Poetry at the Post: Bourbon & Spring Rolls & Refugee Stories

From Mimesis
BY FADY JOUDAH
She said that’s how others Become refugees isn’t it?

aimee1 May 27, 2015
Austin, TX
4:30 am:
Off to catch a flight for Louisville, KY. 
  Spalding MFA Homecoming. A few days of writerly events, visits with fellow alums & bourbon!  

Urban Bourbon Trail with Spalding alums, Slay at Hyatt Regency, Louisville, KY
Urban Bourbon Trail with Spalding alums,
Slay at Hyatt Regency, Louisville, KY

Reflecting back
food fragment
Louisville is more than the epicenter for bourbon and the “Hot Brown” but also a bit of a foodie destination. (I’m not the first to have made that discovery. In 2014, Saveur magazine credited Louisville as “Notable” in the Best Culinary Destination category for cities with populations under 800,000.)
In fact, during my visit, food (and, bourbon, of course) began to take up more and mental real estate.
mujadarah at Safier Mediterranean Deli, black pepper chèvre & green tomato jam at Harvest, lobster mac and cheese at  Brown Hotel lobby bar..
One of the writerly highlights of the week was meeting Aimee Zaring, fellow alum and author of Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods.

Aimee Zaring, author of Flavors from Home
Aimee Zaring, author of Flavors from Home

Flavors from Home is a story board of refugee experiences laced with recipes tried and tested by Aimee.
“In Flavors from Home, Aimee Zaring has crafted not just a book of delicious recipes, but a beautiful meditation on exile, place, and cultural identity. The moving stories of these cooks and their recipes are a feast for the spirit.”―Jason Howard, author of A Few Honest Words.

Coco Tran in her Roots & Soy Kitchen  photo from Flavors from Home
Coco Tran in her Roots & Soy Kitchen
photo from Flavors from Home

23 refugees, 42 recipes and 13 countries—from Bhutan to Cuba and Rwanda to Iran. This is a not-to-be-missed read-not only for Aimee’s insights into the realities of the refugee experience but also for the opportunity to escape the rut of the same-ole-same-ole dishes every week and try something new. I know I need to do that—maybe replace that tired pasta dish with…hmmm…spring rolls, anyone?

Coco's Spring Rolls photo from Flavors from Home
Coco’s Spring Rolls
photo from Flavors from Home

If  you happen to find yourself in Kentucky over the next couple of months, you can find Aimee at the following events:

Fri., August 21: Homegrown Art, Music, and Spoken Word Show, Cedar Grove Coffee House, Shepherdsville, KY. Reading and Book Sales/Signing. 6-8 p.m.

Sat-Mon, Sept. 5th-7th: WorldFest on the Belvedere (in Global Village appearing with Global Commons booth) Lou, KY.

Sat., Sept. 12: St. Francis of Assisi Parish Hall, Louisville. Reading and Book Sales/Signing. Featured refugee guests and ethnic food samples. Donations

welcome. 7:00-8:30 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 17: Catholic Charities Annual Fundraiser “Celebration of Spirit and Success,” Crown Plaza Hotel, 830 Phillips Lane, Louisville. Book Sales and Signing, 6-9 p.m.

Poetry at the Post: In Memory of Quiet Days

Advice to a Young Prophet
BY THOMAS JAMES MERTON

Keep away, son, these lakes are salt. These flowers
Eat insects. Here private lunatics
Yell and skip in a very dry country.

Dish on Market Louisville, KY
Dish on Market
Louisville, KY

Downtown Louisville is far from being a “dry country.” Instead, it is wet, very wet indeed especially on the urban bourbon trail. I know from experience. I took my virgin #urbanbourbon trip last Thursday afternoon with a group of fellow writers. My rating: 4-star1

I’d would have given it a 5 star but one of the bartenders had an angry air. Fortunately, at every other place, the bartenders were super professional and friendly–especially at our final stop at Dish on Market. 

Plaque in Louisville, KY
Plaque in Louisville, KY

Or where some haywire monument
Some badfaced daddy of fear
Commands an unintelligent rite.

In a fuzzy haze, I was walking back to the Brown Hotel and ran into this plaque to Thomas Merton. Had I wondered around a bit more I would have discovered another Thomas Merton plaque, the one that celebrates “a mystical experience — one that happened to the monk Thomas Merton on March 18, 1958:

‘In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers….There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.’

TMertonStudy