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“Tell Me What You Eat…..

October 10, 2014

and I’ll tell you what you are.” – so said a Frenchman! Food is part of our culture that defines us all and it’s interesting to me how food features in my poetry and prose, it is obviously very important to me and how I define myself and my characters. So I thought I’d share a couple of my poems that feature food. Let me know what you think!

MANCHESTER CAVIAR

Since when did mushy peas go down as caviar ?
They put it on a menu in a posh foodie bar;
we wondered what comprised this local delicacy
but there it was, beside my chips, dolled up prettily.

Why not say it like it is, be proud of our cuisine,
squishy, mashed and mushy, like out of a canteen?
Smeared on’t fish ‘n’ chips like a kind of mortar
you swallow it if possible, helped by a swig of water.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t look at all like
sturgeons’ eggs which always seem to strike
me as resembling a pile of mouse droppings;
so these uber-eateries should consider stopping

their pseudo labelling and falsified descriptions
where plates are paintings with inedible additions.
Let’s call a pea a pea and so, too, mushy ones
leave real caviar to snooty southern brethren.

Charlotte Gringras
Published in ‘Write North West’2013 by Erbacce press with Salford University

BLENDING IN

Friends went home to hot cross buns
when I went back to kichels; I longed
to share those buns’ religious connotations –
forbidden to, I’d make tasty imitations.
I couldn’t bake a gooey Christmas cake
lest mimicry of Christian friends would make
me less Jewish. Yet more like them I yearned
to be – then they’d like me. Maybe they’d spurn
the New Year honey cake I brought, trying
to win them over, constantly vying
with them to reach their uniformity
of food to share, aspiring to conformity.
My Pesach cookies went down a treat
serving only to set me apart, to separate;
to join the fold it took pancakes on a plate
sugar-sprinkled, shared for Shrove Tuesday.
Provided that we called it Pancake Day
I could belong; join the gang, play the game
feel like everyone and almost be the same.

Charlotte Gringras
Published in Commonword’s Anthology, ‘Sweet Tongues’, 2013

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