Cookbook Recipes: Sloppy Macs, by Jennifer Jackson Berry

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The Invented Meal

Praise the invented meal, the pound of bacon

scissored into bite-size chunks and dropped

into the deep pan. Praise the meal invented

to stretch meat and the ignorance of generations past

as the grease won’t be skimmed off, but stirred in.

Praise the feel of a wooden spoon in fist

as the fat shrinks to crumbles,

as the can of crushed tomatoes is dumped in,

onion powder and oregano added. Praise

the red pepper flakes, heat that sticks like a slap

and steam that rises—elbow mac drained into a colander.

Praise anything that rises, even cholesterol,

because watching what falls is for every other day.

Not days with sauce this red, with bowls this empty.

 

Sloppy Macs

20190510_202832 (1)I always hated this Jackson family meal when my Mom would make it when I was growing up. She continued her mother-in-law’s Depression-era mentality of stretching the sauce to cover 2+ lbs. of pasta, but this needs to be saucy. My revised recipe calls for 1 lb. of pasta to serve 3-4 people, but most days, my husband and I make it with only 2/3 – 3/4 lb. and devour all of it between the two of us. My “to taste” for the listed spices is heavy. I shake them over the pan right from the bottles, but I think it would probably be a good palmful of all three. Yes, even the red pepper flakes; we like this spicy!

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. of bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

Oregano and onion powder to taste

Red pepper flakes (optional, but highly recommended)

1 lb. elbow macaroni

Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Directions:

Sauté bacon pieces until crispy in large pan. Add crushed tomatoes without draining any of the rendered bacon fat. Stir until fat is incorporated. Add oregano, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. While the sauce simmers, cook the elbow macaroni according to the box directions. Drain macaroni, then stir it into the sauce. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.


Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016). Her most recent chapbook Bloodfish was published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2019 as part of their Keystone Chapbook Series. Her other chapbooks include When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Cookbook Recipes: Milk Gravy, by Jennifer Jackson Berry

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The Rediscovered Meal

Praise the rediscovered meal, first known

when thick-cut pork chops lined with shiny

white fat were easier to find. Praise

the brown bits left even from thinner chops,

that butter can be a substitute, pat after pat,

with tablespoons of flour. Praise whole milk,

the whisk and the pepper mill, the tasting spoon

coated and licked clean, the pepper mill again,

the pepper mill again. Praise a husband

willing to stand at the stove while you make this

for the first time yourself, while the milk gravy

turns its subtle brown, while you taste,

closing your eyes. Forgive his pouring of the gravy

over everything—the pork, the hominy—

when all this gravy needs is white bread,

a fork turned sideways, soft bites. Want this meal.

Want slice after slice. Forgive the forgetting

of the whisk and the pepper. Want the gravy,

its lonely milk.

 

Milk Gravy 

Resized_20170302_181028001_3051 (1)Pork chops and hominy was another standard weeknight meal in the Jackson household. Sometimes we’d also have milk gravy if the chops had enough fat to flavor it. There would be a loaf of white bread on the table those nights. Milk gravy poured over a slice placed beside a chop and a scoop of hominy. Although I often make pork chops and hominy, I hadn’t had milk gravy in years and years when I decided to make it for myself for the first time. I’ve learned it takes patience to make the roux and slowly add the milk to get the right consistency. It also takes 125 grinds of my particular pepper mill to get it peppery enough. Most recently, I made this with ground breakfast sausage and served it over biscuits. So good.

Ingredients:

Pork of choice

5 T. butter

5 T. flour

2 ½ c. whole milk

Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Brown/cook through your pork product of choice in a large pan. Remove meat, but leave any drippings. Add the butter to the pan; melt it over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a blond roux. Slowly add the milk in ½ cup increments, stirring each time until completely incorporated. Add the pepper to taste. If using sausage, add it back to the pan.


Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016). Her most recent chapbook Bloodfish was published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2019 as part of their Keystone Chapbook Series. Her other chapbooks include When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Cookbook Recipes: Ham & Potatoes, by Jennifer Jackson Berry

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The Simple Meal

Praise the simple meal of potatoes boiled

with Easter’s ham bone, green beans and corn

added at the end to mix with ham pieces loosed,

the marrow. Praise that the bone is frozen

and often forgotten for months, this meal appearing

late summer when the corn is fresh-shucked,

the beans snapped, not drained from a can.

Praise the tradition of a small yellow pitcher,

bigger than a mismatch from a cream and sugar set,

smaller than a gravy boat, filled with apple cider vinegar

to pour over the plate. Praise the tradition larger

than my family of remembering harshness,

remembering bite, even in times of plenty.

Praise being in awe of simplicity,

at least sometimes.

 

Ham & Potatoes

20190507_1757561 (1)Hands down, my favorite meal ever. Like death row meal. Like end of the world zombies coming meal. My husband calls this the blandest meal ever, and he sits out Sunday dinners at my Mom’s house when she’s making it. This is from a man who grew up in a household that made meatballs with only one ingredient: meat. No garlic, no seasonings, no bread crumbs, no splash of milk. He’s not wrong. Without the apple cider vinegar, this wouldn’t be anything special. But fork-smashed potatoes laced with bits of ham and kernels of corn (I don’t eat green beans, ever!) swimming in vinegar, that’s something special to me.

I don’t think this has ever been written down, and as I’m doing so, I can’t help but think Lindsay Bluth Fünke’s Hot Ham Water. I promise this isn’t that.

Ingredients:

Leftover ham bone

Potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

Corn

Green beans

Apple cider vinegar for serving

Directions:

Place leftover hambone in large stockpot or Dutch oven and add enough water to cover the bone. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Add corn and green beans, heat through. Drain excess water and serve with apple cider vinegar.


Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016). Her most recent chapbook Bloodfish was published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2019 as part of their Keystone Chapbook Series. Her other chapbooks include When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

PiP 54 Featuring Gillian Cummings

_DSC1842_DxO 2.jpegPoets in Pajamas brings you Gillian Cummings at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on May 26th with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Gillian Cummings is the author of The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter, selected by John Yau as the winner of the 2018 Colorado Prize for Poetry (The Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University, 2018) and My Dim Aviary, winner of the 2015 Hudson Prize (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). She has also written three chapbooks: Ophelia (dancing girl press, 2016), Petals as an Offering in Darkness (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and Spirits of the Humid Cloud (dancing girl press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Boulevard, The Cincinnati Review, The Colorado Review, The Crab Orchard Review, The Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, The Journal, The Laurel Review, Linebreak, The Massachusetts Review, The New Orleans Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, in other journals and in two anthologies. In 2008, she was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund Poetry Prize. A graduate of Stony Brook University (BA, English) and of Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program, Gillian lives in Westchester County, New York, where for five years she taught poetry workshops to women at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She is currently at work on a novel and a third collection of poetry.

The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter from University Press of Colorado
My Dim Aviary from Black Lawrence Press
Ophelia from dancing girl press

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on May 26, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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PiP 53 Featuring Raena Shirali

Fave 1.jpgPoets in Pajamas brings you Raena Shirali at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on May 12th with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Raena Shirali is a poet, teaching artist, and editor from Charleston, South Carolina. Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Winner of a Pushcart Prize and a former Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell University, she is also the recipient of prizes and honors from VIDA, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Shirali’s poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, Blackbird, Diode, The Nation, Ninth Letter, Tupelo Quarterly, West Branch, and elsewhere. Shirali lives and teaches in Philadelphia, where she also recently co-organized We (Too) Are Philly, a summer poetry festival highlighting voices of color, and is currently an organizer for Blue Stoop, a local literary hub. She is a Poetry Editor for Muzzle Magazine and a Poetry Reader for Vinyl. Learn more at www.raenashirali.com.

GILT from YesYes Books
Raena Shirali in Academy of American Poets
Raena Shirali in Diode
Raena Shirali in The Nation

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on May 12, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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PiP 52 Featuring Noel Quiñones

JR7_2474Poets in Pajamas brings you Noel Quiñones at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on April 28th with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Noel Quiñones is a Puerto Rican poet, actor, community organizer, and performance artist born and raised in the Bronx. He travels the country with his talk “Beyond the Black / White Binary: Exploring the Inner Ethnic Conflict of Latinidad,” using his poetry to break open the binaries we impose on our identities. As a writer, he’s received fellowships from Poets House, the Poetry Foundation, CantoMundo, Candor Arts, and SAFTA (Sundress Academy for the Arts). As a performer, he’s featured at Lincoln Center, Harvard University, BAM, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and Jawdance in London, to name a few. His performances have been showcased on Huffington Post, Tidal Music, Vibe, Latina Magazine, Medium, Remezcla, Univision, and elsewhere. Founder of Project X, a Bronx-based arts organization, and co-organizer of #PoetsforPuertoRico, Quiñones was recently named one of New York State’s “40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars” by The Hispanic Coalition and as a 2018 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow. Follow his journey at www.noelpquinones.com.

Noel Quiñones in Tidal Music
Noel Quiñones in Rattle
Noel Quiñones in Hot Metal Bridge

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on April 28, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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PiP 51 Featuring Ana Portnoy Brimmer

IMG-20190101-WA0035.jpgPoets in Pajamas brings you Ana Portnoy Brimmer at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on April 14th with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Ana Portnoy Brimmer is a Puerto Rican poet/performer, writer and ARTivist. She holds a BA and an MA in English from the University of Puerto Rico, and is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Rutgers University–Newark. Ana is the inaugural recipient of the ​Sandra Cisneros Fellowship,​ a ​Pushcart Prize​ nominee, and​ ​a co-organizer of the #PoetsForPuertoRico movement. She is also a ​Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation ​Fellow​, ​an ​Under The Volcano Fellow​, ​a​ Las Dos Brujas Writing Workshop ​alumna​, ​and an inaugural ​Moko Writers’ Workshop alumna. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in ​Sx Salon​; ​Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm;​ ​Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature;​ ​Kweli Journal;​ ​Visual Verse: An Anthology of Arts and Words​; ​Anomaly: Caribbean Folio​; ​Voces desde Puerto Rico/Voices from Puerto Rico​; ​Puerto Rico en mi Corazón​; ​Poets Reading The News;​ ​Project Censored​; ​La Respuesta;​ ​The Acentos Review;​ ​Moko Magazine​; ​Centro Journal; and Under The Volcano/Bajo el Volcán: The Best of Our First Fifteen Years,​ among others.

Ana Portnoy Brimmer in Foundry Journal
Ana Portnoy Brimmer in Kweli Journal
Ana Portnoy Brimmer in The Acentos Review
Ana Portnoy Brimmer in Moko Magazine

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on April 14, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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PiP 50 Featuring Hali Sofala-Jones

Sofala-Jones Headshot (1).jpgPoets in Pajamas brings you Hali Sofala-Jones at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on March 31st with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Hali F. Sofala-Jones is a Samoan American teacher and writer. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her poetry has been published both in the United States and abroad, appearing in Nimrod International Journal, The Bitter Oleander, CALYX, Blue Mesa Review, The Missouri Review, The Samoan Observer, and elsewhere.  Her debut collection of poetry, Afakasi | Half-Caste, is forthcoming in 2019 from Sundress Publications. She lives and works in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Afakasi | Half-Caste at Sundress Publications
Hali Sofala-Jones in Up the Staircase Quarterly
Hali Sofala-Jones in The Rappahannock Review

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on March 31, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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PiP 49 Featuring Leah Silvieus

unnamed.jpgPoets in Pajamas brings you Leah Silvieus at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on March 17th with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Leah Silvieus is the author of Arabilis (Sundress Publications), Season of Dares (Bull City Press) and Anemochory (Hyacinth Girl Press)She holds a B.A. from Whitworth University and an M.F.A. from the University of Miami. She is a Kundiman Fellow and currently serves as Books Editor at Hyphen magazine.

Arabilis at Sundress Publications
Season of Dares at Bull City Press
Anemochory at Hyacinth Girl Press

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on March 17, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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PiP 48 Featuring Kathy Fagan

IMG_0333.jpgPoets in Pajamas brings you Kathy Fagan at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on March 3rd with a 15-minute live reading immediately followed by a short Q&A. The event will be held at the PiP Facebook page.

By clicking “going” to the Facebook event, you will let us know to expect you and will ensure that you are sent a reminder, so you don’t forget. Remember to prepare your questions for the featured poet, too!

Kathy Fagan’s fifth book is Sycamore (Milkweed, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts and William Carlos Williams Poetry Prizes. Recent work appears in The New York Times, The Nation, Poetry and Tin House. She has received fellowships from the NEA and Ohio Arts Council. Fagan directs the MFA Program at Ohio State, where she also serves as Series Co-editor for the OSU Press/Wheeler Poetry Prize. Her website is www.kathyfagan.net.

Sycamore at Milkweed Editions
Kathy Fagan in The New York Times Magazine
Kathy Fagan in The Nation
Kathy Fagan in Poetry

Join us at the Poets in Pajamas Facebook page at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) on March 3, 2019. When the live video starts, click join to watch the reading and interact with the poet.

Anna Black will host.

This reading series is hosted courtesy of Sundress Publications.

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