Seasons have a way of getting under our skin.
The dirt, the flowers, the heat, the ice. Any distinctions that befall the month we're enduring swirl in our consciousness like wind slapping the windows, begging to be let in. Over the years, seasons signify milestones and inspire us to burrow, clean, buy notebooks, travel, and cook the food that grows best in February or May or October, and I find there's something both comforting and unnerving about the consistency of these cravings year after year.
To me, spring simply bursts. After a few months of staying cozy and getting my footing in the new year, April arrives brimming with possibility. The first signs can be found at the market, when asparagus and peas emerge, in the budding leaf on a tree down the street or the wildflowers and California poppies that dot the hillsides. Even the sun feels different in April.
Today's poem doesn't reference the month by name, but there are carrots that roast "sweet as candy," strawberries and cream, and the memories of a blissful trip to the city of light.
By Kyle Potvin
Feed me strawberries and cream,
And carrots from my garden, the ones
That roast sweet as candy.
Airmail me a French baguette
I can toast for breakfast.
And, please, a gyro and frites
From that place in the Latin Quarter.
In fact, bring on the red meat!
What does it matter now?
A rare T-bone -- with mushrooms
Like the one we shared at the casino
The night we won
And lost on black.
And yes, I want chocolate:
That dark bar with caramel I craved
But gave away. Such regret.
I am greedy for more
As with good conversation,
The kind that only dies
I can handle the bitter,
The sweet, the salty, the sour.
I’ll take what you bring
And devour each bite.
First published in Tygerburning Literary Journal
This poem absolutely made me question why I haven't bought a plane ticket to Paris yet. I've visited the city twice before, but it's been many years now, and the temptation of a French baguette, steak dinner in a bistro, and good conversation ("the kind that only dies at dawn") has all the trappings of a romantic weekend.
There is no mention of the Eiffel Tower, the bridges, the river, Notre Dame. The speaker, tangled entirely in memories of food, lists everything her heart desires, from a dark chocolate bar to a gyro and frites. This vacation is recalled in meals, not in museums visited or walks taken or trains waited for. But the poet is on to something. Food might be the best souvenir of all, for it's something that can be recreated at home whenever we're missing a place, ensuring memories linger long after our plane has landed.
By the last stanza, the speaker declares that no matter what she wants, what she craves, she'll accept anything. "I'll take what you bring," reinforcing that the relationship, not the food, is enough.
DARK CHOCOLATE BARK
This poem offered plenty of directions to take, from strawberries to steak, but it was the chocolate that caught my eye. This makes a great post-dinner treat when you have a sugar craving.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
1/3 cup mixed pistachios and pepitas
12 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
Toast the nuts in a 35o degree oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. While the nuts cool, melt the chocolate over a double broiler and prepare a sheet pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Once the chocolate has melted, pour it onto the reserved sheet pan and spread evenly (to your desired thickness) with a frosting spatula. Add the nuts evenly over the chocolate, then sprinkle with chia seeds and the sea salt. Cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours, then break into pieces.