Praising food items

I’ve been dabbling with cooking during the lockdown. I even devoted a podcast to the topic. As a result, I’m noticing food in everything I read. Here are some poems and quotes devoted to food and ingredients.

Tea
“Subtle charm in the taste of tea which makes it irresistible and capable of idealisation.

It has not the arrogance of wine, the self-consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of cocoa” (Book of Tea, Tenshin)

Onions
You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone
and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.
(Ode to Onions, Pablo Neruda)


Chickpeas
A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it’s being boiled.

‘Why are you doing this to me?’

The cook knocks him down with the ladle.

‘Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.

Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.’
(Chickpea to Cook, Rumi)

Plums
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
(This is just to say, William Carlos Williams)

Oranges
I’ll choose for myself next time
who I’ll reach out and take
as mine, in the way
I might stand at a fruit stall

having decided
to ignore the apples
the mangoes and the kiwis
but hold my hands above

a pile of oranges
as if to warm my skin
before a fire.
Not only have I chosen

oranges, but I’ll also choose
which orange — I’ll test
a few for firmness
scrape some rind off

with my fingernail
so that a citrus scent
will linger there all day.
I won’t be happy

with the first one I pick
but will try different ones
until I know you. How
will I know you?

You’ll feel warm
between my palms
and I’ll cup you like
a handful of holy water.

A vision will come to me
of your exotic land: the sun
you swelled under
the tree you grew from.

A drift of white blossoms
from the orange tree
will settle in my hair
and I’ll know.

This is how I will choose
you: by feeling you
smelling you, by slipping
you into my coat.

Maybe then I’ll climb
the hill, look down
on the town we live in
with sunlight on my face

and a miniature sun
burning a hole in my pocket.
Thirsty, I’ll suck the juice
from it. From you.

When I walk away
I’ll leave behind a trail
of lamp-bright rind.
(Oranges, Roisin Kelly)

Bilal

Sign up to my regular newsletter here:

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.