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.”
Today we had fun in the kitchen making a simple favourite, suitable for two-year-olds and grown-ups alike: mango-cantaloupe whip.
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.
So, inspired by Poetry on a Plate, here’s my poetic effort:
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.
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.