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Learning to Cook

The rectangular kitchen was narrow
But had enough space for the six of us
Of course, not at the same time
Large green refrigerator
Small white four burner stove with
A beige hood that sat atop like a hat.

The first thing I learned was
How to make sofrito aka recaito
Fresh cilantro finely chopped
Garlic cloves smashed on a pilon
White round onions and dark green bell peppers
Of course, ajices dulces were included
One yellow, green and red
Sautéed or braised in olive oil
The aroma was potent like holy water
To be anointed
Blessing soups, beans and mixed rice.

I think I was about ten
Short like my mama so that
I stood on a crate
Placed in front of the stove.

The second thing I learned to cook
Was white rice
Big aluminum pan filled
With water
Boiled with a little salt
3-4 cups of Goya white rice
Then, manteca Crisco
A large silver metal spoon
Stirred and stirred.

The many times I tried
The rice was
Dry and hard like cardboard
Soft and mushy like pudding
Gooey and sticky like pancake batter
Salty like bacalao
Then came the beans
Red, white, pink, black, pinto, garbanzo, gandules
Much better
Especially with the sofrito
At times with potatoes or Calabasas or bolitas de platano.

These are but memories
Of my mom and dad teaching me
To cook the Puerto Rican way.

About this poem

This poem is a memory remembered about learning to cook when I was a child.

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Written on January 08, 2021

Submitted by ACABEO.EMILIA on December 12, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:17 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,328
Words 257
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 6, 11, 4, 9, 12, 3

Emilia Acabeo

Writing poetry since my college days in the 70's. Have a collection of over 100 poems. Married. Have one son. Former Assistant Principal in a Bronx elementary school. Retired. more…

All Emilia Acabeo poems | Emilia Acabeo Books

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    "Learning to Cook" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Jun 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/146517/learning-to-cook>.

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