Category Archives: Food

bigger than a blog post, smaller than a breadbox

I haven’t been doing much creative writing lately,

because this:

Fox_sketch-1

 

is coming out in the fall and contrary to what I’d somehow fooled myself into thinking,

my work is only just begun.

More to come lovelies, I promise. all sorts of things are moving and shaking.. a website, a video, events, travel. opportunities for folks to support getting the stories in my book out into the world. For now… disjointed waitress poetry will make an attempt to return, because learning how to market a book gives me a headache, and I need to write creatively again.

 

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Fishing Family

My friend Heather’s husband Ross is headed to sea today,
or maybe yesterday or tomorrow.
They never know the exact date when he’ll ship out,
and they don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring.
They chop firewood
plant gardens
rebuild portions of their house
hang nets for the summer salmon season
teach their sons to climb ladders,
use tools
prepare food,
practice kindness.
They go on dates in canoes,
birth babies at home,
and snowshoe a few miles into the wilderness
to have family time
in a primitive cabin.
They volunteer in their community,
preserve hundreds of pounds of food from their garden,
and eat well.
I’m fairly certain that between the two of them,
there is nothing they could not do.
While Ross pits himself against the elements
to make their living
in the wintry Pacific a few thousand miles to the north,
Heather will keep everything going
with grace
and humor
while training to be a doula,
caring for ailing elders,
building furniture,
traveling cross country to see the grandparents,
and growing more gorgeous all the time.
Sometimes she takes the kids camping as a solo mama,
and laughs that its easier than being at home sometimes.
Depending on which fishing season it is,
she can talk to her husband daily,
or only once a week, for ten minutes,
or not even then,
but after a while,
the call inevitably comes
that he’s headed home.
Until then,
they labor through the seasons,
adding weft
and strength
to the warp of a marriage
seasoned by saltwater
struggle
and joy

my fishing family. Ross, Haven, Heather, and Liam.

my fishing family. Ross, Haven, Heather, and Liam.

(To read more about their family and their work, check out some of the words and pictures here).

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just an ordinary thursday, really

morning.
wrangle kid into clothes
potty training
vacuum
sweep
clean up kidspill
make pancake batter
make coffee
feed dogs
flip banana pancakes
make beds
open curtains
talk kid into eating
unload bookshelf
move bookshelf
reassemble
move chair
sweep
pacify meltdown over end of tv time
transition toddler into creative play
research the gyan mudra for monday’s tattoo design
make more coffee
coax kid to eat more breakfast
find missing ball kid desperately needs
rewash husband’s pen-stained work clothes for 4th time
move file cabinet
organize an entire family worth of paperwork.
answer several important emails which require Thought
chat with my momma friends
make lunch
deal with 4 spates of whiny crying intermixed with throwing and hitting
shower
clean up spilled juice
kid hucks the potty
offer him the choice of peeing outside
we stand on the porch together
his tiny bare feet on mine
it is raining softly
and he gets sad
at naptime he holds my hand in the dark
and we listen to Gillian Welch sing “the way it will be”
he falls asleep in a blessedly short ten minutes
and I emerge to sit
alone
in this room
try to figure out what to do with the beautiful solitude
launch myself into action
and try to build up enough inertia to carry me through
tackle the mess on the desk
recycle, put away, categorize, rediscover, trash, sort
dice an onion and sautee it in olive oil with thyme and smoked salt
put on Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us
and dance
answer more emails
file more papers
stir the soup
and
try to scrape together enough of myself
to remember that once I wanted to be a writer when I grew up
and drag myself to the keyboard

So we put our hands up
like the ceiling can’t hold us

kid wakes up with a 102 degree fever
and i spend the subsequent 5 hours with his tiny frame pressed against mine
hot forehead searing against my skin in the carrier
coaxing him to drink
persuading him to take a thermometer
coercing him to swallow tylenol
and soup
and finally,
soothing him to sleep,
lay there staring at the ceiling
drained

just an ordinary thursday, really

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Filed under basic goodness, Family, Food, love, motherhood, Ordinary, poetry, stories, unrepentantly unedited, watching it all go by

newyorkminute

photo 4

It wasn’t until the last day that I sat on a corner bench and raised my collar against the cold and cracked my journal: for four days I followed his tall and purposeful stride through the subways and the sidewalks and the elegant lobbies, beneath the sky-filling spans of bridges and down the hallowed and corrupted aisles of urban cathedrals, through the temporary winter foyers of artful restaurants and past the legions of doormen, (some of whom i am convinced we have interrupted in the midst of composing poems), along the curving sidewalks of frozen Central Park and over the very ground where John Lennon breathed his last on the day my mother heard my heartbeat for the first time, in and out of taxi cabs and up the stairs of the Jane hotel for a cocktail but not a 99$ room, into the darkened bustle of gay bars without women’s restrooms which makes me laugh, buzzed on gin and freedom while musicals are projected onto the walls and the scarcely clad bartenders ply their trade, past graves marked and over graves unseen and through gusts of paper confetti drifting onto sidestreets after a Lunar New Year parade, taking refuge from the biting wind over yet another cocktail and elegant scallion pancakes, seitan marsala with figs unrolling on my tongue and fennel soup eddying across my notion of what is possible, exorbitant shop windows and resilient beggars, and meanwhile there are ghosts, millions of them, Ginsberg ogling muscled Puerto Rican delivery boys in the East Village and Dorothy Parker tapping her pen on the tabletop next to her drink at the Algonquin, the woman who shares my name who was murdered in Central Park a few years back and whose face I know from the pictures, precious babies who died from adulterated milk in the tenements by the thousands because their malnourished immigrant mothers couldn’t produce breastmilk what with all the stress and work outside the home, each of us here chasing our own particular version of the American dream in this island city built on ancient bedrock and washed over by the storms of the Atlantic and I’ll just stop there for now because the laundry won’t do itself.

KP and RR… crazylove and wildgratitude.

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chopping garlic with Patsy Cline after the two year old spends an hour unsupervised.

Fighting off a winter cold,
I laid down on the couch
after putting my son down for a nap.

woke up an hour later to discover
he’d gotten out of bed
emptied the dental floss container
built a train
liberated some tortillas from the fridge
and finally
come over to pat me on the shoulder
and deliver a bottle of homeopathic throat spray.
We snuggled.
Not bad for at least an hour of unsupervised two year old time,
I reason.
And later, when he reveals to me that he successfully
unwound an entire roll of toilet paper,
its hard to be appropriately stern,

as he’s beaming and proud
and I’m listening to Patsy Cline
and chopping a mountain of garlic.

sweetness in the doldrum days

sweetness in the doldrum days

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on making soup from what you have.

Cooking for a family isn’t quite the thrilling experiment that cooking for a partner or a group of friends used to be. You have less money, less time, and a more critical audience than you ever did before.  I find its hard to try new recipes when they invariably necessitate a trip to the store, and I’m bound and determined to cook with whole foods and the ingredients I already have laying around.  A few months ago a friend asked me for a soup recipe, and I had to admit I didn’t have a recipe…

just a method.
here it is.

1. Begin, always, with onions.

1. Begin, always, with onions.

2. Be fearless with your spices, and buy them in bulk so they are fresh and cheap.

2. Be fearless with your spices, and buy them in bulk so they are fresh and cheap.

3. Grow at least one of your ingredients yourself. it feels good to harvest into your cookpot.If you can’t, make it a point to buy direct from a farmer every now and then.  Look for a local farmer @ your farmers market who doesn’t advertise as organic, & ask them if they use pesticides. Many, like Whistling Train Farm who sell @ almost every Seattle Farmers Market, grow without chemicals but cannot afford the organic certification— their veggies are more affordable than the ones labelled “organic.”

3. Grow at least one of your ingredients yourself. it feels good to harvest into your cookpot.
If you can’t, make it a point to buy direct from a farmer every now and then. Look for a local farmer @ your farmers market who doesn’t advertise as organic, & ask them if they use pesticides. Many, like Whistling Train Farm who sell @ almost every Seattle Farmers Market, grow without chemicals but cannot afford the organic certification— their veggies are more affordable than the ones labelled “organic.”

4. Cook with your nose and your sense of color. Both should delight you. If they don’t, add more of something that does.Use things from your fridge that are wilting or nearing expiration. Waste not want not.

4. Cook with your nose and your sense of color. Both should delight you. If they don’t, add more of something that does.
Use things from your fridge that are wilting or nearing expiration. Waste not want not.

5. you will almost never go wrong by adding more garlic or more greens.

5. you will almost never go wrong by adding more garlic or more greens.

6. Chickpeas or red lentils will give a protein boost, add heartiness, and scarcely impact the flavor.

6. Chickpeas or red lentils will give a protein boost, add heartiness, and scarcely impact the flavor.

7. At least 2 of these items go into almost everything I make. (apple cider vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast)

7. At least 2 of these items go into almost everything I make. (apple cider vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast)

8. Make your kitchen (or at least a corner of it) into a place you find lovely.

8. Make your kitchen (or at least a corner of it) into a place you find lovely.

10. A library of inspiring cookbooks just in case.

9. A library of inspiring cookbooks just in case.

10. take notes on your successes

10. take notes on your successes

11. Figure out what your cooking music is (mine is Gillian Welch) and keep in mind that a good apron never hurts.

11. Figure out what your cooking music is (mine is Gillian Welch) and keep in mind that a good apron never hurts.

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Filed under aprons, basic goodness, Family, Food, Garden, Ordinary, Vegan Recipes, wendell berry, winter garden

latkes

Last night, a homeless man politely propositioned me for cash at a gas station.
I held up a fistful of ones and told him we’d dragged the seat cushions for these,
and I couldn’t spare any
and he politely said
no worries sweetheart,
happy holidays.

Inside I handed over eleven dollars to the Sikh cashier,
and watched the homeless man standing against the cold.
while my husband pumped gas I rummaged through a canvas bag full of Hanukkah leftovers.
Returned to the homeless man with a glass container
and asked him if he was hungry
yes, he said
and I apologized that the latkes were greasy
he tugged his glove off and accepted the leftovers into his palms
and said thank you
and I replaced the lid and said you’re welcome.

As we drove away into the dark I rubbed my oil slick fingers together
and caught myself feeling relieved for having allayed my guilt
over having more
rather than less
and thus descended into a hyper-intellectual narrative
about privilege and inequity
and altruism and leftovers

Then it occurred to me
that the homeless man’s fingers were slick with the same cooking oil
as mine
and our bellies now held the same food
and that maybe it was enough to leave it at that

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