Tag Archives: food

Pepys’s Plate

One of the things Significant Other and I like to listen to when we drive somewhere is the Diary of Samuel Pepys, read by Kenneth Branagh. It’s captivating, edifying, vivid, funny and sad. Pepys wrote a lot about his meals – mostly mutton, it seems, and tankards of liquor – and so I found this discovery of one of his silver plates quite fascinating. Coincidentally, Jeff Jacoby wrote a column just last week about anti-Semitism, and opened it by quoting Pepys’s observations on his 1663 visit to a London synagogue.

National Poetry Day

So today is National Poetry Day. Last year I posted a poem I wrote for more or less the same occasion – you can read it here. And for today I am posting this – inspired by a conversation Significant Other and I had during our recent trip to Italy. Are we not deep? Shall I send it to the New Yorker?

Ode to the Banana

You truly are the King of Fruit and so inspired

Your merry yellow countenance is nature’s perfect wrapping, no polluting-our-seas plastic required

I carry you without a Kleenex and my fingers don’t feel sticky and icky

Like when I hold grapes

And when I carry you about, I feel very much at one with our cousin apes.

 

When peeled you still aren’t a sticky and icky kind of loot

At least as much as, say, your brothers in fruitdom, the orange, the apple and the grapefruit

Your potassium picks me up after illness and your sugar picks me up when I’m lackadaisical

You are inexpensive too

And ubiquitous, available in France and probably Timbuktu and Kalamazoo.

 

Oh, they say you are gross when you get all mushy

With black spots and inconsistency and feeling all squishy

But you can be the proud foundation of a smoothie

Or better yet, the reason to make that comfort food known as banana bread

From a recipe used to often I no longer need to read it, it is stuck in my head.

 

Oh, they say people slip and fall on you – is this what Sir Joseph Paxton wanted?

Your peels discarded on sidewalks, streets and paths leave some daunted

But if it wasn’t beneath Ethel Merman, Buster Keaton and Woody Allen

Then why treat it as some sort of evil plan

Better yet, you lazy souls, take those peels and put them in a garbage can.

 

Oh, they besmirch your name: Cavendish, Chiquita (top banana in the world today!) or Dole

By using it as a synonym for crazy, nutty and out-of-control

When their own names would better do the trick

How about the name of an actual nut to replace such words?

For “macadamia” and “pistachio” are two of the craziest-sounding words I have ever heard.

 

Cherries have pits, so much effort required to eat them

To open a durian you need a team of engineers on standby, and peaches have fur, biting into them

the gourmet equivalent of nails down a blackboard

You are also easy to draw. What is your flaw? Your only one as far as I can see

Is that you hide the deadly black tarantula, as sang Harry Belafonte.

 

But even scary, hairy spiders need a place to sleep

And dear banana, you give them that, a place to sleep deeply

And you give us B6, C, folate, manganese, on top of the aforementioned

So please dear banana, take a bow

And I mean right now.