Bring home a baguette,
To shop every day means its fresh.
I pass by the old men playing boules,
To frequent the boulanger.
My dad quit his job in insurance,
Apprenticed to a baker in Paris.
He learned to make Madeleine's,
The tiny cakes look like seashells.
How I hated tomatoes,
Stuffed with meat,
And with cheese and zucchini.
Grandpa Claude made his own wine,
And he pinched us too hard,
Fed the dog only table scraps,
But he let us swim in the cistern.
Suzette made paella with clams from the ocean,
In Provence guests will not go home hungry.
"Would you like more?" asks the host,
Though full, we must answer, “Merci.”
For me it was all about cocoa.
Toblerone, pain au chocolat.
The patisserie: Galettes and gateaus,
Eating sweets on the Champs-Élysées.
We climbed a stone stair in the crumbling monastery,
An abbey five hundred years old.
Afraid to be sucked into history's sand,
We watch the ant lion seizing its prey.
As I stir a reduction of squash in my kitchen
I add cumin, lemon peel and paprika.
Will I pass cooking culture on down to my children?
Now the world is our recipe book.
Fred Pierre (he/him) writes short stories and performs spoken word poetry at the local book store. His work has been published in High Shelf Press, The Elevation Review and in Tiny Seed Journal.