Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Carl Sandburg and a Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad

Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes , two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as "as a major figure in contemporary literature," especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers(1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920). He enjoyed "unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences that connected him with so many strands of American life"  When he died in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that "“Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.

This has always been one of my favorite Sandburg poems. It  has timeless appeal for all those, young and old, who have ever struggled with the difficulty of math or labored over convoluted word problems. Its language remains fresh and fanciful to this day. 
Sandburg wrote more than 800 verses during his lifetime. 
Arithmetic
by Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
head.
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven -- or five
six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky -- or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply -- and you carry the
multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
better in arithmetic, you or your mother?
__________________________________________________________
Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad
Cook's notes: Sweet potato and pomegranate salad with feta cheese, pepitas, and a light pomegranate dressing is easy, healthy and a showstopper for any winter meal. It serves 4 and has been adapted from twopeasandtheirpod.com and loveandlemons.com 
Butternut squash can be substituted for sweet potatoes. Follow the same cooking method.
Salad Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups salad greens such as baby kale, spinach and/or arugula 
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas or toasted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
Ingredients:Pomegranate dressing
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until sweet potatoes are well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from oven.
  • Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add pomegranate arils, pepitas, and feta cheese.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle dressing over sweet potato salad. Gently toss with greens and serve immediately.

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