Introduction . . .
I tried the vegetarian thing once and it’s not for me. My body craves a juicy steak when I haven’t had one in a while. My grandmother raised chickens, and there’s nothing like a fresh, seasoned drumstick smothered in barbecue sauce. And if you think baby goats are cute, sorry but we island people savor those animals in their adulthood and wrap their curried meat in flat bread we call roti.
I was very fortunate to grow up in a place filled with delicious, exotic fare. Food is a big part of our culture in Trinidad, and I am thankful I learned to cook some of the dishes from my childhood. If you are from the islands, you already know you can pretty much use curry on any kind of meat, and even vegetables. It is an acquired taste and is cooked differently in various cultures.
The Food Network Channel has taught me a lot of tips and tricks over the years. Did you know you can freeze herbs in olive oil and used them in soups and stews? Always cook your steaks close to room temperature for even cooking. Ditch the sugary sodas and juices by adding fresh fruit to your water. I have learned to eat quite healthy and thrifty with the knowledge each chef shares.
In my cooking adventures, I have tried many new dishes from several cultures and decided to share some of those recipes in this book. My husband is part Irish and he loves a traditional Shepard’s Pie; a dish that must include fresh, ground lamb and stout beer. Italian food is also one of his favorites and I have perfected my mom’s lasagna recipe to suit his cravings.
I love a warm, hearty soup on cold days, and it took me a few tries to create the perfect recipes. The secret is definitely in the home-made broth. Trust me. It DOES make a difference! I included two of my favorites for all to enjoy: Chicken Noodle and Beef Vegetable.
When I cook, I tend to modify other recipes according to my taste. I cook with a lot less salt than most and if you enjoy tasting the flavor of meat and vegetables, then there is no need for a lot of seasoning. Enjoy the ingredients in the food you cook and don’t be afraid to experiment a little.
Food, to me, is poetic, and cooking is definitely an art. My husband always tells me my food tastes a lot better than from the restaurants because I “cook with love.” It is what gave me the idea to combine two things I love dearly: food and poetry.
The poems in Devour Me are not just about food in general. My love for food has allowed me to use things found in the kitchen literally and metaphorically.
I put a bit of sense of humor into a few like “Grapes” and
“Sharp Things”. Some, like “Marrow” and “Madness Stew,” reveal a state of mind. Others, such as “Flambé” and “Fire & Ice,” turned out to be indulgent, romantic dishes. I also threw in some that are informative and written for a cause. I wanted to have a variety of ingredients in this book in order to appeal to many readers.
The poems are divided into four sections:
Starters – breakfast type things, condiments and other appetizing poems.
Liquid Diet – marinades, soups, stews, and other concoctions for the soul.
The Main Course – heartier ingredients for your reading pleasure
Sweet & Spicy Things – like the title says, keeping my words sweet and spicy.
The zentangle drawings are just for fun. I’m a bit rusty as I haven’t dabbled with that creative side of me since my art classes in college. So color them if you want to.
If you are a chef or just love spending time cooking, Devour Me is meant to be a conversation piece or a bit of personal entertainment. It was a really fun project to work on and I hope you enjoy it!
Donna J. Sanders
Disclaimer: The poems in this book are not fit for vegans because this girl loves her meat.
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