Cheese Love by Iliana Paul ‘11

After graduating from MHC 18 months ago, Iliana Paul now lives in Brooklyn with her high school sweetheart. She works days as a paralegal at a law firm, but afterwards and otherwise, she is an avid cook and eater. She plans to attend graduate school in the not-so-distant future, but for now, Ilana says, she is “just figuring things out day by day.”

The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it…and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied…and it is all one.–M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me

“Do you want any more?” I asked tearing a bit of baguette and smearing on chevrot.

“No, I don’t want to have nightmares,” Chris replied matter-of-factly.

“What?”

“Don’t you know that eating cheese late at night will give you nightmares?”

“You’re ridiculous,” I said.

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Luxury by Holly Hughes ’75

Holly Hughes has lived in New York City since 1978, although there isn’t a day she doesn’t dream about moving. She is the founder and editor of 13 editions (and counting) of the annual Best Food Writing anthology. Her past also includes stints as the executive editor of Fodor’s Travel Publications, writer of 12 travel guides for Frommer’s (including 500 Places to See Before They Disappear and 500 Places to Take the Kids Before They Grow Up), and the author of 13 novels for adolescent girls. She and her husband Bob Ward have raised 3 children in NYC and the last of them is heading for college next fall. (Did anyone say “road trip”?) This essay originally appeared in Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (Riverhead Books‚ 2008).

Eating alone? Ah‚ that would be luxury. Cooking alone? That’s an entirely different thing—that I do every night. Or to be more precise‚ every night I am the only person in my kitchen whose activities are directed toward producing a meal for group consumption. There are other people in the kitchen‚ all right‚ but they are busy doing homework‚ or playing with the cat‚ or watching tv‚ or sneaking snacks to spoil their appetites‚ or arguing with the cook (me). They never offer to help with the cooking. No‚ they are simply hanging around‚ bored‚ at loose ends‚ just waiting to be fed.

“What are you going to put on that chicken?”

“What would you like me to put on that chicken?”

“I hate it when you do the tomato sauce.”

“Then what would you like me to put on that chicken?”

“Remember the time you made it with sweet peppers and onions?”

“Want me to do that again?”

“I specially hated it with the peppers and onions.”

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Stew, a poem by Sandra Kohler ’61

Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music (Word Press), was published in 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals over the past 35 years. Born in New York City in 1940, Sandra attended public schools there, before matriculating at Mount Holyoke. She then went on to earn her masters and Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. Sandra’s taught literature and writing in venues ranging from elementary school to university. She lives in Massachusetts.

The first of March, snow falling like rain,
straight, heavy, insistent. My dreams were
densely plotted, thick with incident I can’t

remember. My life is thick with something
other than incident: a stew of memory, fear,
longing, unfinished business, unrealized

intention. Will it snow all morning? My head’s
awhirl with the five women I met yesterday,
their husbands, daughters, sons, people we

each carry with us, willing or not: a world of
connections we’re born into, choose, birth.
Here, in mine, someone stirs: who’s up and

why? March snow is still falling. Should I
shovel before it stops, will a broom shift it,
should I serve asparagus before stew, is there
enough stew? I’m who made the stew I’m in.