Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Category Archives: Cooking

Damp Laundry

Mom and damp laundry
Despite new products, incensed:
The skid marks remained

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Three Word Wednesday:  Damp, Incensed, Skid

…and your second helping (hope you already ate dinner!):

Rank

The new apartment was spotless:
Creamy carpets calming, yet daring any mud
to tread or trespass.

Spacious closets; bathroom, a religious experience.
We moved in, delighted to have found
a small space offering big comfort.

Then I stepped into the hallway
shared by a dozen apartment front doors.
Smacked in the schnozz by a complicated, rank odor.

Some good:  Spices, worthy chefs working ethnic magic.
Much more body odor… culturally acceptable
where the bodies originated, harking back to my East Side days.

Worst – cigarette smoke sneaking out to play hookie,
curling, wending its way from under some front doors.
Lingering like a London pea-souper, toxic fog.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
ABC Wednesday – R, and Poetic Asides, “Telling it like it is.” Also at my poetic home-away-from-blog, Poets United!


One last poem before they shut off the Net access and I welcome the movers. This meditation is one three days without my Lex smiling at me across the dinner table; it’s also a remembrance of days before his loving help in the kitchen.

A SOLITARY PLACE SETTING

Dinner for one
Single chicken breast pounded, powdered with
a bit of flour, salt, pepper
No flourishes here; no guest to impress

Olive oil flashes as poultry meets
onion-green pepper-garlic melange,
the Holy Trinity of kitchen worship
A lonely head of broccoli pipes up, steaming

I sip Pinot Noir from a jelly jar
Finer glasses sit on the shelf
waiting for someone who will one day join me
chatting over chopping of veggies
as he compliments my talent
for producing perfect brown rice

The table is set now
One placemat, one napkin in its ring
One cat mrrrowing that it’s his suppertime, too

Swirling a second helped of wine, I wonder
when the Fates will serve me up
someone for whom presentation is everything
and dessert doesn’t come from the oven, but
the slow cooking of romance

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


IN PRAISE OF SLOW COOKING (for De and Justin Jackson)

Lex minces garlic
and chops onion on a small cutting board
We love the sound of the knife
thunking the wood.

I brown the chicken in olive oil,
nudging the cutlets, easing in
a bit of broth after the first turn,
poaching with herbs from my potted garden,
a splurch of wine, a pinch of pepper.

Now we divvy veggie duty:
He, the mushroom expert,
peels, washes, slices thin
with a knife we wish was
up to the quality of our endeavor.

I’m the Carrot Queen, the
Broccoli Barlow Baby.
Rice is already on,
scented with saffron.

Whatever the meal, we cook
together. Slowly.
We need only the kitchen,
time, talk, and the bumping of butts
as we faux-fight over space.

Cooking is only half the fun.
Then comes enjoying
a slow-cooked meal
with family and friends.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


At Big Tent Poetry, we were asked to think long and hard about our dwellings… then write about a favorite place. I knew right away where my heart lay.

OUR KITCHEN (for Lex)

In times long passed,
the kitchen hearth was
the heart of every home.
Scent of drying herbs
a potpourri of potted and garden delights.
Fresh-baked bread beckoning.

Perhaps a rocking chair for Gram
as she sat and choreographed
the preparation of the evening meal.
And always, a pot of coffee.

Our own kitchen is quite small,
but the walls, tomato red, stir appetites.
We collaborate on meals:
Here’s the wooden board, I’ll chop veggies
while you brown the chicken.
You, the king of piecrust, rule the rolling pin
while I slice apples and stir in spices.
Occasionally, we bump butts, laughing.
Small space, but a romantic place.

Our kitchen is the heart of our home.
Rented, but ours, still
because we’ve made it so.
The cat watches longingly from his perch
awaiting his shre.
We cook, bake, talk, share
and pray over the meal we prepare,
for patience, for love to loom large
over the rest of the world. As for me and mine,
we are at peace.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil