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

Foie Gras

by J. A. Edelman

February 2013    

I wasn't always this fat. My friends, if that's what you want to call them, no doubt mindful of how rich I am, prefer to call me "substantial."

I trace the seeds of my expansion to Luc's, a bygone French restaurant on East 54th of the type nearly impossible to find in New York anymore: dark, formal, the linens crisp, the waiters insufferable.

Luc's was the hub of Mother's queendom. Writers, artists and thinkers paid homage at our corner table and little attention to me.

I was eight when I started watching these men closely. I felt sure one of them was my father. Mother was vague on my unknown father's attributes or provenance. She would only say he was brilliant, and I was the fruit of a passion so incendiary, it could not last. I scanned each of their faces for the ashes of incendiary passion--or at least a passing resemblance to me.

One man, a British explorer (in truth, a plunderer; we'll call him Mr. Sackwell), took a livelier interest in me than most. He noticed I ate little, and prodded me. Explorers, he said, ate whatever was available or died: fat grubs straight from the ground, if necessary. This concern was surely paternity manifest. It was due to him I ate foie gras that first time.

Though I was thin and finicky, Mother felt her culinary duty to me began and ended with making sure plates of the finest food were placed before me. "Whether you eat it, darling, is your choice. We are all free people here," she'd say, gesturing around the table with her Gauloise.

Mr. Sackwell, though, insisted I try everything. He ordered me a plate of foie gras á la Normande ("Kiddies love apples!"). The thing looked to my suggestible eye like a giant grub, slippery with revolting worm juices. But I would show my newly discovered daddy I was cut from the same intrepid cloth as he. I maneuvered a small piece of grub ("The apples!" said Mr. Sackwell) into my mouth.

Mr. Sackwell and the others dissolved from view. All I knew was the heavenly silkiness filling my mouth, the sweet caramelized apple entwining an exotic, savory, cream flavor. Tears poked at my eyes.

"Aha!" Mr. Sackwell crashed into my reverie. He ruffled my limp hair, which Mother would not suffer to be cut, and tweaked my bow tie, but I was interested only in my next bite, and the next.

"The liver of the fatted goose." Mr. Sackwell dunked a muscley finger into the goose fat puddled on my plate and brought it to his tongue. "You know, they force feed him, kiddie. Yes, they stick a tube right down his throat," he said, explaining ‘gavage,’ that gorging of geese in their last month which swells their livers to ten times normal size. "Geese can't swallow,”—I felt the luscious mouthfuls slide easily past the growing lump in my throat—"and they can't regurgitate, so those buckets of corn turn into lovely fatty livers." A sweet and unctuous film coated my working cheeks, my quivering chin.

Tears of outrage mingled with tears of joy at the discovery of such exquisite flavors and textures. I couldn't stop eating, didn't know when I would taste such happiness again, couldn't stop crying, the salt of my tears adding bitter savor to the dish. I ate and cried till every last morsel was gone.

  Judith Edelman Edelman is a writer, songwriter and composer living in Nashville, TN. She graduated from the Bennington College Writing Seminars and is the recipient of the Pinch Journal’s 2011 Fiction Prize. She has recorded four albums on the Compass Records and Thirty Tigers labels.

Photo used under Creative Commons.