How often do you get to enjoy a poem while making dinner?
Recently I was at a family wake, saying goodbye to our beloved Uncle Bill. Family and friends gathered and chatted quietly – a somber scene, but also one with lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch in good times as well as sad or difficult moments. As the winter afternoon turned into dusk and the crowd thinned, we said our goodbyes and made plans for dinner.
Cousin Pat mentioned that she was going home to make vegetable stew. Pat is one of my favorite people in the world, not to mention the source of my favorite soda bread recipe, so my ears perked up. At that moment, I couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful than a steaming bowl of comfort.
I asked her for the vegetable stew recipe and Pat obliged, but warned me that it wasn’t an ordinary listing of ingredients and directions; rather, it’s a poem she wrote. Last week, I printed the poem (off the email she sent me), took a look into my refrigerator, and made my own version. It was indeed a wonderful experience – rather liberating to set aside the measuring cups and scales – and a tasty result. This vegetable stew can be either the main course or a side dish and it's great reheated as leftovers.
Your ingredients may differ and so may your timing, but that’s the joy of this dish. Enjoy your creation, especially if you share it with folks you love.
How to Make Vegetable Stew
by Pat Brisson