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North Fork Chef John Ross at work in his home office. (Credit: Lois Ross)

As you, my loyal readers, know, I enjoy a little poetry with my food, along with good company. Poems provide inspiration that takes mundane cooking to a higher level. And cooking from scratch, using the freshest ingredients, is therapy for me and almost becomes a spiritual experience.

But there is also room for laughter when you are surrounded by food, family and friends. During my restaurant career, it was the ingredient that helped me face some tough days and nights. So I am going to devote this column to some humorous excerpts that I have collected over the years. Enjoy a little laughter with me and we will get back to some summer recipes next column.

Sacred cows make the best hamburger. — Mark Twain

I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food. — W.C. Fields

I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded, dead. — Woody Allen

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six. — Yogi Berra

The Italians were eating with forks when the French were still eating each other. — Mario Batali

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you are hungry again. — George Miller

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French; sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek; soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. — Alice May Brock

Fish, to taste right, must swim three times — in water, in butter and in wine. — Polish proverb

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. — Doug Larson

Food without wine is a corpse; wine without food is a ghost; united and well matched they are as body and soul, living partners. — Andre Simon

There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will. — Robert Frost

Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don’t eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on. — George Bernard Shaw

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. — Mark Twain

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. — Calvin Trillin

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. — unknown

The recipe: a series of step-by-step instructions for preparing ingredients you forgot to buy, in utensils you don’t own, to make a dish the dog wouldn’t eat. — unknown

Condensed milk is wonderful but I don’t see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans. — unknown

Chili represents your three stages of matter: solid, liquid and, eventually, gas. — unknown

The bagel, an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis. — unknown

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. — Epicurus

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. — Samuel Butler

We didn’t starve, but we didn’t eat chicken unless we were sick, or the chicken was. — Bernard Malamud

Stressed is desserts spelled backwards. — unknown

My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you. — Nora Ephron

My hearse will be followed not by mourning coaches but by herds of oxen, sheep, swine, flocks of poultry and a small aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarves in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures. — George Bernard Shaw

Never eat more than you can lift. — Miss Piggy

A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot it turns to wine, something Brussels sprouts never do. — P.J. O’Rourke

Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive. — George Bernard Shaw

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already. — Dave Barry

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. — Orson Welles

McDonald’s “Breakfast for Under a Dollar”actually costs much more than that. You have to factor in the cost of coronary bypass surgery. — George Carlin

Promises and pie crust are made to be broken. — Jonathan Swift

Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal. — Voltaire

In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria. — David Auerbach

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie. — Jim Davis

Your stomach shouldn’t be a waist basket. — unknown

I’ve been on a constant diet for the last two decades. I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. By all accounts, I should be hanging from a charm bracelet. — Erma Bombeck

I can’t cook. I use a smoke alarm as a timer. — Carol Siskind

My mother’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. — Buddy Hackett

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat. — unknown

The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving; even the simplest food is a gift. — Laurie Colwin


John Ross