"Sir Bones: is stuffed, de world, wif feeding girls."

An old favorite poem, and a new classic recipe.

dream song 4

by John Berryman

Filling her compact & delicious body
with chicken paprika, she glanced at me
Fainting with interest, I hungered back
and only the fact that her husband & four other people
kept me from springing on her or falling at her little feet and crying
"You are the hottest one for years of night
Henry's dazed eyes
have enjoyed, Brilliance." I advanced upon
(despairing) my spumoni. -- Sir Bones: is stuffed,
de world, wif feeding girls. --
Black hair, complexion Latin, jewelled eyes
downcast . . . The slob beside her feasts . . . What wonders is
she sitting on, over there?
The restaurant buzzes. She might as well be on Mars.
Where did it all go wrong? There ought to be a law against Henry.
--Mr. Bones: there is.

John Berryman's Dream Songs are some of my favorite poems on earth; they narrate the musings of a Henry, who seems to have a constant (invisible?) companion and foil in Mr. Bones. I always imagined Mr. Bones to be a dark glistening raven with wry, flashing eyes. This poem in particular navigates the same social periphery of Eliot's Alfred J Prufrock, but instead of cucumber sandwiches and tea, we have chicken paprika and the wonder of Henry's object of affection, her "compact and delicious body".

And here, we have just as scintillating of a recipe, which is warm and filling and redolent with spice.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium Butternut squashes, or winter squash of choice
1 cup onion, peeled & roughly chopped
1/2 cup carrot, peeled & roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
2 small green chilies, roughly chopped
2 liters veggie stock
1 - 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground finely
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder,
or seeds, ground finely
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
5 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced

Using a veggie peeler, peel squashes of their outer skin. Preheat oven to 400. Coat 2 squashes in oil, and place in baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, checking every so often, until top ridges are browned and curled. Remove, and let cool. When cool, scoop out the stringy belly, including seeds, leaving the cavity clean and free of shreds (save the seeds to toast and munch on later!) Cut into large cubes.
Warm oil in a large 10 quart sauce pan or stock pot, over medium heat. Add cumin and fennel seeds to oil and allow to crackle. Add garlic, the chilies, and ginger and saute for few minutes. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika powder and turmeric. Stir thoroughly. Dump in onions and carrots and turn to coat with the spices. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the squash, veggie stock, cider vinegar and simmer for half hour (with the top off), until the vegetables are soft and fully cooked through.
Remove from heat and allow to cool until the mixture is merely warm. Pour into a large food processor, and puree until completely smooth and beautifully orange. Return the puree into the stock pot, and add the can of coconut milk, stirring. Season with salt to taste, and warm over medium heat until simmering. Serve with a swirl of yogurt and a sprinkle of pepitas.

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