Enjoying Your Meals: Apéritif & The Meal Thief


Here's a piece I originally published at Kuyperian Commentary, with a few changes for rhythm's sake. It's about taking time to enjoy your meals.


Apéritif & The Meal Thief
“La manzanilla de Sanlúcar y Los Puertos 
alegra a los vivos y resucita a los muertos.”

The insurance salesman and process management consultant
Will tell you that it’s best to trip light. Carry-ons, kid.

An acquaintance took bags to Rome, which with ancient
Tradition the natives stole while giving lodgment.
Someone took my CDs in Madrid.

How like an avaricious hotel clerk
Is every meal you’ve taken in all your life.

Most dashed off some sugars, and tried not to work.
And you, complicit or embarrassed fell asleep to their smirk,
And blamed your schedule, or maybe your wife.

The very best meals have worked to impress and to wow
The sleepy tourist who fatly steps to the table.

Because you travel heavy, with a weight on your brow,
The meal sneaks your time, your most valuable now,
And sells to his cousin as quick as he’s able.

It is wiser to travel as if eating a five-course meal,
To show up with an empty stomach and an edge for appetite.

If you’re to eat the entire world with zeal,
To devour all they offer in Des Moines or Castile,
Come wakeful-eyed, with spine upright.

Travel light to your meals. Check in no worries or cares.
Simplicity and joy are the carry-ons you need.

If you don’t speak the language, listen and be aware.
Show up to the table ready, awake and légère.
Let nothing be stolen from you while you feed.

If your palate is training, your start and first step must be bright.
Make yourself time to choose an apéritif,

Something dry and clean, to start up your tongue with light.
Calvados, or maybe champagne, or any wine that is white.
Gin and tonic wakes your tongue before beef.

I remember the start a manzanilla sparked in my mouth.
This friend and I sat on the lawn, our wives cooking young,

Ten years ago. He in Minnesota now, I the South,
Our first children just babies, kept in the house,
Our new lives on the tips of our tongues.

Which seems heavy, but tastes just like chamomile tea.
I still own that time, the little dry apples still carry

Lightly in the throat, an entire meal now free
To travel through time, not trapped by dull inattentive me,

But wakeful once waked by a sherry.

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