Mom’s spice rack


Cheap cuts, shoulder, shank and offal,
the bits that tipped off the butchers table.
All caught to take a spin around the world,
return as miracles of taste and flavour.

Bones to pick and fat to chew,
scraps and weeds became the brew
of mother’s week long mutton stews.
feasts, heat steamed and fermented on winter nights
in the bellies of her big, burnt black pots.

Hot as fire or cold as sock-less winter toes,
tongue tricked by hints of thistle stings
and skillet skills, dressed up in horticultural rags
of a gourmet’s bouquet garni.

Nettle, nasturtium, dandelion
and all the dime tramp salad vegetables.
Garnishes of feral cherries and wild strawberries.
Sea spinach made you pop-eye strong
all palatable with a pinch of this and a sprinkle
of that, from the spice- rack on the kitchen wall.

The greens of lane and road, leaves of last resort
became the base of balsamic-
concoctions, curries and risottos.
We ate like kings for shillings,
when others starved on common vitals

Periwinkles, muscle and clams,
collected in buckets and orange string bags.
Became garlic laced chowder, paprika hot and chilli pink,
the delicious stink of mud flats and salt spray
on a steaming plate.

Crab apples and Blackberries collected in October,
preserved with cinnamon and cardamom,
Irish briar meets Bangladesh and the bazaars of Morocco.
Jams spooned, jiggered into medicine and masticatory,
sweet scents of summer, served warm as solstice sugared snacks.

2 thoughts on “Mom’s spice rack

  1. Bringing me back to a time in my grandmother’s kitchen,a difference of food maybe but all in all It was from the butcher, the fish house for fish or it was caught and killed and every last bit of it was also enjoyed!! You have captured the feel and the warmth of the family kitchen. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

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