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The crow cooks from Brooklyn to Bombay

Article Submitted By: BashkaJacobs
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 Time: 12:34 PM

Burlap Bag of spices

 

brooklyn to bombay

 

Years later as I meandered

 among the burlap

Bags of herbs and spices

 in the souks of Asia

and the markets of

Mexico and Bolivia

Under the canopies

 of stretched and tattered

burlap or lined hilly streets

In my mind I could remember

and

 

Run my hand over the beans,

 yellowing them from the blessed

ancient Indian root Haldi

laughingly noting it

 is now a recent

healing discovery

in the west

but in India learned how

to grind it with vinegar

to make it sing.

 

Inhaling the finely

powdered Amchur

from the

mango, the achiote from Mexico, the galangal

from Vietnam,

admiring the colors of peppers

black fat ones green red long

skinny and biting like a birds

beak

and yellow the color of

the mornings sun

,the textures of ginger and

the contorted roots of Thailand

the sweet contrasts of cloves

in Java  and  the huge balloon like

garlic in Bali

then

dreaming and inhaling lemon

 grass for my tea

all with the

the sounds of

the market in my ears

reminding me of

shopping as a child

with my mother

but instead of barrels

of kosher pickles

and the sounds

chickens to be killed

now it was bicycle rickshaws

and oxen hauling rods for buildings

and carts and bicycles overflowing

with food

firewood

camels waiting,

taxis waiting,

 different places

different alien sounds

 piercing the air

Hebrew, Urdu, Tamil, Konkani

 Bahasa Thai and Mandarin

From each culture I learned how

To mix the flavors of herbs

 and flowers

always

Expanding what I knew

For example

Adding a Goan spice

To my stew transforming

It into a Vindaloo

Giving it pungency

I learned to manipulate

flavour, texture, marinate

the spices into pastes

and masalas.

Remembering the gigantic

Corn of Bolivia

And learnig the different

papalos

 

 So many kitchens I have

Cooked in some with

Firewood, some with gas

Some electric

But my favorites

Were always those

On the sand

Or those made

Of clay

That sometimes sent curling

Tendrils like pigeons

Into the air along with

Spits of fire to tell others

That my fire was on

And was open

 Today in the flatlands

 

I continue to

translate Dishes and

reinvent  foods

from my travels from

Brooklyn to Bombay

About the Author

the crow tosses a mean brussel sprout

uses lemon scented oils

and add sambal olek to

everything ...........almost.


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Comments

Thu, 6 Oct 2011 at 2:13 PM, by admin
sambal olek indeed! Someone likes Nonya food maybe? I love the allusions in your poems Bashka.
Thu, 6 Oct 2011 at 2:32 PM, by BashkaJacobs
yes i love Nonya food and i have the Rojack stories and the Maylay poems with the characters of Haeko with the palm sugar and tamarind as minor characters.

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Submitted: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 Time: 12:34 PM