Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace Cavalieri: The Poet's Cookbook

Continuing with our Poet Lore theme this week, today we feature a special post by poet Grace Cavalieri, a post that orginally appeared on the Best American Poetry blog right here. Grace has long been a friend of Poet Lore's. She founded and produces "The Poet and the Poem," now recorded at the Library of Congress for public radio. Her series celebrates its 32nd consecutive year on-air. Grace and co-author Sabine Pascarelli have just published The Poet's Cookbook, with photographs by Dan Murano (A Solitary Moment). The Poet's Cookbook includes full menus with more than 75 recipes for Antipasti, Minestre, Primi Piatti , Secondi Piatti, Verdure, Insalate, and Dolci.

The premiere reading for The Poet’s Cookbook is on Nov 22, right here at The Writer’s Center. Fifteen poets will be present and Sabine will read the Italian translations of their poems. She is coming from Italy to celebrate our friendship that started by emailing each other what we were cooking for dinner each night, and sharing a poem. We now do this for you.

Here's what Grace has to say about her recipe:

Pomodori Ripieni is something my mother used to make. She even made this for my lunch when I came home from school. In the first part of the 20th century, there were no lunch rooms and cafeterias, no "Subway" or sandwich shops. Children walked home from school and back in one short hour. Nettie made Pomodori for me on toast. I guess that was our version of an open-face sandwich.  Nettie's family came from Sicily and my father, Angelo, who was truly a great chef, came from near Venice. If there were a class war between regions of Italy, it was never in the kitchen. This is the place that always smelled wonderful.

Dan Murano arranged these tomatoes beautifully in the pan. Mine are not always as symmetrical.

Stewed Tomatoes – Pomodori Ripieni
• 8 Fresh tomatoes
• 2 Cloves Garlic
• ½ cup of mixed herbs (parsley, basil and garlic ground together)
• c lb butter
• Salt and pepper
• 1 T olive oil
Cut tomatoes across in half. Scoop out seeds. Lay first layer in large pan. In place of seeds add the herb mixture and a dot of butter in each pocket. Place another layer of tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Put ¼ cup water in bottom of pan, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes. Serves 4-6.

All photos by Dan Murano
''The Poet's Cookbook," also features poems by Katherine Williams, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Michael Glaser , Calder Lowe, Linda Pastan, Ernie Wormwood, Carly Sachs, Cicely Angleton, Moira Egan, Christine Sostarich, David Budbill , Karren Alenier, Jean Emerson, Rod Jellema, Christina Daub, Carole Wagner Greenwood , Barbara Goldberg , Anne Caston, Judy Neri, Patricia Gray , Alexis Rotella, Emily Ferrara, Rod Jellema.Andrea Hollander Budy, Rose Solari, Vivian Shipley, Jenny D’Angelo, Diane Lockwood. Here's one to whet your appetite for more:
Tomatoes in September
Every surface in the house covered
with tomatoes, a vat
of boiling water on the stove,
drop them in and wait to see
cracks in their skin, into cold water, out,
cut away the bad spots,
cut out stem end and blossom end,
peel away the skin,
chop them up, drain them in a colander,
dump them into the other
pot in which a mountain of garlic
has been simmering in olive oil:
Brandywine, Juliet, Cosmonaut,
Rosa de Bern, all go in,
salt and pepper, then
let them bubble
while you
go smell the house.
-- David Budbill
Pomodori a Settembre
Ogni superficie della casa coperta
di pomodori, un pentolone
d’acqua bollente sul fuoco,
immergili e aspetta di vedere
la buccia screpolata, giĆ¹ in acqua fredda, fuori,
togli le parti guaste,
taglia i finali di gambo e fiore,
togli la buccia,
sminuzzali, falli scolare nel colapasta,
gettali nell’altra
pentola, dove una montagna di aglio
sfrigola in olio d’oliva
Brandywine, Juliet, Cosmonaut,
Rosa de Bern, tutti dentro,
sale, pepe, e poi
lascia bollire tutto
mentre tu
vai ad annusare la casa.

-- trans: Sabine Pascarelli
(Grace Cavalieri)

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