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Creative Writing Contest

Creative Writing Contest

Pumpkin-spiced lattes? Deep-fried Thanksgiving turducken? Tamales? Matzahballs? Hot pot? Dumplings? Black-eyed peas? Shabushabu? Jamaican rum-soaked Christmas pudding? Overeating on the holidays? As long as its food-related, it’s okay!

Willow​ by Christine Gronseth

“Did you feed Willow? She looks hungry.”

“Ah crap!...you mean she hasn’t eaten today? Look at her! Babe, she’s over a hundred years old. We’re her caregivers - it’s really serious.”

Wooden cupboards clank open and closed. Adding water to flour, a porridge is whisked with a serving fork that swishes against the ceramic bowl.

“I can never tell if she needs to be covered. Sometimes she looks like she’s bubbling up. It’s a complete mystery to me.”

“You think I know what I’m doing? I’m just trying to keep her alive!”

A dip through some watery slop, patiently stirring it to the slurry.

One slow breath and then another.

“She’s family now. And she makes some downright amazing bread. So let’s make sure she feels welcome here.”

“Oh man, what do we do with all the rest of her?”

“Crackers?”

Willow, the hundred year old sourdough starter burps impatiently.

Wild Ginger Roommate​ by Sarah Inaimi

But Darling; good things always seem to come to an end, I should’ve never left, I thought you were safe when I hid you behind the rest, away from the savage beasts and their lustful horrors, you were more than enough, how could this happen, when just the night before you were mine. It played over and over in my head. She stripped you down swallowed you whole, you stained her lips, her fingertips, and her dress, chewed you down, sucked you dry, wiped away the stains with the cloth on her right. I’m looking at the remains of what was once mine. Betrayal– how could she, we share the same rent. I’m sizzling inside out. I couldn’t digest the disturbing image of what I saw when I came back to my flat, to find that my roommate ate my leftover Chinese Chow Mein take out.

Tastes Like Chicken by James Knapp

Baked Chicken with a side of potatoes and a heaping portion of vegetables isn’t difficult to make, even after the apocalypse.

In the laboratories cobbled together from the monuments of the past in burned out basements, we program taste buds to know the taste of chicken, a hint of lemon, the zing of the cheese on top. And the greens too, though that takes time.

Master chefs, with their kitchens full of microchips and circuitry, cook up programs to delight the senses.

If only anyone knew what chicken tasted like anymore.

The Table Turned by Nancy Giese

The youngest of the 32 member McCallahan brood, the slight girl with the tangled locks discretely slipped her green beans, soggy in mushroom soup, under the table. Shiny, shimmying cranberry sauce, cranberry stuffing, stuffing with candied pecans, candied yams, sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes heaped with translucent steaming gravy, plump rolls, wilting butter, pecan pie. All the way from Minneapolis, Cousin Todd brought his infamous mushroom soufflé. All this food almost, but not quite, filled the gaping void left by the missing main dish. Yesterday evening, when Pop and Uncle, fortified by freshly roasted chestnuts and hot rum, went out with the cleaver to slaughter the Thanksgiving turkey, it was inexplicably nowhere to be found.  The girl slipped the celery from her stuffing under the table. Tom gobbled it up.

Thanksgiving Dinner by Ona Canfield

Aunt Vesta smiling at me, “She’s behaving so well at Thanksgiving dinner and her table manners are improving.” It’s just a ploy to live up to and now everybody is looking my way. This forces me to poke at the potatoes covered with the horrible gravy and guts.

My older sister Gladys is sneering at me, making me want to kick her. I’m not going to make it without getting into trouble. I’ll be sent to our room. To get her back I’ll stuff mincemeat pie in her pillow case to rot. Slowly I put my finger to my face in the place where she has a pimple on hers and that sends her into a tizzy. Her tongue is wagging at me with mashed carrots all over it. Whack, mom hits her on her hand and sending me a look which makes me stop short. I giggle a bit.

The Cost of Postage by Julia Ismael

The email: “Special of the day: kimchi fried rice for $4.95. Vegetarian egg rolls $1."" Only an hour passed from the time of receipt, plenty of time to walk bravely across the street in the biting cold. Kimchi calling.

She put on her woolen coat too slowly because no one saved her a plate. “We’re all out.”  She stepped into the sandwich line. “Sorry.” No tofu Vietnamese wraps either. Egg salad sandwich, again.

Sitting with her ode to Americana, she pulled out the feed: today on Facebook a frostbitten refugee cries because his half piece of bread must feed the family. The man’s tiny son looks longingly and says, “It will be o.k. Papa.” Everyone cries, she scrolls down. Maxi dress for $19.95 and in a print she likes. It probably ships from China and that takes forever. Scroll down.

With time remaining, she wills her tray to the compost and pauses long enough to question: How much would postage cost to send half-eaten sandwiches to refugees? Of course that’s ridiculous. Eggs go bad.

Surprise! by Jean DeSanto Campbell

The pastries were succulent. My mouth was watering. I reached out my hand, but drew it back. I had been told not to touch anything on the table. But, yet...

I looked over at the grown-ups. They were gathered around the coffee. None of them were paying attention to me. I was usually not on their radar anyway. I decided to chance it.

They looked like chocolate. I grabbed two, dashed outside. I was proud of my 6 year-old-self. Until I took a bite.

Such a disappointment. Not chocolate. Not icing. It was spinach and butter glaze. Later, I learned they call it spanakopita.