The Clean Platter

Some singers sing of ladies’ eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And course ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food.
Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
But there’s nothing the matter with butter,
And nothing the matter with jam,
And the warmest greetings I utter
To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they’re food,
All food,
And I think very fondly of food.
Through I’m broody at times
When bothered by rhymes,
I brood
On food.
Some painters paint the sapphire sea,
And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play,
But most, the female form.
“Twas trite in that primeval dawn
When painting got its start,
That a lady with her garments on
Is Life, but is she Art?
By undraped nymphs
I am not wooed;
I’d rather painters painted food.
Just food,
Just any old kind of food.
Go purloin a sirloin, my pet,
If you’d win a devotion incredible;
And asparagus tips vinaigrette,
Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple,
A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple,
As long as it’s something to eat.
If it’s food,
It’s food;
Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
On food.

Ogden Nash



 Gently stir and blow the fire,
Lay the mutton down to roast,

 Dress it quickly, I desire,
In the dripping put a toast,

That I hunger may remove —
Mutton is the meat I love.

 On the dresser see it lie;
Oh, the charming white and red;

Finer meat ne’er met the eye,
On the sweetest grass it fed:
Let the jack go swiftly round,

Let me have it nice and browned.
On the table spread the cloth,

 Let the knives be sharp and clean,
Pickles get and salad both,

Let them each be fresh and green.
With small beer, good ale and wine,

 Oh ye gods! how I shall dine.

3 Responses to “The Clean Platter”

  1. Loved every bit of this poem. It should be put in the English literature curriculum.
    Teachers and children will love this as well.
    I loved it for a simple reason. Am a foodie too. I relate.

  2. All WORDS in this poem is WORTH it. Pun intended 🙂

  3. Sounds great Gourmet Club of India, I am based in UK, we have a wine circle, match wine with food- normailly seven course meal with seven different wines. Currently in vogue are wines of new world – Australian – Hardys my favourite – Kumala of South African – Cont-Y of Chile- Argento of Argentina. Only chilled Rose with Indian food or chilled Chianti.
    So how does one find the Gourmet club of India in Delhi???

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