Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More Thanksgiving Thoughts: Food, Gratitude, and Poetry

A week from today, we'll many of us be getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Even though it's oddly muggy and hot down here, I'm in the mood already!

Perhaps it's because I read the Food section of The Washington Post this morning.  This article made me want to make a pie.   Vodka and better butter could lead to a better pie crust?  I'm willing to try it!

If you've ever wanted reasons to feel grateful that you live in this century, read this article and be amazed at what women used to do to cook a big feast or even daily dinner.

In future centuries, will people be amazed that we cooked for our dogs?  Or will they be amazed that we were willing to use commercial dog food?

Do people who cook for their dogs make special meals for said dogs at holiday time?

This time of year, I have food on the brain, both because of Thanksgiving and because I've often just returned from Mepkin Abbey. 

My Thanksgiving self wants to make huge feasts.  My writer self says, "Hey, hang on one minute.  Every hour you spend on cooking is an hour less that you can spend on writing."

My Mepkin Abbey self reminds me of how delicious a simple meal can be.  The first night we were there, we had cheese sandwiches and a delicious tomato rice soup.  The monks put out a variety of breads, all commerically made since their resident bread baker died years ago.  They put out a plate of cheeses (Provolone, Swiss, and Cheddar) along with condiments, apricot jam, and several kinds of pickles.

I forget about how delicious a simple cheese sandwich can be.  I forget how easy it is to create a pot of soup--and then that pot of soup can nourish me through the week.  It's good to remember those things, especially this time of year when our culture ramps up its messages that aren't always in sync with my values:  cook more, buy more, decorate more, spend more--more, more, more.

Since Thanksgiving week-end is also one of the big shopping week-ends of the year, I'm planning special blog posts, and I hope you'll join me, either on your own blogs or by commenting on what I write.  I've long thought that poetry makes great presents, and what better time to make recommendations for everyone on your list?  I'm up to the task!

On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I'll write about the books of poems I've read in the last year that have made me feel gratitude to be alive in a world which has such wonderful poets in it.

On Friday (Black Friday to those of you who follow the economy and have hopes that your retailers will end the year in the black rather than in the red), I'll recommend books for everyone on your list based on the subject matter of the books.

On Saturday, I'll run a big list of poetry books I've enjoyed and on Sunday, I'll do a similar post for chapbooks.  Sure there will be overlap amongst all these posts from Thursday through Sunday, but that's O.K.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, these posts will be stitched together from old posts from past years.  Still, it will be handy to have the lists in one place.

On Monday, as we return to regular lives, I'll write about other ways to support the poetry economy through our gift giving.

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