Tanka 32

Preparing dinner
you follow the recipes
your mother gave you
when you left home. The kitchen
chases away loneliness.


clay tile, 4" x 4", 2016.

clay tile, 4″ x 4″, 2016.


18 thoughts on “Tanka 32

  1. My mother wasn’t much for cooking so I didn’t have this – I taught myself, pretty much. In this poem, I am the mother and I had made a whole set of recipe cards for my son when he left home, and I hoped it would make him feel at home in his new place.

  2. Funny how something as small as a recipe card can be such a memory-holder, and then when you make the recipe and serve it and eat it, you participate in it again.

  3. I didn’t get direct coaching from my mother but I still remember stirring the gravy for her and how she prepared things…in fact food memories in general come up in the kitchen such as how one of my grandmothers put brown sugar on hot oatmeal (something my mother didn’t make) … I imagine those recipe cards sent strong feelings of care with your son

  4. I love that idea of hand-me-down recipes and kitchen skills being a connection to people and memory. In my case it was my grandfather who taught me to cook except he never used recipes so I learned to be an intuitive cook who rebels against using recipes. It drives my husband nuts but even when I follow a recipe I insist on changing it up or measuring things by eye rather than being accurate. It is why I am not a great baker, that lack of precision. Funnily enough, there are certain aromas – especially combinations of spices – that never fail to make me think of my cherished grandfather.

  5. I learned things from my grandmother, who taught me to follow a recipe and then adapt it, and I still do it today. You are right, cooking is a connection, and usually a good one, to people in our past.

  6. Cooking is a connection. I don’t have recipe cards from my mom. I wrote down “recipes,” and we have family recipes–the way we make matzoh balls, our cranberry squirrel, etc.

  7. The sense of smell and taste are powerful anchors for memory. Inevitable that certain smells & tastes take us back to a a core memory/sense of home . Even those foods that we did not care for much will bring us back to an emotion tied to time & place.

  8. Yes, it is true. People underrate the importance of these senses compared to the others, but they have a sneaky way about them in how they influence thinking.

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