Midge Goldberg


Recipe for Disaster

The art of cooking isn’t hard to master.
Read Julia, Beard, issues of Food and Wine;
Most likely it won’t turn out a disaster.

And nowadays, learn dishes even faster—
with recipes shared everywhere online,
the art of cooking isn’t hard to master.

But these were family secrets in the past, or
more personal, a woman’s own design,
and borrowing recipes could spell disaster.

Mistakes “crept in”: the sugar, salt in vaster
quantities, a “4” rewritten “9”—
of course the art of cooking’s hard to master

when following vague measurements, like “dash” or
“handful.” Anything could undermine
the meal and make it turn out a disaster.

The author then would shrug and faintly gesture,
forcing her smile into a somber line:
“The art of cooking is so hard to master,
I’m sorry it all turned out a disaster.”

Midge Goldberg’s latest book of poems, Snowman’s Code, received the 2015 Richard Wilbur Poetry Award. She has been a finalist twice for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and shortlisted for both the Able Muse Book Award and Write Prize. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Daily, Measure, Light, and twice on Garrison Keillor’s A Writer’s Almanac. She is the author of a previous poetry collection, Flume Ride (2006) and a children’s book, My Best Ever Grandpa (2015). She lives in Chester, NH with her family.