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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

Poems and Parodies

March 17, 2008

St. Paddy's Day Song Parody

If you didn't already know, I'm a pretty big geek. I love obscure trivia, etymology, Latin, fantasy and science fiction novels, role playing games, collecting quirky cookbooks, and strange, slow moving foreign films. Or does all that make me a nerd? I'm not certain.

In any case, I also really love parody. Weird Al makes me laugh, and occasionally I'm moved to try my hand at creating new lyrics for popular songs. I've been waiting for a really long time to post this St. Patrick's Day version that I wrote last year...

You Cooked Me All Night Long

An AC/DC song from the point of view of a corned beef*

She's a cuisine machine
She keeps her kitchen clean
She makes the best damn meals that I've ever seen

She has shiny knives
and she's taking lives
Freakin' me out, when she minces up chives

She unwraps me bare
I take a gasp of air
She brings me to a simmer like she just doesn't care

Now the cabbage is shakin'
The 'taters are quakin'
My flesh is achin'
And the soda bread's bakin'

And you,
cooked me all, night long
Yeah you,
cooked me all, night long

Working double time
on the production line
She gives the pepper a grind
Blends up some mustard and thyme

Creates a horseradish sauce
to augment the main course
She'll make a meal out of me, and come back for more

Had to cool me down
And then she passed me round
I was placed in a ring
With veg and other things

Now the salt is flakin'
Guests' thirsts they're slakin'
Everybody's partakin'
Corned beef's as tasty as steak

And you,
Cooked me all night long
Yeah you,
Cooked me all night long

* Please note that the Irish don't actually eat much of corned beef, it's actually an Irish-American tradition. In Ireland, it's more common to eat bacon or other pork products along with cabbage and potatoes.

February 28, 2008

Contest Winning Poems from Mary's Restaurant's at the Inn at Baldwin Creek

Each year, Mary's Restaurant at the Inn at Baldwin Creek runs a romantic poetry contest leading up to Valentine's Day. Poems may be of any style or meter, but must be composed at the restaurant -- no crib sheets allowed. Owner Linda Harmon says that they typically receive nearly 200 entries. Whew! Usually Author Chris Bohjalian wades through the entires and plucks out the finest offerings, but this year he was unavailable. The honor went to a regular customer, instead.

According to Chef-Owner Doug Mack, some years the poems lean towards the hot & heavy, other years they're super sweet and romantic. How about this year? Mack noticed that many of the love poems were addressed to food, rather than to other people. Check out the 2nd and 3rd prize winners, for examples.


Here are the top three. I transcribed them from handwritten versions as written (with ampersands, punctuation, spelling exactly as is).

You Weren't Supposed to Be
by Chad Whittemore of Burlington

I never thought I'd meet you and then
I saw you there
You had an amazing smile and a special
kind of flare
Your eyes were true & honest
Your heart an open book
With each word you whispered you
had me by a hook
We took it slow and as you know
our love it surely grew
Without a doubt you know without
my love for you is true
I looked 35 years to find the love
I have with you today
To think I thought the love
we share would never come
my way.
I said back then a love
like ours wasn't meant
to be
But there you stood &
Stole my heart & you &
I became we!

Ode to Garlic Soup
by Hillary Sherman & Erik Van Hauer of Burlington

I'm here with someone else you see
It simply isn't meant to be
but every time you touch my lip
I find I crave for one more sip

You're tickling deep inside my chest
a feeling that I find the best
You're absolutely tops to spoon
and when you're around I always swoon.

I may be heading home with him
but he knows where these lips have been
When we grow close he doth recoil
At poignant scent of garlic oil

When you put my love to the test
It's garlic soup that I love the best

by Catherine LaBarre of Bristol

The roses were orange
the olives were Greek
there's nothing we enjoy more
than the Inn at Baldwin Creek

January 13, 2008

Gael Greene's Predictions For 2008

If you keep up on what's happening in the world of food, you're sure to love this list of funny predictions by the "Insatiable" Gael Greene, who served as New York Magazine's food critic for over 30 years, is known for wearing really big hats, and famously slept with Elvis and Clint Eastwood (not at the same time) as well as a cadre of celebrity chefs. She also co-founded Citymeals-On-Wheels, a service that delivers meals to the homebound elderly.

I discovered the list -- which is on the Insatiable Critic website -- while catching on up on my post-holiday reading.

Here are some of Ms. Greene's predictions for 2008:

"New York Dining Trends"

"Restaurants will staff roving dining “tutors” to stop by each table with a five minute “Tabletalk” on the provenance of each ingredient on the menu. Before ordering, you will be quizzed on the content."

"Conceptual Dining will become the rage.  The pleasure derived from the dish is found in its description alone.  The dish, in fact, does not exist.  A small fee will be charged." [I think this one might be my favorite].

"Small Plates will give way to no plates, a trend for even healthier portion control.  All food will be served on oak leaves, in clam shells or onto your outstretched palm."

"New Products"

"Boutique chocolate will be labeled with the production date and the chocolatier’s license and cell phone numbers. Chocolate tastings will be widely promoted, as well as the usual What to Drink with Chocolate selected by chocoholics."

You can find the rest of them here.


I was really happy to discover this list, in part because it made me laugh, but also because I recently wrote my own list of predictions for 2008. I suppose it's validating to learn that you've independently thought of doing something that a person at the tip-top of your profession has also thought of. Unless you're Missy Chase Lapine and your profession is sneaking spinach into kiddie food.

Here are my Vermont-y versions...I forwarded the current one to Ms. Greene this afternoon.

Eat, Drink and Be Wary: Second Edition (2008)
Eat, Drink and Be Wary (2007)

January 10, 2008

Sendak's Chicken Soup With Rice

51fwc29sr3l_ss400_ Maurice Sendak is probably best known for Where the Wild Things Are. But as a youngster, I had a much deeper affection for a miniature set of Sendak books called "The Nutshell Library." Of the four tiny books, my favorites were Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue and the yummy Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months.

When I learned today that January is "National Soup Month," the silly, sing-songy jingle of CSWR was the first thing that popped into my head.

Here are a couple of my favorite months...

In January it's so nice,
while slipping on the sliding ice,
To sip hot chicken soup with rice.
Sipping once, sipping twice,
sipping chicken soup with rice...

In June I saw a charming group
of roses all begin to droop.
I pepped them up with chicken soup!
Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice,
sprinkle chicken soup with rice...

In September for a while,
I will ride a crocodile
Down the chicken soup-y Nile.
Paddle once, paddle twice,
paddle chicken soup with rice...

Just for the record, Seven Days does NOT advocate pouring chicken soup on flowers or drinking from the Nile.

Wanna see the whole poem? Thanks to Carole King, who turned the story into a song, you can find it here.

December 05, 2007

It's Fun to Write Limericks! (Culinary Poetry Contest Details)

Have an amusing thought about a restaurant you've visited? Love reading cookbooks and gastronomic magazines? Pick up a farm share every week? If any of these conditions apply, you should enter our food-themed limerick and haiku writing contest.

The jingles can be about anything you want, as long as some form of nourishment is mentioned.

Email your creations to [email protected]. Entries must be received by December 12. The cream of the crop will be printed on December 19.

Forgotten how the poems go? Here’s a sample:

In Vermont we can’t grow citrus fruits
Cold weather slays all tender shoots
We live on potatoes
And dream of tomatoes
Thank goodness for edible roots.

Runny golden yolks
Creamy hollandaise, croissant
Breakfast perfection

The prize for the Seven Days’ staff fave? Breakfast for two at Chef’s Corner!

November 09, 2007

Food Poetry: Persimmons by Li-Young Lee

I ate a Hachiya persimmon the other day and it made me think of this poem. The first time I ever tried one, I didn't know how to tell whether or not it was ripe, and the fruit had the most astringent, mouth-drying effect I've ever experienced.

Now I know to wait until the fruit feels like pudding inside of its bright orange skin, which, by the  time it is ripe, may be dotted with black.

Lee's poem is full of memories. One of them is of an American teacher who served an unripe persimmon to her class.

Due to copyright laws, I must excerpt poems and link to sites that have the full text.

Li-Young Lee

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one

will be fragrant...

Read the whole thing on the Poetry Foundation's Website

November 01, 2007

Food Poetry: Crazy About Her Shrimp (re-posted)

(I am reposting an earlier entry, but with changes -- I excerpted the poem and linked to it instead of posting the whole thing.)

When I was a very young yet voracious reader, my favorite passages in books were always the dinner scenes. Give me a crackling fire and a holiday feast to luxuriate in and I'm happy as the proverbial clam. As I got older, I began to "collect" food poetry, too. The literary potential of fruits, vegetables, meats, even casseroles is nearly endless. Love that's like a rose is so about love that's like a bowl of stew or a pile of dandelion greens?

Anyway, here's a bit of a food-focused poem written by Charles Simic, who was named Poet Laureate earlier this year. I first read it in a modern poetry course at UMass. He also wrote a poem featuring cabbage, but I haven't been able to locate it on the web. I love the title!

Crazy About Her Shrimp
by Charles Simic

We don't even take time
To come up for air.
We keep our mouths full and busy
Eating bread and cheese
And smooching in between.


October 03, 2007

Food Safety Spoofs

In his daily work, Carl Winter, PhD. deals with some pretty serious stuff: toxicology, food borne illnesses, and more. He has testified before Congress about pesticide safety and written papers with titles such as "Characterization of epoxide hydrolase activity in Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici. Possible involvement in toxin production-Epoxide hydrolase in alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici." Huh?

But from the looks of it, Winter has a fun side, too. UC Davis, where Winter works, hosts a webpage filled with his parodies about food safety. These have titles like "Don't Get Sicky Wit It" [to the tune of Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy With It"] and "Clonin' DNA" [to the tune of the Beach Boys "Surfin' U.S.A."]. Although he uses to much jargon in a few of them, some are pretty funny. And it's kind of neat that he plumbs a variety of genres.

Here are some excerpts:

Still Seems Like Food To Me [Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to me]

What's the matter with the food I'm eating
Are you worried that it's modified?
Maybe I should buy my food organic
Till these high-tech fears subside
Inside I tell ya that I'm not so worried honey
Even if Monsanto's makin' lots of money
Roundup ready soy beans
BST and fish genes
It still seems like food to me...

U.S.D.A [Village People, "YMCA"]

People, there’s no need to despair
If you’re worried ‘bout your food, land, and air
I can tell you, there are people who care
There’s no need to be unhappy

People, there’s a place you can go
Where there’s research on how to make your plants grow
And some programs that pay the growers some dough
Even when they don’t plant nothing

It’s fun to work with the U.S.D.A.
It’s fun to work with the U.S.D.A.
They are everything 
An agency can be
They look out for you and me...

I Will Survive [Gloria Gaynor, "I Will Survive"]

I'd listen to the news and I'd be petrified
Another foodborne outbreak, I'd be all torn up inside
But then I spent so many  nights
Worried about what I just ate
Could I be next?
Did I have poisons on my plate?

But now I'm back
From cyberspace
Determined that I won't become a foodborne illness case
I've learned some simple steps
To keep my food all safe for me
And if you do the same
You'll raise your life expectancy

I've got a sign
On my fridge door
Sayin' go away bacteria
Cause you're not welcome anymore
Listeria don't scare me nor does that nasty E. coli
Hey Salmonella?
Did you think I'd lay down and die?

Oh no, not I
I will survive
Oh as long as I am careful with my food I'll stay alive
Cause I've got all my safety plans
I disinfect and wash my hands
And I'll survive, I will survive
Hey, hey...

August 28, 2007

"Weird Al" Loves Food

Unless you're share my predilection for parody and all things gastronomic, you may not have noticed that "Weird Al" Yankovic has an awful lot of songs about food. It wasn't until I cleverly picked up on this trend and threw myself into deep research mode that I learned he'd released a compilation of culinary-themed anthems entitled, "The Food Album (1993)" Here are a few tasty verses to whet your appetites:

Taco Grande (to the tune of Rico Suave by one hit wonder, Gerardo)

So give me something spicy and hot, now
Break out the menu, what you got, now?
Oh, would you tell the waiter I'd like to have sour cream on the side
You better make sure the beans are refried...

Spam (to the tune of "Stand" by REM)

Spam in the place where I live (ham and pork)
Think about nutrition, wonder what's inside it now (oh boy)
Spam in my luchbox at work (it's the best)
Really makes a darn good sandwich any way you slice it at all...

The Rye or the Kaiser (to the glorious strains of Survivor's "The Eye of the Tiger")

Try the rye or the kaiser or the wheat or the white
Maybe I can suggest an appetizer
Stay away from the tuna, it smells funny tonight
But you just can't go wrong with the rye
Or the kaiser...

This one didn't make it onto The Food Album, but it's just as scrumptious nevertheless:

My Bologna (to the tune of "My Sharona" by The Knack)

Ooh, my little hungry one, hungry one
Open up a package of my bologna
Ooh, I think the toast is done, the toast is done
Top it with a little of my bologna

Some dude who is not Weird Al has collected the lyrics to all of his songs (that's where I found the above), including a bunch of unreleased ones. Who knows how he got his hands on them. Here are some titles of ones we might see in the future: Avocado (Desperado, The Eagles),  Chicken Pot Pie (Live and Let Die, Guns 'n' Roses),  Don't You Forget About Meat (I better not have to tell you) and Gravy on You (Crazy on You, Heart).

Here's a little contest for you...this is the chorus of an unreleased Weird Al parody of a famous song. Can you guess the song?

Burger King
What's the price for fries
I'll take the jumbo size
I need fast food tonight

If you're really lucky, I may share some of my own gastro-parodies in the about you?
(By "Weird Al" Yankovic)

Feed me now!

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