It’s goulash just because my mama said

it was. It didn’t come from Hungary.

It came from hunger, and we made it when

the budget wouldn’t stretch. When shopping’s out,

and what is in the kitchen’s what you’ve got

to eat you improvise. A can of whole

tomatoes and a little bit of meat

for flavoring will feed three teenaged boys.

Just add a can or two or water to

the pot, a little salt and pepper and

oregano or basil, marjoram

and bay, a little onion, garlic too,

assuming that there’s any in the house.

Then let it cook until you’re hungry. It

can be a couple minutes or an hour.

The timing isn’t critical at all.

The only other thing you need is just

some noodles. Any kind at all will do.

Whatever’s in the house. But when there was

a bag of giant shells to cook and mix

into the sauce, I’d have a favorite meal.

And even now, it is a meal of choice.

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