Dreams like Vinaigrette, a Poem by Mark Tulin


Every time I eat exotic food,

I get weird dreams.


It must be the person

who prepares the meal,

I determine.


A seasoned cook, perhaps

with soft hands

and stubby fingers

or the sous chef

with a furrowed brow

and a ponytail.


The cook’s life experiences:

fears, family circumstances,

relationships that have gone sour,

successes and failures,

crimes of narrow escape.


Or perhaps those hot love affairs

that have managed to enter my belly

in the form of  Swedish meatballs

or a Chinese salad with a sweet vinaigrette.


The food seems to bare the essence

of the cook who prepares it,

as if the person’s blood were circulating

through the Bouillabaisse. 


The meal is in my dreams

climbing up a steep wall,

eluding entrapments,

accidentally stepping into 

dark, forbidden halls.


As the cook stands over the stove 

and tosses the vegetables into a wok,

I could hear his whole life sizzle.


This poem first published in the Scarlet Leaf Review in the March/April 2019 issue.

I am an author, poet, humorist, and short story writer from Palm Springs, California. I write about various topics, from my early childhood in Philadelphia to my years as a family therapist and finally to my soul-searching in California. These are poetic narratives that may have humorous or serious content or both. Either way, I hope my poetry and stories resonate with you.

22 comments on “Dreams like Vinaigrette, a Poem by Mark Tulin

  1. I guess you eat exotic food a fair bit.

  2. I would, if I got weird dreams. I’ve heard cheese gives some nightmares, I’ve found that the case with me.

  3. What an imaginative perspective on food preparation! I just wonder if all involved in the preparation of my meal washed their hands properly, used separate cutting boards for meat and produce, and didn’t violate the 2-hour rule.

  4. Very fun idea you’ve cooked up here!

  5. What a great poem Mark!!! Brilliantly done, My Friend!! So clever and creative!!

  6. This is a fascinating concept and could apply to any food that has been prepared by a person exotic or otherwise. Hmmm…..I shall ponder this.

  7. You made me hungry just reading that poem! But oh man, can I relate. Even from home made meals do I get these dreams. They invoke memories of time well spent and I get to see the pictures again in my mind. Very well put, Mr. Mark! Thank you for sharing your dreams.

  8. Love it. I love when dreams help form writing. It is such an intuitive experience.

    View at Medium.com

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