Mud Soup

Some culinary disasters can be repurposed. Here is Glen Baxter on polenta:

Glen Baxter

And then there are times when you just have to cut your losses. Some poems just write themselves. Here is Carolyn Kizer writing – ranting and venting might be more accurate – about a Craig Claiborne recipe she tried from the NY Times. It probably didn’t help her mood that it was hot and she managed to cut her finger along with the veggies:

Simmer, summer, summer, simmer.
Mop the floor and suck the finger.
Mop the brow with old potholder.

The actual recipe is below in case you should want to try it. For – as Kizer says when she sees and tastes the finished product: “Was it lentils, Claiborne, me?”

Craig Claiborne recipe from the NY Times March 1 1959

Mud Soup 

1.

Had the ham bone, had the lentils,
Got to meat store for the salt pork,
Got to grocery for the celery.
Had the onions, had the garlic,
Borrowed carrots from the neighbor.
Had the spices, had the parsley.
One big kettle I had not got;
Borrowed pot and lid from landlord.

2.

Dice the pork and chop the celery,
Chop the onions, chop the carrots,
Chop the tender index finger.
Put the kettle on the burner,
Drop the lentils into kettle:
Two quarts water, two cups lentils.
Afternoon is wearing on.

3.

Sauté pork and add the veggies,
Add the garlic, cook ten minutes,
Add to lentils, add to ham bone;
Add the bayleaf, cloves in cheesecloth,
Add the cayenne! Got no cayenne!
Got paprika, salt and pepper.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer.
Did I say that this is summer?
Simmer, summer, summer, simmer.
Mop the floor and suck the finger.
Mop the brow with old potholder.

Craig Claiborne NY Times March 1 1959

4.

Time is up! Discard the cheesecloth.
Force the mixture thru the foodmill
(having first discarded ham bone).
Add the lean meat from the ham bone;
Reheat soup and chop the parsley.
Now that sweating night has fallen,
Try at last the finished product:

5.

Tastes like mud, the finished product.
Looks like mud, the finished product.
Consistency of mud the dinner.
(Was it lentils, Claiborne, me?)
Flush the dinner down disposall,
Say to hell with ham bone, lentils,
New York Times’s recipe.
Purchase Campbell’s. Just add water.
Concentrate on poetry:
By the shores of Gitche Gumee
You can bet the banks were muddy,
Not like Isle of Innisfree.

by Carolyn Kizer
Polenta is not the only nutritional threat in Sherwood Forest.
And, one more:

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