Tradition Rnt Us

Being too close minded to try new experiences is a pet peeve of mine, right up there with gratuitous camel toe.

cameltoe

What? If you want pics of the other kind, ask that guy breathing heavily with his Iphone at the gym.

If you’re too close-minded about what you eat, who knows how limited the rest of your world view is. You may have not known that a million of your fellow citizens have been fasting in the name of their faith, let alone understood why.

Stepping off the soap box, it’s understandable why some of those at dinner were a little off-put by trying camel. Maybe they had thoughts of cute petting zoo attractions, instead of the feral spitting herds roaming the wilds of Australia.

2013-08-05_19-26-16_301

But I had a job to do. So, armed with the experiences of greater culinary minds than myself and some bacon fat, I set out to make the most blasphemous pseudo-halal meal this side of Ramadan. And snapshots (courtsey of Bellybers S. Kim and G. Sims) speak louder than words.

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Garlic roasted in bacon fat and pickled fennel.

Chilled roasted red pepper stew with Nashoba Bakery's Sourdough Batard for dipping.

Chilled roasted red pepper stew with Nashoba Bakery’s Sourdough Batard for dipping.

Braised collard greens seasoned with...wait for it...bacon fat.

Braised collard greens seasoned with…wait for it…bacon fat and topped with meatballs. With bacon involved in three dishes, it’s not a hat trick but a fat trick.

Succulent lamb and camel balls, almost touching -hold your jokes please!

Succulent lamb and camel balls, almost touching.

Spiced slow-cooked lentils.

Spiced slow-cooked lentils. Because healthy!

If your eyes aren’t full yet, I’m leaving you with a little something something: one of the three poems read between courses. Just in time to wet your whistle for the National Poetry Slam hitting Boston next week. Here’s to culinary traditions new and old!

***

Like Caramelized Onions

I want it to be worth it like caramelized onions

Worth it like the white orbs’ assault on my eyes

in retaliation for my mincing them with a newly whetted knife.

I want it to pay off like a prime cut I’ve butchered

That I’ve marinated and treated to a spice rub

which makes the flesh so tender that I’d eat it raw.

I want to need to stand over it

Like fresh‑pressed virgin oil I’m infusing

With truffles foraged by a hand-raised sow

And herbs from my garden, dried in the summer sun.

I want to savor it

Like collard greens that the hours have boiled down

Into a piquant, olive-hued mound that will grant my great aunt luck in the new year.

I want it to rise

Like a sourdough loaf begotten from grapes the foxes pranced around

And a bacteria colony thirty three years old.

I want it to release sweetness,

As the color deepens flood the house with mouth-watering hope.

I just want to stir it from time to time

Watch it reduce from pounds to mere ounces.

I want to have to stop myself, to linger over each forkful

For it to be a shame to scarf down

And my burnt tongue to be my penance.

I want to feel accomplished as I deglaze the cast iron skillet

with the Burgundy my grandfather smuggled home after World War II.

I want it to be worth it like caramelized onions

Even as I turn the burner up too high.

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