The Massachusetts Review – 2004
Jeannine Hall Gailey
This special issue is dedicated to, as the cover states, Food Matters.
This special issue is dedicated to, as the cover states, Food Matters. And not just food, but the central way food relates to different cultures, ideas of home, and personality. Among the foods reminisced about in poetry, prose, and even play form: kichidi, pomegranates, tongue, gimchi chigae, daal, apple pie, and chicharrones. And, along with literary delicacies, recipes are provided! How can you beat that? Guest editor Anita Mannur begins the issue with an emotive note about her own childhood longings for tuna fish sandwiches. Johnson Cheu’s “Pomegranate” and Purvi Shah’s “As You Try to Clean a Near-Empty Indian Can of Patra Leaves” were two of my favorite poems (although if you are anything of a “foodie” – like me—this whole issue will seem designed for you). The first couplet of Shah’s poem starts: “Your hands would be bandages / were we ever to marry.” Sejal Shah’s “Kinship, Cousins, and Kichidi,” an account of a woman’s changing relationship to food and to the expectations of her family and culture, also struck a familiar chord with me. Savor each piece from this journal at your leisure, as there is plenty to enjoy.