Not every mushroom is safe to eat, by Jorge Leiva Ardana

Not every mushroom is safe to eat

Whenever you switch on the telly
there are always people cooking.
You come home with an empty belly,
in a blink they have finished a pudding.

They cook from home, Mexico or Brittany,
their food doesn’t burn or get soggy.
Like Beethoven composing a symphony,
while yours is rejected by the doggy.

With sharper knives than a two edge sword,
plenty of gadgets you can’t afford.
All you have is a ruined frying pan
that sticks when heating up a can.

Using fancy ingredients like tamarind or tahini,
but in the store they’ve run out of tapioca.
What’s the difference between courgette and zucchini?
why do some call it yuca and others mandioca?

Why your stew doesn’t look like theirs?
Why in yours there is always hair?
What are the benefits of Himalayan salt?
Is that flavoursome for what it cost?

Without the necessary piece of advice,
no cooking lesson is ever complete,
so you won’t end up paying the price.
Mind you, not every mushroom is safe to eat.

Jorge Leiva is from South Spain and has been on the waiting list for a tonsillectomy since he was a child. Some of his work has appeared in Skylight 47 Magazine, The Galway Advertiser, Drawn to the light press, Headstuff.org, Dodging the Rain and 2 Meter Review. In 2019 he was long listed in the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition.

 

Never eat shellfish, by Janet Sillett

Never eat shellfish

My aunt, nothing like my mother,
used me as a sounding board, captured,
ten years old, in her stifling kitchen,
smelling of chicken soup
and terror

I was licking the cake bowl dry,
she proclaiming
that the Russians sent bad weather,
on purpose
tell your father that, the commie,
insisting I pray for Israel,
and that I must never eat shellfish
on pain of death from God

My aunt, never one for irony, was firm
that I should trust my instincts
and be myself,
but even then, I thought being myself
might mean downing small pink shrimps
from seaside stalls,
striped in pink sweet rock colours

I should shun men with slinky hips, especially
those with guitars
I had never met one of these wonders
but from then on, I would look for them on every street corner

Be careful what you wish for
I wished for Cadbury’s dairy milk,
and that her daughter,
younger than me, whose life’s work was snitching,
would be kidnapped to a desert island,
clutching her Hebrew scriptures
as her book of choice

Things happen for a reason,
I knew she meant
bad things,
as I mixed chopped fish in her yellow cracked dish

My father died later that year

My aunt was a lodestar
a beacon to what not to do,
an upside down road map
from childhood to flimsy maturity

In middle age, diagnosed depressive,
I missed her declarations
In old age, visiting my dying mother,
she picked wild flowers for her bedside

Janet Sillett recently took up writing poetry and short fiction again after decades of absence. She has had a poem published in the Galway Advertiser and is about to have her first flash fiction piece published in Litro. She works for a think tank.

 

The World Has Run Out of Curry, by Nigel Lloyd

The World Has Run Out Of Curry

It came to my attention last night that the world has run out of curry
I woke up this morning in a cold sweat with my head all full of worry
The one I had last Friday may have been my last
I never thought that curry would be a thing of the past.

What am I going to do without my Vindaloo?
There’s only so much pepper you can add to Irish stew
I am thinking of all the plain food and how to pep it up a bit
I hope they haven’t run out of chillies or were really in the shit.

There’s no more Biryani, no more Keema Nan
The spice suppliers have closed their warehouse
and sold their fleet of vans
There’s no more Tikka Masala, no more Beef Madras
The government have declared a state of emergency
And the Pope has cancelled mass.

There’s talk of foreign countries
Going to invade in our weakened state
The news channel headlines refer to Tandoori Gate
All the politicians are keen to show they care
There’s even a Curry Crisis Celebrity Special
Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

I am really starting to panic now with all these thoughts I’ve had
I reach over and wake my wife and tell her things are bad
I wait for her reply as the news given might sound odd
She said “go back to sleep there’s plenty of curry
You dreamt it you silly old sod”.

Nigel Lloyd lives in rural Donegal and has had poems published in several magazines
From Crannog to Progressive Rock Magazine, he also had a poem featured on
BBC Radio Ulster Soundscapes programme and was a finalist in the
Bring your Limericks to Limerick competition 2018 and a finalist in
The Piano Academy of Ireland Limerick competition 2021.

www.nigellloydpoet.com

 

Quark, by Trisha Broomfield

Quark

Mum is on a diet, is always on a diet
today’s wonder ingredient, low calorie Quark.
‘Come on,’ she says,
wicker shopper over one arm,
‘we’re going down to Budgen’s.’
I pull on my boots

we reach the chill counter
via the Walnut Whips, Mum searches,
cream cheese with or without chives
cottage cheese, with or without most things,
Lancashire, Wensleydale, Cheddar
Edam and Gouda, no Quark

Toby, who went my school, stands
dreamily replenishing stocks of hazelnut yoghurt,
Mum approaches, ‘Quark?’
Toby, nonplussed, bends his six foot frame, silently,
Mum, thinking him hard of hearing, repeats
at volume, ‘Quark! Quark!’

Her mouth lost for words
she searches for gestures to express her need
I backtrack to Walnut Whips,
Toby’s eyes glossily imply that nothing in his brief training
has equipped him to deal with a woman
who thinks she is a duck.

Trisha has had three pamphlets published by Dempsey and Windle. She is a regular contributor to Surrey Libraries Poetry Blog and has a regular poetry spot on her local radio. Humour escapes from her work regardless of any constraints applied. https://www.facebook.com/Trisha-Broomfield-Poetry-2340859049276291

 

Party Buffet by Julia D McGuinness

Regimented in rows on black plastic trays:
Chiselled slopes of Mother’s Pride,
seamed with slivers of skin-tone ham;
escaping screes of grated cheese;
flotsam of tomato pips.
A lurking crisp skirts a wilt of lettuce.

Sausage rolls heaped in cairns;
hump-backed celery stooped in tumblers.
Acne of broccoli speckles a wan-faced quiche
eye-balled by a mound of Scotch eggs.
Coronation chicken: a meat-pebble
swirl in a nicotine-stain of lava.

Batons of carrot, cucumber are stacked
for a drag in pots of off-white pulp.
Flaking filo parcels squeeze oozes
of tawny sludge: the Vegetarian Option.
Tucked sly in a mattress of baps,
grey-yellow egg-yolk waits to coat teeth.

For these, we have queued.

Julia D McGuinness is a writer, counsellor and writing for wellbeing practitioner based near Chester. She has written 4 non-fiction books and her poetry has been published online. Her first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, was published last year by Poetry Space.

 

The Cheesemonger by Leanne Moden

From Timbuktu to Amsterdam
Everyone loves Parmasan
And you know, there’s nothing sweller
Than creamy piles of Mozzarella.

See, every honest devotee
Swears there’s always time for Brie.
And you could boost your low morale
With just a sniff of Emmental.

For cubic cheese, there’s nothing better
Than squares of crumbly Grecian Feta.
Trust me now, you’ve really gotta
Taste the taste of smooth Ricotta.

The expert and the amateur
Can share a runny Camembert
While others exercise their molars
With tonnes and tonnes of Gorgonzola.

But, though this list is less than roomy,
There’s still some space for fresh Halloumi.
And, if you want my testimony,
Nothing beats a Mascarpone.

Just don’t forget (I beg you please!)
The lumpy joy of Cottage Cheese.
And, when you can, seek to pursue
Squeaky blobs of warm Fondue.

Many cheeses are critque-less,
Even so, there’s one cheese weakness:
So, in your choices, be robust –
And never eat the processed stuff!

Leanne Moden is a poet from Nottingham. She has performed all around the UK, including sets at Trinity College Cambridge, the Nottingham Poetry Festival, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, the Royal Albert Hall and Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

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