The Fruit of My Labors – or, The Wagers of Sim

Not long ago, I was tucking into a sumptuous Israeli lunch with my friend Simcha who had just returned from a glorious vacation in Jaffa. She pointed to a dish filled with pickled turnips of surreal electric-magenta hue. “This reminds me,” she said between bites of laffa, “I read that kids’ poem on your website. You rhymed Kohlrabi with Abu Dhabi. Like!” She gave me a thumbs up.

“Thanks. Writing children’s material is always fun and, for me, rhyming food makes it – as the kids say – funner. I did one for the same series that starts out:

There’s never been a vegetable
That makes folks hustle out
Of the dining room as quickly
As the humble Brussels sprout….”

“Hustle out – Brussels sprout. Cute,” she smiled. “But I’ll bet I can name a food that you can’t rhyme – kids’ material or otherwise.”

“Oh yeah? What do you want to bet?”

“Lunch. No, make that dinner. Any ethnicity you want.”

“Ha! You know me too well,” I rejoined, rising to the bait. “Okay, you’re on.” We locked pinkies. “What food do you want me to rhyme?”

Sim slowly mouthed the word. “Aw, gimme a break!” I protested. “Everybody knows that…”

“A bet’s a bet,” she interrupted. “You’re giving up now?”

“Of course not! I should have seen it coming, based on your vacation…” My voice trailed off. “I just need a little time to work on it.”

“Let’s see. What kind of dinner do I want?” she teased, twirling her hair and looking skyward. “Maybe Indian?”

“Indian schmindian! Don’t be so quick to think I’m going to fail!”


And a few days later, I emailed her the following:

William Inge, American Playwright

Some folks adore Inge
and others deplore Inge,
But one thing’s for certain,
You can’t just ignore Inge.

His legacy stands
(Even if you abhor Inge):
His novels, his plays,
And a way to rhyme orange.


I must say, the ceviche was delicious!



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