ISSUE THIRTEEN WINTER 2012
Paul Graham’s maple syrup journey with his one great maple tree; Sarah Gorham juxtaposes life moments with food memory; Matthew Gavin Frank chases down the elusive huitlacoche in Mexico; Sonya Zalubowski shivers over butchering her first rabbit in France; Amber Kuzmick’s palate is scandalized over bad food during a hospital stay; Philip Alan Sandberg imagines a vile fermented fish in Sweden that contributes to the crime rate; cover art by Alimentum fiction & nonfiction editor Peter Selgin; spot illustrations by Caitlin Allen, poetry by Stephen Gibson, Irene Sherlock, Gaylord Brewer, Esther Cohen...and more...
Plus: a dinner plate special for the The Alexandria Quartet, a woman on a daily pie diet, Nashville and hot chicken in 1957, two ways of looking at mussels, soul-searching when an over-packed refrigerator breaks down, ghosts look for food in photographs, and much more...over 30 writers & poets...
Issue Thirteen excerpts...
From Sentimental a la Carte by Sarah Gorham
Every night except Sunday, the Imperial Palace at Holiday Manor Mall features China Joe the piano player on a shiny black-lacquered baby-grand which sits at the center of a large dining area. The aquarium is full of carp and viscous water, the rug is sticky, and maroon napkins are annoyingly nonabsorbent. We ask for a balcony table with a bird’s eye view. Drinks appear in little amber glasses and chopsticks are the cheap kind, fused together, splintery when broken apart. Jeffrey requests the steak and broccoli and I always ask for wonton soup with extra julienned vegetables, though the waiter sometimes defers: No special orders, m’am. Finally, Joe slinks in, wearing a tuxedo and tossing his glossy black hair. The tip jar is an enormous brandy snifter where two one-dollar bills and a few coins puddle. He begins playing with a shrug.
From Sweet Spot by Paul Graham
We have only the one tree, a haphazardly-trimmed 60-footer that turns orange in October. I’d never have thought to tap it if our old neighbor, a poet who worked in an Adirondack sugarbush with several hundred trees, hadn’t tapped his one tree. One, it turns out, can be more than enough and not nearly enough at the same time. I’ve tried to picture the yield from 1500 taps and can only get as far as a fleet of tanker trucks and an acre of fire.
The holes go waist-high on the western side, which receives more sun and delivers more sap. I sink two taps with a rubber mallet. I reserve a third in case one dries up. Immediately the juice starts running, dribbles to the metal lip and trembles in the sunlight before falling into the bucket with a flat plunk. It seems impossible that I’ll empty these buckets twenty, thirty times, but I will.
The sap, when I lift a drop to my lips, tastes of the purest, cleanest water.
From Divine Rite by Jessica Elizabeth Adams
It was dark
During the storm
The snow fled the sky like refugees
And settled on all the cars
During the blackout
I made cookies by flashlight
Illuminating each line of the recipe
Like I imagine scripture was written
Oh holy peanut butter
The binding of all of this sweetness
The crystallized ginger sending sparks into the night
Like the crackling of fireworks
From How Not to Eat a Sea Urchin by Linda Lappin
The crevice in the cliff wound down to a grotto where low tide had exposed row upon row of glistening purple sea urchins. He plunked down his bucket and observed them with approval. “A man not starve here,” he said. He unsheathed his knife, pried a specimen free, sliced it through, and held it out to me. A black and orange gelatinous mass quivered in its spiny cup. Stooping to the water, he dunked it once, swirled the tip of his knife inside it, then scraped the slimy contents into the palm of my hand. “Freshest food in Greece, “ he said. “Taste.” I never cared for seafood except scallops when I was younger. Even the sight of the shucked oysters my father relished made me nauseous as a child. How was I going to refuse food from a Greek for whom hospitality is sacred? If only I had a slice of lemon.