Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Alone

In Food, Love, Poetry on November 4, 2016 at 5:06 pm

 

eating-alone

 

I hear the soft clanging of a spoon in a pan

I am sure I do

Though she is not there

I smell the soft scent of sesame oil floating out from the kitchen’s warmth

I am sure I do

Though she is not there

I can hear the gentle soft lilting of her song

I am sure I do

I can taste the special noodle coming to me heaped carefully in my special bowl

I am sure I can

I am sure I can taste the dark slippery noodles so carefully cooked & prepared as they fill my grateful waiting mouth

But she is not there

She is not here

She is not carrying those special noodles to me as I sit expectantly on my throne

She is not here and the kitchen is quiet and clean and I am alone and she is not here

This achingly acquiescent cleanliness she last touched I dare not change

This barren emptiness I dare not disturb

This troubling quietness I know not how to sound again

Her absence makes a mockery of gathering any buds and nuts no matter I have traveled in the realms of gold and kissed a sweet rose now all is gone and I am alone

  – Michael Welch

(REFLECTING ON TWO REFRIGERATORS: HIS AND HERS)

In Food, Poetry on October 13, 2016 at 8:13 pm

kenmore-elite-refrigerators

HE               

He stood complacently, not responsible for

its greenery

he shrugged and gave a quick nod to the farmer at whose hand a tomato was nurtured into full redness

he stood surveying the abundance of choice with a boredom not fitting its opulence

he had eaten one too many carrot sticks and bedded down his lettuce as a frivolous notation about his access to the harvest

he had meant to care but found he couldn’t

he had meant to share but found it too bothersome

he yawned in the face of greens and reds and oranges and yellows and the endless need to wash and wash and wash and chop and cut

and the glass bottles of extra virgin olive oil and jugs of red balsamic vinegar and

he remembered the towering woman

who swept her pasta up in one fell swoop—

how it had fit perfectly in the Styrofoam container

how he had started to say Styrofoam is so bad for the earth but she had turned and left and it enraged him how anyone would walk out on him when he had so much to say and had demanded her to listen

he imagined the cherry tomatoes as her earrings and woven, braided strands of spaghetti as her necklace and then it revolted him because all he wanted

was a glass of brandy and his cigar and a tower of a woman to meet his every need

and the waitress had spit at him when he didn’t tip her and he wondered why they all persecuted him and

he sat on his tile floor and

cried and

cherry tomatoes rolled about his kitchen floor and

made him laugh.

 

SHE

She was tall and solidly built.

Her calves were hefty, sturdy foundations and she swayed, unconscious of her movement

a distant humming setting her on her way delicately

back and forth silently.

A tower of a woman stands at the door;

the chill from the fridge plastering her face ghostly as if the cold had pressed her flesh into ice—

a face gone white and numb.

Now she sees the piles of Styrofoam containers of the food she could not stomach

with the company she sought to escape.

Give me a doggy bag and let me run far from him she wanted to say

But only pointed to her plate of sad spaghetti and crusted bread and flakes of Parmigiano Reggiano with which she toyed, one swipe of the fork and

when the waitress saw her she threw the contents in a Styrofoam bin sullenly

and he watched, about to speak, and she fled before he could

and silencing thus, she vomited all food and thoughts and words in the comfort of her home and stacked another container on the tower of her containers and she was a tall and hefty woman who could,

if asked,

heave all the cartons to the wind and with it,

the likes of all those who sat across from her, fork in hand.

Instead she piled one on one on one the white Styrofoam tower

sturdy like her own, good, once hungry body and she says

Enough and shoves the last container that

falls spewing fine threads of spaghetti, chirping meatballs crying for help racing across the tile floor—

and the one below it, white Styrofoam square, stodgy falls too

And another and another

the containers spewing rice and broccoli and carrots and roast lamb with rosemary and yellow yams still in their tight jackets and wings that will never take flight laden as they are in barbeque sauce and baby leaves of spinach set flight away from cherry tomatoes and all the words of all the men who tried to tame her with affection

And leering glances

And cauldrons of words chased down with brandy.

She swayed on her long legs

Then Topple! she shouted

Then Fall! she sang and kicked a meatball into the corner

Then Gather the food as if in a harvest! she pleaded and

looking at the wasted food on the black and white tile floor

sat on the floor

collapsed onto the floor

and cried and when she thought

of all their words over dozen of dinners,

jumped to her feet

and laughed and laughed.

  -Annie Quintano

The Discreet Banquet of the Comfortable Class

In Food, Prose on September 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm

banquet_87615343_161885c

Seeing the picture of the banquet table generates a mixture of associations. Someone once said life is a banquet and many poor suckers are starving. That’s not an exact quote, but I’m certain you get the general idea. Food can be about sustenance, community, or abstinence. Often those hazard a career in the arts find themselves unwittingly playing the role of hungry artist. Frequently it is more about famine than feasting. One gig may pay exceedingly well. The next may pay virtually nothing at all. If you’re doing well you may have the luxury of the incestuous elite. It also allow for an awareness of how certain life choices lead one down a road that is far afield from what many consider to be “normal” or mainstream.

Sharing a meal with others can have outcomes that vary. How many holiday family get-togethers degenerate into combat? Hidden rivalry, resentment, and misunderstanding come to the fore. Asking someone to pass the salt can easily turn into an act of war.

When I was quite young, I spent hours in the library reading. Everyone said that would-be writers should read. I read and always enjoyed reading. One of the first things I read by Kafka was A Hunger Artist. The metaphorical aspect of this story contains much having to do with the hazards of artistic life. At least that is the notion in a painfully real and vivid manner. Of course there is humor inherent in the darkest aspect of it all. A person who starves to death professionally can have a laugh or two from time to time. Maybe a professional hunger artist’s life is the ultimate punch line delivered by the ultimate sick comedian.

Hunger has many aspects. There’s the physical hunger for food, the metaphysical hunger for something that palliates the ineffable dread that characterizes even the most smug, secure existence; the kind of existence that allows for one to sup in elegant places.

-Bern Nix

Anticipation Realized, and Over

In Food, Poetry on December 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

pollo moderno

The elation

Not from a placebo

You know there was a promenade in heaven, last night

It seem cocaine and Mary danced into the early summer morning

6 am and balmy

Frustration never had a chance,

Not even an opening when all the guests disappeared

As quickly as they arrived,

Instead, the real moment of reflection and longing,

Thick in the air

Oh,

A gazebo, happenstance

13th century inspired and ornate,

At this time time, fresh as fruit from neighboring trees,

New as technology,

Welcoming as a motel with new management,

Instrinsic to the fall…

If you know what I mean.

 

Random in the mansion of life,

But at the time, an urgent matter at my hands,

Ya know, hindsight is 20/20,

It was a blessing masquerading as convention…

I didn’t have to break all the rules to feel alive for this

One,

This treat,

These delicacies,

A 3-course meal that costs much,

But not appreciated enough.

A travesty if this wasn’t the last meal of the disciples,

And dare I recommend, if nature created life as such,

That babies wiggle out from the mother, crying for

Pollo Moderno.

I was a waiter in my own world,

With knowledge of life and nearby planets…

Soul de Cuba, and there’s only one other in Hawaii.

I get it!

Like how I get that when eating good food –

Really –anything beyond delicious –

God has to be dining across from me,

If he isn’t the chef.

Yellow rice, has to be a vice.

Black beans with access to the pickiest eater.

Sweet plantains on the side

like Bodyguards…—guardians.

And God Damnit that chicken breast…

Golden like California, and crisp as its coast.

You can’t have the outfit without the hat.

The salsa –diced onions, chopped mango….white castilllo rum,

One can indulge in what having to be 21.

There are a couple of other ingredients in the sals,

But myth and mystery are fascinating –

Maybe I don’t have to know.

It was a blessing masquerading as convention.

A friend of mine hooked me up with that job.

I quite a long while ago, but that Polo Moderno changed my life.

So in a sense ……foods do such a thing.

-Marle

Travis’s Story

In employment, Food, Guest stories, Soup Kitchen Stories, Volunteer Stories on December 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Travis chopping food 2

Recently unemployed and homeless, Travis moved to New York to look for new opportunities. He’s come a long way since living on a reservation with his former wife in Arizona, before their divorce forced him back east where he lived  with his father in Tennessee for many years.

“I learned on the reservation how important it is to take care of others, especially your elders,” Travis recalls.

Now at age 45, Travis has a wealth of work history in auto mechanics, welding, forklift operation, cab driving and bartending. But at about the same time that he lost his job as a forklift operator in a warehouse last year, his father decided to retire in Illinois, moving to a rural area with few job possibilities for Travis.  When looking at his options, his work history and his dream of studying culinary arts,  it seemed to Travis that he would have a better chance of making a living and pursuing his goals in New York than anywhere else.

Without a job to start off with however, Travis quickly ran out of money and found himself homeless and hungry. He found a local shelter where he can sleep, and it was there that his roommate told him he could find a hot meal at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

But Travis didn’t want to just come here for a meal. “I want to earn my keep,” he says, pointing at the pounds of Plantains in front of him. Several mornings a week now, Travis is one of the first volunteers to arrive, and he gets right to work chopping vegetables and fruit in the kitchen, preparing food that will be served to about a thousand guests between 10:30 and 12:30. “This gives me the chance to learn a little bit about the culinary trade, and be able to eat.”  After all the guests have had their meal, Travis joins the other volunteers for lunch, a meal that gives him the strength to continue his job search and pursue his dreams.

“I like to serve,” Travis says. “It’s what I do.”

32 Flavors of Ice Cream

In Food, holidays, memoir, Prose on December 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm

fruitcake-3lb-small

32 Flavors of IceCream

“32 flavors and then some.” Song and slogan tells take of tastes fixed in forever. Perhaps Ben & Jerry’s have split. Still either/or and thousands more can access the pages of molecular exactitudes to make Crunchy Carmal Cone a heavenly thing.

After Jerry has hung a “for sale” placard on the lawn, and Ben has taken the pooch, I will  be able to purchase a pint – if only on “for a limited time only” anniversary dates.

Those anniversaries never commemorate my longings for those lost, nor could they honor those recipes.

There is a  piece of paper filed, or even an index card to indicate how many cloves my grandmother put in her pidgeon peas, and they were added at the point of or just before bursting?

At holiday times the only dessert was Ms. Lowe’s fruitcake. Not a dry, bland colorful rock. Rather, a deep brown, solidified pudding on fruits left steeping in wine and finished with whatever else goes into a cake, and palatable amounts of Rivers rhum. This was a meal closer, months in the making, with payment made not solely in cash, but with barters of spices and booze. No last minute rush to the market, but phone calls and scheduling of meet ups and pick ups of this tasty treat.

Even my mother, though no great cultivator of cuisine, and still with me in this world, no one can ever replicate those scrambled eggs.

With three simple ingredients – eggs, butter, salt – I come close.

I likely will be unwilling to use enough butter to let the eggs swim freely. Instead I will leave exact replications to the scientists while I dream of my loved ones while gorging on ice cream.

-Stephanie Lawlor