CHEESE AND SWINE
On the 14th & 15th May 2015 a select group of diners sat down in The Swine that Dines supper club for Cheese and Swine, a menu featuring five courses, five cheeses from cheesemonger George and Joseph and five poems by Writing Squad poets – all as part of the Leeds Indie Food festival.
Dale End Cheddar
Cheese and Marmite Consommé
Ever since George made his medicine
I’ve been dreaming of feeding people.
Mother calls broth soup for the soul
because angels ate it first. Some boys
call the floating mushrooms human
brains, so we imagine zombies
in the clear, still liquid. This is how
I describe it: as though eating heaven.
This is how they make it: the clouds
beaten into cheese, the stars crushed
into croutons. I discover Marmite
kissing the man who worships it, then
on Sunday we eat his house together.
The body is a temple. We feel pregnant.
I break the bread with him. We break
the bed, the body, the microwave.
Sheeps Cheese Salad
“Look at cows and horses; they have to eat all day
to stay alive.” My asparagus stalks boil in a saucepan,
bound in rope: hostages of my hunger. We all feel
tied down at times. I marinate mushrooms in a mix
of red wine vinegar, parsley, brown sugar and garlic.
“We’ll starve like this. There’s nothing robust
about a salad.” I can taste the sugar in the air, leaves
steaming in the sauna of a saucepan, their shape
relaxing into the space. Understand, there is more
to salad than its wholesomeness; its greediness
for light. There is much in this world that nourishes
that isn’t a turkey sandwich. Even now, chopping
the watercress, I am full with all the words for love.
Katy’s White Lavender
There is a shade of early called lavender
rolling down the climbing bannister of morning.
How long we waited for August’s up thrust:
long-fingered blooms nodding amongst themselves,
conducting the haze of sleep-sinking bumblebees.
Something ancient here in the shears, in the shape of
bent stalks, taking flowers from the base, pruning,
laying out careful collections trussed the particular way.
Our lanolin treated hands won’t wash, whorled green.
There is no such thing as a lonely summer:
Francophiles standing in blue fields with
our muddy feet, our perfumed mouths.
Let the calendar linger here, wallowing in the
Sunday afternoon render of already-ending.
Now, with the rafters and the hooks all occupied,
the house smells like warm things, drawing in and
taking folded jumpers out of storage.
The rocket leaf excites the sexual desire
of drowsy people, wrote Virgil.
He would know, gorged on cheese
at a Roman party.
All things grow in the Mediterranean basin
where Calypso watered celeriac in her garden:
thirsty stalks, waiting to blossom and
two millennia later, be described to pupils
in Greek mythology.
Calypso was not myth.
She was there, the soil was there,
the vegetable shavings left on the counter
for wandering warriors and classical poets
to pick over
Five Year Anniversary
We have come out on her anniversary,
put on smart clothes, done something cheerful.
I couldn’t let him sit, going through her things,
cups of tea going cold besides him.
So, I have taken him out for dinner, filled him
with fritters and purees and consommé,
with ravioli and asparagus and mushrooms,
beautiful little courses he doesn’t taste.
She might as well be sitting at the table with us,
I’m surprised the waiters haven’t laid a place for her.
We order Muttabaq, wanting the sweetness of honey
and the comfort of soft cheese. I’m wearing
his diamond ring, we’ll pay on the joint account,
but as I break into each filo parcel, it feels like robbery.