Sunday, March 09, 2014

Ode to Elbow Macaroni

Elbow macaroni, you never did befriend me,
though I always choose you first from the shelf.
I guess you don't appreciate my reasoning:
you're only a dollar, and I am cheap.

But I didn't mark you down, my dear.  Blame
the managers for that. Besides, your price
makes you popular, and our children love
the challenge of slipping one fork tine into
your open ended statement of frugality.

You taste fine with sauce, better with butter,
sapid in soup. You rule pasta salad
and mac and cheese. You bond with ground beef,
peas and onions, stretch your boiled self
into meals large enough to feed a congregation,
or at least a hoard of hungry teens. You are slippery
and fun when wet, crunchy and useful when dry. 

You glue firmly to cardboard Christmas
trees, never complaining about gold or green
spray paint. You prove immortal--or at least
blessed with longevity so long as you
keep yourself planted on those fake fronds.

You reach saintly status, mounted in classrooms
and homes, adored more for your memory making
than any other pasta. You don't see bow-ties
or rigatoni or spaghetti in the hands
of Ritalin ridden elementary school classes.
Why do you spurn my affection?

Perhaps you find your life unsettling,
unnerving, under-appreciated. I suppose
were I you, I, too, might resent being created
for consumption, a group of grains merged
not as a product of big bang or some deity's
genius, but manufactured by Kraft and even sold as generic
to people like me who need to save money.

I wish you would forgive me and believe in me.
You are sincerely loved. Weekly we sing
your praises through filters of wide mouths
and full bellies. We go around the table,
pronouncing what we give thanks for, and you,
though named sometimes just "enough food,"
inevitably come into the conversation. You
are our sustenance, our staple, our comrade
in the fight against hunger. Please know
how special you are.

Now shut up and get in the pot. 

Hard to believe, but this poem is copyrighted by Katherine Gotthardt, March 9, 2014.
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