Sunday, November 25, 2012

Time and Temperature

Last year I was part of a poetry group on Sanibel Island. Each week we were to bring a new poem to share and to be critiqued. At times, the most difficult part for me was coming up with the idea -- but not the week I shared this poem. It happened (almost) just like this:

More Than Time and Temperature

I, looking for Twenty Techniques,
met a man in the cookbook aisle,
looking for validation.

We spoke
of poaching shrimp in butter
and searing meat
to hold its juices,
merits of roasting
poultry on low versus high,
buying directly from the farmer, and
"How can you know
if it's really organic?"

He told me
about salmon and a sauce
he makes with sun-dried tomatoes.
I told him
about yellow rice with saffron,
and the wine at Opus 32.

He handed me the book
I had been looking for.
I liked the way he stood,
and his salt and pepper hair.

He had a new idea
for how to cook
the turkey this year,
but he couldn't find
a recipe like it anywhere.

Then he said
his fiancé was a vegetarian,
but there are certain traditions
he just has to keep.

"Yes, I understand," I said.
And we looked at each other
just long enough
to know we both did.

     by Carol Drummond

Even though some friends really liked this story-poem, I was too embarrassed and self-conscious to send Thanksgiving Day Chef a copy.What if the connection was just my imagination? What if the fiancĂ© would take exception  to...what would one call it?  (Yes, we had exchanged e-mail addresses in the cookbook aisle! After all, I was to send him the exact name and address of a particular restaurant. He was to send me the results of his turkey experiment.)

But, my readers, this year I sent the poem. Two days went by without a response. I felt foolish. The third day went by, and then I forgot about it. On the fourth day -- an answer came! He said it "took him back to the moment," and he "especially liked the title and the last two stanzas."

It had not been my imagination!

He went on to tell me what his plan was for the method this year. He thanked me once more for the poem.

I'm sure we will not communicate with each other again. But the story, for me, has a happy ending. I hope it makes you smile.

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