It was a lot of years before
I could serve gravy
without reservation,
frequently presenting a bland
paste or an overly
salty broth.

I think a modicum of age-aquired
patience is the key,

and stirring, a constant motion
of the whisk while adding increments
of flour and slowly increasing
the heat.

There are still lumps most
of the time — small and less
numerous — and I keep the salt
close at hand, but I now
taste before adding.

I do not remember the sounds
of rapid stirring from my mother’s
kitchen, or a salt shaker
on the table or clumps of flour
mixing with the rice.

All I remember is the gravy
being excellent.




Filed under Poetry

16 responses to “Gravy

  1. I hardly ever make gravy, I hate my food to be swimming, and there are ways of making it moist without swamping it in brown stuff!

  2. This is lovely in what it says metaphorically. Come back to it (meanwhile, rework the semi-colon in stanza three — either use a dash, or a comma or a spacing).

  3. there are things in life that need a certain ripeness, experience and patience… gravy is certainly one of them….

  4. I love this part best as it applies to cooking & life as well:

    I think a modicum of age-aquired
    patience is the key

  5. As I read your poem, I saw gravy and salt as a metaphor for real-world events that I recently experienced. I would write a novel here if I tried to explain but suffice it to say that your words struck a chord with me. Wonderfully written, Mark.

  6. Brendan

    I love the calm narration of a process that takes decades to learn and yet eery time keeps a memory alive. So much like writing poetry.

  7. Ah.. yes I’m sure there are good tricks to do gravy (though I never do).. but the patience required in cooking certainly apply to a lot of other things… stirring and modesty with salt… makes a lot of sense as a wisdom of life.

  8. gravy just ‘comes with meat’, doesn’t it? 🙂

  9. Amazing the skills that come with age, even in something as seemingly simple as mastering gravy. Even though lumps add character, I have learned the secret is in making a roux from equal parts of flour and fat and then the adding broth back into it: strain the broth, skim the fat and reserve; 4 Tablespoons of fat + 4 Tablespoons of flour + two cups of broth = perfect pan gravy, no lumps. Lesson learned (and recipe discovered) after many years of lumpy gravy!

  10. I learned that gravy is not rushed…. as a young bachelor we had no flour so I used pancake mix ( looks like flour ) When I checked the gravey, I had a four inch thick gravy flavored pancake.

  11. Laurie Kolp

    So true… no one notices the lumps but us. It’s the flavor that counts. Love the deeper meaning in this, too.

  12. I love this… for its literal interpretations as well as metaphorical. I’d say your recipe is delicious.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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