Saturday, August 27, 2011

Poems of Fruit, and Vegetables, and Bread

As Summer slowly, oh so slowly, loosens its grip on the season and gives itself to Autumn, I've been reading poetry.  Beyond Love, and War, poets write about Food.  Turning only to a few books that move around my living room, rather than searching the digitized texts that exist online, I offer a few food poems for your enjoyment.

In a nod to Meg's most recent post about banana bread, I offer a poem by Marco Altamirano.  I found this book of poems at the Maple Street Bookshop while visiting New Orleans.

Soggy Bananas
this poem is about soggy bananas. 
but this poem is about other things too
although the bananas are soggy
mush in bags

soggy banana, you tube of gooey life,
here is my boyish squeeze
watch you bleed. 

This next poem, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is also the name of a contemporary dessert of white bread, margarine, and sprinkles.   When bacon finds its way to my house, then so will this cavity inducing dessert.  But, it sure is pretty!

Fairy Bread
Come up here, O dusty feet!
Here is fairy bread to eat.
Here in my retiring room,
Children, you may dine
On the golden smell of broom
And the shade of pine;
And when you have eaten well,
Fairy stories hear and tell.

 Sometimes food isn't in the title of the poem, but it's imperative in its embedding, as in Lisa Chen's poem below:

Outside Luna, a coloratura of unnamed birds warbles, perforating the sky, blue sulk-drop dissolving in the mouth.  Ahead of us, dust rises from a landslide.  We stall in a line of vehicles.  The proprietor of the soda stand leans over the counter, working something between his teeth.  He watches his girls approach us, their baskets of Chiclets and peanuts balanced against their hips.  How they sway, indifferent yet curious, fingering the pull-string change purses around their necks.  In the green skins of their limes, each girl had carved the initials of her own true love, R for Rodrigo, J for Juarez. 
The first verse of Fruits & Vegetables, the title poem of Erica Jong's first book of poetry, goes as such:

Goodbye, he waved, entering the apple.
That red siren, 
whose white flesh turns brown
with prolonged exposure to the air,
opened her perfect cheeks to receive him.
She took him in.
The garden revolved
in her glossy patinas of skin.
And lastly, what post of poetry would be complete without Richard Brautigan?

Cooks Together
Pauline and Al together cooked an early dinner that we had late in the afternoon.  It was very hot outside, so they prepared something light.  They made a potato salad that somehow ended up having a lot of carrots in it.
Poets adore carrots! 

Do you have a favorite food poem?

~ Trilety

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm Bananas for Bread!

This week, while putting two more over-ripe bananas into the freezer, I realized that my stock was piling up. Do you know what that means??? Yes, it's time to make banana bread! Bananas that have been frozen are the best for banana bread. The freezing process leaves them nice and black and slimy, and will give the bread superb flavor and lots of moisture.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I always dump a cup-full of semisweet chocolate chips or cinnamon chips into my batter. These sweeties turn this traditional breakfast goodie into a dessert, to be eaten alone or put into a mug and topped with vanilla ice-cream. So good!

Until the age of 10 or so, I had no clue that chocolate chips could be paired so perfectly with banana bread. I remember the first time I tried it. It was while I was in elementary school, maybe 4th or 5th grade... One of my classmates invited me over to her home after school. Her mother had made banana bread... with chocolate chips! What?! Yes!

I went straight home and informed my mother of this amazing discovery. Mom already made the best banana bread as far as I was concerned, but without chocolate chips. That's when everything changed. The next time she made her bread, she added chocolate chips to her own recipe. My brothers and I loved it. We still do. In fact, my older brother Jason closes his remembering eyes and smile fondly while recounting the bread our mom made. This was one of a few traditional foods in my home growing up, and I am happy to keep it going.

Do you have any food traditions, either currently or from your past?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Man's Muffin

The Biathlete - Pre Eat
It may seem arrogant, or self congratulatory, but when I bite into a muffin baked by these Two Birds, I actually exclaim with praise, "I love our Muffins!!"  But some mornings, if you peek through the plate glass window of Blue Line Coffee (49th & Underwood, Omaha NE), you will find me nibbling away at another man's muffin.  Pleats of paper will be pulled away from the sides of a freshly baked muffin and my fingers will be sticky for minutes.  Many of my mornings have begun at Blue Line with the biathlete muffin; a vegan, carrot, raisin muffin.  Normally, I'm not a girl who enjoys a warm muffin, but there are times when the burst of a swollen, hot raisin can be a dangerous risk that I'm willing to take.  

Chris McClellan, proprietor of Blue Line, makes these sweet, mean muffins.  He's a bit of baked good himself, as Elisabeth just told him the other day that he's like a French baguette; crusty on the outside and chewy and warm on the inside.  We should all appreciate the crust of someone, because it's the barriers to the chew that make the taste more delightful.  Oh, and that reminds me, the biathletes with the deep hued, crunchy tops are my favorites, and all the lovely baristas (Kristin, Leslie, Rachel, Cora, and Katie) know this, so as they gingerly slip a pair of tongs into the bakery case, they don't even need to be told that I like my muffins on the dark side.  

Stop into Blue Line sometime for a coffee and a muffin, and make conversation with Chris.  For those of you who don't know him, check Chris out in the video for the Mynabirds song, "Numbers Don't Lie" - it's a strangely accurate depiction of his real life persona. 

Go ahead, put another local muffin your mouth!

~ Trilety

Monday, August 8, 2011

August and Cupcakes...

It's August. This time of year in the midwest is hot and sticky. As my dad would say, the snakes hang straight down from tree branches just to catch a little breeze. 

In the ongoing research these birds are doing in the realm of small business and bakeries specifically, I've been perusing some bakery blogs of it. It's fun and interesting to see what other bakeries are doing. I didn't come across many cookie and muffin sites, but did discover many many cupcake blogs. Yikes! I love cupcakes. I do. I love the idea of a cake in a cup; just my size, just for me. And maybe that is the appeal for most people. When you order a humongous cake for an event, you have to worry about cutting it into slices, serving it on plates with forks and napkins, and also finding a space large enough in the fridge to store the leftovers. Cupcakes seem so easy in comparison. No need for cutting, no plates or forks necessary. Plus you can find lots of little places to put the leftover cupcakes; just shove one here and one over there and maybe a few in the vegetable drawer. Easy! 

Well, Two Birds isn't really into cupcakes. I mean, I do like them. They are delicious and fun to look at. People get really creative with them, which I love. But there are so many cupcake makers out there. We'll stick to our cookies and muffins.

So Omaha has a few bakeries devoted to the creation of cupcakes... Yay Omaha!

1. Cupcake Island

2. Jones Brothers Cupcakes

3. Bliss Bakery

4. Leslie Elizabeth Creative Innovations

5. Cuppy Cakes

Lemon Custard Cupcakes
Happy Cupcake-ing!