Friday, March 25, 2011

Celeste Snowber: An intuitive scent – the stew of our lives

They cooked with their bodies
an intuitive scent in the fingers
a little of this, a dash of that
they knew just the right amount
a cookbook was not meant for
the mothers of the old country
many worlds are contained
within this old country
oceans of cultures and languages
the dialect they all understood
was the art of cooking for their families
written in the recipe of the heart
passed down from generation to generation.

My mother left this earth too early
till I cared to archive the past
I have been longing for all the flavors
of my childhood in my adult life.
The parts I remember and the
recipes I follow still do not
produce the exact combination of food
every Christmas I make the cheese boureg
and I come closer to the cheese that melts
in my mouth, but I know there is a language
of Armenian cooking I have yet to live into.

Until I eat at my friend’s Armenian family
and the mothers and grandmothers create
the flavors, tastes and textures of my youth –
pine nuts and lamb, beans and tomato
caressed in olive oil, dolma stuffed with
filling that was my childhood revisited.
I have not stopped thinking of those
explosions of beauty bursting inside
my palette since I left their home and I
am now dreaming of every food that was
stuffed in my household growing up –
meatballs, peppers, tomatoes, and grapeleaves
and I know I am lacking because my own children
have not eaten anything stuffed except a bird

Recipes for the life are hidden in the body
the knowing of the cells, whether
they are meals to eat or wisdom to live by
they are stored in the memory and marrow
of mouths and tongues, noses and fingers
and in these remembrance there is
a storehouse of love waiting to be taken
bite by bite into the stew of our lives.

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