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JPF’s Characteristic Meal

October 3, 2014

This scene from A Poet’s Life reveals some of the secrets of the one dish I have ever dared to claim authorship of, in a lifetime of gourmandism.

It is a substantial and versatile dish, easy to make and, at least potentially, tasty and economic – enough to help at least one aspiring poet through financially constrained times.

The film sequence is spoilt for me rather, as the playing of my reciting over it seems somewhat undignified; the cooking action is dramatic enough! The final comparison to the art of poetry is, of course, good.

Here then, published for the very first time, is the recipe, in the clearest form in which I can attempt to record such a ‘movable feast’:


Olive oil
Vegetables including tomatoes (if that is a vegetable), garlic and onions.
Tin of fish (may work with fresh, who knows?) which might be pilchards or mackerel; tuna fish tends to be rather dry. Could be in brine or tomato sauce, as available.
Mustard, chili and/or  hot pepper bean paste by Sunchang Gochujang, that you can get from that Korean supermarket opposite Tesco’s on St Marys Street.
Tin of chopped tomatoes.
Italian herbs, salt and pepper etc to taste.
Spaghetti or, for even greater health benefits, rice.
(Leave out the fish if you’re a pescatarian or whatever you call it)


Heat olive oil in a big pan and gently fry vegetables in it, starting with garlic, onions and such hard wearing items as carrots and greens. Add hot spicy items, then whatever remaining vegetables are available (sweetcorn? Lemon?), finally introducing real and then tinned tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper and basil.
The aim is to have something with enough liquid to gently simmer and reduce while the spaghetti or rice is prepared. So add wine, beer or lemonade as available, maybe even Greek yoghurt or cream.
Cook your starchy items and combine the two as appropriate.
And that’s it! Bon appetite!


I did once, with this dish in mind, buy 10 tins of mackerel as a long term economy measure, but that was going too far!


[No cookery book for the foreseeable, but the poem featured in this clip can be enjoyed in rather more suitable form by purchasing the collection featured  here: with-love-from-jpf/  Go on, try it!]











From → Critic, Poet, Writer

  1. Dolores permalink

    So excellent I really enjoyed all of your poems passion projection expression and sensitivities want to see and hear more..x love the rucksack.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jacpye permalink

    Nice post, John. So you ‘can’ cook! And I liked the students’ comments on your readings. (See, I did look through your post!)

    Liked by 1 person

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