Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Friday, November 9, 2007

Poetry Friday: Hope, Food, Naomi Shihab Nye

Burning the Old Year
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
read the entire poem here

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
read the entire poem here

Isn't this poem amazing? I know it's not New Year's yet, but I thought this would be a good one to share. This poem made me think of last night's culinary experiment...

I really dislike those cold, damp to your bones types of days. Like yesterday. Perhaps it's a sign of getting older and suddenly despising anything that resembles gray in any form. Though there are always ways to brighten up the grays...add some color, create some sparkle, eat the perfect comfort food.

One of my favorite comfort foods is chicken pot pie. Doesn't matter whether it has a buttery piecrust with the right amount of crisp to it, or tender biscuits that crown the bubbling sauce of anticipation. It just sings comfort to me in any form.

When I first found out my middle child had severe food allergies, I didn't really think about the consequences of how I was going to feed my family yummy foods. At the forefront of my mind, was the panic of how I was going to feed my child so she can survive. She's allergic to so much.

And the idea of these two things--gustatory delights and basic survival foods--joining together in delicious harmony was one I doubted I could achieve. I mean, take away the eggs and dairy, and you've eliminated alot of tempting baked goods and some incredible main dishes. And when you have a husband who was brought up on everything homemade, enough rich goodness that he remembers as a child thinking he would never eat so well again in his life, well that's indication enough to make me realize how challenging it truly would be to make food everyone in our family can enjoy. Yup. Screwed.

Yesterday was the perfect day for chicken pot pie. Damp cold seeped in everywhere and left me chilled and hungry for some good old comfort food. I never made a chicken pot pie that my middle child could eat. Pretty much this was one of those dishes that was scrapped since it didn't exactly fit on our family's friendly foods list. Until I decided to do something about it. Now I'm not a big one for exact recipes, though I own quite a few cookbooks. I'm a pinch of this, handful of that type of gal. So all I can say, was this was an interesting experiment.

I decided a biscuit topping was the way to go today. Hearty and sustaining was my goal. I did it all. Mixed a roux, sauteed vegetables, shredded chicken, made biscuits, assembled it all together and then popped it in the oven. All made with tender loving care and no milk or butter.

And, look! Doesn't it look delicious? I was so excited, I had to take a picture to prove to everyone that dairy-free food can look good. The biscuits puffed up and browned nicely. They were tender and cooked all the way through...no mushy bottoms for me, thank you very much. And the sauce was quite tasty, thanks to some soymilk and chicken stock.

When my husband came home, he looked at my creation with much trepidation. I haven't always had success with old favorites. But after a taste, and then another mouthful, my husband announced, "Hey, this is pretty good! I'm kind of amazed."

Middle child was oh so happy. And it made my day.

Of course, my husband took full credit for this comforting masterpiece. "If I hadn't stimulated your creativity, we would be stuck eating the same old thing." Don't you just love it?

Poetry Friday is over at A Wrung Sponge today!

And in case you haven't read any of the amazing author interviews in the Winter Blog Blast Tour, here's the Master Schedule.

And here are my WBBT interviews:
Lisa Yee -- check out her thoughts on writing in three different POV and she finds humor for her books...
Kerry Madden -- she is writing a biography on a famous author who wrote one of my favorite books as a teen...
Rick Yancey -- his cinematic action thriller books are perfect for boys and it's being made into a movie...
Carrie Jones -- this human rights activist has wonderful stories...


Sara said...

Oh, wow. A stunning poem AND pot pie. Perhaps you could cook this for Jama's Poetry Diner...have you seen her post today?

I love that line "I begin again with the smallest numbers."

Susan said...

That looks divine.

jama said...

Love the poem. I like that feeling of purging, then beginning anew.

You are so right about comfort food. Send some of that chicken pot pie my way, please.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I like your choice of poem. I think it's most appropriate for this time of year. Naomi Shihab Nye is one of the best American poets writing today.

I enjoy eating, cooking, and reading about food. I can appreciate how difficult it must be for you and your daughter. I'm glad your dinner was a success.

One of my favorite "food" poems is Mark Strand's "Pot Roast." Have you ever read it?

Gina MarySol Ruiz said...


This is astonishing!

"Letters swallow themselves in seconds." What a wonderful image that conjurs!

You know, my daughter in law loves my chicken pot pie but yours is just lovely and makes me want to take the rest of the day off and try making it and have her and the kids over to nosh and watch movies on this almost rainy day.

Thanks so much. You really brightened up my day.

Callipygia said...

HWM- the potpie looks so good! Hurray.

Cloudscome said...

This is so fabulous I can taste it. I knew you rocked already, but this put you over the top. Does that man of yours know what he is living with?

Kelly Fineman said...

Thanks for sharing that poem, Vivian. It was really wonderful and meditative somehow.

And the chicken pot pie looks fabulous, although being in the mood to hit my own husband these days, I was in the mood to hit yours as well when he took credit (however small) for all your hours of hard work. Forgive me?

TadMack said...

Naomi Shihab Nye's poetry makes my heart hurt -- so beautifully put.

HipWriterMama said...

I think I'll have to print this out and tape it everywhere my husband will pass by...

Thanks for a good laugh. Husbands can be like that, can't they? I'm so glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read your comment. I would've either choked or spit everything out--too funny. Hee, hee.