We’ll make connoisseurs out of the burgers-n-shakes folks and barbecue battlers out of the wine-tasters!
Let’s all be our favorite foods, instead. Let’s all be so shallow a portion, spicy-delicious, artfully tea-sandwich, or unrepentant-tart upfront, before the first bites are taken. Introverts can pry their pea-pods open, only for like peas to breathe relief and join them. Then, seal it up again to spin an emerald disco ball and blast the music, pum, pum, pum, pum, against the shell. Party girls can put their rainbow sprinkles directly on. As you walk down the glass counter, scientists will have labeled themselves as layer-cakes, bisected and ready to discuss all the complex effort of baking, cooling off, then expanding the next batch of molecules to carefully warm themselves into existence. Children can be pupusas–sometimes tomato-sweet when one remembers to give them the benefit of a generous sauce. Then, in a few years, we remember they came with la cortida, all along. So busy we were, pensando en la encima, relleno de carne o el queso. We miss a person’s delicious potential if we don’t first try and see it. If we seal our senses and swallow feasts whole, we may as well be eating gruel.
Let’s none of us give up and be processed, or obscure our natural flavor with carcinogens. If we are born robust, then let’s be delicious, fatty beef gau pho dressed with jalapeno peppers and bean sprouts on the side. If we must be burnt, for having endured crisis too long in our lives, then let’s choose to be crispy-sweet like blackened barbequed ribs. And, for those of us who long to be nurturing when life in the kitchen is sometimes too hot and demanding, then go on and be a brave platter of steamed rice. Vast, buttery and filling. And to those who have been exhausted with loving, make all those painful, left-over memories work for you. Toss them in the pan, fry yourself too. Break an egg over it. Be fried rice.
And for dessert, the most troubled of our food-people will shine best. The fragile victim in recovery can be bright orange Jello. Quivering, but with the potency of a true dazzling ambrosia once given the chance, on the world’s compassionate tongue. As for the most delicate of our delicates, the newborn babies will definitely be marshmallow peeps.
Those of us who mourn should be chocolates. Bitter, if we feel that. Or, allow ourselves to be creamy, pale and sweet. Relieved from the hard processing of any true cocoa because we are mourning the loss of a long-suffering loved one, now finally put to rest. And, if we are angry chocolates, because the tragedy should have never happened–then we can be a piece of baker’s cocoa. Tough, defiant in that we will not be cut and measured again so easily. We will be stalwart, maintain our integrity until there is healing and justice.
Let’s not discuss how Sergio likes fruit-pies, but Keisha only likes custards. We’d better not dare, in these tough times, argue whether key lime is technically a pie in Pasha’s defense, or if it should have never become a gourmet cupcake, just to make somebody else happy. Quit hold of all delectable political minutiae, for once. If we could all become our favorite foods, if we could season ourselves, prepare ourselves and present ourselves perfectly according to how we feel, if we could wield the skill of knowing hearts so intimately and then be free to discourse, invite, or object with no stigma nor fear of punishment (Who reacts to food with violence? Perhaps resentment, and fun food-fighting but never violence), then, with that clarity, it would become undeniably obvious what each of us truly needs. The puzzle pieces would be a lot easier to figure and fit together in life, not just around its edges. Then, Oh! How we would help ourselves, to one another. I’d go back for seconds.
But, for now, mac has no idea where cheese is, or how she’s really doing, or if they’d ever improve the next family reunion by letting things go, and showing up together. Right next to the turkey.