Food Poem- Hymn to the Belly

ROOM! room! make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,
The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught ’em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He’s made of himself that now he cries swag;
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!
All which have now made thee so wide i’ the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break’st all thy girdles and break’st forth a god.

“Hymn to the Belly” by Ben Jonson. Public domain.

From the Writer’s Almanac Podcast, June 11, 2020.

This poem is dedicated to Agatha, my belly. She likes mysteries and is sometimes cranky. Due to pandemic related social isolation and coping by cooking, she has grown in the past three months. We relate to the last fragment of this 16th century poem: “thou break’st all thy girdles and break’st forth a god.”

May you make room for your belly,


How to host personal growth

“If I can create a relationship characterized on my part:

by a genuineness and transparency, in which I am my real feelings;

by a warm acceptance of and prizing of the other person as a separate individual:

by a sensitive ability to see his world and himself as he sees them;

Then the other individual in the relationship:

will experience and understand aspects of himself which previously he has repressed;

will become more similar to the person he would like to be;

will be more self-directing and self-confident;

will become more of a person, more unique and more self-expressive;

will be more understanding, more accepting of others;

will be able to cope with the problems of life more adequately and more comfortably.”

From On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers (1961)

Achieving the transparency, acceptance and skill to see another’s point of view that can host self-actualization requires much more practice than I ever imagined. Philosophy had not prepared me for the pragmatic social work demands self-awareness as a necessary condition to help others. To the philosophical imperative to “know thyself” social work adds “so you can help others know themselves.”

Relentless self-assessment, self-care, self-awareness can be demanding. Carl Rogers working during mid-20th century tells us why this practice is the precondition to help another. This is the difference between service as pity and service as love. One make me feel “better than” while the latter makes me feel “better with.” It is a small but important distinction that requires constant cultivation.

What if I’m too afraid to be transparent with others? Isn’t easier to hide behind a facade of a professional distance? This way I don’t have to be human and vulnerable with a client, or ever…

Carl Roger’s client centered approach challenges me to questions:

“Can I be in someway which will be perceived by the other person as trustworthy, as dependable or consistent in some deep sense?

Can I be expressive enough as a person that what I am will be communicated unambiguously?

Can I let myself experience positive attitudes toward this other person — attitudes of warmth, caring, liking, interest, respect?

Can I be strong enough as a person to be separate from the other?

Can I step into his private world so completely that I lose all desire to evaluate or judge it?

Can I free him from the threat of external evaluation?”

Can I meet this other individual as a person who is in process of becoming, or will I be bound by his past and by my past?

If my past is equally implicated in the change process of another, doesn’t the others past also affect me? The philosophical insight of Carl Rogers’ work is that we are always becoming a person with others.

My subjectivity is conditioned by intersubjective experiences.

Social work is pragmatic philosophy. At least that’s my how and why I want to host personal growth, self-actualization, self-awareness.

How about you? How would you describe relationships that helped you grow?

Image from

Pierogi Fest 2017 – Second Visit

For parents of school age kids, like me, back to school marks the end of summer, even if days are still long and the weather warm. For us, school starts this Thursday. There is both sadness and relief. This Monday I find myself already looking back at summer. How does summer end for you?

The scarcity of blog posts over the summer attest to the abundance of travel, fun, and food I enjoyed. Maybe by sharing these food stories with you, I can extend summer for just a bit longer.

Here is what I learned at this year’s Pierogi Fest (Whiting, Indiana, last weekend of July):

  • Saurkraut and mushroom pierogies are my favorite.
  • Fried pierogies are crispy but pan fried have the best of both worlds: chewy on one side and soft on the other.
  • Fried Oreos with ice-cream is surprisingly okay.

This was my second time at the event. Last year I wrote about it here.  Eating our way through various pierogi stalls continues to be a fun way to spend a summer evening in northern Indiana. Although Polish in invitation the event includes, Italian, Cajun, Latin and other global flavors, as well as music, dances, and crafts. Entry was free with a range of offerings to fit most budgets. There was a diversity of people that made the small Indiana town feel BIG.

What are local summer festivals you enjoy? Why? How many times would you go before you get bored? I suppose it also depends on who you bring with you.  This year I was happy to have the company of  my beloved, my friends and my babies. The smiles say it all. I would go again.


Ahhh….good summer memories. Thank you, dear readers, for helping me re-live them.

Wishing you an August with long beautiful shadows and slow time with your loved ones,





May I Be Happy Workshop Invitation

Hello Local Yogis,

I’m planning snack boxes for our upcoming yoga book club workshop! You know that I, hungryphil/wobblyogi am super excited about combining my two loves: food and yoga.

Summer is Pitta season. According to Ayurvedic tradition, summer is the time to enjoy bitter, astringent and sweet tastes (eat less sour, pungent or spicy foods). So, I’m looking for tasty afternoon bites that would be cool and light. Please sign up for the workshop ahead of time so I know how many snack boxes to make. Here is more information about the workshop [Saturday, August 12, 2-4].

Let’s try these treats together………………….

Summer Samosas

Baked light and flaky pastry filo- dough filled with potato and cauliflower spiced with summer Pitta-seasoning (includes warm sweet spices like fennel and coriander)

Sweet Coconut Dusted Raisin Almond Balls

Almonds and raisins ground together and rolled in shredded coconut

Cooling Co-Cu-Mint Mocktail

A blend of coconut water, cucumber, mint, and lemon

If you read “May I be Happy” by Cindy Lee, wonderful! Jacqueline will lead an extended asana practice inspired by themes from the book that will be familiar to you. If you haven’t read the book, you’ll enjoy the practice focused on cultivating personal happiness, just as much. The book is not a prerequisite, only an inspiration to ask: How may I be happy?

And, there will be snacks!!! I don’t know about you but that makes me happy 🙂

Enough said.

Hope to see you in a few weeks,

Wishing you a lovely late summer,

the hungry and wobbly yogi

May I Be Happy Workshop Flyer




Food Poem – Gravy by Raymond Carver

Today’s Food Poem by Raymond Carver uses gravy to describe feelings of gratitude, the extra sauce of life. Carver is such a master of little things and moments. Maybe it’ll add to your “gravy” today. Enjoy!

No other word will do. For that’s what it was. Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure gravy. And don’t forget it.”

“Gravy” by Raymond Carver from All of Us. © Knopf, 1998. From the Writer’s Almanac today, July 25th, 2017.

Image from Food Network and Alton Brown’s Best Gravy Ever Recipe

Food Poem – Carrying Water to the Field by Joyce Sutphen

Poet Joyce Sutphen is able to conjure such vivid and intimate experiences through small everyday objects. I so enjoy her work. Hope you do too! Here is a poem about a mason jar of water from today’s Writers Almanac:

And on those hot afternoons in July,
when my father was out on the tractor
cultivating rows of corn, my mother
would send us out with a Mason jar
filled with ice and water, a dish towel
wrapped around it for insulation.

Like a rocket launched to an orbiting
planet, we would cut across the fields
in a trajectory calculated to intercept—
or, perhaps, even—surprise him
in his absorption with the row and the
turning always over earth beneath the blade.

He would look up and see us, throttle
down, stop, and step from the tractor
with the grace of a cowboy dismounting
his horse, and receive gratefully the jar
of water, ice cubes now melted into tiny
shards, drinking it down in a single gulp,
while we watched, mission accomplished.

“Carrying Water to the Field” by Joyce Sutphen.

The beautiful image that makes water drops look like glass sculpture is from:


Edible Indy Story Follow-up: Dinner on the Farm at Prophetstown State Park


It is so validating and reassuring when an event I anticipated and promoted lives up to my hopes. The story of dinner on the Farm was published in the recent summer issue of Edible Indy Magazine. Last Friday, Jim and I had dinner on the Farm prepared by Chef Lauren Reed. It was a wonderful experience. Dining in the 1920s reconstructed Sears Mailorder farmhouse living room complete with period-inspired china and cutlery gave the experience a time capsule feel. We met two lovely couples at our table and traded stories about places and hobbies we enjoy. The context and conversation were only outdone by the food. Chef Lauren did an excellent job showcasing the seasonal vegetables  She placed the vegetable on a pedestal of a crunchy phyllo-dough tart shell in one course. In another course, a slice of tender beef perched on top of goat cheese. There were stuffed, braised and sauced seasonal elements. She did amazing things with corn stuffed in peppers and corn pudding. The corn pudding and blueberry sauce would be wonderful on its own or paired with any meat. I’ll have to try it at home.

If you haven’t had the chance to try dinner on the farm, you still have time. What a delicious way to support a local treasure and learning resource. Check out the park and their website:

Wishing you sweet corn and juicy tomatoes,




Food Poem – What I learned from my Mother by Julia Kasdorf

Hope you find this poem that offers food like flowers as a form of healing presence, as reassuring as I do. Happy Tuesday my fellow hungry philosophers.

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

“What I Learned from My Mother” by Julia Kasdorf from Sleeping Preacher. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

From the Writers Almanac, June 27th, 2017

Food Poem – The Scent of Apple Cake by Marge Piercy

Yet another benefit to baking: “to make sweetness where there is none.”  I also loved the part about the sweetness of babies before “their wills sprouted like mushrooms.” Hope you enjoy the poem as I do!

My mother cooked as drudgery
the same fifteen dishes round
and round like a donkey bound
to a millstone grinding dust.

My mother baked as a dance,
the flour falling from the sifter
in a rain of fine white pollen.
The sugar was sweet snow.

The dough beneath her palms
was the warm flesh of a baby
when they were all hers before
their wills sprouted like mushrooms.

Cookies she formed in rows
on the baking sheets, oatmeal,
molasses, lemon, chocolate chip,
delights anyone could love.

Love was in short supply,
but pies were obedient to her
command of their pastry, crisp
holding the sweetness within.

Desserts were her reward for endless
cleaning in the acid yellow cloud
of Detroit, begging dollars from
my father, mending, darning, bleaching.

In the oven she made sweetness
where otherwise there was none.

“The scent of apple cake” by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit. © Knopf, 2015. from the Writer’s Almanac, June 15th, 2017

Image and Recipe for teddie’s apple cake from

Pierogi Fest – Whiting, Indiana

Last Saturday, along with three friends, my daughter and I went on a road trip. Our destination? Exotic and distant small town Whiting, Indiana, where the last weekend of July is devoted to celebrating the humble Polish Pierogi. We drove past bountiful corn fields, rows of soy bean bushes, relaxed and grazing animals. We drove under threatening gray clouds and then thankfully, fluffy white cotton candy clouds. We waited patiently through road construction delays, waited not so patiently at a train crossing and then started doing stretches on the side of road. A kind passer-by asked if we’re going to the Pierogi fest, said he’s working there, and offered to guide us through back roads. Eager to escape the wait we followed him to the event parking lot. During that brief ride, there were suspicious alternate scenarios discussed, questions as to why and how he knew we were headed to the fest and concerns that we look like we eat a of pierogies. Our time at the Pierogi fest began with anticipation, excitement and kindness (thank you dear stranger for getting us to the event).


The event was much larger and better organized than I had imagined. It took up at least 6 blocks of Whiting city center. There was no entry fee. Many stalls had pierogies that could be purchased individually for a dollar. In addition to pierogies, there was also ice-cream, tacos, fried dough and refreshing drinks. This diversity in content and price made it affordable and welcoming. There were rides and games, shows, dances, craft stalls and much more. The variety, affordability and scale made it perfect for families, young couples, large groups and hungry friends. We started appropriately with the first stall: Pierogi Bomb. Soft, moist and flavorful, these pierogies set the standard. The ladies were funny and passionate about the Polish treat, warning us against the cultural inferiority of fried or boiled pierogies available at the fest. My daughter and I had the classic potato and cheese, as well as a spinach. My friend, Siggy, swears by the beautiful blueberry pierogi.


We tried varieties from other stalls, as well as other treats like potato pancakes (I’ve had better), shaved ice and a horchata drink. The numerous sheesh kabob stalls, made me wonder if sausages and kabobs go together on the Polish table.


This cajun stall was so enticing with its large platter of steaming and spicy seafood dishes. Just looks like a party, doesn’t it?


My little friend group, included my new friend (Kathy, my good friend’s sister-in-law), Robin Henke, Polish pierogi maker and our guide. Robin pointed out good that pierogies don’t have a lot of dough on the edges so every bite has filling. She gave us a few batches of her homemade pierogies. Thanks to her, my pierogi fest didn’t end Saturday but continued Sunday. She even shared her recipe!  Can’t wait to try it and feed my new love of pierogies and pierogi fest.

If you missed it this year, mark your calendars for next year.



Robin’s Pierogi Recipe

3 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Cups old Mashed Potatoes
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Cheese – I use cheddar and mix it into the potatoes when the are still warm

3 Eggs
1 Container (8 oz) Sour Cream
3 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1. For the mashed potato filling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Stir in the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 mins.
Stir into the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

2. To make the dough, beat together the eggs and sour cream until smooth.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
Stir into the sour cream mixture until dough comes together.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until firm and smooth.
Divide the dough in half, then roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut into 3 inch rounds.

3. Place a small spoonful of the mashed potato filing into the center of each round.
Moisten the edges with water, fold over and press together to seal.
Can work on the second half of the dough while cooking the first batch.

4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
Add pierogies and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the pierogi float to the top.
Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool on parchment lined baking sheet.

Once I get a cookie sheet full, I put it in the freezer till pierogies are frozen.
Then I shrink wrap them in how ever many I want in a package.

5. To reheat them: melt some butter in a skillet, can add some sliced onion, lay the frozen pierogies on top of onions and sauté until heated through, turning gently a time or two and browned on the outside. I like mine a little crispy on the outside.