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The [Thanksgiving] Papers

A Thanksgiving Poem for Children on the Subject of Gluttony

A chef named Mabel Ann Marie
Set out to punish gluttony.
She studied with chefs from Paree to Peru.
She published some cookbooks and articles, too.
But her recipes granted cooks no peace of mind
For each basic ingredient was too hard to find.
Even impulsive cooks, brave and quixotic
Were impeded by formulas far too exotic.
Why, not even Whole Foods carries fresh praying mantis
Or pink tricorne beets from shores of Atlantis!
Soon a nice home-cooked meal was shameful affair
And that folly made Mabel a rich millionaire.
When at last she was hosting her own TV show
She decided to see just how far she could go.
She thought "If these gluttons do think it profound
To eat elegant oddments not easily found,
I wonder to what length these gluttons will go?"
Then she thought up a plan she'd announce on her show.
She announced it flamboyantly - without delay -
That she'd open a new fangled foodie buffet.
Where the wealthy could sample her gourmet treasures
And indulge in untrammeled abdominal pleasures.

*

So every gourmand, every connoisseur,
Every stuffer and gorger and epicure,
The well-heeled rich and the bon vivants,
The affluent in-crowd and chic débutantes,
The pedigreed snobs and privileged beauties,
The créme de la créme of the upper class foodies,
They came from all over with great expectations
To eat up her new-fashioned food combinations.
They entered the restaurant ready to feast
And Mabel Ann welcomed each slovenly beast.
"It's taken me years - at least sixteen -
To invent this fabulous new cuisine.
But a warning to you before you taste,
Before you start stuffing your faces in haste,
These wonderful dishes - superb and expensive -
Will seem putrid and fetid and highly offensive
To those whose palettes are unrefined,
To those who have never urbanely dined,
Only those with low breeding, upon reflection,
Would reject my new gastric fantastic collection!
But that can't happen here," Mabel giggled with glee,
"So En Guete, and Mahlzeit, and Bon Appétit!"

*

Then out came serving trays replete
With things no one should ever eat.
Arranged on spiced volcanic rock
Were dark blue cubes of pool cue chalk
And resting in each dimple sat
A globule of shining fat.
The couple who asked for something rare
Were given eggrolls filled with hair
And Dutch Boy sauce on old fish fins.
The latex paint ran down their chins.
And the cancerous yolks of Fabergé eggs
were whipped into soufflés with centipede legs.
And buttercream-frosted urinal cakes
were drizzled with fluid from anti-lock brakes.
For dessert they ate sand from North Pismo Beach
And they washed it all down with unscented bleach.

*

And when at last the feasting was done
The diners were sluggish; their belts were undone.
A giggle was heard from the back of the house.
It was tiny and wee, like the squeak of a mouse
But it gathered momentum and soon it became
An ear-splitting howl of taunting and blame.
"You rich, spoiled halfwits! You overstuffed jerks!"
Mabel Ann started scolding, "You've eaten the works!"
"Not a morsel remains, the plates are licked clean
From the first to the last course and each in between!
You were so busy proving how stylish you are
That you've gobbled up things that were just plain bizarre
You're shallow and petty - it's plainly incredible -
The things that I fed you were not even edible!
You'll eat any old junk if the price tag's colossal.
You're all soft-minded sheep - moronic and docile!"

*

They panicked somewhat after hearing her speech.
One diner whispered, "I drank some bleach."
Their jaws went slack and hung in shock.
One said, "I ate that pool cue chalk."
Each diner, now filled with both toxins and shame,
Searched his soul that dark night wond'ring who was to blame.
Then one hulking man brushed the crumbs from his vest,
Stood up from his chair, put his hands on his chest,
And broke the silence with an impromptu speech.
"I am filled with respect from my head to my breech!
You don't realize how wondrous your food is - it's thrilling!
But I cannot deny that it's not very filling.
I know everyone's tired, and it is rather late,
But I know I have room left for just one more plate.
But first, I'll give thanks in my own special way
To the person who fed me these foodstuffs today."
The man lumbered over to our Ann Marie
Who looked at them all unrepentantly.
He held out his paw as a show of good will
But when they shook hands in a voice very shrill
Mabel Ann shrieked "Ow! Ow! You're hurting my arm!"
But he didn't stop shaking. "No cause for alarm
My dear Mabel Ann," said the big hulking bloke.
We'd just like to salute your sly practical joke."
One more diner came up to the front of the shop
And he shook Mabel's hand and he just wouldn't stop.
Another one followed, and another one still.
They each grabbed a part of our Mabel until
Each diner, it seemed, was shaking a limb.
And it's here, I'm afraid, that our story turns grim.

*

With a mighty "Heave-ho" and a "one-two-three!"
They threw her in the rotisserie.
And they closed the big door of the oven up tight
And they roasted her flesh for the rest of the night.
At first there were screams and then there were none -
Just the smell of the meat as the roasting was done.
They lifted their glasses and praised what they'd cooked.
And they celebrated how delicious it looked.
And the tender meat simply fell off the bone
Of the wonderful Mabel Ann Bœuf bourguignon.
On their deathbeds those diners were heard to confess,
'Twas their favorite meal ever - a total success.

*

From this tale of Mabel Ann Marie -
Unkindly devoured by the bourgeoisie -
My darling children, you should sense
The price one pays for intemperance.
The pleasures of the flesh are fleeting
So exercise restraint when eating.
Now put on your jammies and get into bed
And dream about grapefruit and whole grain bread.
In the end you'll be thin - some may even say gaunt -
But you won't eat the chef of a fine restaurant.



Permalink

Posted on November 21, 2007


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