Kitchen Mystic by Paulette Licitra

The Deconstruction by Karen Cantrell

Patisserie de Pakistan by Gregors Johnson

Meals of a Lifetime by Rebecca Keller

Ode to Risotto by Donald Newlove

Fully Committed by Doug Sovern

Biscuits and Gravy by William Blomstedt

Keeping It Tidy by Alan Linton

If I Knew You Were Coming by Alisha Lumea

On Your Only Day Off by Nicole Edwards

Bagpipes and Pan Fried Smelts by Ted Radakovic

Joseph Conrad’s Dark Linguini by Giovanni Berchtold

Missing Something by Jean-Luc Bouchard

We Love You, Mayonnaise! by Alona Martinez

Japanese Food by Esther Cohen

Raw Köfte by Hardy Griffin

Proust's Soup by Giovanni Berchtold

A Sacred Virgin by Paulette Licitra

on a friday evening by Keith Leidner

Ropa Vieja by Raul Palma

Deidre's Last Meal by Esther Cohen

Wired by Alan Linton

Chestnut by Katherine Gleason

The Moon is an Outdoor Sandwich by Patty Houston

Garlicky Greens by Lois Marie Harrod

First the Shell, Musical; Then the Custard, Irrevocable by Sarah Begley

Meals of Choice by Dorian Fox

A Low Table by Christian Aguiar

The Sylvian Fissure by Rosalie Loewen

Two Versions of Eating Potatoes by David Spiering

Conch Salad by Michele Ruby

Hopper by Michael Onofrey

Caution: Coffee is Hot by Gary Scott

The Fairy Part by Alberto Giuseppe

Foie Gras by Judith Edelman

Rosemary and Olive Oil by Gail Gauthier

Mario's Shoes by Natalie Parker-Lawrence

Cake by Marianne Villanueva

Retreat: October on Copper Mountain by M.E. Parker

The Sandwich Diaries by Angus Woodward

But There Was No Star Anise by Andrew Martell

Fruit Route by Susan King

Caution: Coffee is Hot

by Gary Scott

April 2013    

Coffee is hot. The coffee in this cup is hot. It’s coffee. Hot coffee. In summer you might get iced coffee, which is good too, but this is hot coffee. Before iced coffee, coffee was always hot. It was coffee. For iced coffee we use clear cups and you can see the ice and there is an X in the clear lid. We give you a straw. Here, there is no X in the lid, no ice, no straw. It’s hot coffee. We do not recommend taking the lid off of your coffee. It’s a concern. Our lawyers asked if we could make the lid non-removable. What about people who take cream? we asked. They said, Just think about it. We’ve thought about it. Some of us take cream. And most of us like to take the lid off even if we don’t take cream. Just for a few minutes. We know this is not recommended, but it is good to see the coffee and the steam. There is pleasure in blowing the steam off the surface of the coffee, though it cannot be said that we recommend this. We have been clear: this coffee is hot. We have put words on the cup you are holding, on the cup that you, of your own volition and against recommendation, have taken the lid off of and are casting your breath across. It used to seem, even to us, that these words were silly. Must we say the coffee is hot? we asked. It’s coffee. This was years ago. Our lawyers said yes we must. That year we didn’t like our lawyers. We didn’t like anyone in a suit. It was a hard time. We weren’t used to the words. Now we’re used to them. Caution: Coffee is Hot. It’s not so bad. It doesn’t sound like it used to. We don’t turn our cups after we blow the steam and have taken our first sips. We don’t put the lid on so the words face away. We would miss them if they weren’t there, the same way we have missed you. We missed you when you went to Cancun in December with the Larsons. Nice people, the Larsons, but they don’t drink coffee. We missed you Monday when you sprained your wrist. All week you’ve needed help with your lid. And what happened to your daughter? After she broke up with the quarterback she started drinking juice and doing yoga. Those are fine things. We sell juice. It comes in a nice bottle. But she read an article about gingko berry extract. None of our juice has gingko berry extract. We miss her. She is a fine young woman. We thought of adding vitamins to our coffee. We thought about this for a long time because of her. It was a good idea. We all agreed it was a good idea. We tested it. But we didn’t like having vitamins in our coffee. It wasn’t right. Then we tried just one vitamin. We tried vitamin C. But even that. So we tried ice cream. Your daughter likes ice cream. We gave it a name that’s fun to say. We hope she tries it this summer. We miss her. It’s been a long time. Everyone knows that coffee is hot now. We thought of changing the words, deleting caution. Just, Coffee is Hot. But we would miss the caution. It came from hard days. Who would have thought we’d feel this way? The word caution is there, but we don’t mean it. Last night you told your daughter to Drive Careful. We mean it that way. You know she will drive carefully. She’s always been a safe driver. You said those words to her last night in the driveway after she told you she was engaged. She had come to dinner to tell you she was getting married to Dude Moon from the yoga studio. Yes, he changed his name to that. We know he’s not the quarterback, but he’s a good guy. We like him. His name used to be Todd Wharton. It was not a good yoga name. He owns the studio and wants to open another. Your daughter is going to take the name Moon. It will take some getting used to, but you will. They’re thinking June for the wedding. She’s going to want you to wear a tuxedo. The ceremony is going to be outside. We’ve talked about outside weddings. There is the risk of weather. But there is risk in marriage and no place to put words of caution. Besides, what would they be? Drive Careful? We don’t know. She and Dude will figure it out. And if they don’t, they don’t. We wish them the best. We wish them blue sky and sunshine. If it is sunny, though, it is going to be hot in that tuxedo. But you already know this.

  Gary Scott has been published in the Kenyon Review, the Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. He has a story forthcoming in Salamander. He lives in Bellingham, Washington and takes cream in his coffee. He can be reached at

Photo used under Creative Commons.