2016 Day 6 – You Have To Feed Them

If I learned one thing from my mother
It was this:
Food is love.
There was always food on the table
Whatever else was missing.
You have to feed them.
Nothing fancy:
Mash with a lump or three,
Gravy so thick you could slice it,
Trifle on special days
With tinned mandarin segments.
Food is love.
At Gran’s house I raided the fridge
For tomatoes that I ate whole
And sneaked pontefract cakes from the cupboard.
Grandpa turned a blind eye.
Food is love.
I played shop with Grandpa
Buying food for the dollies.
You have to feed them.
Dad couldn’t cook –
Didn’t need to, mostly –
Apart from curry,
Tinned stewed steak curry
With, always, apple thrown in
And a handful of sultanas.
I was twenty before I learned
There was any other way to make a curry.
I couldn’t cook either,
But when friends come round
You have to feed them,
So I learned how.
Comfort food, mostly,
Pizza, baked potatoes, chicken wings
And always garlic bread.
(You have to share –
Food is love.)
I learned different tastes,
Took pride in finding spices
And exotic vegetables
In tiny backstreet shops that smelled of mystery,
Told myself
That when the cravings come
For orange and geranium chocolate
You have to feed them.
Always, I remembered
That food is love.
Remebered, with every meal I cooked
For lovers, friends.
Remembered, when I watched my mother
Trying to persuade another spoonful
Of anonymous puree
Into Dad’s reluctant mouth.
You have to feed them.
Food is love.

Note: The prompt was food. I originally wrote this in the third person, but that felt like a cop-out.


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