Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Kitchen Poem by Joy Harjo

So one of my New Year's resolution for 2013 was to read more poetry. Fortunately, I followed through...and discovered this gem that I must share:

Perhaps The World Ends Here


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat
to live.

The gifts of the earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has
been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. 
They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be
human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our
children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves
and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the
shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for 
burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and
remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing
and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Finger Lickin' Good Curried Ribs

Football is to West Texas is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It's big. It's an annual event, a sacred time, full of pomp and festivities, rituals and superstition. Life is scheduled around games.

I, however, don't understand American football. Maybe it's because I grew up with real football (what American's refer to as soccer), where the players actually kick the ball with their feet or maybe I'm just too artistic to get into the sports mentality...whatever the reason, I'm clueless.

When I first started writing for a West Texas newspaper, I was told all reporters (especially new ones) had to help cover Friday night games. I gave it my best shot and worked a few Fridays, but inexplicably found myself to be exempt from the requirement and only having to worry about my regular beats -- business and City Hall (I think the area coaches begged the paper to take me off the schedule).

Then I married a West Texan and found myself having to attend Superbowl parties. It didn't help matters when the clueless Bengali chick won part of the winning pot (pure dumb luck as some said).  Anyhoo, my understanding of American football comes down to: It's a Texas/American thang.

So when my #Letslunch posse on twitter chose game-day food as the February theme, I had the perfect recipe. What could be better game-day TV eats than ribs? Can't get more Texas than beef...and it has my usual Bengali twist: finger lickin' good curried ribs!

Here take a look:

The best part is it's an easy recipe:

2 to 3 pounds ribs (beef or pork)
1 large onion, roughly sliced
8 to 12 garlic cloves, peeled, some smashed and others left whole
2 inch piece of ginger, cut into coins (I don't even peel them because you discard them after cooking)
(2 to 3 large sticks of cinnamon
5 cardamon pods, with tops broken open
6 cloves
8 to 10 whole pepper corns
OR you could replace the whole spices -- a tradition of Bengali cooking-- with 1 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala)
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
4 to 8 dried red chillies, broken in two (optional)
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 14.5oz can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes


Put the ribs and raw flavorings (onion to ginger) into a large cook pot.

Add the spices and salt:

Add the oil and mix it up good, so every rib is nicely coated:

Put on the stove at medium low heat to cook, covered. Check on it from time to time and give it a good stir. After about 6 or 8 minutes, add the can of diced tomatoes (juice and all) and let it all cook down. Keep an eye on it and stir from time to time to make sure nothings sticking to the bottom.

Cook it down until you end up with yummy ribs like in the first picture. Sorry, forgot to time it. You can serve this with warm naan bread or over cooked Basmati rice, and don't forget the cold beer!

 #Letslunch is a group of food bloggers, cookbook authors and foodies from around the globe who hold monthly virtual potlucks. It's a lot of fun!

Check out the other yummy posts:

Annabelle's Idiazabal and Black Pepper Gougeres at Glass of Fancy
Cheryl's Mongolian Buuz at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Grace's Taiwanese Beef Sliders at HapaMama
Jill's Spiced Pecans at Eating My Words
Karen's Sporting Eats at GeoFooding
Linda's Trio of Salsas from Oaxaca at Spicebox Travels
Lisa's Sausage Rolls at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy's Crabcakes with Chipotle Mayo and Citrus Salad at A Cook and Her Books