Ode to Hot Sauce.



O, hot sauce I can write about until the cows come home;

How some of it will burn your gums and turn your tongue to loam;

And others have a subtle way of sneaking up on you,

Delaying their eruption until the day is through.


It comes in little bottles with red caps or corks of wood;

It really is a condiment by most misunderstood.

Its flavor should bring tears of joy, not tears of membranes wracked

With searing heat as if by devils constantly attacked.


It can turn a heavy dish into a charming meal,

And give to lifeless casseroles a ringing, sincere zeal.

But use it with discretion, for all love and mercy please!

Otherwise your palate will become a hive of bees.

(Inspired by a story in the New York Daily News)

Ode to Casey’s General Store.


Whenever I’m in Casey’s, or any other store

That sells the kind of snacks enjoyed by jaded omnivore,

I can’t help feeling guilty – as if I’d been remiss

In chewing on a Slim Jim and guzzling  Swiss Miss.


Do not these staples power metabolites and germs

That in our track intestinal neutralize pin worms?

Surely drinking Snapple does elevate the mind,

And can blood sugar levels be very far behind?


I hear tell they have gasoline somewhere or other, too;

But all I want is Copenhagen for a luscious chew.

Convenience stores are just the place to get a healthy meal;

And if you are believing that, you are a big schlemiel.

One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison.


I read emulsifiers in my choc’late shake may cause

My gut to be as useless as a piece of rotten gauze.

Reader’s Digest says that processed meat is even worse,

And eating lots of hotdogs will land you inside a hearse.


Saturated fat in coconuts and soups therefrom

Make the outlook for weight loss unusually glum.

Even popcorn microwaved has sodium galore;

Eat a bowl and see as how your blood pressure will soar.


Frozen diet entrees are not really too nutritious.

And fruit juice is all sugar, its benefits fictitious.

Ev’rywhere I look an article warns that I’m feeding

Poison to myself . . . and so, I’ve given up on READING.

Ode to Foie Gras.



I haven’t lost the tastes that I grew up with as a child;

Sweet and salty, buttered, and then always very mild.

My mother thought of blandness as a useful spice, you see;

It was basic to her way of life, and all her cookery.


So when I’m faced with foie gras, and all other haute cuisine,

My platter very likely I will not wholly lick clean.

Goose liver isn’t something that I think of as a food –

It’s more of an enigma over which a man may brood.


Why should the Gallic goose be stuffed with corn just so gourmets

Can stuff themselves with foie gras until their eyes begin to glaze?

I’d rather have a Slim Jim with a can of Mountain Dew;

Such grease and carbonation are my steady pot-au-feu.



My Mother


My mother was a tough old bird, she didn’t scare too easy;

There was hardly anything that ever made her queasy.

The Great Depression left its mark upon her disposition;

She had no use for anyone who played the grand patrician.


We were told to clean our plates, or go to bed by golly;

And if we dared to sass her back, she hit us like a trolley.

But beneath the grim façade I knew a tender heart

Wanted but the best for us, although her words were tart.


The day I crashed my bicycle and bled on my new shirt

She shook me some in anger, and then whispered “Are you hurt?”

She soaked the shirt in tap water and when the stain was out

She told me to get going and complete my paper route.


My mother was a tough old bird, as I have said before;

She never bought us candy when she took us to the store.

The lessons that I learned from her were harsh, perhaps severe;

But I cannot think back to her without a grateful tear.


On Lake Tanganyika.


(Inspired by an article by Jeffrey Gettleman)

On Lake Tanganyika fishing nets from skeeter netting

Are practical and inexpensive – and to some, upsetting. 

Meant to cheat malaria of its accustomed prey,

The netting used for fishing is a poor person’s mainstay.


But since it’s being used in ways that are not validated,                                                                       

The NGO’s that pass it out are getting aggravated.

 No doubt some regulation will be placed upon the net

To complicate the livelihood of those who toil and sweat. 


The Mystery of Wine.


(Inspired by an article by Eric Asimov)

Wine is unpredictable, and so are those who drink it.

Is it overpriced grape juice? (Fie on those who think it!)

Rather, it is romance bottled by an artificer

That makes of life a glory (or just a little nicer.)


Each grape is handled with great care, its provenance debated

Before it’s processed into hootch at prices much inflated.

Labeled with a French or German title, it will fetch

A fee to make Bill Gates begin to tremble and to kvetch.


Plebeians cannot comprehend that viticulture soars

Above the heads of monarchs, presidents, and pinchbeck bores.

The mystery of wine is for the lover and the fool;

It will cause the one to sigh, the other one to drool.