Haibun: Learning to make biscuits

For Magaly’s prompt at Real Toads, Childhood memories that give us joy today.  In prose, 130 words or less. this is my new haibun style, leaner with fewer words, description,  in the spare Japanese style of Basho, the creator of haibun.  Haibun are true accountings, not flash fiction. I am also posting this on Poets United.

 Haibun: Learning to make biscuits
“What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?” Anthony Bourdain

My eyes level with the oak table, I watched my grandmother pulling down the big yellow bowl and getting ready to make the biscuits for breakfast. She lifted me into the chair and put the sifter into my hands and filled it with flour. I began turning the red button crank on the sifter, the same sifter I still use after all these years.
flour drifting like snow
into a sun yellow bowl –
cooking with love

my Grandmother’s yellow mixing bowl

the Bowl

The Bowl
I was going to drink a glass of milk for dinner but
then I remembered Heidi,
drinking milk from a bowl.
I pulled down my favorite bowl –
A small yellow bowl that looked like a beehive
when it was turned upside down, with a small crack at the top.
It was my grandmother’s bowl when she was small.
I poured the milk into the bowl
noting the contrast between the white of the milk
and the creamy crackled glaze of the bowl.
I drank deeply.
I drank until the bowl was empty.
I rinsed it out and put it on the drying mat.
I thought about my mother always wanting that bowl
for her grits and butter
with the over light egg in the center,
salt and pepper sprinkled on the egg.
I dried it and reverently placed it back on the shelf.
I wonder who will get this bowl when I die.
I wonder if they will love it as much as I.

Picking Figs

Victoria is our pubtender today. She always comes up with interesting prompts for us – prompts that stretch our writing and creativity. Our poems today are to consist of conversation. Not meaningless, Hi, I’m fine. How are you? chitchat. But conversations that tell a story, set a mood, take us someplace else than here. Mine is a childhood memory. It was brought to mind today while I was at a friend’s picking figs from her beautiful old bushes.  Please come visit us and read the poems for today.   This poem is linked to d’Verse Poetics:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/09/10/whats-that-youre-saying-dverse-meeting-the-bar/

Monday was our premier Haibun Monday feature.  If you enjoy this form or want to learn more, visit that page as well!

Picking Figs
My hand gently cupped the sun warmed fig and tugged downward.
Lifting the fig to my nose, I inhaled the sweet aroma. My grandmother’s voice came.

You want to pick the fig where the green has this rosy collar –  it will fit
in your palm, pull it down gently. See? It comes loose from the bush.
Cup it in your palms. Gently now, give a little squeeze. Soft. Not mushy.
Now, smell. Nice, isn’t it? I’ll take the top branches, Little Honey, you take
The bottom branches….Yes, just like that.
It smells like honey, Ninny. Sweet.
A light hand on my head…Just like you Little Honey.
Ninny. What’s a fig? Why?
It is a fruit that has the flower inside. I’ll cut this one open for you. See?
Ooooooo – pinky. Like a rose. I want to taste, please? Tastes like a peachy strawberry.
It crackles inside….little crackles.
Little seeds from all the little blooms that were inside. Let’s eat this one now. Isn’t that good?
It is going to rain soon so let’s get them in the baskets and inside. Figs and cream for dessert?
Oh yes!….hands work faster. Lay them gently in the basket. Don’t bruise them.
Carefully, like a tiny kitten or a puppy. Very good! You did that just right.
Fig preserves? Fig ice cream? Dried figs?
And fresh. There will be enough to go in the big yellow bowl on the kitchen table.
Ninny, can we do this again tomorrow?
We’ll do this in a few more days when more get ripe to pick.
I like picking figs with you.
The only think I like better than picking figs is picking figs with you, Little Honey.

free public domain image

free public domain image


Ninny’s Crabcakes

My ancestors, while being descended from the wild Vikings and Celts, ended up on the coast of North Carolina, specifically Snead’s Ferry.   This is the recipe my grandmother (Ninny) used for her crabcakes.  You can use some kind of sauce with it if you wish: tartar, spicy mustard, wasabi….I prefer to eat with just a simple sprinkle of fresh lemon juice.  If any are leftover, they’re good for breakfast too tucked into a hot homemade buttermilk biscuit with a cup of strong coffee with lots of cream.
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/3 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
3 green onions (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Dukes for diehards, Hellmans for others)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
A couple of dashes of hot sauce
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Pick over crabmeat to remove any shell or cartilage.  In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour.  Refrigerate for several hours before frying.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I use my great grandmother’s cast iron skillet). When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.  Makes 6 cakes.

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