Nonfiction

The Bread of Kings by Teresa Lust

Fake Pies and Pig Thighs by Rachel Komich

An Essay in Which Pam Greer Oozes Out of Her Clothes by Richard LeBlond

On Pierogi(s) by Mark Lewandowski

Vegetexting by Jennifer Bal

The Benefits of Eating Too Much in the Desert by E. M. Eastick

A Question of Taste by Meredith Escudier

The Beauty of Pizza by Austin Rogers

Marmalade: The Melomeli of Modern America by Michael Pennell

Three Elizabeths, One George, Hot Cross Buns, and Hampstead Heath by Paula Panich

Duck by Eileen Shields

Food for Thought by Kathryn Jenkins

Playing Mass by Catherine Scherer

My Big Fat Orthodox Thanksgiving by Ruth Carmel

The Astrophysics of a Sandwich by Raychelle Heath

Tantric Chicken by Mara A. Cohen Marks

Full by Kelly Ferguson

Monkey Eve by Carolyn Phillips

Capon by Natasha Sajé

The Paella Perplex by Jeannette Ferrary

The Right to Eat by JT Torres

This Isn't Supposed to Happen in the Morning by Heather Hartley

Recipe for Winter by Khristopher Flack

Step One by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Flour Fool Meets Great Poet and Pie Instructor by Amy Halloran

Everett by Jason Bell

The Intrigue of Aaron Barthel by Kristy Leissle

Personal Sugar Defense Kit by Sari M. Boren

Kitchen Tirade by Eric LeMay

Eat Dessert First by Iris Graville

Parsley by Natasha Sajé

American Zen Breakfast by Dick Allen

This May Make You [Sic] by Paul Graham

Prisoner's Thai Noodles by Byron Case

Lavender Fields by Susan Goodwin

Ménage à Fongo by Kathryn Miles

All That She Could Make with Flour by Katherine Jameison

Weasel by John Gutekanst

Into the Deep Freeze by Jason Anthony

Defining Gluten by Ann Lightcap Bruno

The Text(ure) of Pleasure by Tara Deal

On the Perils of Food-Buying in a Foreign Land by Tony Eprile

Prisoner’s Thai Noodles

by Byron Case

March 2013    

For afternoons on which the prison chow hall serves the truly inedible—turkey Tetrazzini (spaghetti, powdered cheese, ground turkey), sloppy joe (white bread, tomato paste, ground turkey), or beef chow mein (bean sprouts, soy sauce, ground turkey)—the discerning inmate will remain in his cell to prepare this salty, savory Asian-inspired dish instead.

You will need:

8 ounces boiling water

1 package ramen noodles with beef seasoning packet

1 tablespoon dry minced onion

1 tablespoon diced jalapeno pepper

2 tablespoons chucky peanut butter (or creamy, with a handful of crushed roasted peanuts)

While waiting for the immersion heater you’ve placed into a small container to heat, open the package of ramen and crack apart the noodles to fit the bowl from which you will be eating. Empty seasoning packet over the noodles, then scatter onion and peppers in as well. Add peanut butter. Lick your spork as desired, provided other prisoners aren’t around to make suggestive comments.

Once the water has come to a boil, pour it gradually over the dollop of peanut butter in your bowl, stirring intermittently to ensure thorough melting. Stop stirring and place lid over the bowl once globs of peanut butter are no longer visible. Leave the covered bowl undisturbed for five minutes, or until the noodles reach preferred tenderness.

* * * * *

Take care staring out your window at the gray buildings around you—numbed as you are by years of ennui—so as not to lose track of time. Far better to tune your TV to the latest Anthony Bourdain marathon on Travel Channel until the first commercial break. As timers go, you could do worse than No Reservations.

Uncover your bowl. The noodles on top will be somewhat drier than those beneath. Using a folding motion, use your spork to mix the noodles into a uniform moistness. As this is a meal for one, garnish is both unnecessary and a bit depressing. Eat immediately, with or without contraband handmade chopsticks, while suppressing the inevitable feeling of melancholy and trying not to compare this meal with any you had before in that long-gone other life.



  Byron Case’s essays, poems and other writing have appeared in Common Ground Review, Meridian, and in the anthologies Requiem for a Paper Bag (Fireside, 2009), and The Moment (Harper Perennial, 2012) among other publications. You can read more at thepariahssyntax.blogspot.com.

Photo used under Creative Commons.