Monday, October 10, 2011


It's all his fault!  Had Parmentier                           
not taught Europeans to eat potatoes                   
American teenagers wouldn't be fat.                     
They'd still be slender as snakes                           
slithering through dew-dawn grass          
to drink at  favorite watering holes.                                               
The Prussians played their part in this black hole
in American experience. When Parmentier,
was captured  among the leaves of grass
of the Seven Years War, he was fed potatoes,
the fare the French fed their hogs, snakes
tempting their porkers to market fat.

That captive never forgot the fat
that saved him in the dark prison hole,
not even when clerics raised their snake-like
heads and denied  the pharmacist Parmentier
the right to garden potatoes
among  his other vegetative grasses.

As inevitable as the persistent grass,
the French caught on and voted the fatty
tuber edible. Ben Franklin even ate potatoes
as the guest of this mad scientist with a holy
obsession.  Wishing to convince, Parmentier
lured luminaries far and wide, snaking

his beguiling dishes into banquet halls,  snaking
his theories into mass production.  Like the grass
that sustains herds of  cattle, Parmentier's
efforts put fat
on famine-starved ribs, filled the holes
of 18th century stomachs with les pommes de terre.

Mashed and baked, salads and soups, his potatoes
left the table of necessity to swim in vats of grease, snakes
made crispy over flaming holes
withering Whitman's grass,
adding pounds of fat
never envisioned in the dreams of Parmentier.

Now, American culture is holy super-sized on French fried potatoes.
Wouldn't  Parmentier be surprised to know that he became the snake
in the grass duping a generation to fatten likes hogs for the slaughter?

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