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Comfort food and books for comfort

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Christina Stock Photo Vegetable soup is a healthy way to lose pounds, if done right.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Soups and stews

And poetry book “Quivira” by Karen Kevorkian

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

A new year, finally, after 2020 seemed to drag on forever. I don’t know about you, but I am so happy to have this new year start with hopes to have a halfway normal life again soon. I too am suffering of having gained the COVID-pounds, as physicians call the weight gain in the large population who had to work from home last year. On average — in the western hemisphere — most who were stuck at home gained around 15 pounds. What to do? Anybody who follows my column knows that I believe in moderation and that I don’t think crash diets work longterm. One thing works, burning more calories than you take in to lose weight, and of course, to eat healthier.

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A perfect dish to help are soups. Soups in any form, as long as they don’t have cream, sugar or too much salt in them, are ideal to fool one’s body to think that you ate way more than you actually did. Liquid low-sodium broth is the base, add some herbs and garlic, toss in any kind of vegetable, fresh or frozen, and you have an almost foolproof way to lose some of the bulk you gained last year.

Here is one of my favorite recipes that I will have at least twice a week for the next months. I will vary it, depending what is in season. Feel free to add or remove any vegetable and sausages:

Healthy soup base:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

7 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

3 medium carrots, halved and thinly sliced (or frozen)

3 cups cubed potatoes (peeled or unpeeled)

2 medium turnips, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and sliced

2 bay leafs

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp pepper

Preparation:

In a large pot, bring the olive oil to medium heat until it shimmers. Stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion turns translucent, but not brown. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir for another minute. Pour in the seasoning and the broth. Cook on medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are done. Taste and add more pepper or salt if you like.

Serve in a bowl with or without bread.

This soup keeps for six days in the refrigerator.

Books for comfort

Submitted Cover Art
Brian Shields, a Taos resident painter, created the art on the cover of Karen Kevorkian’s newest poem book, “Quivira.”

Today, I want to introduce to you Karen Kevorkian, an a

uthor of three poetry collections, “White Stucco Black Wing” (Red Hen Press, 2004) and “Lizard Dream” (What Books Press, 2009). Her work appears in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Virginia Quarterly Review and Massachusetts Review, to name a few. Her poetry book “Quivira” is her newest work.

Without any book fairs or readings possible due to the pandemic, local authors and poets have difficulty bringing their work to the attention of their readers. In an email Kevorkian says, “As you can guess, the inability to present the book publicly has felt like a handicap. It may be of interest to you that the cover art for my book is a Taos painter, Brian Shields, husband of the poet Sawnie Morris. Although I live in Los Angeles, I’ve been coming to Taos for over 10 years now, having first been invited to a residency at the Wurlitzer foundation in Taos. Like so many, the place and friends made here are now very important to me, and I come back as often as I can.”

Indeed, true to her word, “Quivira” has been published by A Taos Press.

The collection of poems in “Quivira” seem to be organized yet tumbling over the pages like a mariachi song along a road leading toward a destiny that appears to be a mirage, “… like peering into a glass case turquoise and silver — small town with street lights, only now and then turned on — dark to hurry through — passing the little horse field — cars parked in the fringe.”

Who encounters the “windmills?” Who witnesses “never seen before heavy artillery … battered down pueblos … old fire-filled cottonwoods like hot air balloons at dusk …?”

The high desert, its towns and people are reflected in the thought- and dream-provoking poems, the reader returning to one or another paragraph finding a new meaning every time. Not every poem is uplifting. One haunting beginning, “In Ciudad Juárez where some worship Santa Muerte” leads to the Chihuahua desert with no good outcome.

After reading and feeling the poems, Kevorkian gives an insight into her thoughts in the notes, including the title choice, “Quivira.” Reading her notes, most likely, cause a return to the poems to find even more facets. I highly recommend not to read the notes before reading the poems.

Kevorkian received fellowships from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and the Djerassi Foundation. Kevorkian was born in San Antonio, Texas, and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas, Austin, and an Master of Fine Arts from the University of Virginia. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Quivira” is available directly from the publisher with free shipping at 3taospress.com.

For more information, visit karenkevorkian.com.