Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006

Ink Soup

by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
Seattle, Wash.

Printable version of this story

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Today's column is an homage to Ragueneau, the confectioner in Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac," who knew the indissoluble connection between food and poetry, and who, when his wife used the latter to wrap the former, asked her, "if you do this with verse, what would you do with prose?!"

Let us begin with the food. I cannot remember the last time I trusted you with a family recipe. I think it was the formula for my mother's chocolate roll. But here is a new one, for more serious and nutritious dining. The name of it is NINEMARCH, from the date in 2002 when we stumbled upon it while trying to come up with a variant of coq au vin. But that is another story. Anyway, here it is.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Ingredients (I leave the quantities up to you and chance): Left-over roast chicken, cut up. Chopped onion. Sliced mushrooms. Chopped parsley. Chicken extract. Beef extract. Worcestershire sauce. Salt & pepper. Spicy mango chutney. Lowfat sour cream. One pkg. Jiffy cornbread mixture, prepared as directed on package.
1. Sauté finely chopped onion in olive oil.
2. Add thinly sliced mushrooms.
3. And chopped parsley.
4. Dash of chicken extract & or beef extract.
5. Dash of Worcestershire sauce.
6. Salt & pepper to taste
7. Add shredded bits of cooked chicken,
8. And a little hot water to dissolve 4 above.
9. Tbsp. spicy mango chutney.
10. Low-fat sour cream to taste.
11. Let this cool, then place in glass oven-safe casserole.
12. Prepare Jiffy cornbread mixture according to the directions on the package. Let it rest in the mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes longer than the directions call for.
13. Spread cornbread mixture over the other ingredients and then pop into the 400 oven for 15-20 minutes. After ten minutes, begin to peer anxiously into the oven. Do not skip this step!

[Pointless footnote: The spell checker, baffled by "lowfat," asked whether I meant "Lafayette."]

Here, to go with the food, are a couple of poems:

> is the one thing
that can make you sympathize
with Herod. He eludes
even pious assiduity.
Mark was thought
by Matthew and Luke at least
to have got the basic facts,
minus the manger and Magi,
to which they added fancies,
largely from the prophets,
elided by later scholars,
themselves elided soon,
until little was left of Jesus,
except in the place where
no one had thought to look:
in our faithful hearts.


Brendan the former dancer
comes into the sauna
your motion on the treadmill
says another sweater
with rising intonation
what exactly was it?

It was my treadmill saunter
says Brendan nonchalantly
a step that I myself
have choreographed. I ought to
patent it and would do
except I couldn't care less.

Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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