food

The Cook

The following is by Writers in the Grove member Gretchen Keefer.

Chapter One

Having the cook was a bit expensive, but worth every dollar. Janelle had totaled up the costs of eating out or getting take-out for a month, including the lunches they both purchased most days, and showed the numbers to Jason. They could save half the cost of a part time cook by avoiding those commercial meals. The meals at home would be delicious, more nutritious and offer more variety than Janelle (and Panda Express) offered.

Jason eventually agreed. The cook came in the afternoon, five days a week, and prepared dinner. She created a shopping list for Jason and Janelle to complete over the weekend. She also cleaned up the kitchen and generated lunches from leftovers before she left.

Jason enjoyed the variety of tasty dishes and Janelle was more relaxed in the evenings. They talked more over dinner and during the evening. They discovered more topics they could discuss without upsetting one another. Entertaining also became easier and more fun. In fact, Jason and Janelle began to enjoy their lives more than they ever had.

More confident and self-assured, Jason was promoted at work; Calmer and more rested Janelle landed the management position she had been striving for. Their combined salary increases more than made up for the cook’s salary. The couple started spending their restful evenings planning the vacation of their dreams for the following year. Yes, the cook was worth every dollar.

Chapter Two

Three years later Jason had gained so much weight his blood pressure shot up and he developed heart trouble. His energy slipped and he did not think as quickly at work as he had. Janelle’s love of desserts had triggered Type 2 Diabetes. She lost the baby she and Jason had carefully planned for during their peaceful evenings. Her ensuing depression led to both of them drinking more wine with their gourmet meals, continuing into the evenings. Soon it became important to add alcohol to lunches as well. Soon Janelle was asked to leave her employment.

Jason missed a lot of work with his health issues and lost his job as well, so the cook had to go. Janelle began to learn more recipes to balance her diabetes with Jason’s weight loss program. They made time to discuss their options, such as moving, downsizing, or living more frugally. It was a difficult spot in their lives. All the good times they had spent chatting and enjoying each other’s company faded as they faced this new struggle.

Eventually they settled into new routines in the small town where Jason had found a suitable job. Their health gradually improved and they felt less pressure to keep up with coworkers and neighbors. Since Janelle was home to prepare meals on time, she felt less stressed about dinners and gradually the relaxing evenings began again. One morning Janelle woke up to realize how happy she was. Truly happy.

Yes, the cook was really worth the expense.

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Prompt-a-Month: Just Desserts

Writers in the Grove Prompt-a-Month badge.The April prompt-a-month for our Writers in the Grove members is:

Just Desserts

The deadline for submissions is 5/1/2017. Submissions will be published during the next 30 days.

Writers in the Grove members may hand in their submissions during the workshops or use our members only submission form. Check out the guidelines and instructions for submissions in the announcement.

Our Holiday Disaster

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Debby White. She is an active member of the Vernonia Library group in Vernonia, Oregon.

Gertrude blew a strand of hair from her face as she peeled the small mountain of potatoes destined for mashing. She gave a quick glance to the clock on the oven. Ten a.m. The day’s agenda ran through her mind as the peeler continued to work it’s way through the mound. The turkey will be ready in an hour, kids and grandkids should arrive any minute. Dinner rolls should go in the oven in about forty five minutes. Harry, her husband of 30 years, was watching a loud Thanksgiving day football game in the living room, making an appearance in the kitchen only when he needed a warm up for his coffee.

Outside the wind whipped the rain around frequently throwing it against the windows, tree branches swaying as if throwing a tantrum.

“Quite a storm out there.” Gertrude jumped. Harry chuckled behind her. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” he said, reaching for the coffee pot to fill his cup for the fifth or sixth time.

Gertrude sighed, “I hope we don’t lose power. The turkey still needs almost another hour in the oven, then there’s the dinner rolls. Lots of food in the fridge that could go bad if the electricity’s out for a long time.”

“Don’t panic, honey,” Harry patted her shoulder. “Remember that’s why we spent all that money on the generator. Out here in the boondocks we lose power at the drop of a hat. With the generator life goes on as usual.”

They both turned at the sound of voices in the entryway. Seconds later they had little grandchildren arms wrapped around their legs. Sadie, their oldest daughter, planted a kiss first on Gertrude’s cheek then Harry’s. “Jack and Nikki drove up behind us,” Sadie said of her brother and his wife. “Nate is helping them carry stuff in.” Nate being Sadie’s husband.

Minutes later the women and children were gathered in the kitchen and the guys convened in the living room to finish watching the football game. Gertrude finished peeling the potatoes and Sadie and Nikki set the table while dodging little Nate and Jillian. Suddenly, everything went black. From the living room a chorus of “Hey, what happened?” was heard as the TV went blank. Gertrude raced into the living room, with a panicked look on her face. “We’ve lost power!” she exclaimed. (more…)

Ode to a Potluck

The following is a holiday piece by Writers in the Grove member, Bev Walker.

There’s peas in my apple pie
The spaghetti’s a glutenous ball.
It’s that delicious time of year
My plate overflows with it all.
There’s salad in my pudding
And pudding on my mac and cheese.
And mac and cheese in my jello
And jello in the “What are these?”
Succotash spills into whipped cream,
There’s cream on my sour pickle.
There’s always a “Wonder what that is?”
It could be a cranberry frickle!
There’s mystery in what I’m eating.
Who knows? I could even die! But –
It’s amazing how delicious it all is
Even peas in apple pie!

November 24 Prompt – Finest Meal

Writers in the Grove NaNoWriMo Prompt a Day badgeThe following prompt is by Writers in the Grove member Ann Farley and a part of our Prompt-a-Day project to support NaNoWriMo during November 2015. Each prompt was generously donated by our Writers in the Grove members. You are welcome to take this prompt in any direction you wish.

Describe the most flavorful meal you or your character has ever had. Where was it, who was there, and why is it memorable.

Describe the flavors, smells, textures, spices, and sweetness.