Using Poetry to Raise Awareness about Diabetes

NPR recently published a story about young people in California using poetry and spoken word to raise awareness about diabetes in their families. Some of the statistics the article mentions surprised me: Did you know that half of African-American youths born in the year 2000 are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives?

I love to see public health campaigns that push the envelope and tackle issues in ways that aren’t part of the traditional tactics. This campaign does just that. Watch a few of the poems below.


Speaking of the South

My post about Southern food yesterday reminded me of this great text-message conversation I had with my family recently.

Dad (foodie):
Dinner tonight, hoppin’ John made with Anasazi beans. Oh yeah!
Sister #1 (literature teacher / history buff): Anasazi or Ashkenazi? 🙂 Either way, I’m jealous!
Me: Yum! Enjoy! I’m cooking up some beer-braised collards… Maybe we should join forces? They’d pair well.
Dad: Perfect combo. Low country gourmet.
Sister #2 (super-busy attorney): I had Chipotle.

Then, later, an email from dad: Note that collard greens are a traditional accompaniment to Hoppin’ John.
Me: We must be in a Southern State of Mind. 🙂

It’s true, guys. I had my one-year anniversary in Arizona last month and I think it made me a little homesick. Thankfully, my good friend Lauren is getting married in North Carolina in April, so I have a very good excuse to make a trip home. And believe me… I will be doing lots of eating.

An ode to food

I was flipping through the most recent issue of Gravy today and came across this gem of a poem. I sent it to my sister, who correctly pointed out that I should post it on my blog! So, here it is.

by Sandra Beasley

My father will never enjoy
the heavy, sunrise sweetness
of a golden tomato dashed with oil,
layered in basil. As with spinach,
as with olives, he tastes only
the claustrophobia
of salt his Texan mother
unleashed from a can
a half-century ago, feeding
four children on a budget.
We talk little of this:
the foods our parents
cook to mush, pepper to ash,
flavors forever rendered to chore;
that this too was a form of love.
What I remember is how,
during a snowstorm that stranded
our schoolbus, I hiked
to my grandmother’s instead.
And she made me not
chicken soup from scratch,
or a braise of bacon and cabbage,
but rather a tray of tater-tots
straight from freezer to oven.
They goldened like July.
We ate them with our fingers
while we played Scrabble, waiting
until it was safe to take me home.