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Food Poem Fridays: In Which We Already Break the Rules

August  3, 2012


Every Friday, we’re mixing things up with a different kind of food writing. More specifically, food poetry to be read slowly, over your morning coffee. This week: a food poem that’s not a food poem at all. 

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If I didn’t let you in on this before, I will now: there exists a loophole in what counts as a poem for Food Poem Fridays, and that loophole is M.F.K. Fisher. We hope you won’t mind prose in place of poetry, just for today; Fisher’s exquisite passage on eating a tangerine, printed in Serve it Forth, is too good not to dole out.

Almost every person has something secret he likes to eat.

...It was then that I discovered little dried sections of tangerine. My pleasure in them is subtle and voluptuous and quite inexplicable. I can only write how they are prepared.

In the morning, in the soft sultry chamber, sit in the window peeling tangerines, three or four. Peel them gently; do not bruise them, as you watch soldiers pour past and past the corner and over the canal towards the watched Rhine. Separate each plump little pregnant crescent. If you find the Kiss, the secret section, save it for Al.

Listen to the chambermaid thumping up the pillows, and murmur encouragement to her thick Alsatian tales of l'intérieure. That is Paris, the interior, Paris or anywhere west of Strasbourg or maybe the Vosges. While she mutters of seduction and French bicyclists who ride more than wheels, tear delicately from the soft pile of sections each velvet string. You know those white pulpy strings that hold tangerines into their skins? Tear them off. Be careful...

Read the full excerpt, and finish the tangerine, here



See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.

1 Comment

LauriL August 5, 2012
Enjoyed this prose. Do you have this book?