Handwoven Pretzels!

THE GREEN STAMP BOOK
by Susan Wheeler

Child in the thick of yearning. Doll carted and pushed
like child. The aisles purport opportunities —

looking up, the woman’s chins, the straight rows
of peas and pretzels, Fizzies’ foils, hermetic

boxes no one knows. I’ll get it! What thing therein
— bendy straws, powder blue pack Blackjack gum —

will this child fix upon? On TV, women with grocery carts
careen down aisles to find expensive stuff. Mostly,

this means meat. This, then, is a life. This, a life
that’s woven wrong and, woven once, disbraided, sits

like Halloween before a child, disguised in its red
Santa suit, making its lap loom the poppy field

Dorothy wants to bed. Can I have and the song’s begun.
O world spotted through more frugal legs. O world.

_________________________________________________

COMMENTARY

“The Green Stamp Book” comes from Ledger (2005) by Susan Wheeler. In this piece, the poet calls into question the wonders and limitations of the grocery store as experienced by a child. (I wanted to include it in The Poetry Diet as it contrasts well with Ginsberg’s  “A Supermarket in California”)!)  Because so much is happening in only 14 lines, the poem begs a closer examination. First, there is the fact that “the green stamp book” from the title is mentioned nowhere else in the piece. This makes me wonder what it’s signifying. Food stamps? Some sort of child’s activity book found in the check-out aisle? We can’t be sure.

The poem then begins, “Child in the thick of yearning. Doll carted and pushed like child.” I like how Wheeler shrugs off typical article usage here, choosing to use “Child” and “Doll” as the direct noun subjects as opposed to writing “The child” or “A doll.” This simplifies the syntax and also creates a more universal entrance into the poem. I also like Wheeler’s choice of an otherwise forgettable turn of phrase (“in the thick of”) to classify the child’s yearning. While it generally means something like “amidst,” here it seems to do more. Yearning is a word that feels “thick” to me–aurally and in the way that it expresses a heavy desire. The second sentence – “Doll carted and pushed like child” is also interesting, because it so simply captures another level of role-play (parent—child———doll) that comes into being quite early on as we begin to model certain behaviors.

The next few lines sketch out the grocery store experience from a child’s perspective. A young voice interjects “I’ll get it!” right in the middle of a line, a fitting interruption. Wheeler then switches scenes a bit to note how some television game shows portray women rushing aisles in shopping sprees, shoving carts full of pricey items. Children may unknowingly take in these shows as reality. She writes, “This, then, is a life. This, a life that’s woven wrong and, woven once, disbraided, sits like Halloween before a child, disguised in its red Santa suit, making its lap loom the poppy field Dorothy wants to bed.”

In characterizing this life as “woven wrong,” Wheeler seems to be commenting on the more sinister effects of consumerism. But who is to be blamed? According to the poem, it may be the media or the way we have constructed society itself. The fact that children are simultaneously faced with and denied everything in the grocery store AND the parental act of saying “no, you can’t have that” may be the essence of the “disbraid[ing] that the poet describes. After this realization–that sure, an infinite number of things exist out there on the shelves, but one person can never have it all–Life “sits like Halloween before a child” and the ultimate consumer fantasy is revealed to be make-believe, with flashy packaging as tempting as Dorothy’s poppies.

Wheeler ends the poem with what feels like a sigh (for the children, perhaps, viewing the magical world without an acute financial awareness, or maybe for their parents) –“O world spotted through more frugal legs. O world.”

A final note —  the active soundscape of this poem should not be overlooked. Wheeler has laced this piece with liberal amounts of repetition, (…this means meat. This, then, is a life. This, a life…) alliteration, (peas and pretzels, Santa suit, lap loom, etc.) and assonance (“child, aisles”, “thing, therein”, and “means meat”). You can hear the poet read it here.

The mention of pretzels in “The Green Stamp Book,” as well as the image of life as something woven, inspired me to open up a little pretzel factory in my parents’ kitchen a few weeks ago. I slightly underestimated the time it’d take to make these amazing doughy treats, but they are so worth it!

HANDWOVEN PRETZELS


(Recipe Yields: ~12 pretzels)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • cooking spray
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tblsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 egg

TOPPING IDEAS

  • kosher salt
  • cinnamon
  • sugar

PROCESS

1. Dissolve yeast package and sugar in warm water in a large bowl. Leave it standing for about 5 minutes.

2. Add 3 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt to yeast mixture. Stir until dough forms.

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead it thoroughly. It should still feel slightly sticky.

4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough inside. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or so. Dough should expand, and you can test it by poking it and seeing if an indentation remains.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide dough into about 12 equal parts, depending on the size you want your pretzels. Grab one piece, and leave the rest of the dough covered. Roll into a rope. (The length will determine pretzel size.)

6. Twist rope into pretzel shape. Pinch ends in to seal. Let formed pretzels rest for a few minutes while you prepare their bath.

7. Bring water and baking soda to boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to simmering. Gently lower each pretzel into the water mixture for about 15 seconds. (I used a flat ice cream scoop!) Things may get a little steamy! Transfer pretzels to a wire drying rack coated with cooking spray.

8. Place pretzels on a baking sheet. Combine 1 tsp. water and egg in a small bowl and brush a thin layer over pretzels. Top with salt or cinnamon and sugar or whatever other spices you like.

9. Bake for 12 minutes or so at 425 degrees. Pretzels will turn golden brown. Let cool & enjoy!

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Simple Plum Applesauce

THIS IS JUST TO SAY
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

_________________________________________________

COMMENTARY

William Carlos Williams is a master of minimalist poetry, and “This Is Just To Say” is a prime example. Every word in this poem is critical; there is no time or space allotted for extraneous rambling. Even the title functions as a necessary and integrated part of the whole.

Given the brevity of the piece, one could argue that the word choice in such a poem should be given particular attention.  At face value, Williams’ descriptions (i.e., the plums as “so sweet and so cold”) don’t stand out as particularly new or strong. What is going on?

I feel like Williams is fully aware of this and doesn’t care! By prefacing the body of the poem with the title “this is just to say”, he makes it clear that he is not attempting anything more than to announce: I ate the plums! Forgive me!

Viewing this poem as a speech act, however — as something said to a roommate in passing or an apology note on a fridge door — embodies it once again with special meaning. A moment in time is captured here by a voice both casual and sincere. This is what poetry is all about for me and why I love this piece dearly.

To complement Williams’ poem with a recipe also made of few ingredients, I experimented with a simple sweet (and tart!) plum applesauce that turned out surprisingly delicious.

PLUM APPLESAUCE

(Recipe Yields: ~2 cups of sauce)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 plums
  • 4 apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

PROCESS

1. Chop up plums and apples, removing and discarding cores, pits, and seeds. (I left the peels on for extra color and flavor!)

2. In a large pot, heat fruit, sugar, and water. When boiling, turn heat down to low, and let contents simmer until fruit is soft and juicy (15 minutes or so).

3. Transfer sauce into food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached. I like mine relatively smooth with some chunks.

4. Serve warm or let cool in fridge and enjoy!

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Don’t Panic! Easy Pesto Pasta Bake

(Because this entry’s poem is quite lengthy and the piece exists in chapbook form online, I have included only the food-related quote below and invite you to read the full version by clicking here! Click on the book cover, and you can then view it in full screen and navigate through each page. )

A PANIC THAT CAN STILL COME UPON ME
by Peter Gizzi

“If our wishes are met with dirt
and thyme, thistle, oil,
heirloom, and basil”

____________________________________________________

COMMENTARY

This poem is made up of a series of conditional statements (each beginning with “if…”) which introduce strong, if somewhat disjointed, images. I like how they build upon each other, however, as part of the poet’s struggle to find meaning as a human and artist. In some ways, it seems as though Gizzo is ultimately celebrating the way we can question the world and our life experiences. 

Because I still haven’t had time to fully digest the 5 parts of this piece, I will leave you time to do the same. Let me know what you think. And while you mull it over, buy yourself a fresh basil plant and whip up a personal pan Pesto Pasta Bake! It was the perfect comfort food for an otherwise unwanted snowy day in March…

PASTA PESTO BAKE

(Recipe Yields: 1 personal casserole)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • ~1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tomato
  • cooked pasta (I used penne)

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • 1 slice of bread, toasted with butter and garlic (chopped into crouton size pieces)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

PROCESS

1. Precook pasta, if you haven’t already. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Prepare pesto.

In a food processor, combine pine nuts, basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic.

3.  Mix pesto with cooked pasta. Add this and chopped tomato to a small casserole dish.

4. OPTIONAL: Toast a piece of bread and season with garlic. Chop into crouton size pieces. Toss on top of casserole with some shredded mozzarella.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes and enjoy! I ate mine right out of the dish!

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SUPERmarket Salad

A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA
by Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

Berkeley, 1955

_______________________________

COMMENTARY

This poem was one of the original poems that inspired me to begin “The Poetry Diet” so I’m really happy to finally get around to posting it!

I first read “A Supermarket in California” from Ginsberg’s Collected Poems 1947-1980 (1984) in high school, around the time that I also first read Walt Whitman’s poetry. Likewise, Allen Ginsberg initially discovered Whitman in high school and went on to consider him a great influence on his writing. (Okay, so maybe this isn’t that noteworthy…everyone probably reads Whitman in high school English. Did you?) The point is:  “A Supermarket in California” is clearly a kind of personal tribute to Whitman, as Ginsberg addresses him specifically throughout the piece. He begins, “What thoughts I have of you tonight Walt Whitman,” where the “of you” truly heightens the sense of intimacy expressed toward him and sets up the entire direction of the poem. I think that this works really well.

Next, I love how a trip to the grocery store finds Ginsberg’s character out “shopping for images”…not food! And what a great place to do so! In the poem, Ginsberg creates a very realistic juxtaposition of people and produce — “What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!” At first glance, these images may seem slightly unconventional or unexpected, but on second thought, pretty accurately reflect the average nighttime shopping clientele.

While the imagery in the poem is vibrant/neon-bright, the feeling the poem seems to evoke is much more muted and even melancholy at times. Ginsberg’s narrator comes off as simultaneously inquisitive and wistful to me, both on an individual and greater social scale. While Ginsberg remarks on Whitman as a “childless, lonely old grubber”–someone fondling produce and questioning meats–it is Ginsberg’s figure himself who is presently creeping the supermarket with only the book and ghost of a great poet. His only comfort is the unity he feels he shares with Whitman for dreams of “the lost America of love.”

“What America did you have” he wonders of the deceased writer, trying to imagine the country through Whitman’s eyes at the time of his death, practically a century earlier. It is interesting to consider–even today, how one might respond in an attempt to qualify one’s personal experience of a nation over a lifetime.

And so, full of jumbled thoughts about “my America” and what this might entail, I made my way to a local supermarket (albeit in Maine, not California). I went in search of tomatoes, artichokes, and other inspiring foods and images, à la Ginsberg, and came home with ingredients for an easy Greek-ish salad which got me thinkin’ spring! Enjoy!

_____________________________

SUPERMARKET SALAD

(Recipe will yield a variable amount of salad!)

INGREDIENTS

  • tomatoes
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 can black olives
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • garlic powder

PROCESS

1. Prepare salad ingredients. Slice tomatoes and chop cucumber and mozzarella into chunks. Add to a bowl with quartered artichoke hearts and olives.

2. Prepare dressing. Combine balsamic vinegar and garlic powder in a small bowl. Add in the olive oil and whisk until combined.

3. Pour dressing over salad. I allowed mine to marinate a while and then ate it over some leftover elbow macaroni.

 

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts

[It's Valentine's Day, and somehow this gives me the excuse to break the rules that I had previously set for The Poetry Diet. This week I didn't find a poem featuring a food to use as inspiration for a recipe. I knew that I wanted to attempt some sort of heart-shaped strawberry tarts, so I did...but first, here's one of my favorite love poems.]

THE SUN NEVER SAYS
by Hafiz (as translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

Even
After
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe
Me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Whole
Sky.

________________________________________

COMMENTARY

“The Sun Never Says” by Hafiz is short and simple, clocking in at two stanzas and only 28 words.  What this piece lacks in length and intricate imagery, it makes up for in a very powerful message about the origin of unconditional love in the natural world. The dependent relationship of the earth upon the sun is celebrated as a thing of wonder and beauty.

I love how the words of Hafiz — a 14th century Persian poet — can still touch me, an American reader in 2011. I hope that reading this poem inspires you to pause for a moment and appreciate the greater cosmos and all signs of love’s existence.

STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE TARTS

(Recipe Yields ~6 tarts, depending upon how many break!)

INGREDIENTS

Tart Shell Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • several tsps. cold water
  • heart-shaped metal cookie cutters

Filling:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 of a pkg.)
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 tblsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tblsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • fresh strawberries (for the top)

PROCESS

1. Prepare dough for the tart shells.

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pasty blender until crumbly.

2. Slowly add several teaspoons of cold water to the dough, stirring until a moist ball forms.

3. Refrigerate dough ball for about 10 or 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

4. Roll out dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Grease metal cookie cutters with shortening. Place cookie cutter non-sharp side down on dough.

5. Turn upside down and form dough around cookie cutter.

Place on cookie sheet and bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and let cool. I put the in the fridge for a bit to speed up the process.

6.  Remove the cookie cutter from the baked shell. This is an EXTREMELY DELICATE task, and the shell may break. I tried to squeeze the cookie cutter gently and work my way around the edges to loosen them.

7.  Prepare tart filling.

Combine cream cheese, strawberry jam, lemon juice, and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl. You may want to use a mixer to eliminate lumps, but I used a whisk.

8. Fill tarts with strawberry cream cheese mixture and top with strawberries. You may want to put them in the fridge or freezer for a while to solidify further.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Fold-Your-Own Fortune Cookies!

NUMBERS
by Mary Cornish

I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.

I like the domesticity of addition—
add two cups of milk and stir—
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.

And multiplication’s school
of fish times fish,
whose silver bodies breed
beneath the shadow
of a boat.

Even subtraction is never loss,
just addition somewhere else:
five sparrows take away two,
the two in someone else’s
garden now.

There’s an amplitude to long division,
as it opens Chinese take-out
box by paper box,
inside every folded cookie
a new fortune.

And I never fail to be surprised
by the gift of an odd remainder,
footloose at the end:
forty-seven divided by eleven equals four,
with three remaining.

Three boys beyond their mother’s call,
two Italians off to the sea,
one sock that isn’t anywhere you look.

________________________________________

COMMENTARY

Numbers. Not really my favorite thing, surprise, surprise. I’ve always been more into qualitative ventures and the good ole ABC’s.

These days, however, my work at an after school program has got me reconciling with the pesky digits. Most kids have math homework to catch up on, so I am on call to help decipher sixth-grade decimal worksheets and polygon units. I guess it’s always good to review the basics…

That said, given the subject matter, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from  “Numbers” by Mary Cornish, a poem which first appeared in the June 2000 issue of Poetry magazine. Surprisingly, I ended up enjoying the content more than I thought I would. I like how she gives numbers a new power and perspective right from the first stanza. “They’re willing to count anything or anyone,” she writes as proof of their inherent “generosity.” Interesting. “The domesticity of addition” is another innovative concept and her images of baking and measuring fit this idea quite well.

Cornish narrates the poem in the first person and, in doing so, gives it an intimate, accessible, and conversational feel. You can almost see and hear a woman standing in her kitchen, baking a cake and musing about numbers.  The poet’s categorizations of each basic mathematical function — addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division — are unique and illustrative. Particularly, I enjoy her insight on subtraction as experienced in daily life and how it is “never loss, just addition somewhere else.” I always think about that whenever I lose something — how the object isn’t really gone, it’s just residing somewhere new.

I welcome viewing numbers and math, subjects I’d normally prefer to avoid, in these terms. However, I find that while I am comfortable with the poet’s handling of the topic (what she says), I find myself rather bored with her structural formatting (how she says it). This poem presents itself very methodically. Each function is described in Cornish’s terms and then followed up with an image. I guess I’m usually fond of more cryptic or experimental works that don’t spell things out quite so clearly (see here). Cornish’s formulaic and orderly presentation, however, is quite fitting for the numerical subject matter, so I can’t really complain!

The fortune cookies Cornish uses to describe long division in the fifth stanza are the inspiration for this entry’s culinary creation. The fortunes in the cookies themselves are something I have always adored and collected over the years but had never tried making until now.

CAUTION: The recipe I offer you is one that might still need some tweaking. The consensus was that while mine seemed to taste better than the typical restaurant cookie, they didn’t look quite as good! You have to work quickly and delicately to fold them. I encourage you to celebrate the Chinese New Year this week by experimenting with your own batch! Let me know how they turn out!

FOLD-YOUR-OWN FORTUNE COOKIES!

(Recipe Yields: ~ 10-12 cookies, depending on size & water added)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg white
  • cooking spray
  • printed or written fortunes!

PROCESS

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Write/type and print out fortunes!

2. Crack egg and mix egg white with vanilla in a small bowl.

3. Stir together flour, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl.

 

 

 

4. Combine dry and wet ingredients into one bowl.

The mixture should be thinner than pancake batter but thicker than milk. You may need to add water to reach the desired consistency.

5. Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Spoon about a tablespoon of batter for each cookie onto the sheet. I could only fit about 6 per sheet. Move the cookie sheet around so that batter spreads out evenly into circles about 3 inches in diameter.

6. Bake each tray for about 5 minutes or until cookies brown around the edges.

7. Working rapidly, remove each cookie from the tray with a spatula.

Place fortune in center of cookie.

 

Fold in half.

Edges  may not stick together completely.

8. Transfer fortune-filled cookies to a measuring cup or other cup/bowl.

Fold cookies over the lip/edge of the cup to form the final shape. Let stand folded until cookie hardens.

 

 

 

 

 

Best wishes for good fortune during 2011!

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Death by Tacos

TACO
by Greg Williamson

In poems, the line of demarcatión
That separates refined aesthete from cretin
Is that above which there can be no tacos, one
Does not eat tacos, tacos will not be eaten,

But, fastened to a dying animal,
You’re made of taco, fear you are it, a metrist
Whose range transcends not taco, a shell
Of a man, a maize, a latterday taco belle lettrist,

Until you cant the old sombrero for
A well-deserved siesta, the dingaling
Now lionized, the ragamuffin, cock o’
The walk, with your proleptic metaphor:
A taco of gold and gold enameling,
A fulgent, gong-tormented, gilt
Ur-taco.

____________________________________

COMMENTARY

First off, I have to say that tacos are probably my favorite meal ever. When I was younger, I would manage to scarf down as many as 7(!) in one sitting. So naturally, finding a poem that would allow me to indulge in my craving for Mexican was a must. I had to look no further than my bookshelf, however, for a poem in a book I’d been required to read in a college poetry class.

Greg Williamson’s book, A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck (2008), contains 69 post-modern sonnets, including “Taco.” Each witty poem features clever references and wordplay in an attempt to get at the essence of the thing it’s describing. Williamson makes his way from time and space to trains, sex, dinosaurs, and beyond.

True to more traditional sonnet form, each of his poems include a volta, or turn, in which things change suddenly, and in the case of Williamson’s main character, an Everyman figure, for the worse. The final stanza of each sonnet, beginning with “until,…”  explains how one could die from experiencing the thing which he describes. “Ur-taco” exclaims the last line, as in “you’re over, done, caput.”

“Taco” is also conceived around an interesting premise about poets. In a reading at UVM, I heard Williamson explain how he liked to speculate that there are 2 kinds of poets in the world: those whom you can imagine eating tacos and those whom you cannot.  This is captured especially in the first 8 lines of “Taco.” I like how he figures that ultimately, we’re all just meat in a time-limited shell.

When examining “Taco,” the line “of  gold and gold enameling” sounded oddly familiar to me, so I googled it and found that, sure enough, Williamson is referencing a line right out of “Sailing to Byzantium” by W. B. Yeats — “Once out of nature I shall never take / My bodily form from any natural thing, / But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make / Of hammered gold and gold enamelling / To keep a drowsy Emperor awake; …”  In rereading Yeats’ poem, I also noticed that Williamson has borrowed another line from the poem (“fastened to a dying animal”) for his piece.

I like reading Williamson’s poems not only for their powerful references and clever music, (“taco belle lettrist” —  that’s genius!)  but also for the way that they push the reader to stretch his or her brain, both metaphorically and literally.  I had to look up several words in this piece: lionized, proleptic and fulgent in order to better understand what’s going on. Don’t you feel smarter already?!

Similar to how Williamson makes use of classic ingredients from the great Yeats’ poem to enhance and inform his poem, this week I’m offering you a re-imagined way of doing tacos. Making flour tortillas from scratch is an oddly fulfilling process, and they taste great too! Instead of using the usual taco sauce or salsa from a jar, try whipping up a batch of fresh pico de gallo and some “Wicked Good Green Sauce,” a cilantro-infused guacamole hybrid!

TACO RECIPE

(Recipe Yields ~10 tortillas)

INGREDIENTS

Homemade Flour Tortillas

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tblsp. shortening
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup boiling water

Wicked Good Green Sauce

  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • lime juice from a quarter wedge of lime
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Pico de Gallo

  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 hot pepper, diced
  • fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • juice from 1/4 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 onion, chopped

Other Fillings

  • ground beef or other filling of choice
  • cheese (we used grated cheddar)

PROCESS

1. Prepare dough for the flour tortillas. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, shortening, baking powder, and salt.

2. Add shortening and cut with a pastry blender until crumbly.

3. Add in 1 cup boiling water and begin kneading until a ball of dough forms. (Be careful not to burn yourself like I did!)

4. Cover and set aside for about ten minutes. Break off pieces roughly between ping pong and tennis ball size. Roll out the dough balls into round tortilla shapes.

5. Cook each tortilla one at a time in a skillet on medium-high heat. Flip over once tortilla begins to bubble and brown spots appear.

6. Prepare the “Wicked Good Green Sauce” by combining the avocado, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice in a blender.

Blend, and then add sour cream, water, chili powder, cumin, and salt, and blend until the mixture becomes a smooth green sauce.

7. Prepare pico de gallo by dicing tomatoes, onions, and hot pepper. Combine in a bowl with cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and garlic.

8. Prepare homemade taco seasoning. Mix chili powder, cumin, garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, black pepper, and corn starch in a small bowl. Add to browned meat with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 7 minutes.

9. Assemble tacos. Fill tortillas with taco meat, pico de gallo, grated cheese, and “Wicked Good Green Sauce.” Enjoy!

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