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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 16: Comfort Food

Comfort Food

My mother made one hell of an apple pie. 
She was always the first to suggest a raid
on Old Man Franklin’s orchard, fill paper bags
with the fruit of his tangled trees.  Other days,
I’d come home to find strips of soft noodles
hanging from chair backs and curtain rods,
air of our small trailer humid with chicken broth.
Once, I remember hiking up the hill from the busstop
on a wave of Bisquick cinnamon coffee cake,
exotic and crusty with brown sugar.  But best
of all were her enchiladas, rich with Old El Paso
sauce, cheese from the Food Bank, cheap
hamburger stretched with cut-up potato.  To this day,
I can’t make them any other way.  The truth
is, even Campbell’s Tomato Soup was heaven
if Mom made it: love in a can, saltines on the side. 
The truth is, all I ever wanted was to receive 
whatever she could give, and sometimes all 
she could give came from that silver saucepan, 
her battered skillet, aluminum pie tins.  The rest
she kept to herself: measurements, ingredients, 
recipes she’d inherited, stories best not passed on.
The truth is, she left us with a hunger
no recipe can cure.

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