Fiction

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

The Fairy Part

by Alberto Giuseppe

March 2013    

You're not aware of it, the smell, the tiny particles that waft in and you taste the thing, give it meaning, decide whether it's good for you, bad for you, sexy, damaged, bitter, to remove, to digest, to get rid of as fast as it entered, to pursue, to let go, to avoid, to lament, to long for. The perfume of the girl that just passed, her scent below it, or his, or your own. Or the pork roast in the oven on the second floor down that side street: rosemary, potatoes, garlic, white wine. It bypasses that part, you know, the part that explains things to itself, that's just ever so reasonable: 'It is so, so it must be because of that reason or this,' that part of you that reduces things into questions and answers, 'Why am I suddenly hungry,' 'Why am I suddenly horny,' 'I ate it so it must be to my liking,' or 'They like it so I must like it to,' or even 'It's sacred, it represents something else, something more, something...eternal.' But we don't bother about such things in our day-to-day.

So maybe you're strolling down a street, it's cool out, dark only as it gets dark in late October, quiet, it's been a good day but something like melancholy has weighted its passing, and suddenly something stirs, but you don't know exactly what or why. It's a little beyond your grasp, teasing a memory, coaxing out an emotion, recreating a context. Like the characters in The Tempest you don't see fairies, though you could, if only that part of you might not stop your whole self from including the other part, the fairy part, the one that is so unreasonable. Or is it? Sometimes we let things from there flow in, remember timelessness, live for a little with our own Ariels, our own fairies, but usually when we're younger. Sometimes something similar, a shadow of the fairies, remains after that younger you that wasn't you and that's why sometimes: 'That word is too salty,' 'That painting tastes like ice cream,' 'I feel like an undercooked pancake.' Prospero saw them, those ever-present fairies always hovering and doing this and fixing that or, as it might be sometimes, breaking apart, breaking down, removing, inhibiting. Provoking. Parts of the world hidden from us, the parts of flavors we once tasted then but might not taste now, yet there they are, in your mouth, in your gut, in your intestines even, tied to memory. Or something close to it. But we don't bother about such things in our day-to-day. Usually.

Like I said, tonight you're walking on a street. Same street as yesterday. You like the street, though you're not really sure why. In your frequent evening walks just before dinner you could go to the next street over and you have once or twice, but this street pulls you to it. Maybe it's the brownstone with the roses—yellow, white and red—in the space outside. Maybe it's the shape of the staircase of the building two houses down. Maybe it's the way it seems like you walk downhill in both directions. Anyway. Tonight something stirs in you, and tonight for whatever reason that part of you isn't so strong as usual. It's having trouble holding the fairy part at bay. So you're just a little bit more unreasonable than usual. Maybe it has to do with the season, maybe it has to do with the strange melancholy that accompanied you through the day. Or maybe you're just a little tired. Or maybe it's that oily lo mein takeaway from lunch. (You know better but you ate it just the same. Force of habit. Maybe.) Anyway, It's not important. It isn't such a thing that we bother about in our day-to-day. Sometimes, but we usually forget about a moment later even when we do.

There's a light up ahead coming from a window. You get closer, step by step, the visual perspective altering but the sound of the heels of shoes hitting the sidewalk remains the same, like a backbeat. Then you're in front of the house. The curtains are open but no one is there, at first. You slow the pace of your walk and stroll along, head turned to the window. Then you see a woman, young, around 35, fairly attractive, white knit top, thick black hair shoulder length, necklace, earrings. She pops through a space on the left into what must be a corridor. You can't see the corridor. But that's okay. You presume she's making dinner, and if her house is like yours the corridor leads to the stairs that lead to the basement where you keep your wine, or to the pantry in back. A bottle of Pinot Noir, a sprig of parsley, whatever is needed to complete the dish. Tonight you've prepared quail (the lazy usual bird: flavor the butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, then lemon, cognac, the prosciutto wrap outside. Remember not to forget to take it off a few minutes before the end, the prosciutto. They do look so much better, the quail, with a lovely, homogenous deep brown color. Fingerling potatoes and string beans on the side. You'll eat on the coach in front of the TV, Jenny will lay back and smile when you bring in the plated food. She'll be clicking on her iPad. New apps from the app store.) It's the usual day -to -day for the two of you, and though it might seem a little boring to some people you're happy every evening, with JJ, when her eyes smile as you hand her her tray and she sets the Apple down.

Ah, there she is, the woman in white, back with a bottle. Of course. So that was it. Someone is probably coming over for dinner. You walk on. The stirring and melancholy have disappeared, you think. Which is good. The roasting birds will be ready in, turn up your watch…about another 15 minutes. You lengthen your stride. But after a few steps, so few it seems, the strange stirring is back, an unpleasant giddiness from the bottom of your stomach somewhere, or behind it, even stronger than before. This time you really feel it, something about it, though it's still too hidden to get a firm grip on. The fairies are doing their thing.

And within the space of a breath the other part of your brain, the fairy part, overwhelms that part, the reasonable one that knows it all, and doesn't know anything. It sweeps you away like music, leaving that part, the reasonable part that is nevertheless so prone to doing things without ever understanding why, somewhere else.

In that moment the street you're on is replaced by the mint plants your father would harvest all year but particularly in August, naked torso, his tanned skin the color of a well-roasted bird, such a hardy plant, he told you long ago that day over a glass of wine, 'wine is red', he would so often proudly repeat. 'Wine is red.' He'd smuggled them, the mint plants, in his bag from the plot of land your grandfather, his father, cultivated until he, too, faded away – like your father would years later. The neurons died and died and all their timeless memories, one by one, broke apart and faded into a growing darkness, a mixed up mess with this part and that part and reason and meaning all melting away, forever lost to this day-to-day.

But now the fairies have stopped their stirring, the beat of your shoes on the pavement has returned and that part reasonably tells you: It's late. The fairies have gone but left a pain. Your chest hurts, only a bit but it hurts, with a hanging sorrow. You stride quickly away, trying to break the staff like Prospero, almost running to the take the quails to the couch, to see Jenny's smile.



  Alberto Giuseppe: A rather oldish guy, hairy and round. Well, by comparison anyway. A bit too much time cooking, a bit fanatical on looking at our behavior as resulting from the interaction of evolution within varying environments, genetics, epigenetics, physiology (neuronal network dialogue). That means culture, in a broad, stratified sense. Oh, I spend much of the time in Italy, though I was born and raised in Cleveland.

Photo used under Creative Commons.