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friday feast: just chill

So, what's in your refrigerator?

When I was little, I always used to see stuff like this:

by Shel Silverstein

There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire --
He likes it cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He's nibbling the noodles,
He's munching the rice,
He's slurping the soda,
He's licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he's in there --
That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

~ from The Light in the Attic, 1981 

But now, instead of celebrating things for what they are, I question everything.

2% or skim?
Dill spear or sweet gherkin?
Chunky or smooth?
Ketchup or steak sauce?

I purposely avoid asking butter or margarine?,

since this can quickly escalate to

tub or stick?
name brand or store brand?
regular or organic?
plain or whipped?

How and why did things get so complicated?

I keep hoping that when I open the fridge, a completely prepared, nutritionally and politically correct meal will materialize. 

Or that issues of life and death won't present themselves in the Velveeta.

Or that I can even remember why I opened the refrigerator door in the first place.

And another thing, I thought refrigerators were supposed to keep everything cool, and make them last longer. You just can't put time on ice.

Excuse me, while I gaze at my navel oranges.

by Gary Soto

Sometimes I'll look in the refrigerator
And decide that the mustard is vaguely familiar,
And that the jar of Spanish olives is new to me.
What's this gathering? The butter
And salsa, the two kinds of tortillas
And, in back, the fat-waisted Mrs. Butterworth.
I'll study the plate of cross-legged chicken,

And close the refrigerator and lean on the kitchen counter.
Is this old age? 

(Rest is here.)

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at A Year of Reading.

Don't take any chances, bring your own cooler!

Is it safe to eat tomatoes?
Or cilantro?
Or jalapeno peppers?
Or spinach?
Or hamburger?
Was that a burp or an ulcer?

Somebody, stop me . . . 


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
What a great combo - an old favorite, and a new favorite. That Gary Soto poem is EXCELLENT - what perfect little gems of imagery he's got going on: "Little latch of hurt..."

~eisha (7-Imp)
Jul. 25th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
Re: bittersweet
Glad you liked both courses. Funny how both of us channeled red meat today.
Jul. 25th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Just Chill
Elaine M.


I like your two Poetry Friday selections. As for me, I eat "real" food. No olestra, margarine, egg beaters, or sugar substitutes for me!

Earlier this year, my husband bought a share in a local organic farm. This week we picked fresh blueberries. Yum!
Jul. 25th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Just Chill
Hi. Missed you!

Love blueberries :). We pretty much worship at the altar of Whole Foods Market. I'm grateful these choices are available to us. Real food is the best medicine!
Jul. 25th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
It's amazing the whole script that starts playing when we open the fridge. Gary Soto gets it just right. I think I'll go drink a glass of organic skim milk now...
Jul. 25th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
It is amazing that our refrigerators hold much more than we imagined!
Jul. 25th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
I like both poems. And yes, those inner dialogues at the fridge weary me too!

Jul. 25th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
I wonder if there is such a thing as stress-free food . . .
Jul. 25th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
TadMack says: :)
It's not safe for ME to eat spinach, I've discovered, but the only angst that attacks me when I open the fridge is more, "what am I making tonight?"
Jul. 25th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
Re: TadMack says: :)
Judging from your blog, you and David are fabulous at whipping up new creations from whatever happens to be on hand. Come over and cook for me, please :).
Jul. 26th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
keep everything cool
And another thing, I thought refrigerators were supposed to keep everything cool, and make them last longer. You just can't put time on ice.

Excuse me, while I gaze at my navel oranges.

Ha! This is perfect!

-- Barb, who finally got her new fridge after a wait of only 18 days and one tine-wasting non-delivery

Jul. 26th, 2008 11:09 am (UTC)
Re: keep everything cool
Oh, a new fridge! Good luck :). Hope you find more delight than angst whenever you open the door . . .
Jul. 26th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
That meat looks questionable to me . . .
Jul. 26th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
Seems we have to question everything we eat these days.
Jul. 26th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC)
It is amazing, now that we've moved on past "eat to survive," that we have such a complicated relationship with food.

And what's up with two servings of raw meat in one Poetry Friday?!?!?!
Jul. 26th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, uncanny about the red meat. It's so, so -- Stanley Kowalski, already.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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