Ellen Storm

Writing the White and Purple Coats

Mango Cantaloupe Whip

Mango-Cantaloupe Whip and Poetry on a Plate


Recently found this slim anthology – Poetry on a Plate – published in 2004 by the Poetry Society to mark National Poetry Day. That year the theme was food, and the book contains a selection of recipes (submitted by poets and chefs) and food-related poems (written by poets, not chefs). It appears that a series of poetic/gastronomic events were held at the Poetry Café in London (1) to mark the occasion. The authors note that poets frequently, although not always, also love cooking, and the blurb on the back suggests some similarities between these two activities:

“Poets and chefs share a secret alliance. Whether it’s a recipe or a poem, it takes some level of skill to get it right. It’s the brilliant few who throw in that je ne sais quois ingredient, catapulting it from ordinary to the sublime: that moment when the mind engages with the mouth, holding onto a taste sensation for as long as possible, mulling over texture, spice, the exact moment that eludes and compels. Words, like saliva glands, lock onto the juxtaposition of memory and anticipation… and so, poetry.”

Poetry on a Plate

Poetry on a Plate

Today we had fun in the kitchen making a simple favourite, suitable for two-year-olds and grown-ups alike: mango-cantaloupe whip.

Mango Cantaloupe Whip 2



1-2 ripe mangos

Half a cantaloupe melon

1 carton of silken tofu (e.g. Clearspring organic)

2 teaspoons cold-pressed flaxseed oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional, according to taste)



Blend. That’s it.

Mango Cantaloupe Whip

Mango Cantaloupe Whip

So, inspired by Poetry on a Plate, here’s my poetic effort:


Mango-Cantaloupe Whip


Tiny fingers fight to press the blender

that only a few weeks ago

elicited howls of terror.


Now at last

the coming together of continents

in one plastic beaker is possible.


Ripe Indian mango

peeled and carved from the stone,

sweating remembered heat.


Spanish cantaloupe:

its surface a map for the blind,

infused with sunshine.


Silken tofu flown from Japan,

trailing its carbon footprint,

white as snowmelt.


A dollop of maple syrup:

sap the colour of autumn leaves

before the Canada winter.


We have made a vast

vat of privilege: golden blancmange;

delight for angels and girls.


Outside, the last November leaf

falls to the slabs.

We put on wellies and hats.



1. Poetry Café: http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/cafe/ Accessed on 16th November 2012.


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