Monthly Archives: August 2009

PEASE PORRIDGE HOT (PEA SOUP)

PEASE PORRIDGE HOT

PEASE PORRIDGE HOT,
PEASE PORRIDGE COLD
PEASE PORRIDGE IN THE POT NINE DAYS OLD
SOME LIKE IT HOT, SOME LIKE IT COLD,
SOME LIKE IT IN THE POT NINE DAYS OLD

The origin of the above children’s rhyme is unknown, but refers to a type of porridge that, in the middle ages, was made from peas. The earliest known recorded version of the children’s rhyme can be found in John Newberry’s Mother Goose Melody (c. 1760).

Now here’s what’s interesting about old nursery rhymes–they often contained a nucleus of history and this is true of Pease Porridge. In the middle ages, when many folks were terribly poor–and undoubtedly always hungry–a pot or kettle hung over the fireplace fire and all bits and pieces of food were added to it on a daily basis. I remember reading that the pot of soup on the back of the stove is still a practice in remote parts of France. Whatever bits and pieces acquired today will be in tomorrow’s pot of soup which is kind of like a perpetual pot.

Well, I went to the trouble of searching for some recipes for ham and split pea soup (or just pea soup) originally because I thought my sister wanted a recipe (also got to thinking – why does anyone need a recipe for split pea soup? Can’t you just throw it together or isn’t there a basic recipe on the bag of dried peas?) – Nonetheless, curiosity won out (and my sister wanted a vegetable soup recipe, not one for peas). Oh, well. By now I had a small stack of recipe cards from my soup files. So–of course–I thought of sharing these on my Blog.

To start things off, here is a recipe for Low-Fat Split Pea soup.

To make LOW FAT SPLIT PEA SOUP, you will need:

8 oz dry split peas
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 medium size carrot, peeled and sliced (or chopped)
3 chicken bouillon cubes
5 cups water
1 tsp curry powder*
¾ tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper

Rinse and sort dry peas. In a 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine peas and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 50 minutes or until peas are tender. Makes 5 servings. Recipe can be doubled but if doubled, increase water to 8 cups, not 10.

*Sandy’s cooknote: I don’t like curry powder. If you do by all means add it. If you don’t, then I suggest substituting a teaspoon of Beau Monde seasoning, which I just love-and it goes with almost any kind of recipe.

NORWEGIAN PEA SOUP

To make NORWEGIAN PEA SOUP you will need:

1 pound pkg dried whole or split yellow peas
7 cups water
1 ½ cups finely chopped carrots
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
½ tsp marjoram leaves
2 ½ pounds fully cooked smoked ham, cubed (shank end preferred)*
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups (8 oz) grated Jarlsberg cheese

Rinse and drain peas. In heavy, large saucepan combine peas and water and bring to a boil. Cove and set aside for at least an hour (if using split peas, skip this step).

Add carrots, onion, & marjoram and bring to boil. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Add celery and cook until peas mash easily, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Ladle sop into bowls and pass the cheese. Nice to serve with croutons.

*Sandy’s cooknote: You may use the bone and cubed ham from a baked, fully cooked smoked ham. In fact, it’s when we are polishing a ham shank that I start thinking whether to make ham and bean soup, or ham and split pea. If you don’t want to make soup right away, wrap the ham bone in aluminum foil, label it and put into the freezer to use later.
**
The following is from a very old newspaper clipping. I have no idea who Eva was. But in order to make EVA’S SPLIT PEA SOUP, you will need:

2 cups dry green peas
10 cups cold water
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
bacon fat
1 ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp marjoram
Frankfurters, sliced in 1” pieces, optional
Hot buttered croutons

Soak peas in water overnight. Next day, sauté onion and carrots in bacon fat until onions are tender. Add peas, with liquid. Add ham bone, garlic, salt, pepper and marjoram. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove ham bone, trim off meat and return to soup (Bone can be reused for other soup or discarded).
Correct seasoning, if needed, and add frankfurters, if wished. Serve with hot buttered croutons.
**
The following is a very nice vegetarian split pea soup

To make VEGETARIAN SPLIT PEA SOUP, you will need:

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried split peas
½ cup barley
¾ tsp salt
8 cups water
2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup freshly chopped dill (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP dried parsley
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 TBSP red wine vinegar*
Dashes of hot pepper sauce (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the peas, barley, salt and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the cartots, potatoes, celery and spices (leaving only the vinegar and hot sauce to add at the end). Simmer another hour; add water when necessary or if you desire a thin soup. Test the soup; vegetables should be tender. Add vinegar and hot sauce just before serving. Makes 10 servings.

*Sandy’s cooknote: This is an interesting variation with the vinegar added just before serving. If you have German or Hungarian roots, you will always have some kind of vinegar (usually apple cider vinegar) on the table to splash into your bowl of soup, if it is split pea or any kind of bean soup. We keep white vinegar in a carafe on the table. Bob wouldn’t eat pea or bean soup without some vinegar added to it. Neither would my brothers!
**
This last recipe is printed on a very old card and was tested by someone named Mary Martensen, a home economics editor at the Chicago Herald-American–however long ago that may have been. What I like is that this is a very simple recipe for making a cream type split pea soup.

To make MARY’S SPLIT PEA SOUP you will need:

1 cup dried split peas
2 ½ quarts cold water
1 pint milk
½ onion
2” cube fat salt pork
3 TBSP butter or margarine
2 TBSP flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Pick over peas and soak several hours in cold water to cover. Drain, add cold water, pork and onion. Simmer 3 or 4 hours or until soft. Put through a sieve*. Add butter and flour and seasonings blended together. Dilute with the milk, adding more milk if necessary. Note the water in which a ham has been cooked may be used. Omit the salt.

Sandy’s cooknote: If you don’t have a sieve, you can blend the peas in your blender but I would suggest cooling it down somewhat, first, and only do half a blender-full at a time so it doesn’t splash. When I make pea soup I like to cook the peas and whatever other ingredients (carrots, onion) -except meat – and blend it in my blender to make it smooth. Then add some leftover ham if you want it in your soup. We like very thick soups, more like chowders. What I usually do is cook a hambone and then set it aside. Use the stock from the hambone then to cook the peas. (And if you take the time to chill the stock, you can easily remove the fat that rises to the top and solidifies). While the peas are cooking, cool the hambone and remove all the bits of meat to put back into the pot later.
Ok, it’s a little more work this way–but you will have a fine pot of soup.

Happy Cooking!
Sandy

LET THEM EAT MORE (VEGETABLE) SOUP

LET THEM EAT MORE (VEGETABLE) SOUP

It started innocently with my sister requesting a recipe. I thought she said “pea soup” But I learned the next day, I misunderstood. She was making a vegetable soup. I can’t imagine how I heard “pea” when she said “vegetable”.

While waiting for her to arrive at my place, I looked up and copied a slew of pea soup recipes. She didn’t want pea, she wanted vegetable. Oh, well, I said. Who really needs a recipe for making vegetable soup? You just toss whatever you have on hand into a pot, add water or some cans of vegetable broth – and voila! You have vegetable soup. Then, of course, I began searching through my soup files for vegetable soup recipes and, admittedly – there are a lot of varieties.

Then, today, I wanted to use up a lot of leftovers in the vegetable crisper so I decided to make chicken/vegetable/tortilla soup, I had some leftover chicken breasts, about half a head of cabbage, plenty of carrots and celery–I also had some slightly old flour tortillas that would work nicely in thin strips dried in the oven–and a package of taco seasoning mix for flavor. (My reasoning being: I am going on vacation in a week, and anything in the refrigerator that doesn’t get cooked, thrown out, or frozen – will be a soggy decayed mess when I get back). My chicken/vegetable/tortilla soup has turned out very nicely.
What you do is, fill a bowl with soup; sprinkle on some dried tortilla strips, and top it off with a sprinkling of grated cheese. A slice of avocado is also nice if you happen to have some on hand. It was a nice variation of my sister Becky’s clean-out-the-refrigerator-soup.

But getting back to vegetable soup – vegetable beef, vegetable chicken, plain vegetable soup – there are a lot of recipes from which to choose (My sister pointed out – I didn’t have a recipe for vegetable soup on my BLOG. MY BAD. Mea Culpa. So, brace yourself because I am about to rectify that omission.
**

This first one from my card file is very old, written in real ink and the card has yellowed. (I collect old, filled recipe boxes so sometimes there’s no telling where some of my recipes came from). No directions are provided. (Do you really need directions to make soup?)

To make this vegetable soup, you will need:

VEGETABLE SOUP

2 quarts quartered tomatoes
2 dozen medium carrots, sliced
2 quarts cut green beans
2 cups chopped celery
½ cup chopped parsley
1 small head cabbage, chopped
4 small onions, chopped
½ cup rice or barley
2 quarts hot water
meat

Sandy’s Cooknote: I suspect this recipe was for canning vegetable soup. But in today’s world? Make it up and freeze it in batches suitable for your household. I absolutely love the Gladlock 2-quart rectangular plastic containers. Once you freeze the soup, pop it out of the plastic container and put it into a Ziplock bag, then label it with a black marker. At my house we call these “bricks”. (I trade my bricks to girlfriend MJ, in exchange for doing all my sewing and mending. I-do-not-sew. It’s a satisfactory barter system. She doesn’t like to cook).

And when a recipe for vegetable soup just provides you with the innocuous direction of “meat” – you can use a pound or two of stewing meat, almost any kind of beef cut – but my favorite meat to add to any vegetable soup is a 7-bone or chuck roast, already cooked and presented in one meal – then the leftovers cut up and turned into soup. Leftover gravy from the roast and any leftover vegetables can also be added.
**
Here is another old recipe called SKINNY SOUP for the simple reason that it’s made up mostly of vegetables, some high fiber, with a little leftover turkey meat, chopped up – if you have it on hand. If not, leave it out. It will be fewer calories.

SKINNY SOUP

To make SKINNY SOUP, you will need:

3 stalks celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 sweet onion, diced
½ head cabbage, sliced
½ pound fresh or frozen cauliflower cut up
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups water
2 cups leftover turkey meat, chopped (optional)
1 46-oz can tomato juice, preferably low sodium
2 TBSP fresh dill or 1 tsp dried
2 TBSP fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

Prepare all vegetables. Use a large soup pot. Add all vegetables, turkey (if using), water, tomato juice and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered 45 minutes to an hour or until vegetables reach your desired tenderness. Top with Parmesan cheese when presenting in a soup bowl. Makes 10 servings.

LISA’S THREE INGREDIENT VEGETABLE SOUP

This recipe was sent to me by Lisa, a penpal who lives in Ithaca, New York. To make Lisa’s Three Ingredient Vegetable soup, all you will need is:

1 16-OZ pkg Bird’s eye frozen mixed vegetables*
1 46-oz can tomato juice
1 3-oz pkg ramen oriental noodles with beef flavoring

Mix vegetables and tomato juice in a 5 quart pot. Heat to boiling. Add noodles and flavor packet. Simmer 15 minutes; stirring occasionally. 8 servings. What could be easier?

*Sandy’s cooknote: Canned or frozen mixed vegetables are my culinary best friend; I like to keep a lot of them on hand; they’re great in all kinds of soups and stews.

ALL NEW BASIC SOUP

To make ALL NEW BASIC SOUP, you will need:

5 medium carrots cut into 1” slices
3 medium celery stalks, sliced
3 large onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cans (28 oz) tomatoes in juice
1 small head cabbage, sliced thin
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” slices*
2 pkgs (5 oz each) baby spinach leaves (or use 1 10-oz pkg chopped spinach
½ cup fresh parsley or ¼ cup dried parsley
2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
12 cups water

Coat an 8-qt pot with Pam. Over medium-high heat, add carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork or side of a spoon. Add the cabbage, parsnips, bouillon cubes, salt & pepper and water. Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until all vegetables are tender. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Makes about 25 cups.

*Sandy’s cooknote: I am not fond of parsnips. Ditto turnips. I would use a couple of medium size potatoes instead.
**
This next one is titled Mexican Vegetable Soup and appears to be a promotional recipe card from French’s since it called for an envelope of French’s Chili-O Mix. Use a package of what ever chili seasoning mix you prefer.

To make MEXICAN VEGETABLE SOUP, you will need:

2 pounds beef soup meat plus soup bone (if you can find a soup bone nowadays! – back in the day, my childhood, you could get a soup bone from the butcher free)
2 TBSP salad oil
1 envelope chili seasoning mix
6 cups water
1 1-lb can tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 1-lb can cream style corn
1 small summer squash, peeled and sliced

Cut meat in 1” cubes. Brown in oil in soup kettle or Dutch oven type pan. Add chili seasoning mix, water, tomatoes and broth; cover and simmer 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender. Add corn, carrots and squash; cover again and simmer 30 minutes. Remove soup bone. 6-8 servings.

Sandy’s cooknote: If you can’t lay your hands on a soup bone, don’t worry about it. Just leave it out. And if you don’t have any canned beef broth – dissolve 1 or 2 beef bouillon cubes in hot water and use that instead (TIP: Always keep chicken and beef bouillon cubes on hand!)
**
The following is a simple vegetable beef soup that is made with ¾ of a pound of extra lean ground beef. Three quarters of a pound? Why such an odd amount? I would use a pound of ground beef. This recipe would be easy enough to throw together for a quick dinner – ready in an hour; serve with crackers or garlic bread.

VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP

To make VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP, you will need:

3 medium carrots, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, with tops, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
About 3 cups shredded green cabbage (1/2 head)
¾ (or 1 lb) extra lean ground beef
1 quart tomato juice (low sodium if you are watching your salt)
dashes of Tabasco sauce (optional)

Combine carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, cabbage, ground beef (uncooked), salt and pepper in a large soup pot. Add enough water just to cover the vegetables and ground beef. Add tomato juice last and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer at least 1 hour. Meat should be cooked and vegetables tender. Stir soup occasionally to break up the ground beef. Add a few squirts of Tabasco sauce if you want to give it a little zing.
Makes 10 servings.
**

This next recipe contains uncooked broken spaghetti, which is a twist – but reminded me that my sister Becky, whenever she made her clean-out-the-refrigerator-soup, would chop up any leftover spaghetti and add it to the post near the end of cooking time.

To make MULTI-VEGETABLE SOUP you will need:

2 TBSP butter or margarine
2 TBSP cooking oil
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 large onion, chopped
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp salt
8 cups boiling water
1 tsp Accent (optional)
1 can (16 oz) stewed tomatoes
¼ cup uncooked broken spaghetti
½ tsp thyme

Heat the butter or margarine and oil in a pot. Add carrots, zucchini, celery, cabbage and onion; cook uncovered abut 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bouillon cubes, water, salt and Accent (if you are using it) to the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, about 30 minutes. Stir in the stewed tomatoes, spaghetti and thyme. Cook 20 minutes. Serve hot from a tureen. You can serve with a bowl of shredded parmesan cheese- personally, I like to have some hot garlic bread as an accompaniment. Makes about 2 quarts soup.

This next recipe sounds like something someone created when the vegetable garden was overflowing. You could make the soup with or without meat – if without, add a few beef bouillon cubes for flavoring.

To make GRANDMA’S HARVEST SOUP, you will need:

1 ½ pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cubed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and cut up
2 cups tomato juice
2 medium size onions, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp salt (optional)
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 carrots, cleaned and sliced
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
2 cups frozen or fresh green beans
2 cups frozen peas
3 ribs celery, sliced
1 cup sliced butternut squash
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1/8 cup of dried)
1 tsp sugar

In a Dutch oven, brown meat in oil over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, onions, garlic, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.
Now add potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, peas, and celery. Cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Add squash and simmer 10-15 minutes more or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley and sugar. Makes 8-12 servings.

Sandy’s cooknote: Well, I think that’s enough of vegetable soup–it should give you something to work with. Don’t be afraid to use what you have on hand. And when you are chopping up celery or carrots (I like to have the Food Network or Oprah on while I am puttering around in the kitchen), chop extra and freeze it in 1 cup portions in plastic ziplock sandwich bags–then when you are ready to make some soup, you already have some of the ingredients on hand and can just toss them into the pot. My sister Becky used to dump small amounts of leftover vegetables into a large plastic container and kept it in the freezer for making pots of soup.

I’ll work on some pea soup recipes for another post.

Happy Cooking!
Sandy

An Old Recipe Box (a poem)

AN OLD RECIPE BOX

It is an old recipe box,
Perhaps the oldest one I have ever seen,
Made of wood, and covered with stains,
With the name “KARL L. VONDERAHE”
Printed in pencil inside the lid.
Many of the recipes are on cards yellowed with age
While clippings crumble and disintegrate
When touched.
One old recipe card, written in ink,
Is dated 1938, while
Some recipes are, curiously,
Written on old cardboard luggage tags.
There are many different recipes for cakes,
And pickles,
Jellies and jams,
Oftentimes in different handwriting
Which might suggest
The owner of the recipe box requesting
A favorite recipe from a friend.
My niece found the recipe box
At an estate sale in Palm Springs,
Leaving me to imagine
The owner had passed away
And no one wanted this fine
Old recipe box.
When I carefully go through
The contents of the box,
I imagine the previous owner
Going through it
Searching for a favorite recipe for
Pecan pie
Or molasses taffy,
Armenian meatballs
Or
Mabel’s ham loaf.
It’s all here,
In the recipe box.

–Sandra Lee Smith
August, 2009

WASHING DISHES

WASHING DISHES

Thank God For Dirty Dishes
Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We’re eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn’t want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God’s been very good to us.
–Author unknown

WASHING DISHES

When I was about four years old
Jim would have been seven and
Becky eight going-on-nine,
It was our chore to do the dishes
After dinner every night.
Becky washed;
Jim dried,
And I put away the dishes, pots and pans
And silverware
My sister bought song books
For ten cents each
At the drug store on Carl Street.
In them were printed
All the popular songs
For the month,
And my sister propped
The song book
Behind the faucet,
So we could memorize
All the words
To all of the songs
Being sung or
Played on the radio.
We must have memorized
Hundreds of songs
And it made the time
Go by quickly.
I have wonderful memories
Of the three of us
Doing dishes together.

–Sandra Lee Smith

WASHING DISHES #2

It has never been unpleasant to me,
Washing dishes after dinner,
Hot soapy water in the sink,
My Fiesta Ware rinsed and stacked
On the counter to my left,
Ready to be washed,
Leftovers put away
In little plastic containers,
And the table cleared.
There was an orderliness about it all,
The final ritual to the evening meal.
In Arleta the kitchen sink
Was in a corner overlooking
The backyard where I could see
The bird feeder and the many
Feathered friends that visited us every day.
There was a triangular ledge
Above the sink
Where my blue glass was on display.
It was a time for contemplation
And deep thoughts,
While I washed and rinsed the dishes
And put them on a rack to air-dry.
I still have the Fiesta Ware dishes
And the blue glass is above the sink
But there isn’t a window looking out
Into the yard
I do miss that.

–Sandra Lee Smith
July, 2009

MUSTARD (a poem)

MUSTARD

For some reason that I no longer can recall,
I once bought a big gallon jar of mustard; this
Must have been sometime in 1993, perhaps,
Perhaps we had a big BBQ party or I bought it
For the 1993 Christmas holidays,
Or the mustard was on sale at a good price.
It had been opened and being such a big jar,
Was stored in the refrigerator in the laundry room
On Arleta Avenue.
Early one morning, on January 17, at 4:30 AM,
we were awakened by an earthquake that shook the house,
And as I stood in the doorway of my bedroom,
I could hear things falling, glass breaking.
When the shaking stopped, I called out to my brother
Who had been visiting us and was sleeping in Bob’s room
While Bob shared mine.
There was no electricity and it was before dawn
So Bob went in search of flashlights and his camping lanterns.
We began to assess the damage while my brother
Continued his preparations for a flight out of Los Angeles to
Oakland that morning.
He soon left in his rental car but would discover that
LAX was closed down until it could be inspected,
So he retrieved the rental car and drove to John Wayne Airport
Where he caught a flight to Oakland and
Was on time for a meeting.
Meantime, we discovered thousands of books
And jars of jelly had fallen in the spare bedroom
And would take hours to tidy up.
Bob brought in a trash can and we began
Sweeping up broken glass.
We were dumbstruck to discover
That none of the cookie jars had broken
With the exception of two lids
That had jumped off a bookshelf
And crashed to the floor.
It was not until much later that I opened
The door to the laundry room refrigerator
And the gallon jar of mustard (along with other things)
Fell out and landed on the floor.
The mustard fell with such force that
The lid flew off and mustard sprayed
With great velocity
All over the laundry room; the walls
And ceiling and floor were covered with mustard.
It took a great deal of time to clean it all up
But the stains on the ceiling would never come off.
In the pantry jars and cans had fallen
And anything made of glass had broken
Including jars of liqueurs I was brewing.
It was an overwhelming smell
But nothing, no nothing
Could compare with all the yellow mustard
On floor, ceiling, walls.
I have never even liked mustard
Very much
And now I liked it even less.
I never bought a gallon of mustard ever again.

–Sandra Lee Smith
Remembering January 17, 1994

Postscript: The damage from the Northridge Earthquake was widespread and entire Buildings collapsed in Northridge, about 12 miles west of us. We soon had electricity, Never lost our gas or water and for about a week, friends and friends’ children would call and ask if they could come and take a shower at my house. They would bring their own towels and soap; we had a steady parade of shower-takers until their utilities were restored. There was damage to a freeway overpass and a motorcycle policeman was killed where the overpass had separated. It had not even occurred to me or my brother that the 405 freeway might not have been safe to drive on but he continued on his way and along with other would-be travelers planning to head out of LAX, went to another airport that was unaffected by the earthquake. I was reminded of the mustard for years afterwards, until Bob finally painted the ceiling and walls to the laundry room.
**

My Favorite Food (a poem)

MY FAVORITE FOOD

Chocolate is my favorite food, why
Goodness can’t you see?
Without chocolate what a dismal
World that this would be?
Give me chocolate day or night,
For any kind of snack
I’ll take chocolate any time
I have a crave attack.
Give me chocolate mousse, or pie,
Or any chocolate cake!
Covered up with chocolate frosting,
What ever you can make!
Chocolate ice cream! Brownies too!
A Chocolate Hershey bar!
Make a chocolate fruitcake and
It will be a star!
Chocolate Pudding! Chocolate Fudge!
Chocolate Linzer Torte!
Or a Chocolate Russe Royale,
Like they serve at Court!
Chocolate Sheet Cake, Texas Style!
Chocolate Fondue too!
Chocolate covered ‘tater chips
Will put the pounds on you!
Chocolate custard! Crème Fraiche!
Chocolate Muffins–yes!
Or hot chocolate late at night!
Chocolate is the best!
I love chocolate toffee!
Or a chocolate caramel bar!
Chocolate chips right from the bag
Will really take you far!
Chocolate doughnuts! Chocolate waffles!
Or Fudgy Chocolate Sauce!
Whatever you can put it in,
CHOCOLATE IS THE BOSS!

–Sandra Lee Smith

FEEDING HUNGER (a poem)

Feeding Hunger

How do we begin to justify
Hunger of the masses
When we have so much,
And so much is wasted?
My refrigerator is full
As is the pantry;
You can’t get another vegetable
Or pieces of fruit
Or box of cereal
On the shelves.
The children arrive
And know where to find
Juice boxes and bags of chips
To snack on.
The freezer is filled
With frozen bricks of various soups.
We could go, I estimate,
Six months without
Buying groceries.
We eat well
With little waste
But I was well trained
To economize.
Even so,
Much goes to waste
And I think about my mother’s warning
About the starving children
In Europe.
Now China
Or Asia
Or Africa.
Children have been starving somewhere
All of my life.
Yet
Farmers pour milk into ditches
And burn crops.
Feed the Hungry, we are urged.
Millions are at risk of Starvation. You can help.
Eighty Cents a Day can Change a Life forever.
Sponsor a child today!
And yet
Though I sponsor a child
And donate dollars to organizations,
Millions continue to starve
While farmers continue to destroy crops.
What difference will it make
If I throw out a crust of bread?
Who cares?
Who really cares?

-Sandra Lee Smith
January 31, 2009