31 Day Writing Daily Challenge Blog Post #4 - Zucchini is Gross

Food Writing Prompt: Gross!
 Write about a gross food that you had to hold your breath to try to choke down your throat. Detail the setting and add as many of the five senses as possible in your description

There were nights in my childhood when the oh, so slimy zucchini, upon orders from my mother, had to make its way off my plate and down my throat before I could leave the table. I would stare at it on the plate:  glistening with Mazola, the yellowy-white mush peeking out of faded green skin.  I usually waited until the very last minute of the meal, and then, breath and nose held, shoved it into my mouth, swept up my glass of milk to provide extra accompaniment on the journey to my stomach,  took 3 bites and swallowed.  Clean plate. Permission to exit from the dining room granted.

People claim it doesn’t have much taste. Oh,I  beg to differ!  (Why beg?  I don’t need to do that, I can simply differ.) It has a pungent tastelessness that is easily recognizable to my palate.  And its texture, when cooked to an extreme is like the stuff that you swallow after sniffing the contents of your sinuses back to your throat.  Truly awful.  I adore vegetables, but I cannot stand to eat cooked zucchini.  I may tolerate it in a flavorful soup when joined by enough veggie friends that it gets lost in the crowd, but I’ll be honest:  I cringe when I see it.  

When a waiter proudly presents the seasonal side order of vegetables: a "zucchini medley".  God help me.   Who on earth wants a zucchini medley?  Why would I want a medley of zucchini? I don’t even want a slice of zucchini!  It’s a pity since  zucchini’s are healthy, yes,healthy!  And moreover they are the rabbits of the vegetable world.  You can rely on zucchini to multiply a plenty.  No concern that there won’t be enough of a zucchini harvest. People are getting rid of the stuff – leaving it on peoples’ doorsteps and then running away.  (I wonder if some feel like I do, but the need to celebrate the prolific nature of this summer squash.) What? Another one just popped out of the garden?  And it’s the size of foot ball player’s calf?  Yup, that’s zucchini for you. Impressive in size and its growing stamina.

I have walked by farmer market stand which has proudly displayed a small bookshelf -sized zucchini for $1.50 and been tempted to buy it just for the sheer price to portion ratio. You almost MAKE money by eating a large zucchini.  I thought I could handle grilled zucchini thinking the magic of the grill must impart flavor that masks the tepid zucchini-ness but no. Even zucchini on one of those sheek shish ke·babs sticks doesn’t make my disgust wane.  And throw on a yellow squash there, my heart sinks even further.  Oh, the feeble yellow squash.  This is essentially a yellow zucchini.  These two live in the same family of ickiness. I have no issue shit talking them, but they are the only ones  I swear.  I don’t want to hurt the feelings of other loved ones in the vegetable world – they are my friends and I am grateful for them but please, take my zucchini, enjoy my medley, remove that beast of a veggie from my garden so I don’t have to use it as a mallet in croquet.  


31 Day Writing Daily Challenge Blog Post #3: That After-School Snack

Food Writing Prompt : The After-School Snack
 What was your go-to after-school snack back in the day? Was it delicious or did you want something else that was forbidden before dinner? 

The moments, minutes, seconds, really, after coming home from school with the knowledge that a treat awaited,  oozed with anticipation.  I knew there was almost always going to be some Breyer’s strawberry ice cream in the freezer and I could grab the cold cardboard carton, and sit watching Brady Brunch Re-runs while I gingerly spooned the cold gob of glee into my mouth, felt it melt, tasted the silkiness of the cream, and the subtle sour sharpness of the strawberry slices.  Total and utter joy. 

Mint Chocolate Chip also by Breyer’s, was another favorite,- not St. Patty’s Day green like The Baskin Robbins’ version, but pure white giving it a somewhat healthier veneer, with specks of chocolate peeking out of the velvelty mound. The crunch of those chips between the teeth followed by the quick melt on the tongue led to eyebrows and lip corners raised in sugary pleasure.   It was always sad, gathering those last few spoonfuls in the bowl - liquid leftovers, afternoon treat officially over as the Brady Bunch credits rolled.  I knew I could have more, unwrap the carton from its plastic and dive in again, but only at the risk of a tummy ache, and a heavy nausea from sweet creamy overload, not to mention a potential finger wagging from Mom, supper being "spoiled!".

Other snacks that I discovered later in my high school years were Combos – but these were usually purchased at the food truck outside school and were munched on during the bus ride home. “Total junk” my mom might have said.  Did I even like them?  It was more the novelty of  having access to a pile of food bits in a transportable bag.  They were brittle to the bite, with an unidentifiable taste of briny cheese-like goop inside.  The throw pillow shape of the snack itself, appealing visually, was predictable, contained, easy to maneuver and pop right into your mouth.  It really “cheeses your hunger away” was the claim, a sentence that made absolutely no sense.  What does it mean to “cheese hunger away”? 

”Bite sized pieces”  all those snack food pronounced.  But bites seem bigger now.  Bites can now fill an entire oral cavity.  Bites are larger than  a thumb ½ worth of hardened cracker mass with inert cheese substance stuffed inside.  


31 Day Writing Daily Challenge Blog Post #2: Spoons are Super

Food Writing Prompt: A Spoon Quote Prompt

“I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” – T.S. Eliot. Write a spoon memory. It might be at a diner, around your kitchen table, at a friend’s house, or at a cafeteria.

There is a set of spoons that make their way into our dishwasher and which, after selective plucking by my husband show up on my desk in my home office.  Why, you ask, would he be putting spoons on my desk?  An attempt to make the day sweeter with a spoonful of sugar?  Perhaps a gesture to help me recollect a childhood  game of "Spoons"!  where one spoon fewer than people was laid out in the middle of the card table, and upon completion of a  certain combination of Jacks, Kings, Queens (who remembers?)  you would grab one of the spoons until one person was left spoonless?  Nope. Not it.  Could be he is encouraging eating my morning green smoothie with this helpful utensil? Negatory.   It's because I am a spoon thief.  Unintentional of course,(for the most part) but true. It's out of laziness, or forgetfulness, or disregard for the onerous task of putting something back in its proper spot. 

And its spot? The big reveal: The kitchen at my work place.  Yes, it is me!  Spoon Thief of the Office. I'm sorry you ate your African Peanut soup with a fork and knife today because of me. What happens is, I grab said scooper and take it back to my desk or lounge to eat my quinoa salad or chia seed pudding, it gets popped into my food sack, it's rightful home ignored with a promise to "put it back later", since I still have  few bites left of that chia seed pudding! And the utensil drawer becomes more and more bare until people start complaining and send out emails  with subject line: "Where are all the spoons?"  

These are not exceptional spoons (which, ironically, is why my husband spots them easily in the dishwasher). They have been procured from Goodwill, or the basement of someone who worked formerly at a cheap kitchen supply store -  (we are nothing if not scrappy at our office.) They have no weight, no flowery hieroglyphic design, perhaps just a line down their flat middles. Some appear flat like they spent a bit of time under the heavy wheels of a car missing the curvy orb which brings calmness to the mouth. 

There is something soothing about a spoon in general:no prongs on which to potentially JAB oneself when taking an extra vigorous bite.  The spoon slides gently in, allowing the lips to cup it and lip-nibble the morsels off.   Large spoons are more challenging - difficult to wrap one's mouth around, particularly a smallish mouth like my own. I'm not trying to sound dainty, the truth is, I had 4 teeth extracted to make room for them all in my mouth.  - yes four ADULT teeth.  Trauma, really to be pumped full of fall-asleep medicine at 10 years old, and then wake up to a mouth of gauze and blood and the feeling that you've simply disappeared from time, hearing nurses saying kind things about your freckles and barrettes. Then home to eat slippery liquid and soft things, probably with a comforting spoon. No wonder I keep them near me at all times. 


31 Day Writing Daily Challenge Blog Post #1: Hail to Chia


Hail to Chia, thou mighty seed of grace and goodness.  Crackle thyself in my mouth as I tenderly place you between my teeth, roll you around with my tongue, tasting and feeling you with my mucilaginous flesh.  Thoughts of your salubrious nature churn in my brain as I remind myself the litany of benefits your small little wonder offers. Alone and solo as a seed, you are so puny, so inconsequential, but armed with 100’s of your fellow chia soldiers, you are a battalion of force! A yummy army not to be reckoned with.  I shall not try to stop you as you forge your way down my throat and into my belly (your battlefield of acid) and pass  into my intestinal safe haven where you digest slowly offering potent minerals to help build blood, muscle, skin and nails.  You offer up your fiber, your fat and your protein and I gladly accept.  I yield to your power and exalt your economical bang for the buck. 

Your namesake conjures up mocked commercials from the the decade of the 70's, but you and I both know, you are more complex than a jingle.  Your artistry  extends beyond simply growing out the head of ceramic tiger,  sprouts a waste as animal hair instead of nurturing the inside railway tract of the abdominal world. 

Yet,you remain unfamiliar to most despite your power and glory understood and acclaimed by those in the nutritional know.  We send tantalizing recipes of  plumped "chia seed pudding" replete with vanilla, cardamom and honey to tempt others to cross over to this seedy world, join the ranks of those who appreciate the power that you can yield. 

There is more to you than than your unimpressive grain-of -sand appearance and I can just feel you bubbling around in my mouth as you begin your descent to my belly.