Friday, November 26, 2021

Poetry Friday: An Ode to Making Caramels

Salted Caramels
from America's Test Kitchen's 
"Made From Scratch"

November's challenge was to write an ode to some aspect of Autumn, and to try (emphasis on TRY) to avoid praising only the usual suspects.  I'm not sure if caramel qualifies (at least it's not pumpkin spice) but when I read up on odes, I learned that they not only can praise a person or thing, but also an event.  So, this is my ode to making caramels (and other lovely things.)   Recipe follows. 

Ode to making caramels

I only make caramels
with my daughter, a scientist versed
in the precise ways of heat and time;
an Autumn queen, blistering sugar
to brown gold; regulating—

without mercy— the length of summer’s heat;
quelling with a swirl of wooden spoon 
the angry sputtering; one eye 
on the thermometer, raising the heat again—
false summer, dog days, before

she commands a river of salted cream
to foam the pot; now all is downward 
warmth until she sluices desiccated sunlight
into a leaf-thin parchment sling tucked 
into the waiting pan; later, she will score 

the stiffened caramels into perfect cubes; 
equinox at last. I wrap each one
in tender scraps of waxed brown paper; 
I pinch and twirl and seal. I’m grateful 
to be her sous-chef, her apprentice, 

her lab assistant. She's unaware—
I think—of the miracle she wrought, 
it’s only the removal of water from sugar,
this caramelization; only waiting, 
only creating goodness 

slowly precisely perfectly. And even
as the baby kicks inside her, 
even as we eat, unwrapping 
what I just wrapped, no number
binds the miracles she has yet to do.

                ------Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Salted Caramels
from America's Test Kitchen

My poetry sisters have made some lovely odes to other aspects of Autumn.  Find them all here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Ruth at thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown