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Truth through Food

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Posted by Writing Prompter on 7.18.13

In writing, food never lies. Aunt Mary passes the peas, revealing a missing wedding ring. A brother's pained gaze at a nearby glass of wine exposes his alcoholism. At the head of the table, a feeble grandfather's gravy-splattered scowl condemns his spoiled family's inability to comprehend war. Write an essay about a family meal. Begin with the seating arrangements. Without using any dialogue, use details about the meal to bring to life each family member and the family as a collective whole.

Reader Comments

  • sarahrebekah says...

    Where to sit?

     It was a picnic table, but made of fine cherry wood.

    There was the proverbial chicken curry, the only dish approved by their father. It permeated the house, mixing with the nag champa and patchouli on his wife's skin. The last few years, so many dinners ruined by bits of fat only in his bowl, and then spat onto the table. This particular dish was the final peace offering when he came home from work; never coming to the table 'til everyone had called him in their own way, pleading him to join, leave his writing, even though they knew he'd be disappointed somehow.

     

     

    Her cooked spinach was there, their daughter who could catch birds that would occasionally fly into the house, or heal the cat's wounds with Neosporin, after a night out. She wanted to be a vet like many her age, but took a step in the logical direction to denounce killing animals. She was their role model, the future heir to her mother’s worldly belongings. 

     

    Thomas was the host, always bringing something extra to pretty much everything they did.

     Tonight’s' fare?

     Name plates, folded napkins, and star wars characters to decorate the long table with her grandmother’s sewing machine at one end, buffering the large white cat from getting at the food. Animals on, and under the table waiting for a dropped morsel, or maybe waiting to snatch the younger’s fake bacon. 

    Everything was ready; would he come before her face became tight. Her heart breaking with every minute he delayed the grand presentation, the anticipation of their father, her husband, she worshiped him, or maybe she just wanted to make her mother happy by doing it right, not the way she remembered as a child, where the dinner table was the battle ground.

    Whatever her memories, she wanted desperately to erase them and do it again, better. Looking into her children's faces, eager to eat with dad, they waited. 

    They were still waiting years later when their children became teens, and the therapist thought it'd be a good idea to have dinner out, to avoid confrontation. Some place where they could try it again, make it work. She looked around, heart breaking, face tightening, looking into her children's eyes waiting for dad.

  • sarahrebekah says...

    where to sit? it was a picnic table, but made of fine cherry wood. There was the proverbial chicken curry, the only dish approved by their father. It permeated the house, mixing with the nag champa and patchouli on his wife's skin. the last few years, so many dinners ruined by bits of fat only getting into his bowl, and then spit onto the table. this particular dish was the final peace offering when he came home from work. Never coming to the table 'til everyone had been calling him, pleading him to tear away from his writing, even though they knew he'd be disapplointed somehow.

    Her cooked spinich was there, our daughter who could catch birds that would occasoinally fly into the house, or heal the cat's wounds with neosporin, after a night out. she wanted to be a vet like many her age, but took a step in the logical direction to denounce killing animals. she was our role model, my future stabie heir to my worldly belingings. 

    Thomas was the host, always bringing something extra to pretty much everything we did. Tonights' fare? name plates, folded napkins, and starwars characters to decorate the long table with my grandmothers sewing machine at one end, buffering the large white cat from getting at our food. animals on the table, and under the table waiting for a dropped morsel of food, or ready to snatch the youngers fake bacon. 

    everything was ready, would he come before her face became tight. Her heart breaking with every minute he delayed the grand presentation, the anticipation of our leader, she worshiped him, or maybe she just wanted to make her mother happy by doing it right, not the way shesaw as a child, the dinner table was the battle ground. Whatever her memories, she wanted desperately to erase them and do it again. better. Looking into her children's faces, eager to eat with dad, they waited. 

    They were still waiting years later when children became teens, and the therapist thought it'd be a good idea to have dinner out, so there would be no arguing. Some place where they could try it again, make it work. She looked around , heart breaking, face tightening, looking into her children's eyes waiting for dad.

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