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Food Poems

A Food Poem: From my grandmother, Catherine Pickett Coffey--this was exactly her recipe, written out on a piece of paper, given to my mother, Eleanor Coffey, and transcribed directly as the last poem in my book of poems 87North. The "cold coffee" is the secret ingredient, in my view.

Cassie Pickett’s Molasses Cookies

“One half cup sugar,
one teaspoon cinnamon,
half teaspoons ginger, salt. Mix together.

One half cup shortening,
one egg (not necessary to beat);
half cup molasses, quarter cup
cold coffee.

Teaspoon soda,
two cups flour.

Mix all together and bake
at 375 degrees, 12 minutes, as Florence wrote.
Anything with molasses is likely to burn
quicker than without, so I use 350
and watch them.”

Michael Coffey

A Food Poem: My name is Patreesha, and I am a woman of Birdsfoot Farm. I was in the community house, helping with the honeycomb, when the harvest moon rose…

The Women of Birdsfoot

The women stand round the old wooden table
Thick gold honey, honey filled with light, dark
     honey weeps over their long breadknives.
Up over the river the Round Moon comes.
The Eastern Door opens. Together, as one
they enter her shadow. How sweet -
Their buckwheat mint and goldenrod lips!
To the moon rising over the trees
     they call out so tender…
They always sleep well after a night of honey.
They always dream well on the first frost.

Jim Cohn, Birdsfoot Farm, September 1990

Jim Cohn is a former resident of Birdsfoot Farm - an intentional community located between the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack Mountains.

Submitted by Patreesha Endres, Canton NY

North Country Food Book page 

My family attended a Pi Day (March 14) celebration at the house of friends this year. A fun and somewhat noisy gathering of all ages, we shared interesting mathematical phenomena and trivia, but of course the edible sort of pie was the focal point. We had pizza pie (what else!) for the main meal, followed by a marvellously varied and plentiful selection of dessert pies: apple, pecan, chocolate, pumpkin. My contribution to the evening was this poem:

Ode to Pi(e)

We celebrate the noble pi,
Whose roots in noble Hellas lie;
But whose most glorious realm, we trust,
Is found within a flaky crust.
The pie is an exacting art
Ill-suited to the faint of heart;
Peach, apple, cherry, in succession,
A truly infinite progression.
(Be not so arrogantly breezy as
To say pie's what a thing's as easy as.)
For boasters dare not sneer or grumble,
If they want pie, it must be humble.
Just one more thing; it will be found
That pie aren't squared, it are quite round.

Carroll Boswell

Wish I Might

As a child, my brother and I recited this with our father:

If I should die
before I wake
I hope they bury me
with a chocolate cake

Erica Neufeld


A familiar looking mottled light green color, not yet squished by passing traffic, a pint container lay empty on the shoulder. Bright red, juicy stains on its bottom hint at its contents - now gone. Finished while someone waited at the stop sign, and thrown off in the ditch. Oh summer!

Katherine Lang