For the past few winters we have been doing semi-nightly ten minute writing prompts. We would usually begin at Thanksgiving when our daughter, Mallory would be home from college. My husband and I would carry on once she was back at school until we could be reunited for Christmas break. This year that writing routine has been absent. The main reason is that there are no more college breaks, there is only working, eating and sleeping.
Determined to get our writing group going again, I dug through prompt writing books, and notebooks filled with ideas. I made a list of possibilities, closed my eyes and picked one. I wrote it on the chalkboard so they would know I wasn't kidding. Then life got in the way for a couple of weeks. I had two writing deadlines, one taking longer than I anticipated. Finally at the end of January everything was submitted, I was ready for my group. That readiness led to my announcement while enjoying tater tots at the local brew pub.
Our tasty snack consumed, it was time to go home and face the chalkboard. Once home, I sent everyone off to gather their notebooks and writing utensils, we reconvened in the dining room to take one last look at the prompt before beginning. I set the timer on my phone for ten minutes, pressed start and the sound of pen and pencil on paper began.
Glen and Mallory made long lists of memorable foods. Glen's consisted mainly of meat; tacos, ham and gravy, a ground beef mixture with a sweet/sour flavoring set upon half of a rusk bun, cow tongue, smoky links and fondue. Mallory's list contained typical childhood delicacies; chicken nuggets from Wendy's, hot dogs, grilled cheese, kid size chocolate syrup sundaes, chocolate shakes from Burger King, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Poptarts and lots and lots of chocolate milk. Maybe this explains her lactose intolerance now, she overdosed on dairy as a child.
My story was different, it wasn't a list of favorite foods, it was about one specific meal - Creamed Ham, Eggs and Mushrooms in a Chafing Dish. My mother has never been a skilled chef in the kitchen. Our suppers usually consisted of Hamburger Helper, not quite baked frozen pizza, and liver and onions. This is why Creamed Ham, Eggs and Mushrooms in a Chafing Dish was so different; the fancy copper chafing dish, real ham, real mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup not just ladled into a bowl, and hard boiled eggs. We didn't have it often, but I do remember my mouth watering every time I saw Volume Six of The Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery sitting on the counter...
The buzz of the timer sounded. Our little family gathered together, each taking a turn to read our writing out loud. As each of us read, I marveled at how there were so many stories within simple lists, and specific meals, all derived from a ten minute writing prompt. Our first writing exercise of the year was complete.
What special foods do you remember from your childhood? I would love to hear.