99 Word Flash Fiction: Food

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

Food has played a huge part in my adult life. I simply love to eat.

In my first marriage I cooked. Curries I did well. Other dishes were often inedible and I was as thin as a stick. I really didn’t care for food at this stage in my life, surviving on huge amounts of ice cream.

Then some time after my marriage ended I met my English husband. He had emmigrated as a ten pound migrant at the age of twenty to Australia. The plan was to return after the two years was up but luckily he decided to stay. His mother must have thought we were heathens down under and sent him with a full set of saucepans. He had  never cooked in his life before and eventually ended up in a flat with a handful of men and one girl as a flatmate. The girl cooked for the lot of them for about six months when one day she threw up her hands and said “no more.” My man put his saucepans to good use and learnt to cook. In fact he loved to cook. When we were courting I took him home for a meal and gave him curried tinned sardines which turned out to be a cement like slurry. I won’t say what he said but I have not cooked a meal for him since and only cooked for myself on rare occasions and boy am I spoilt.

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

After Vanuatu where our cook taught him the skills of cooking for the masses we opened a restaurant. Individual beef wellingtons, Morrocan lamb, rack of lamb, to name but a few dishes were on the menu. Whilst we were on our island the local food was largely suitable to palattes different to ours. The raw ingredients were yummy. Potatoes as you have never tasted, melt in your mouth steaks, mango and lobster. The process of cooking changed many of these items into meals that we did not like to eat. I ate – I didn’t want to seem rude. My husband’s reaction was similar (but more tempered) to when I had given him curried sardines.

 Handed to us on a banana leaf to eat with our hands was an unpalatable greyish barely lukewarm mass . The dish, made from the flour obtained by pulverising the starchy tuberous root of the manioc tree, then mixed with coconut milk until it formed a soft paste, was baked wrapped in banana leaves in an earth oven. Unfortunately it had the consistency and taste of congealed gelatine. It was a feast. From politeness it had to be eaten.

“No I won’t eat it.” My companion pushed it away, his nose turned up.

The drumming started. Instead, we ate him.

This was written in response to Charli’s prompt. Join in, its great fun.

September 3, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include food in your story. Is it the focus or part of the setting? Does it speak (à la Larry Laforge style), smell or feel slimy? Is it sensual or practical, basic fare or feast worthy? Food is a part of every day life. It connects us, is a part of cultures and regions, and can be emotive. As Michael W. Twitty writes, “Food is also extremely culturally connected and inherently economic and political. “

Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, September 9 to be included in the compilation

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in fiction, Memoir, photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: Food

  1. mrsmrs says:

    Fun. Silly, but fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Irene, where do I begin with this post? First, the food you describe is so delicious-sounding, I want to hire you and your husband as my personal chefs, permanently! My husband loves curry, we both regard lobster as nature’s manna. Moroccan lamb,beef Wellington? Nirvana.
    With regard to your 99 word story, what fun! I loved it! Great post!
    PS What is the food in the first picture??

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Cripes! Not sure I like the flash – an odd recurrent nightmare as a child had me pursued by cannibals – but the food descriptions, especially the awful ones are great. My mother’ equivalent of the saucepans was to ensure neither m brother or I were allowed to leave home until we had mastered 3 complete meals (amongst other domestic skills). As she succinctly put it ‘I’m not burdening your wives with useless men as I was burdened’.


    • The food in the first picture is a pear creme brulee with a twist of chocolate, the long white roll is a coconut gelato with a caramel type sauce and a chocolate tube. Yummy if you have a sweet tooth. ps this was not cooked by us.


  3. Sherri says:

    Oh Irene, I am still laughing! I was so carried away with your delightful food post and photos and so when I read your flash, I thought it was part of your post and was shocked at the last line, haha! I thought “What? You actually ate your companion?” No wonder my kids say I’m so gullible o_O I absolutely loved this, wonderful 😀


  4. Charli Mills says:

    Reading and drooling ends poorly with laughter! What a delicious dish your post, photos and flash are. Plated nicely, too, I might add. As a kitchen cook who loves to share food with others, I think the worst insult I ever received was from a house guest who refused to eat any of my meals for an entire week. I tried to understand what she liked, but she’d just fix her own things and not touch anything I had made. And I felt like throwing her into the stew pot by the time she left! Lovely twist you added at the end!

    Having grown up with rigid rules about women in the kitchen, I was surprised to learn that the Hub (back when he was just the Man of Interest) could cook. Not quite as well as yours, but he has signature dishes–roast pheasant, roast duck, spaghetti and shrimp pasta. Out of my three kids, my two daughters loved to sit on the counter and chat while I cooked, but never picked up the interest. Now, the Radio Geek is married to the Geologist Who Cooks and a fine cook he is. The Rock Climber I think lives on coffee, wine and ice cream. My son, as a boy, would read my recipe books and ask me to fix particular dishes. As a teen, he baked up a storm every Sunday to share cookies and apple pies with his running mates at school.


    • I think men make better cooks as they do it by choice rather than because of expectations. My mother really didn’t enjoy the housewife role and I was well aware that meals and housework were drudgery that had to be done. It rubbed off on me and as I said I really can’t cook. But hey – it doesn’t matter. Lucky your boys don’t have to rely on meeting girls who cook and your girls vice versa.
      Glad to make you drool and laugh at the same time. That I would like to see.


  5. Pingback: Food for Fiction « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Annecdotist says:

    Loved this flash and your reflections on the role of food in your life leading up to it. It’s fascinating, isn’t it, how different cultures have different palates and how difficult it can be to eat something you hardly recognised as food.
    I do like fried manioc, and I’m proud of my ability to eat rice etc straight from a banana leaf with my hand, but don’t think I’ve eaten it as a porridge. I wonder if it’s like sadza which is made from corn meal – I quite like that as long as there’s something tasty to go with it. In Bolivia I found quinoa only just on the right side of edible and can’t understand how it is now turned into a fashionable food over here.
    Great twist at the end of your flash, by the way – didn’t see it coming!


  7. Norah says:

    Ha ha! Love your flash. You are quickly becoming a master of these surprise endings. How lucky you are to have someone to cook for you, and to not have to do it yourself. I don’t mind cooking when I have the time to plan, shop and prepare but the everyday meals I’m not so enamored of!


  8. colinmathers says:

    Glad Roger learned to cook. Only ten pounds when he came to Australia. He has put on some weight, fortunately, since then!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Call me anything but don’t call me late for dinner: I think not? | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s