What do the three have in common? Friendship. That's all. Life changing ingredients discovered in the spirit of community.
I met quinoa in the late 80s and was indifferent until I experienced it during a one-month retreat at Esalen Institute in Big Sur. I was with my new friend Brian as we swooned over the warm cereal sprinkled with granola, bathing in a pool of butter and honey.
French lentils arrived not long after while working in the kitchen at a health food store in San Luis Obispo. I adapted their recipe and continue to share a simple union of these oddly firm and toothsome lentils tossed with quinoa and seasoned only with salt and flax oil.
Flax oil slid into my life through a fellow artist and tai chi practitioner, Buffie Harris. We were practicing yang style tai chi at the Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego. At first I shuddered at what for me, was a hefty price at $30 a bottle, but the nutty flavor won me over and today, I'm never without it. Buffie and I collaborated on artful projects, kundalini yoga and commiserated over the single life. Oh those were the days....
Remember the corny adage of "Keep it simple sweetheart" (KISS)?
I didn't like it when my mom said it to me as a teenager and can't quite believe I'm using it here. But really.
Mix equal amounts of cooked French lentils with quinoa and season with flax oil and salt. Of course for parties I add parsley for color or sundried tomatoes, or what have you, and when on hand I stir in Yotam Ottelenghi's homemade sambal.
At the end of the day though, a container of this in my fridge sustains me Tuesday through Friday or when I'm too lazy or impatient to work for my meal.
Thanks again for listening to my happy wanderings.
Next up for PoFoDo is the "Do" piece of the project: Hip hip for those four-legged beasts filling every loneliness, and occasionally, upsetting marital balance.
I met the Poem Elf at Kiko's while working. She saw my poems displayed and then shyly mentioned her project: she hides poems she loves all over her Mid-western city.
She told me, "I just want to get poems out of books."
I know exactly what she means- to reinsert them in public spaces where, I imagine, people who wouldn't dream of opening a poetry book may stumble upon them.
She told me, "I'm not a poet. I'm a lover of poetry."
She makes physical copies of poems and plants them in grocery store carts, under rocks or between fence railings, then she snaps a photo and posts it.
Here's how she describes it: "Poem Elf was born out of two inclinations: I like poems and I like secret tricks. The mystery of a poem and elfin mischief come together as I loiter about until I can post these poems in secret around my mid-western city and wherever else I may be."
As a nod to her and also a reflection back on my own life, I'm doing the same on Kauai. My first poem secreting was on the Westside. The crease in this little Short Order Poem is from being in my pocket. These little cards are available at Kiko or you can just ask me and I'll mail you one.
While my husband paddled Kalapaki to Poipu, I strolled a labyrinth at Mahaulapu. The rugged terrain, Trade Winds and meditative walk between the stones restored my peace; I had been in a real funk. When I 'd get like this as a kid (entitled, bored and cranky) my mom would tell me to go do something nice for someone. And she was right. She is right. Self-absorption is toxic and one powerful remedy is through service to others.
A few weeks passed and the Poem Elf sent me a photo of my poem. I hadn't yet conveyed my intent to copycat her and am thrilled she stumbled upon it while still visiting Kauai.
On our way back to the Eastside, my husband and I always refuel at Kauai Coffee, where they offer free samples. I tucked one of my favorite poems in a table.
A peak into my history: back in the 90s I wrote a proposal for "The Pixie Handbook," which is about doing secret good deeds. I failed to find a publisher, but after a 20 year nap, I feel my pixie-self waking up and am happy to reimagine a new version of the idea here in the form of poems.
If you are a fan of secret deeds check out the French film, "Amalie." I'm pretty sure this is where my friend Kimberly and I conceived of doing "pixies."
Thank you for dropping by.
PoFoDo is a blog of poetry, food and dogs. Next up is the Fo piece, so stay tuned by joining the mailing list. There is no "Newsletter" per se, hopefully just a brief alert to let you know of new posts.
Now go do something kind without being caught.
I dare you.
Poetry. Food. Dogs.
I like typewriters, soft lead pencils, aprons, weighty wooden spoons and chalkboards; unruly terriers, floppy-eared hounds and parking lot mutts canvassing for new digs; Molly Katzen and Yotam Ottolenghi are kitchen standards; the I Ching, Lao Tzu and coffee are morning companions; crickets are my favorite furless creature. Poetry and I collided over an album cover. It was Pablo Neruda's poem on the cover of "The Pretender," by Jackson Browne, 1976.
"Brown and agile child, the sun which forms the fruit
and ripens the grain and twists the seaweed
has made your happy body and your luminous eyes
and given your mouth the smile of water."
I was 14, sitting cross-legged in front of my sister's stereo, holding the album cover in my lap; Neruda's poem typed over a sandy beach with a naked baby running. I think Neruda had me at "your mouth the smile of water."
My food consciousness woke while reading Maxine Hong Kingston's book "Woman Warrior." There was the line, "All heroes are bold toward food," that stopped my world. I was 19.
In my free time I'm either servant to three dogs, flipping through cookbooks or divining some new way to swag a poem, which explains the blog title. If you'd like to know more about the origin of Short Order Poetry I tell the story under Pam Woolway.
Between all that I'm laughing and hugging a beautiful man I made marry me. (Really.) The proposal went like this:
Me: Are you going to marry me or not?
He was lying on the couch with an arm across his forehead.
We've had the same argument for 24 years: my inability to properly train our dogs. There will likely be a future post elaborating.
I work as a shop girl in the groovy little digs where my poetry creations are made and sold, but have also worked in journalism, an animal shelter and restaurants.
Since I was barely 23 my world revolved around a kitchen: building food vessels of clay or rising at 4 a.m. to bake scones; throwing dinner parties, swapping recipes. Feeding people is gratifying. Maybe it's because I'm needy and insecure. Maybe it's because I'm always hungry. Maybe it's because homemade is more fun. Who cares? If you're my friend I will feed you. If you ask me for a ride somewhere, you will be covered in dog hair for the rest the day, and for your birthday, you will receive a poem.