Simple pleasures for body, mind and spirit

Recent Posts

Not My Mom’s Harvard Beets … green tea with pomegranate … featured poet, Myra Schneider

Not My Mom’s Harvard Beets … green tea with pomegranate … featured poet, Myra Schneider

My mom loved Harvard beets, which she prepared using canned beets.  Actually, not bad, but I always have to play with my food and how wonderful to play with fresh sweet and earthy jewel-toned beets. It’s too hot to use the stove or oven, so […]

Lucious, lip-smacking Tahini recipes; featured tea, iced Lebanese lemonade tea; featured poet, Michael Steffen

Lucious, lip-smacking Tahini recipes; featured tea, iced Lebanese lemonade tea; featured poet, Michael Steffen

… If form follows function,  it stands to reason that pain is the fate of all “brainy” things – cauliflower, coral and raspberry clumps, the florets that sizzle in my spiced tahini. The Veggi Life by Michael Steffen  Hummus photo above courtesy of Beyrouthhh under  CC […]

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony … “For the Love of a Good Cuppa” by Karen Fayeth

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony … “For the Love of a Good Cuppa” by Karen Fayeth

A coffee ceremony is a ritualised form of making and drinking coffee. The coffee ceremony is one of the most recognizable parts of Arab, Eritrean and Ethiopian culture. Coffee is offered when visiting friends, during festivities, or as a daily staple of life. If coffee is politely declined then most likely tea (shai) will […]

Coffee Dark, Poetry Light … How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee … featuring poet and short story writer Dan Roberson

Coffee Dark, Poetry Light … How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee … featuring poet and short story writer Dan Roberson

Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water. ~The Women’s Petition Against Coffee, [England 1674] to Keepers of the Liberties of Venus; The Worshipful Court […]

How to Make a Good Cup of Tea: Orwell, Me and The Empire Tea Bureau

How to Make a Good Cup of Tea: Orwell, Me and The Empire Tea Bureau

“One should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.” […]

Writers and Their Cafès

Writers and Their Cafès

WRITERS AND CAFÉS go together like coffee and a biscotto. Perhaps the connection started in the place where coffee houses first evolved, Ottoman Turkey. There it is said the men met over small, sweet cups of Turkish coffee to socialize and entertain one another with […]

Over His Morning Coffee, a poem

Over His Morning Coffee, a poem

Over his morning coffee he sat, dreaming of yesterday’s spring and the hill country of his youth, remembering summers of peace and autumn days when he thought life a forever thing. The world lay before him then, a ripe field awaiting harvest. Now beside this sad cup, […]

Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground IN A WORLD GONE MAD … …we still have civilities: morning coffee, afternoon tea and poetry. Welcome to a  celebration of simple pleasures featured […]

Lebanese Coffee, Cardamom Scented; featured writer, Freya Stark

Lebanese Coffee, Cardamom Scented; featured writer, Freya Stark

“We found a little side valley for lunch, and made a salad and cooked the coffee.” Letters From Syria, Freya Stark As a child I lived for a while with my Lebanese grandmother, my Sidto. Every Tuesday afternoon some of the ladies who traveled to the […]

Spinach Pilaf (Spanakorizo); featured tea, camomile; featured writer, Katherine Mansfield

Spinach Pilaf (Spanakorizo); featured tea, camomile; featured writer, Katherine Mansfield

“How little I thought, a year ago, In the horrible cottage upon the Lee That he and I should be sitting so And sipping a cup of camomile tea.” Camomile Tea, Kathrine Mansfield A calming herbal tea, camomile, and a nerve-steadying and calcium-rich Greek spinach […]

Hello World!

Hello World!

This site is under construction. Bare with me and do come again. Warmly, Jamie Dedes “The Poet by Day” 1997 Massimo Romeo Estates DOC Vin Santo di Montepulciano 375 mL Wine into which you might dip a biscotto * The Gentleman of the Bocce Court […]


My Diary

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My mom loved Harvard beets, which she prepared using canned beets.  Actually, not bad, but I always have to play with my food and how wonderful to play with fresh sweet and earthy jewel-toned beets.

It’s too hot to use the stove or oven, so I microwaved the beets this evening, setting the scrubbed whole beets in a covered dish with a few spoons of water.  Depending on the size, they’re done in 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, it’s easy to rub skin off under cold water and then dice the beets into a serving dish to cool while adding delicate slivers of red onion.

Dressing: 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4 olive oil, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or to taste, salt to taste. Whisk together in a small bowl and use to lightly dress the beets and some greens. Neither should be swimming in the dressing. Layer the beets over the greens and top with crumbled blue cheese or feta.

A fruity Green Tea with Pomegranate seems to go well, iced in this case with a spritz of lemon.


And now, today’s featured poet, the award-wining Myra Schneider …

ROOT VEGETABLE STEW

When dark nights eat up afternoons
I sweat onions in sunflower oil,
weigh out carrots, a swede,
and tapering baby parsnips
with old-age skins on flesh
that fattened underneath the light
in a cradling of clay, grit, stones.

I take the swede, a misshapen globe
marred with scars, cut it in two.
The apricot bulk makes my head
hum with summer. I slice up
the snow-white parsnips, then tip
lentils, seeds of a butterfly-
petalled plant, into the pan.

Opening the door to throw peelings
in a pail, I bump into snouting cold.
It smells of woodsmoke, bites
as I stare at the park bristled
with black. Frost is stiffening leaves,
grasses, and I feel myself woven
to this land’s Saxon past when winter

was a giant who trampled crops in fields,
snuffed breath with icicle fingers –
though this was not the country
of my forbears, though rootlessness
was a wound I bore till turned thirty,
I was warmed enough by love
to put down roots in myself.

When chill sinks its teeth in my ribs,
I retreat to the stove, dip a spoon.
The heat-swollen lentils are melting
among the hulking vegetables,
and yellowbrown as November woods.
I add lemon and fried spices,
stir them in, ladle the stew.

© Myra Schneider (Shared here with Myra’s permission)

Myra Schneider’s latest and recent books are Persephone in Finsbury Park (SLP), The Door to Colour (Enitharmon); What Women Want(SLP). More at Myra Schneider website where you can also order Myra’s books.

HERE is a wonderful interview with Myra on the occasion of her 80th birthday earlier this year. Who wouldn’t want to gather and savor the voice of so much experience: thirteen collections of poetry, children’s books, author of Writing My Way Through Cancer and, with John Killick, Writing Yourself: Transforming Personal Material. Myra has collaborated on more anthologies than I can count, is a poetry coach and champion of women poets, a consultant to Second Light Network of Women Poets and a poetry editor.  Myra’s professional life seems like it is and always has been quite full and busy. Yet along the way – even when coping with catastrophic illness – Myra is able to take a breath, pick up her pen and inspire.