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My Grandmother's Cookbook
Marsha Foss


By the window with lace curtains,
she sits at her desk
and takes a lined composition book from the shelf.
Dipping her pen
into the bottle of blue ink, she thinks
for only a moment.

In her elegant hand, she writes:
"Carefully cut out all shot.
Wash thoroughly but quickly,
using soda in the water;
rinse and dry with a clean cloth.”

She blots the page and ponders
her next instruction for preparing
roast partridge, pheasant, quail, or grouse.

“Stuff the birds and sew up.
Skewer legs and wings to the body,
larder the breast with very thin slices
of fat salt pork, place them in the oven,
and baste with butter and water
before taking up, having seasoned them
with salt and pepper. Make a gravy of
the drippings thickened with browned flour.
Boil up and serve.”

The prisms on the lamp beside her
catch the sun and make
bright patterns on the page.
Her mind delights in beauty,
in poetry. She, lover of British literature,
has named her boys Milton,
all hunters,
all hungry.

She closes the book,
rises with a sigh,
ties apron strings around
her slender waist, and
returns to the kitchen
this long afternoon.

© by Marsha Foss.
Used with the author’s permission.



Marsha Foss, a retired educator, spends her time between her two favorite states, Maryland and Minnesota. When in St. Paul, she enjoys being connected to the area's vibrant writing community.  Her work has been published in numerous places, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  An added joy is living near two young grandsons who are proud of her winning, finally, at age 70, a prize in a poetry contest.


Post New Comment:
This poem is very well done. (No pun intended!) The recipe lines take me back to my great grandmother. Thank you.
Posted 02/02/2021 01:36 PM
Lyrical and Lovely. This poem makes the heartstrings happy.
Posted 11/19/2018 09:04 AM
Lori Levy:
Puts me in the mood for Thanksgiving and a good meal!
Posted 11/18/2018 03:03 PM
My last book is dedicated to my granddaughters who have always encouraged and supported me. It is such a good feeling. Thank yo for the poem and Happy Thanksgiving.
Posted 11/18/2018 12:00 PM
So interesting how appreciation for one's work seems to skip a generation. My four well-educated children never mention my work, nor am I sure they read it. My grandchildren, however, like Marsha's, are proud and fascinated. Amazing!
Posted 11/18/2018 08:03 AM
How lovely. And my grandsons seem impressed with my writing too. Who knew?
Posted 11/18/2018 06:56 AM

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