Chef's Epitaph

My sister Kate had the same Facebook profile picture for three years.  A black and white of Anthony Bourdain hugging a chicken.

***

Fresh rosemary always reminds me of my other sister.  My wife and I have McCormick rosemary in the cupboard. It’s not exactly the same thing, but fresh rosemary isn’t exactly the same thing as Becca either.  Degrees of separation.

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One morning, on the train in the express tunnel under Northern Boulevard, I read Maya Angelou's “The Health-Food Diner”:

... Loins of pork and chicken thighs / And standing rib, so prime, / Pork chops brown and fresh ground round / (I crave them all the time)

Irish stews and boiled corned beef / and hot dogs by the scores, / or any place that saves a space / For smoking carnivores.

Poets never mean exactly what I think they do but hearing exactly what another means is uncommonly rare.

***

Kate invited us to dinner with friends from her restaurant by way of a picture she took of seven aged 40 oz ribeyes, raw on a countertop;  “You gonna eat this later.”

My Dad sat on a bar-stool with a glass of wine while they all cooked, marveling over what he'd seen by the grill an hour earlier.  Kate stood, stirring browned butter.  The man behind her stabbed heads of cabbage with skewers, grimaced, and closed the oven door again.

***

I ran past the alley by the tire shop.  It overflowed with a tangle of black and red graffiti like the maze screensavers that ran on Windows 95.  Past the alley and the overpass, one song ended and another began. Jackson Browne: “I’m Alive.