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

on a friday evening

by Keith Leidner

June 2014    

it is 1957 and you’re driving the blue plymouth belvedere
in north nashville; the windows are down and the five-thirty
air is warm exhaust on your skin; the sun is stubborn on the
windshield and you turn with the traffic onto west trinity lane.
you tap the black wheel with your fingers and think of tomorrow’s
sales meeting, and whether you should go in the morning to visit
the philips’ farm, meet with the old man in person, show him some
old hospitality, show him your gumption;

grey looking people sit on stoops and porches, shimmering
figures in the heat, drinking bottles of beer and jars of lemonade,
talking and listening to the radio; you take dickerson to charlotte,
pass the drugstores and diners and two gasoline attendants holding
their hats and wiping their foreheads on a smoke break; you wonder
if peg has started drinking her bourbon yet, and if susan’s home to
see to the others, and if they are all hungry and ready to sit down
and eat, like a family should on a friday evening;

you pull into bobby’s place and walk around to the back and
smell hickory and wood smoke from the pits, and honey and frying oil;
near the stairs a small black boy is picking up wood for the fires;
he is sweating and does not meet your eye; inside, the kitchen is a
cramped cauldron, thick with heat; you smell memories, feel a slab
of guilt watching other men work; a solitary fan moves near a
low window;

the cooks are your opposite, all young negro men, moving
and yelling and laughing, singing out orders in a strange clamor of
clanging metal and voice and kitchen rhythm; it is like a scene from
a play, you think, and their white uniforms are just spotless, somehow,
even with the quick movements behind the line among the ovens
and sauces and pots and dripping ribs, the meat racks. what’ll it be,
mister? says a skinny fellow with a nub of pencil, his alert eyes
unblinking and white;

you order three chicken dinners, house sauce, three pulled pork
sandwiches complete with the fixins and the good corn bread, and
three bottles of dr pepper for the kids, and one more for you, for the
wait; outside you smoke a cigarette and slowly sip from the soda bottle,
listen to the jar flies rioting on the slopes of grass moving down the
back property to the cumberland river. what an unappreciated thing,
you think, that music.

you pay the man, carry the paper bags to the car, and think about all
of the men, fathers, going home tonight as the sun is setting. you think
about their walks, and shoulders, and faces, and how this world is
really about getting ready for tomorrow, about taking things and
giving things, and how so much doesn’t really need to be said.


  Keith Leidner's work has appeared in Paterson Literary Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. He is a Libra. He lives with his family in Massachusetts. He cheers for the New York Football Giants. (New England Patriots fans of all ages openly dislike him.)


Photo used under Creative Commons.