Food Poem – My Mother Was a Brilliant Cook by Maria Mazzioti Gillan

You know I had to post this! It connects the craft of cooking with contentment. May we all find a craft that helps us be so at home.

The first time my mother went out
to eat was on her 25th wedding anniversary
at Scordato’s in Paterson, and the second time
was for her 50th anniversary
at the Iron Kettle House in Wyckoff.

My mother said, “I could have cooked
this meal better myself.”
But I knew she was happy,
though she would have never admitted it.

Once my mother came to Paterson
from Italy in steerage,
she was content to stay there.
She was a brilliant cook,
and didn’t need to go to restaurants.
She loved her house, poor as it was,
and never stayed in a motel or took a vacation
or wanted to.

She was content to offer platter after platter
of food to her family gathered
in her basement kitchen, and to watch them
laughing and talking together,
while she stood behind them
and smiled.

“My Mother Was a Brilliant Cook” by Maria Mazziotti Gillian from What Blooms in Winter. © NYQ Books, 2016.

From the Writer’s Almanac


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