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Picture 10168606, late 1960s photograph, image copyright Mary Evans / Ad Lib Studios

The Lost Kitchens of My Childhood
by Sue Burge


had serving hatches with sliding doors like old-fashioned TVs

but I don’t remember any food coming out; on BBC and ITV

I watched the Galloping Gourmet clarify butter

into translucent gold and Fanny Cradock

in her frilly pinny encourage exoticism in the everyday.


The lost kitchens of my childhood contain a series

of powdered aunts, large and small like Russian dolls.

There must have been the hard labour of mashed potato

but I only remember these women as immobile and clean

as the smiling housewife starlets in magazines.


There must have been steak and kidney suet pudding

but I don’t recall pungent steam fogging the view

of my uncle’s new blue Volkswagen Beetle

and the constant arrivals of cousins.  I remember


my aunt’s pink cheeks, broken veins bright

as the fake raspberry taste of Angel Delight.

I do remember mum crouching in front of her new oven

taking out chicken after chicken, wishbones already removed.



© Sue Burge

Picture 10168606, late 1960s photograph, image copyright Mary Evans / Ad Lib Studios



Sue Burge is a freelance creative writing tutor, mentor and editor based in North Norfolk, UK. Her poems have been published in a wide range of journals and have also featured in themed anthologies on science fiction, modern Gothic, illness, Britishness, endangered birds, WW1 and the ongoing pandemic. Her four poetry collections are: In the Kingdom of Shadows and Confetti Dancers (Live Canon), Lumière and The Saltwater Diaries (Hedgehog Poetry Press). She is currently working on her next full collection which explores the world of the alter ego she left behind in Paris three decades ago. Her collection of eco-poetry, watch it slowly fade, is forthcoming with Hedgehog Poetry Press.


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