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Mother's Culinary Dreams, a Narrative Poem


Besides being an expert on sampling my mother's baked goods, I write poetry about the lives of the neglected and the disenfranchised.


When Reality Conflicts with Passion

We all have dreams and passions, but should we follow them in the face of failure and continued disappointments? This is a question, I asked myself repeatedly when I remembered my mother's love for baking cakes, cookies, and pies. My mother did persevere, however, despite the fact that none of her creations tasted or even resembled what she was trying to accomplish. She had a dream that one day, she would bake us a cake that we all could eat, as well as enjoy. God love you, Mom, wherever you have landed. This poem is for you.

Mother's Culinary Dreams

My mother was an angel

but not much of a baker.

She made many valiant attempts,

one failed cake after another.

As if she were blindfolded

when she used the Waring blender.

As if she were dyslexic

when it came to following recipe directions.

She gave up baking for a while.

Spared the world of all her inedible turmoil.

She got rid of her pie plates and trays,

donated her brand new spatulas and mixing bowls

to the Salvation Army.

But when the Holidays came,

my mother had a passionate reawakening.

She rediscovered her love for sweet and chewy things.

She lit up her gas oven and greased her aluminum pans.

She dreamt of being another Betty Crocker,

baking all sorts of cookies, cakes, and pies.

She cracked open the Pillsbury Doughboy

and cut it into cute little circles,

kneaded the dough nice and flat,

added a fresh prune filling,

curled and buttered it

and placed the tray onto the center rack.

Unfortunately, she didn’t set the timer.

She fell asleep reading Julia Child

on her vibrating recliner.

She woke up to a kitchen in flames,

the loud siren of a firetruck,

and masked men with black boots and red hats

breaking down her door with an ax.

Before she knew it,

my mother’s sweet creations,

her heartfelt concoctions

were up in smoke.

Her culinary dreams were shriveled,

charred, and unrecognizable.

Mother's Culinary Dreams, a Poem by Mark Tulin


Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on February 04, 2019:

Thank you, Diksha. I will.

Diksha Shakya from India on February 04, 2019:

Oh my God, This is so beautiful!

Keep writing

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 31, 2019:

I'm sure we'll meet up in time, either on the West Coast or in your neck of the woods. Peace, to you and your loved ones.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 31, 2019:

No problem, Mark. I pray we make it to the West coast eventually.

Your work is always worth a second and third visit. Your mother was still quite amazing to keep trying, my friend.

Have a peaceful day,


PoetikalyAnointed on January 30, 2019:

You're welcome!

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 30, 2019:

Thank you, PA. The memory has not diminished. In fact, it seems to grow as the years pass. Thank you for your kind words.

PoetikalyAnointed on January 30, 2019:

Aww, how sweet!

I respect and adore how much you speak of your mom. It's a Beautiful way to keep her memory alive and share heart-warming pieces of your love for her with us!

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 30, 2019:

Thank you, John. My father’s good cooking skills compensated for mother’s deficit.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 30, 2019:

This was a wonderful read Mark, both funny and a little sad. Also, rekindled memories of my own mother (who was a good cook by the way). I liked your mom's "never give up" attitude, however, and that she would perfect things in the end.

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 30, 2019:

We actually have a bakery around the corner,Tim. So when you stop over I can get some fresh banana bread and cupcakes of your choosing. It might be safer that way. I loved my mom, but her passions overcame her. Thank you, Tim.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 30, 2019:

Wonderful poem, Mark. I could feel your mother's frustration and struggle, but there was always hope there even if things didn't turn out right.

Perhaps, now she can perfect her skills. Maybe she will offer me some tea and the best cake I could ever have when maybe we meet.

Tender and touching, Mark.

The work of a chef of words and feelings.

Deepest respect and admiration,


Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 30, 2019:

Thank you, Maya. I’m a better poet than a baker, that’s for sure.

Maya Ellenson from Hobe Sound, Florida on January 30, 2019:

I love you poem, Mark, for its kind humor, compassion, and love as you honor your mother's culinary dreams. You baked for your mother a truly wonderful poem for all the burned cookies. It's fabulous!

Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on January 30, 2019:

Thank you, Rinita Sen. Life is sometimes a tragic comedy.

Rinita Sen on January 30, 2019:

Oh, that is so sad, the way her baking dreams end, but how great a tribute to a woman who never gave up. Love how you mix humor with the sorrow.

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