rise up to the surface.

The purse seine anglers braved
sturm und drang of wind and wave,
titans of the craft they perfected,
thousands upon thousands of tons
of wiggly sardines hauled in.
The demand for canned ones limited
so they dried and ground them up,
processed as base animal meal
and plant fertilizer.

Ocean biologists of the time
warned the myopic cannery bosses
that a sudden crash was upon them.
But this warning unanimously shunned
as yields dwindled by year
until one season a huge drop
in tonnage astonished:
it was time to pay the piper.

What had appeared to some
an inexhaustible supply
sadly drained.
The canneries then compelled
to board windows and chain doors
but not until many
went up in flames.

For twenty years Cannery Row
adopted an eerie vacant cast,
victim of masochistic entitlement
sustained by suppression of the real.

Had it simply been a matter
of failed logic, one would understand.

Jeffers could never understand.
He wailed until his last breath
exposing such egregious excesses
and rape of the land by humans.

He knew that nature is remorseless
in its demands, exacting only
harsh consequences
when it is abused.

Today the catch of sardines is minimal,
but staunch purse seiners continue, snatching
gentle tentacled squid, tuna, salmon
and more that feed on ubiquitous plankton
off China Point and Pigeon Point.

But those species threatened
by forces nastier than fishermen
because radiation suffuses the seas,
and a nation of plastics the size of Texas
swirls in the Pacific gyre.

Ginormous loads of carbon dioxide
swallowed by the world’s seas
on a daily basis. No one knows
how many exotic creatures
become oxygen starved
or mutate close to the ocean floor.

The arctic ice melt is expected
To be total by century’s end:
The coasts under water,
We’ll have to grow fins.

But the adaptive sea otter
shall remain chipper
smacking mollusk shells
against flooded skyscrapers.

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared in Nimrod, Portland Review, Kestrel, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, Gertrude,The Bacon Review, and many others. He has published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.

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Ministerial Abstention: A Case of Unjust Desserts

by Larry Lefkowitz

Richard Steele, writing on “The Miseries of the Domestic Chaplain” in The Tatler of 23 November 1710, criticized the then existing custom whereby a chaplain to a high family in England was required to excuse himself from the table before dessert. If this custom appears to us as quaint, it apparently reflected the belief then prevalent that a minister should deny to himself such frivolous pleasures as sweets and engage in an exemplary self-denial commensurate with his Christian office. Flaying the custom as the “Ceremony of the Chaplain Flying Away from the Dessert,” Steele observes:

        I have often wondered at the indecency of discarding the 
	holiest man from the table, as soon as the most delicious parts of 
	the entertainment are served up: and could never conceive a reason
	for so absurd a custom. Is it because a licorous palate, or a sweet tooth 
        (as they call it), is not consistent with the sanctity of his character?n
  	

        This is but a trifling pretense! No man of the most rigid virtue
gives offense by excesses in plum pudding or plum porridge; and that, 
because they are the first parts of the dinner. Is there anything that tends
to in-citation in sweetmeats, more than in ordinary dishes? Certainly not!
Sugar plums are a very innocent diet; and conserves of a much colder 
nature than your common pickles.

Steele ponders the origin of this “barbarous custom”. Although his conjectures seem less compelling than those he adduced above, his broadsides are more interesting than his history:

	The Chaplain retired, out of pure complaisance, to make room
for the removal of the dishes, or possibly for the ranging of the dessert. 
This, by degrees, grew into a duty; till, at langth, as the fashion improved,
the good man found himself cut off from the Third part of the 
entertainment: and, if the arrogance of the Patron goes on, it is not 
impossible but, in the next generation, he may see himself reduced to the
Tithe or Tenth Dish of the table. A sufficient caution not to part with any
privilege we are once possessed of!

The priest in old times, Steele contines, feasted upon the sacrifice “nay the honey cake, while the hungry laity looked upon him in great devotion.” At present the custom is reversed. Steele compares the fortunate Catholic priest to his suffering Protestant brother:

                What would a Roman Catholic priest think (who is always helped
          first, and placed next the ladies), should he see a Clergyman giving his
          company the slip at the first appearance of the tarts or
          sweetmeats? Would he not believe that he had the same antipathy
          to a candid [candied] orange or a piece of puff paste, as some have
          to a Chesire cheeze or a breast of mutton?

Even the Christmas pie, Steele points out, is often forbidden the chaplain. He carries the logic of the custom to its ultimate fatuity:

		Strange! That a sirloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when
	entire, is exposed to his utmost depredations and incisions; but if minced
	into small pieces and tossed up with plums and sugar, it changes its 
	property; and, forsooth, it is meat for his Master!

It is fortunate, indeed, that the custom, which seems to us more silly than “barbarous,” has not survived to bar a minister invited for dinner from dessert, in England or America, and is today a Dickensian-seeming curiosity of the past.   The work of Larry Lefkowitz has been widely published. His literary novel “The Critic, the Assistant Critic, and Victoria” and his book “Laughing into the Fourth Dimension, 25 Humorous Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories” are both available from Amazon books. Larry Lefkowitz lar_lef@htomail.com

************

BEBINCA AND FENI

by Rochelle Potkar

“Don’t date a man who likes to eat,” said the mother curving her mouth downward, as she cracked open the brittle shells of nine eggs, one by one, adding them to a mixture of thick coconut juice and dissolved sugar.
“Why?” asked fifteen-year-old Regita, pinching some sugar into her mouth.
“You would have to cook for him throughout your life then. He would want only home-made food. Home-made fudh!”
“Mai, don’t do all this, no, if you don’t want to. Why make it also and grumble also? You think all this is going to turn out nice then?” Mai added the flour and salt to the batter, stirring vigorously, until every lump had disappeared. She wiped the sweat off her face, “It’s just that I get irritated sometimes. As if, if I am a woman I have to love cooking and be at it every day, cooking, cooking, cooking. Like that was all I was fit for or meant to do…” She sprinkled some nutmeg powder into the bowl.
“Mai, stop it now. Let me..,” Regita took over the ladle, stirring in the powder.
“Why don’t you keep a servant then? So many times I’ve told you. Call that Hilda aunty. She’ll be willing to come, especially after that Dominic passed away. And she won’t charge anything. Maybe give her a little of what you cook every day?”
Caramalizing a tablespoon of sugar, Regita added two tablespoons of warm water to it, stirring briskly and waiting for it to cool.
“Yes but she’s a gossiper, no? She has the world’s gossip on the blade of her tongue. God knows what else she will take from this house besides food. She might even take my husband!”
“Stop it Mai. As if you care. You would be happy,” Regita carried on a low chuckle as she poured the cooling caramelised sugar into the coconut milk mixture. She then spread out the muslin cloth and passed this batter through it.
Mai smiled faintly, “When I married your father, he fasaaoed me. No, Perpet, we will keep a cook, don’t worry. My mother will help, don’t worry. I will help, don’t worry. But once a few sips of his drink went in, all was forgotten. Where’s the sorpotel? Where’s the pulao? Didn’t you make xacuti today? I am in a mood for caldin today or amotik. Where’s the balchão? Where’s the vindaloo? Where’s the dodol? It just never ended!”
Regita sighed, coating the baking pan with a dollop of butter and pouring the first layer of the raw-ish smelling batter into it. She set it into the old boxy oven at a temperature she had always seen her mother keep to, all these years.
“As if I was a marathon chef or a cook or worse a servant. Then there were his friends. Bebdoz sala! They came over almost every night. For ten years! I suffered preparing food for them. First, he would at least tell when they were coming. Slowly he stopped doing even that. Open the door and five or six men would stand behind him every evening like dying cows. I so wished I could have escaped to church for the last mass before they came. They would leave only after midnight when every dish and drink was finished! And I would rot in the kitchen or the verandah.”
“Mai, don’t…cry now. You did stop this, no, finally.”
Taking the baked batter out of the oven, Regita spread a dose of butter over it and spread another layer of batter on top of the older layer. She set it to grill for four minutes, doing this three more times for each new layer of the toffee-colored sweet, before allowing it to cool.
“I had to. Now I cook only for the brute of your father. Saw how big his stomach has grown? Malkiryaad! First all this might have been fun, but now it gets to me. My back …my legs…Remember how I had a slip disc last May twisting myself collecting cashew apples from that god-forsaken tree? But the man still wanted his feni, no!”

Regita remembered that day raindrops dusted over the sand in teardrop-kisses before evaporating. The air was thick with the oozing of cashew apples and the slow-roasting of their seeds over a fire, a little away from where they had sprouted. Once done, those seeds came to life like crisp brown hearts inside fragile, wrinkled skins.
Poor Mai, she had really worked hard.
Regita upturned the layered sticky brown cake from the baking pan onto a wide plate. Cutting a slice off and blowing over it, she tasted the hot bebinca. It slid over her tongue, honeying into her throat, filling her mouth with oozy milky saliva. The aroma of it was a habit of the hypnotic. The roofs and walls of her mouth flooded with mulch. Her parent’s relationship was just like the bebinca, she thought, just as layered, but just as sweet. At least because of her father, she got to eat her mother’s deliciously cooked food every meal hour. Because of this she never enjoyed eating out. Even pizzas, sushi, Chinese fare, which her friends went crazy about, were made at home and tasted much better than from anywhere else.
But she would choose her husband wisely, thought Regita, chewing off her honeyed, gooey fingertips. Who wanted a husband like her father who wanted to eat, eat, eat all along on those unfortunate days that he would be at home?

Rochelle Potkar is a fiction writer and poet. Her short stories have appeared in several Indian and international magazines. Her e-book, ‘The Arithmetic of breasts and other stories’ has recently released on Amazon and Flipkart. She lives in the ‘pandoramic’ city of Mumbai with people real and imagined. http://www.rochellepotkar.wordpress.com

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