Cream of Tartar

Pot-holdering a cloud
of toasted soufflé,
its voluptuous body
billowing over the dish,
we kept its infallible, flawless secret,

referencing the butter-
stained recipe card
by memory only.
Teamwork, we’d wink to each other—
and lots of stirring—never revealing

what separated mother and daughter
from our guests’ amazement
at this seeming perfection—
fleeting, and only as good
as our shortcut:

a bitter white powder lodged
in a glass spice jar
that doubles in volume without fail
what it starts with, transforming
impossible into easy.



“Julia Wendell’s Take This Spoon is an absolutely ingenious collection, melding recipes for the kitchen with poems reflecting upon family life—and it’s nothing less than delicious. The shifting constellations of parents and children, the insistent place of food in our domestic dynamics, all of the fruits of the earth and the fruits of our families, these are the currency of Julia Wendell’s exciting and moving new book. The conversational ease of these poems allows us a truly remarkable intimacy with the poet. Trust me; this is a book to read slowly, savoring every page.”

— David St. John


“Each luscious recipe in this equally edible and biting poetry collection is a chapter metaphor, serving anorexia and addictions with delectable meals, a family heritage where the ultimate comfort activity is spiced with discomfort—like Wendell’s art, which tantalizes with sensual description—and sears with honesty and self-implication, which emulsify to a satisfying blend of self-acceptance, wisdom, and emergent serenity: ‘It’s the whipping/and the chill to follow—/shaving the dark,/square block into chocolate flakes,/blizzarding the tongue/of our sweet, short winter.’”

— April


“Julia Wendell finds the essence of living in the food she loves. Her poems haunt the space between bites, filling those gaps with sincerity of detail, with authenticity of sustenance, with ingredients from the heart. You can taste these poems and find them easily at your own table.”

— Paulette Licitra, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Alimentum