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Everybody eats…

October 7, 2012

..when they come to my house. —Cab Calloway

I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it into Poetics today, and I’m certainly in just under the wire. But it would be such a shame if I couldn’t come up with a food poem, as Claudia challenged us at the dVerse Poets Pub. I spent most of the day preparing my garden for winter; bags of tomatoes sit along my bookshelf, closed tight around apples to ripen them for the last batch of chipotle salsa; and this recipe was on my mind for dinner. After one bite, George called it a poem. So I decided I had better write it.

Chilled Sun Gold Soup

No one wants chilled soup
when night has fallen by seven
thermometers read two score
even if summer’s last sweetness
pops through sun gold and yellow pear
tomatoes pulled just before
frost buried into their skins
turning them translucent

So as I reach for Local Flavors
I hope Deborah Madison
won’t be offended as
I ignore her instruction
chill well
gloss over the note
serves 6 as an appetizer
turn the page to discover
primary flavors
missing from her initial recipe

In my kitchen
recipes turn to jazz riffs
basic chord structures
expanding with a bite of this
pinch of that
disbelief that any soup
could be complete without garlic
just like you need a flat fifth
to call it the blues

So as I stand over the kettle
chilled sun gold soup evolves
starting with one onion
silky saffron threads
one army-green bay leaf
last of my sister’s dried thyme
irreplaceable sweet smoked paprika
sizzling in olive oil until
joined by spoonfuls of garlic
fresh pepper of unknown heat
quick wrist flicks releasing salt
all subdued by August’s veggie stock

Thumb-sized tomatoes hit bottom
skins bursting open to release juices
canned fruits could never imitate
Soup simmers as I follow
instructions for garnish
almost
to the letter
combining scallions pulled this evening
splashes of champagne vinegar
summer’s last fresh basil
and since I am in Montana
the only store-bought produce
one avocado

I blend the soup into a uniform gold
Moroccan button makers would envy
pour in white wine not called for
by either Madison recipe
ladle it into two bowls
slide on garnish and
take it straight to the table
piping hot

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2012 9:18 pm

    I really liked this line in particular: “recipes turn to jazz riffs”. I love how you mixed music into this poem… With jazz in mind, we can hear a very unique rhythm through the poem!

    Like

  2. October 9, 2012 8:15 am

    You have definitely whetted my appetite here, Julie! You have worked the ingredients and the preparations into a delectable poem.

    Like

  3. October 8, 2012 7:07 pm

    Gosh, I haven’t seen the word ‘scallions’ in a donkeys age. Such a rich mix here, I would love to share a bowl of this and some chat 🙂

    Like

  4. October 8, 2012 11:37 am

    This meal ( and the preparation) would be on heavy rotation at my house!

    Deliciosa!

    Like

  5. October 8, 2012 11:31 am

    I explained to my sister my method of making honey mustard chicken:
    Step 1: Get out a cooking pan and place the chicken breasts in it.
    Step 2: Use ALL the ingredients! (Especially secret ones)
    Step 3: Look at the recipe.
    Step 4: Adapt or die.

    Like

  6. October 8, 2012 10:49 am

    truly loved all the color you put into this recipe… so many visuals and even sound… nice treat as i’m eating my hot piping potato & carrot soup… LOL

    Like

  7. October 8, 2012 4:23 am

    mmm very nice….liking hte flavors you are stirring up…and a bit of jazz is not a bad thing at all…yeah it is hot soup weather out here as well…in the upper 30s this morning and only gonna get colder…

    Like

  8. October 7, 2012 11:26 pm

    “In my kitchen
    recipes turn to jazz riffs”

    Great intro for a great stanza.

    I open cans. My coking is muzak. (I might run with that thought)

    M
    __________
    Marie Marshall
    author/poet/editor
    Scotland

    Like

    • October 8, 2012 11:05 am

      Thanks, Marie! I love your muzak idea–I can’t wait to see what you spin out of it. I took a quick browse through some of your fragments; you have some lovely tidbits in there. I’ll have to get back for more soon.

      Like

  9. October 7, 2012 10:05 pm

    hmmm….sounds delicious…love the nod to jazz and yeah…a soup def. needs garlic just like you need a flat fifth in blues…ha…love it…and see i’m getting already hungry again and it’s only 6 in the morning over here…smiles

    Like

    • October 7, 2012 10:11 pm

      Thanks Claudia–and thanks for the great prompt! I woke up this morning thinking I could nail this one but was distracted by my long list of departure preparations. The soup was delicious–I wish I could send every reader a taste! The best I can do is that if you ever make it to Montana, plan to eat at my house. 🙂

      Like

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