Ode to an Onion Tart

October 11th, 2011

Finished Tart


OF tarts there be a thousand kinds,
So versatile the art,
And, as we all have different minds,
Each has his favorite tart;
But those which most delight the rest
Methinks should suit me not:
The onion tart doth please me best,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

Where but in Deutschland can be found
This boon of which I sing?
Who but a Teuton could compound
This sui generis thing?
None with the German frau can vie
In arts cuisine, I wot,
Whose summum bonum breeds the sigh,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

You slice the fruit upon the dough,
And season to the taste,
Then in an oven (not too slow)
The viand should be placed;
And when’t is done, upon a plate
You serve it piping hot,
Your nostrils and your eyes dilate,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

It sweeps upon the sight and smell
In overwhelming tide,
And then the sense of taste as well
Betimes is gratified:
Three noble senses drowned in bliss!
I prithee tell me, what
Is there beside compares with this?
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

For if the fruit be proper young,
And if the crust be good,
How shall they melt upon the tongue
Into a savory flood!
How seek the Mecca down below,
And linger round that spot,
Entailing weeks and months of woe,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

If Nature gives men appetites
For things that won’t digest,
Why, let them eat whatso delights,
And let her stand the rest;
And though the sin involve the cost
Of Carlsbad, like as not
‘T is better to have loved and lost,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

Beyond the vast, the billowy tide,
Where my compatriots dwell,
All kinds of victuals have I tried,
All kinds of drinks, as well;
But nothing known to Yankee art
Appears to reach the spot
Like this Teutonic onion tart,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

So, though I quaff of Carlsbad’s tide
As full as I can hold,
And for complete reform inside
Plank down my hoard of gold,
Remorse shall not consume my heart,
Nor sorrow vex my lot,
For I have eaten onion tart,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

by Eugene Field