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Styles of Eating

ISSUE:  Winter 2023


spring greens

She’d gathered ramps in the woods, although she found them
A hyperbole of the food world, an over-priced scallion

With a finish of garlic scapes. But finding them in the forest,
He thought, and picking them with her strong hands,

Improved their allure. He found fiddlehead ferns
In the market and skinny, hopeful stalks of asparagus.

It was late April, cold, and he had no opinion
Of anything on the shopping list, but the asparagus

Put him in mind of red potatoes, shaved parmesan,
Which he thought might be encroaching on what

She would think to do with the ramps and the ferns.
But he could also imagine her face lighting up

With the problem. It was spring. They could open
The last bottle of that recent vintage Aglianico.


early summer

He loved the way she ate, violently, and the way
She sighed and looked around and sipped her wine,

A handful of Burgundy between her vermillion nails,
And seemed to return from the object of her reverie

To notice the way he had been watching, maybe studying, her,
And smile. “You’re a strange man,” she said. He tried

An expression he thought of as amused, demure. And,
She said, “Not so innocent.” He glanced at the glycerin legs

Descending her glass and waited for more sentence,
Which was not forthcoming. She was addressing the sandabs,

The thin slices of apple in the salad. “I wanted,” he said,
“To make a claim on your imagination.” She took another sip

Of wine, and said, “You may have succeeded.” Early summer,
The sound of surf, her hair moving slightly in the discontinuous wind.



She’s a slow eater, the type of meticulous slow eater
Who takes on pho with chopsticks.

Whereas he tends to clear a heaped-up plate
Like the raven in the word ravenous.

Delicate, less envious than selfless
In her appetite, she looks out

At the hectic shimmer of the world passing
In the window glass, her face reflected there,

A small slick of oil glistening on her lips.
And returns to the broth and the noodles,

Shapeless and floating. He signals the waiter.
He wants more Sancerre—and a ceramic spoon for her

With blue geese on it, a flock of them, flying
Low over the amber broth in the changing weather.


winter stew

She counts calories from long habit, and loves
The methodicalness of dicing vegetable with a good knife

And the reliable heft of the stew pot that came down
From her mother’s mother. By the handful she drops

The multicolored dice into the boiling stock. She loves
Also that first vaporous release of fragrance from the froth.

The carrot and pepper and celery pungencies such an unlikely
Scarcely physical outcome of root, rootstock, and dark earth.

And she keeps it simple, a little sliced onion, minced garlic,
A taste clean and nuanced as the sensation of steam filming her face.

In summer she’ll add eggplant, tomato. In the late fall
Orange half-moons of delicata squash. This January night

Her single guest will arrive radiant with appetite and touch her hair
As he enters the kitchen and lifts the pot lid, which is partially ajar.



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