Chef David–Haibun Monday at dVerse

Photo and Pie by Chef David Slotto–Thanksgiving

Chef David

Have you ever wondered if the one you love, loves you in return? With the same intensity? With the same care?

I watch him stir, measure, taste, chop, add, stir again. I watch him labor over a pot of lactose-free milk slowly simmering, evaporating so that I can enjoy the same Thanksgiving pumpkin pie as everyone else in spite of my finicky digestive system. I watch him unload groceries carefully chosen after meticulous examination of labels to rule out dairy. Do you know how many cheeses are made of the easier-to-digest goats’ milk?

It’s that measure of attention, that extra spice that flavors every meal he prepares with that delicious spice of love.

on a green hillside
ewes drop spring lambs one-by-one
cheese in the offing

Note: Once when making a silent retreat in Pennsylvania in April, I stood and witnessed the birth of a couple of dozen lambs, all within a few hours of each other. Truly amazing.

Today for Haibun Monday, Kanzen Sakura asks us to remember one of our favorite meals–a hard task for me since I have enjoyed so many thanks to my husband who does all the cooking. I chose Thanksgiving. 

Photo: David Slotto–herbs from the chef’s garden

Photo: David Sl





This poem is a response to two previous prompts at dVerse: Anna Montgromery’s Meeting the Bar on experimental poetry and Claudia Schonfeld’s Poetics on food. I wrote it a while back, using a technique I turn to occasionally when in a writing drought. The idea is to take a dictionary and choose 10-20 words at random, words that appeal to you based on both sound and meaning, then use as many as you can, adding the fewest number of other words possible.

Image: Kamil Honisch via Google Images


Mangoes dance adagio
on slivers of dreams that float
in the periwinkle wilderness.

Flushed mussels nest
beside curling wisps of smoke
where tongues pluck nectar.

Writhing slices of apple pie
burn urgency.
Remember to wink,
mulling fantasies,
while you knit.

Linking today at dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Joe Hesch. Please join us for some amazing poetic talent. For a while, I’m having to limit my time at the computer because of some (inconvenient, not serious) health issues…so please understand if my comments are sparse. I will read as many as possible, however…always those who visit me. Thanks, fellow poets.

Long on the Finish–Wordsmith Wednesday

Scaled-down example of a Rubens full-figured w...

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s my short story for Wordsmith Wednesday (see the previous post on my blog. It’s a bit adult-themed, so be advised.

Long on the Finish

2003 Jacque Shaque Bordeaux
Big, opulent. Spicy oak accenting cherry and chocolate. Long on the finish.

April turned to view her derriere. The mirror, framed in mahogany, showed smooth skin – a plump ripe pear ready for tasting. She ran her hands over sensuous curves, sending ripples of expectation up her inner thighs.

Clothing hung limply on padded hangers. She walked the length of her wardrobe and fingered textures of the garments before selecting a velour sheath: strapless, in dark burgundy. April lifted the fabric to her cheek, closed her eyes and inhaled lingering scents of Patou’s Joy blended with sweat. Perfect.

As she raised her arms to slide the dress over her ample frame, April imagined Alain’s gray eyes studying her bosom. She bent forward, grasped her breasts and hefted them into the DD cups of her bra, dabbed a drop of perfume in her cleavage and anticipated her date’s response.

Her date. Her best friend’s fiancé. A laugh erupted from deep inside.

April knew what she was doing. She’d set her goal and formulated a plan the very day she’d introduced Trish to Alain.

A memory snuck into her consciousness: Trish sitting beside her in the park, nibbling a tuna sandwich. “He’s huge, April. The best I’ve ever had.” Trish elaborated on the details as April looked into the waters of the pond at their feet, fingering pussy willows planted in the shallows. April’s pulse bounded. She flushed and returned to the present moment.

From her assortment of lipsticks, April selected Ripe Cherry and applied it to her full lips before slathering on gloss. She pouted then fastened long strands of dark hair atop her head. Wisps of curls framed her round face and trailed down her neck giving April a boudoir aura. Taking in the results, she nodded in approval. An objet d’art, Rubenesque, seductive. Altogether sexual.

She’d invited Alain the previous Friday, the night of the engagement soiree. “I know her better than anybody,” she’d claimed as Trish’s grandmother stood beside the future groom. “I’d be glad to give you a crash course: Patricia Anders, 101.”

He’d laughed. So had the grandmother.

“I’m serious. My house, Tuesday, six o’clock. I’ll cook.”

“Go for it,” Grandma told Alain. “April’s known Trish since they were five; she won’t hurt you.”

How little you know, Grandma.

April stood, smoothed her dress and took another twirl in the mirror. She exited her bedroom, leaving the door ajar to showcase the warm glow of dozens of candles.

In the kitchen, April stirred the sauce before opening the bottle of red she’d purchased for the occasion. She poured it into the long-stem decanter, allowing liquid to slip into the narrow opening, before puddling into the ovoid glass receptacle. She held it to the light and swirled it, noting rich tones of red-almost-black.

A large pot of water with a splash of olive oil sat on the burner. April turned the gas on and flames licked the cookware. A bag of fusilli, twisted and hard, waited beside the stove.

At precisely six April hit the dimmer switch.

The doorbell announced her guest.

She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror by the entryway. Dilated pupils stared back.
Relax, April. Breathe. You’re not supposed to be under the influence of Adrenalin. She sucked in another breath and opened the door.

There he stood, wearing a blue polo with gray slacks that matched his startling eyes. A smile spread across his face. A lock of chestnut hair had escaped and curled upon his forehead. Alain bowed then handed April a brown bag encasing a small bottle. “Far Niente Dolce.”

“For dessert,” April said, remembering the succulent strawberries she’d prepared for dipping in dark chocolate.

“You look beautiful. I’m afraid I’m underdressed,” Alain said.

“I like you underdressed.” It’ll be undressed before this evening is done.

“Come on in, Alain. Do you like French wines?”

“I do.”

He reached for the glass April held out to him but she drew it away, took his hand and forced her body against his.

“April, wait. What’re you doing?”

She answered with her lips, slightly parted, pressed against his.

Alain pulled his mouth away from her, but not before she felt his response pushing against her body.

“For the love of God, stop it.” His complexion paled, his breath came in spurts.

“Oh, Alain, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what overtook me.” April blushed. “You’re so . . . so irresistible.” She peeled away from him and approached the stove. Removing the cover from the saucepan, she stirred, feigned embarrassment. “It won’t happen again.”
He reached for the glass of wine she’d set on the counter and pulled up a barstool.

“What’re you cooking?”

“Pasta. Puttanesca sauce.”

“Putta-what sauce?”

“From Napoli. It’s named after their working women. Puttana means whore.”

She watched the color drain again from his face again.

“Whore?” he asked.

“Whore. It’s about living passionately, enjoying all the pleasures of life. My mama was Italian.”

Alain cleared his throat. “I’m sure I’ll like it.”

“I’m sure you will, too. How’s the wine?” April reached for her own glass, swirled, sniffed and tasted. She chewed the liquid, allowing her taste buds the full savor of the burst of flavors: fruits and oak. “Hmmmm…”

He studied her then imitated her motions. “Yes, good. Full-bodied.” Alain glanced at April then dropped his eyes to the crystal glass. “Oh God, I better go.”

“No, wait.” She dropped the pasta into boiling water that splashed and sizzled when it hit the burner. “You need to taste it with food.”

Alain made no move to leave. “Okay. Talk to me about Trish,” he said. “That’s what you invited me for.”

“Of course. What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know. It was your agenda.” Alain’s voice had a brittle edge to it.

“That was an excuse. I’ll never have a chance at you again.”

“I can’t do this. I just can’t. I love Trish and intend to be faithful to her.” He stood.

“Trish is insecure, Alain. You need to know that. This is a good test of her faith in you. Did you tell her you were coming here tonight?”

“No. She thinks I’m working late.”

“She’d be jealous. Have you seen her get jealous?”

“No. I’ve never given her cause. April, I’m outta here. I’m really uncomfortable.” Alain headed to the door. When he turned toward April and opened his mouth to speak, the phone rang.

April answered, “Hi Trish. What’s up?”

She watched Alain freeze in his tracks. Strolling over to the man, she held the phone so he could hear his fiancée.

“Alain told me he’s working late, but I called his desk and got voice mail. I’m scared, April. I don’t trust him. I think he’s with another woman.”

“Why do you say that?” April eyed Alain, raising her left eyebrow.

“Something changed the night of the engagement party. He’s preoccupied. I’ve got to tell you, I’m having second thoughts about marrying him. He’s got a roving spirit.”

“You think?” April rolled her eyes and watched Alain’s jaw go slack.

“I know. What should I do?” A sob accompanied the question.
“You can’t marry someone you don’t trust.” April stroked Alain’s cheek, his neck. She traced her finger down his body and cupped his groin. She retreated to the kitchen with the phone cradled in her neck. Out of earshot. “How about lunch tomorrow?”

“Can I come tonight?”

“Sure, I’ll see you then. Bye.” She replaced the phone on the charger, grabbed the two glasses of wine and returned to Alain who stood fixed with his hand on the doorknob, erection in plain view.

“Come on; as long as you’re here let’s eat. It’s ready.” She led him to the table.

As he took his place, April topped off his wine then dumped the pasta in a colander. Steam wafted into the air. She reached for a large bowl, added pasta and sauce, deftly blending them with the skill of someone who did this often.

As they ate, April’s eyes never left Alain.

He looked down until his plate was almost empty.

Suddenly, he arose, pushed back his chair with a scrapping noise and fled the apartment.

Not even a thank you, April mused, as she cleared the dishes and put them in the sink to soak. She escaped to her bedroom to change into something comfortable.

April was blowing out the candles when Trish arrived.

“He’s gone?” Trish asked.

Smiling, April grabbed her friend. “He’s long gone. Didn’t even finish the main course. Trish, this one passed the test!”

“Thank God,” Trish said, heading to the kitchen and pouring herself a glass of wine. “This stuff’s expensive. I get to have some this time. So, what do ya think? Should I marry him?”

“I’d say so.”

The two women toasted and settled back to enjoy the wine, which paired well with chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Sensational Wednesday Haiku–Theme: Food

Sliced Mexican mangoes.

Image via Wikipedia

This is a late attempt…spent the day in a golf tournament in beautiful Carson Valley, thinking about food. No lunch today.




Wide open mussels,
steamy in garlicky sauce,
wait to be consumed.

Succulent mangoes
nestle with pineapple chunks:
voluptous pair.