A dressing of mule ears, mothy pelts, but green-hearted,
Their veins white as porkfat. Plath, “Who” from “Poem for a Birthday”
Consider at the outset:
to be thin for thought
or thick cream blossomy
Many things are better
flavored with bacon
Sweet Life, My Love,
didn’t you ever try
this delicacy — the marrow
in the bone?
And don’t be afraid
to pour wine over cabbage
— Lorine Niedecker [previously covered here]
“Sparrows to gobble greedily”
Finches. — Eubulus:61 “ ’Twas at the feast of the p285Amphidromia,62 when the custom is to toast a slice of Gallipoli cheese, to boil a cabbage glistening in oil, to broil some fat lamb chops, to pluck the feathers from ring-doves, thrushes, and finches withal, Dat the same time to devour cuttle-fish and sprats, to pound with care many wriggling polyps, and drink many a cup not too diluted.”
Blackbirds. — Nicostratus (or Philetaerus) says:63 “A. What, then, shall I buy? tell me, pray. —B. Not too extravagantly, but tidily; get some hares, if you find any, and ducklings as many as you like; thrushes, too, and blackbirds, and a lot of these wild fowl. For that will be nice.”
Antiphanes64 also names starlings among articles of food: “Honey, partridges, ring-doves, ducks, geese, starlings, a jay, a jackdaw, a blackbird, a quail, a hen.”
You65 demand of us a reason for everything, and we can’t speak a word that you do not question.
Mention of the sparrow occurs in Eubulus66 as well as in other authors: “Buy four or five partridges, three hares, sparrows to gobble greedily, some goldfinches and parrots, chaffinches, and kestrels, and anything else that you find.”
Slabbed-down masses of cabbage and guinea pig
It is a photograph of a guinea pig lying on her right side on a plate.
She is surrounded by cabbage salad and large round slices of yam.
Two perfect tiny white teeth
project over her blackened lower lip. Her flesh still sizzling from the oven
gives off a hot glow and her left eye
is looking straight up at Geryon. He taps the flank twice shyly with his fork
then sets the utensil down
and waits for the meal to be over.
[ … ] In the cooling left eye of the guinea pig
they all stand reflected
pulling out their chairs and shaking hands. The eye empties.
—Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red, XLIII
rare and remarkable fungi
It may be divided into three parts, pileus, stem, and base,—or scrotum, for it is a perfect phallus…There was at first a very thin delicate white collar (or volva?) about the base of the stem above the scrotum. It was as offensive to the eye as to the scent, the cap rapidly melting and defiling what it touched with a fetid, olivaceous, semiliquid matter.
Pigs vs teaties
William Barnes in eclogue mode (“teaties” = “taters”; not sure if the sucking-pig exists outside my imagination; “netlens” = “food of a pig’s innards tied in knots”):
from William Barnes, “Harvest Hwome”:
(NB Dorset dialect, so v = f)
“A slabbed-down mass of cabbage”
Here the girl came in. She wore an air of importance derived apparently from the dish she carried, for it was covered with a great metal cover. She raised the cover with a certain flourish. There was a leg of mutton underneath. “Let’s dine,” said Sara.
“I’m hungry,” he added.
They sat down and she took the carving-knife and made a long incision. A thin trickle of red juice ran out; it was underdone. She looked at it.
“Mutton oughtn’t to be like that,” she said. “Beef—but not mutton.”
They watched the red juice running down into the well of the dish.
“Shall we send it back,” she said, “or eat it as it is?”
“Eat it,” he said. “I’ve seen far worse joints than this,” he added.
“In Africa…” she said, lifting the lids of the vegetable dishes. There was a slabbed-down mass of cabbage in one oozing green water; in the other, yellow potatoes that looked hard.