Les Fauves*: New Poetry Book by Barbara Crooker

January 17th, 2018

Poetry is the natural prayer of the human soul. ___ Rilke


I love poetry, probably because you have to compress all your thought into a small space. I collect poetry books, and I suspect this one will be added to my growing shelf of poetry books. I consider myself a “rhymnast,” a gymnast with words. But Barbara is a true poet and three of her favorite poems printed here from her new book are perfect examples of her talent. (I especially like “Scrimshaw” because I also live in Pennsylvania.)



~Henri Matisse

The last line of the poem is also Matisse’s
“From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands
I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like
a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.”

Henri Matisse


This hillside’s the shade of grape soda,

lawn an ooze of electric jaundice,

and the sky’s a violet slither. The red,

blue, and green trees are dancing, supple

and sinuous, and the leaves are singing, a riot

of light. He squeezed out red-orange like plastic

explosives. Painting is an act of belief.




So, I live in Pennsylvania, home of potato filling, cabbage slaw,

shoofly pie, apple butter, scrapple, red beet eggs, hog maw,

solid starchy stuff. But when I want to go wild, overdraw

my account, then I fly to Paris, change to a black lace bra,

matching panties. Stop at a bistro, eat oysters in the raw

with brown bread, unsalted butter, wine the color of pale straw,

then stroll down a leafy street, wander gardens I could draw

if I had talent. For a country girl, this is shock and awe:

even a folded napkin, a work of art. I’m sure there are flaws,

but I can’t see them. I prefer Pépé le Peu to Quick Draw McGraw,

Gérard Dépardieu to Brad Pitt, Isabelle Hupert to Kate Capshaw,

coq au vin to KFC, Bain de Soleil to Coppertone, scofflaw

that I am. Ray Charles said, Tell your mama, tell your pa

I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas,

but I don’t want to go there, or to Utah or Omaha.

I want to stay in Paris for that je ne sais quoi.





Sugar maples, little fires in the trees, every blazing gradation

of orange to red, and this makes me think of you, the way

you press the long length of your body against me, the heat

seeping through flannel, my own private furnace. If my hands

and feet had a color, it would be blue. From November

until May, I cannot get warm. Even my bones have cores

of ice. But you are a house on fire, an internal combustion

system, Sriracha sauce/jalapeño poppers/Thai curry. I stay up

late, read until you’re asleep, so I can slip my icy feet, frozen

toes under the smoldering log of your torso. Even in the dark,

you radiate. I am a cold front, a polar low coming down

from the arctic. And you, why you, you’re the sun.


*Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a group of early twentieth-century modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1904 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1905–1908, and had three exhibitions.[1][2] The leaders of the movement were André Derain and Henri Matisse, whose members shared the use of intense color as a vehicle for describing light and space, and who redefined pure color and form as means of communicating the artist’s emotional state.
(Source: Wikipedia.com)

The Color of Carrots: A Nutritional Nugget

January 13th, 2018


I am starting 2018 with a nugget I just read about in a 14-page supplement called “Spry Living,” published by parade.com, which comes with our newspaper. I chose this one  because it is about multi-colored carrots, and since I recently posted a recipe using these carrots, I decided to work backwards, that is, recent items and then older clippings gathering “crumbs” onmy coffee-table-tuend shelf. (Link to my Colorful Roasted Carrots recipe:http://www.menupause.info/archives/21535).

NOTE: Words in BOLD can be found in the Glossary (www.menupause.info/glossary)

According to Anna Taylor, resistered dietitian, who wrote the blurb in “Spry Living,”carrots are filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber,whatever their color, but each color has a slightly different profile:

  1. Orange Carrots:  These are high in beta carotene, considered a possible antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cancer.
  2. Yellow Carrots: In addition to beta carotene, these carrots have lutein, which many researchers link to eye health.
  3. Red Carrots: These contain vitamin C to boost your immune system, vitamin 6 for your brains, potassium (a counterbalance to sodium), and biotin to strengthen nails.
  4. Purple Carrots: These are high on anthocyanins, which may reduce both inflammation and obesity.
  5. White Carrots: While they lack the nutrient-rich ingredients in colored carrots, these are nutritious in that they add fiber to aid digestion.

I also wanted to see if raw carrots are nutrtionally better for us than cooked carrots, since most literature tells us that cooking destroys many nutrients. In an internet tidbit listing The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry as the source, cooking carrots increases the level of beta-carotene, but in another article in that journal I quote the beginning of the facts: (Click on the link below the quote for the full story.)

“Cooking is crucial to our diets. It helps us digest food without expending huge amounts of energy. It softens food, such as cellulose fiber and raw meat, that our small teeth, weak jaws and digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle. And while we might hear from raw foodists that cooking kills vitamins and minerals in food (while also denaturing enzymes that aid digestion), it turns out raw vegetables are not always healthier…..” (Fact or Fiction: Raw Veggies are Healthier than Cooked Ones …https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/)

My common sense “take” on all of this is that we can eat both raw and cooked, more raw in warm weather, and more cooked in cold weather. Another way is to cook some veggies in the oven (roasting them) and serving them on a bed of dark greens. Then you get the best of both cooked and raw!