Thoughts on Food/Food for Thought

In our most recent Creative Writing ZOOM class, sponsored by New Horizons Senior Center, the prompt was the topic “fun.” I wrote a jingle (below) and my writing friend Helen wrote about her experience of cooking with her daughter-in- law’s family. Here is an excerpt from Helen’s essay that could be called “Family Fun with Food” or “Fun in the Kitchen.” For Helen,  the kitchen is her sanctuary, as she notes below. I am posting this because many people dislike to cook, and I think one of the reasons is that it is generally a solitary activity, unlike what Helen describes.  Thanx, Helen!
(P.S. I put in bold my favorite part and the photo of a Vietnamese food buffet is from the internet.)

My Funs* by Helen Lu


* Helen also wrote about travel fun, so I left her Title: My Funs (Helen’s word), perfect for Helen’s complete essay!)

My older son Henry has a large house with a big back yard and an outdoor pool in West Chester County.  His wife Linda’s two sisters and their families live close by. When their parents visit Henry’s house, they have a family dinner gathering. They never do potluck dinner. They cook Cambodian or Vietnamese dishes on that day.

Linda’s mother does the cooking. Linda and her two sisters do the food preparation. When they have a family gathering, David and I are invited to join them. I am always pleased to go and jump to the work force as soon as I arrive there. I take my assignment to prepare food for their mother to cook.

I find the sound of chopping, cutting, sizzling, kettle’s hissing, pot’s clanking…amusing. It calms my mind. My mouth is watering from the aromatic stewing pot. My hands burn from the hot pepper. I swallow my saliva from the sour lemon juice. However, the kitchen is my sanctuary.

Indeed, I always learn something from their conversation among the siblings, children and grandchildren in the kitchen or at the dining table.


Joy vs Fun by ellensue

My having fun has been replaced
With finding JOY at a measured pace:

Taking walks
Reading books
Never minding
How something looks.


 Planting flowers
Breathing deep
Staying in touch
With no promises to keep.

 Doing a chore
That seems inane,
Like cleaning a closet
To keep me sane.

Having fun is very fleeting
Finding joy is worth repeating
If the world is new each morn
Then no need to be forlorn.

Celebrate each day with JOY!
Carry it with you….like precious toy!

P.S. My husband and I love plants and we have very large floor to ceiling windows with many, many plants plus plants on the patio of our apartment. But I still get joy from fresh flowers in a vase that I see as soon as I come into
our cozy kitchen.

Isolation and Revelation by Marie-Louise Meyers

Note: I thought I published this last month, but realized it was only in draft form, so I am publishing it now, especially since Mary Lou recently sent me a photo of her with her new book.

Mary Lou Meyers is my “poet-in-residence.” We both attended Douglass College (part of Rutgers Univ.) but did not meet until our 50th reunion. She lives north of me on a large farm and sends me a poem every day!

Because she lives on a farm, many of her poems are about Nature and the environment, so this review covers both Earth Day and National Poetry Month that happened last month. (However, I celebrate Earth Day Every Day and love  poetry in every month! )Much of her poetry is about the wild animals on her farm, so she is right in tune with the idea of restoring and maintaining the wilderness.

The subtitle is: “A Poet’s Voice Resonates from the Depths of the Pandemic

Mary Lou’s poems tell stories. Many of her poems are long, so she can capture all the aspects of a topic, from growing up to growing old. The book is 8 1/2 by 11″ and almost 450 pages—-massive! Her poetry shows wisdom, insight, and provides “food for thought.” Thanx, Mary Lou!

There are nine chapters in the book:

1) A Rude Awakening                         6) Memories Rebounding
2)The Lock Down                                7) Lag Time
3) Freeze Frame                                   8) The Last Testament
4) Nature’s Nurturing                         9) The Signal Fire
5) Laughter in the best Medicine

Here is an excerpt from a 2 1/4 page poem entitled:

Cut and Paste After Fumigation

Everyone speaks of a New Normal,
but I see a distancing from extravagance,
an insistence on meaning first,
without an extraneous culture that loses Face
so easily and is now disgraced……

It will take some daring,
restoring goodness to its natural place.


Here is an excerpt from one of here wild animal poems, entitled:

Runaway Beaver

I come alone where silence reigns
save for cascading water fro the broken dam….
A young beaver has come across the road
from the reservoir to settle in our pond…

The beaver knows nothing of dreams,
only what he sees and hears
Once comforting murmurs from his mother disappeared,
he tunes into birdsong filling the woods,
Spring Peepers when the day dawns clear and sunny,
only the Great Blue Heron steeped in prayers
on the embankment holds his attention long….

Earth Day Fifty Years Later
(One of my favorites, written for the anniversary at the beginning of COVID-19 es)

It seemed right and proper once
to establish an alliance between Earth and Sky
so Humankind might abide in the quality of Life.
Let them not be defiled, but pure and reconciled
with Mankind the winner in the end.
When Covid-19 entered the scene with social distancing
in just over a month, according to the Today Show:
green house emissions were reduced by 5%:
The purity of the air in Los Angeles, the best in the nation:
the majestic peaks of Kilimanjaro can be seen from Bombay.

Coyotes and deer are roaming the vacant streets of Chicago,
rats are starving and resorting to cannibalism.
A new clarity of Vision might be born,
the problem is just when you think it’s all about the environment,
a new scene is both to sanitize your toilet called poop pourri,
and all the good intentions seem to be flushed down the drain
for the sake of the entrepreneur who named it, and makes the most
of the titillating and sensational claims. Haven’t we learned
in 50 years what should come first in our Universe?
Don’t let the Rain Forest disappear with its Native Inhabitants!

(Hang your clothes out if you are able, a voice within me says,
the sun is the best disinfectant bar none.
A small plot of vegetables gives satisfaction and worth.
Labor-saving devices can actually make us slaves
instead of the freeing effects of a breeze.)

This is the cover of my clothesline book which discusses the positive economical and ecological benefits of clotheslines. Available from Amazon.

Mary Lou’s book is available from Amazon for $20 paperback and $9.50 on Kindle.

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