Um … Did Somebody Mention Food?
By Jeff Salter
We sometimes have blogging weeks where I’m totally lost … as in this one, when the Foxes are talking about kitchen skills and such.
My lack of culinary talents are well-known, but I remembered – reading one of this week’s blogs – a kitchen scene I’d written in my third completed novel manuscript. This particular scene was one of many which had to be cut last autumn as I slashed some 45,000 words from my 164,000 word manuscript to ready it for submission. [Update: I now have a contract on this story with Astraea Press! Called to Arms Again is currently in edits and likely to be released sometime this spring.]
Before it was deleted, this scene between heroine Kelly and hero Mitch occurred fairly early in that draft of my manuscript — right after the two had made-up following a big misunderstanding. [Kelly is about 30; Mitch is close to 40. Scene takes place on Columbus Day.]
Kelly stirred, but it was only to find a more comfortable position snuggled against Mitch’s side. She pulled the sheet up slightly to counter a draft from his bedroom window. Then she lay her head back in the crook of his arm and chest. “A lot of offices will be closed today, but most of the food places ought to be open. Wanna go get something to eat?”
Mitch looked at her intently. “Why don’t we eat in? You don’t come over all that much and I really like having you here.”
He was right: she did not visit often … but that was because Mitch was nearly always at her cabin. “Okay, sure. Here’s fine.” When she propped up on one elbow, the sheet fell away. “So, you gonna do some cooking?”
“Of course. What’ll it be?” He sounded like a mellow waiter … but was distracted by her nakedness.
“It doesn’t matter much … but no granola bars.” Some men think a meal is something you un-wrap and chew.
“Lemme go have a look.” Getting up from the bed, he bent over to retrieve his boxers off the floor.
A mature man’s naked, bent-over rump is not an image you want to keep in your head. Kelly also got out of bed and located her undergarments.
Mitch grabbed his jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt and headed toward the bathroom. Shortly, while Kelly was still in the bedroom getting dressed, he surveyed the kitchen.
Mitch poked around his cabinets and fridge for a few moments. Several doors opened and closed twice. Then he sighed heavily and faced Kelly as she came down the short hallway. “Well, it looks like cereal, scrambled eggs, or … soup. I thought I had a frozen pizza but somebody must’ve eaten it.”
“Wonder who.” She pinched his bicep. “Um, let’s see. I guess soup is the best of that menu. What kind?”
Mitch turned again to the cabinet with canned goods. “Uh, looks like chicken noodle or chicken with rice.”
“Gosh, with such a fine selection as that, it’s no wonder we don’t dine here more often.” Kelly smiled and hugged him. “I like having you cook for me. Makes me feel a little spoiled. Noodles rather than rice … would be nice.”
“That rhymes. Noodles coming right up.” Mitch kissed her forehead and turned to begin his meal preparations. He stood over the open garbage container and pulled up the tab on top of the large soup can. Next, he tossed away the lid and rubbed his fingers on a trouser leg. Then he began spooning things out of the top of the soup and tossed them into the garbage.
“Mitch, what on earth are you doing to that poor can of soup?”
“Picking out these green things.”
She moved closer. “Those are little cucumber slices! They’re for flavor!”
“No problem, I’ll save the rest of what I fish out and we’ll dump ‘em in your bowl.”
“Not sure I want them either … now.” Kelly wrinkled her nose. There’s something vaguely unappetizing about a meal being prepared over a garbage can.
“If the can hasn’t been shaken too much, most of them float near the top and it’s pretty easy to scoop ‘em out.” He sounded like a bored television chef.
“Floaters.” Kelly shook her head. That made it even less appetizing.
What kinds of kitchen experiences do YOU write about?
Or, if you’re more of a reader than a writer, what are some of your favorite fictional kitchen scenes?