by Sharon Lask Munson
They sit in the resident’s lounge
discussing the trip earlier that day
to the Jewish Center for a senior luncheon.
They had been served chopped liver, roast brisket,
kugel, and an apple-raisin strudel for dessert.
The entertainment, a discussion
on the life and writings of Philip Roth.
But it is the beloved kugel
claiming the late afternoon’s conversation.
No two kugels are cut from the same dough.
In the days Leah kept house
her kugel was made with broad noodles,
eggs, golden raisins, brown sugar, farmer’s cheese,
walnuts, and a hint of cinnamon.
Esther preferred medium noodles—
cream cheese, dark raisins,
and two generous cups of chopped green apples.
Dinah relied on her own mother’s recipe
brought, before The War, from Poland;
noodles any size, but what set the dish apart—
dry cottage cheese, black prunes,
and the cookie crumb topping her children loved.
Mona modernized—cut calories
yogurt instead of sour cream,
halved the number of eggs,
added dried apricots and whatever other fruit
she had stored in the pantry.
Sophie shied away from sweet puddings.
Her husband, May his memory be for a blessing,
favored savory sides. She made vegetable kugels:
spinach or potatoes as the main ingredient.
As the winter day darkened, Rose devulged
she was partial to small-curd cottage cheese,
adding two hard cheeses:
Swiss, and a liberal shower of parmesan.
At five o’clock sharp
the dinner bell was heard
and the ladies march quickly into the dining room
with very good appetites, indeed.
|Sharon Lask Munson grew up in Detroit, Michigan. After college she taught school in England, Germany, Okinawa, and Puerto Rico— before driving to Anchorage, Alaska, where she put down roots and taught for the next twenty years. She is the author of the chapbook, Stillness Settles Down the Lane (Uttered Chaos Press, 2010), a full-length book of poems, That Certain Blue (Blue Light Press, 2011), and Braiding Lives (Poetica Publishing, 2014.) She lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon. Visit her website at www.sharonlaskmunson.com.|