My Dominican Breakfast

Kim, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, asked for a poem about cooking that “appeals to the senses and is related to [our] life or culture in some way.” I woke up with the Dominican Republic singing memories into my mind—a poem about the kind of breakfast I used to eat when I was a child tasted just right. The side order of nostalgia that came with the writing of the piece was not part of the original recipe… neither was the craving for breakfast in the middle of the afternoon *sigh*.

“My Dominican Breakfast”

Morning food was green bananas,
doing a tenderizing water dance
in a cauldron kissed by firewood.

Next to the cauldron bubbled a tiny pot
that had never been called a kettle; yet,
its belly brewed nothing but ginger tea.

My belly sang its rumbles to the brew,
waiting for the spicy warmth to simmer
true, readying its self for morning food.

True morning food is green bananas
and ginger tea, over firewood and smoke,
conjuring memories… to sting my eyes.

Linked to Poets United (Poetry Pantry 330)

“Fogón… What’s Cooking?” by Mercedes Dayanara

55 thoughts on “My Dominican Breakfast

  1. It sounds like the kind of combination that the best memories are made of. I shall brew a cup of ginger tea in companionship with this poem.

  2. That’s a colourful breakfast, Magaly! I love the image you’ve conveyed in the ‘tenderizing water dance /in a cauldron kissed by firewood’ and that tiny pot with ginger tea appeals to me. Those belly rumbles are great sound effects and that last line is so touching with its hint of homesickness.

  3. What a wonderful breakfast, and so many memories it gives… I find breakfasts are so much stronger, just because there is so little variation day to day… but a large place to place… also breakfast is so personal, a habit that you wear.

    • Bananas and plantain are huge in Dominican culture, too. We make so many things with them, that I’m not even sure of the number. I miss tostones–fried plantain or bananas–so I shall live my fried green banana dreams vicariously through you. 🙂

  4. Oh this is beautiful, Magaly ❤️I love the images here and can picture those “green bananas,
    doing a tenderizing water dance in a cauldron kissed by firewood” sigh.. beautifully executed💝

    Lots of love,

  5. Nice write, we do here in Trinidad, the boiled green bananas (we say green fig), in mayonnasie, pies , and as is, in side dishes. Actually i have a patch of plants in my back yard.

    Happy Sunday to you

    much love…

  6. Hi Magaly, well I like morning tea, your preparations were exotic for my cooking. Tea is okay but not green bananas. A bagel or scone would be more appropriate for this guy.

    • I think of all meals, breakfast is specially attached to culture. I always thought that bacon and sausage in the morning was bit weird, since I didn’t grow up eating meat so early in the day. And things like boxed cereal were unheard of in my childhood. So, I definitely understand the exotic feeling….

      Yum, a bagel or scone sounds so delicious right now… but no flour for me. 🙁

  7. This is such a lovely bitter-sweet, tenderly rendered piece. I have never had green bananas – or ginger tea, for that matter – but if the opportunity ever comes my way … I’m in! Smiles.

  8. conjuring memories… to sting my eyes.

    How childhood realities can bring so much back in memories. One can be treated to a sumptuous offering later in life but it is not the same!


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