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bait and switch

I don’t have anything for you to eat today. Life is a little full. I am stockpiling things for the moment (and it is bound to present itself) when things calm down a hair: vegetable soup with dumplings, cranberry muffins, and other delights.
But I won’t leave you entirely hungry until then. 
I have been teaching a food-writing workshop for adults with special needs, and it is more fun than anyone should be allowed to have (for me, anyway).  Each week, I bring in a poem to read aloud before we begin, and this is the one I’ll be reading to them tomorrow.  It speaks to the same nodding mechanism as Michael Ruhlmann‘s wonderful essay, but is much easier to learn by heart, to have at the ready when anyone dares question why you make such a fuss over food
   
The Clean Plater
Some singers sing of ladies’ eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And course ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Food,
Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food.

Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
But there’s nothing the matter with butter,
And nothing the matter with jam,
And the warmest greetings I utter
To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they’re food,
All food,
And I think very fondly of food.
Through I’m broody at times
When bothered by rhymes,
I brood
On food.

Some painters paint the sapphire sea,
And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play,
But most, the female form.
Twas trite in that primeval dawn
When painting got its start,
That a lady with her garments on
Is Life, but is she Art?
By undraped nymphs
I am not wooed;
I’d rather painters painted food.
Food,
Just food,
Just any old kind of food.

Go purloin a sirloin, my pet,
If you’d win a devotion incredible;
And asparagus tips vinaigrette,
Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple,
A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple,
As long as it’s something to eat.
If it’s food,
It’s food;
Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
On food. 

–Ogden Nash
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