Last week I asked our viewers on Got Books? to post their favorite foods and I would try to weave them into a short story. We had 22 entries and for the story I've brought back two of my favorite characters from Food to Die Smiling For--Sammi and Carrie. I hope you enjoy.
Momma’s Coming to Dinner
Flipping on the TV, I sorted my way through Netflix to find Lord of the Rings, grabbed my bowl of banana pudding and sank into the couch for a nice quiet evening of gluttony and pure entertainment. I should have known it was too good to last. The key in the lock was my first indication my quiet evening was over. Sammi breezed in, humming “Ain’t Love Grand” and carrying two bags of groceries.
“I thought you were going out with Mark?” I looked for a place to hide the banana pudding. Too late.
Sammi’s face screwed up and her mouth poked out in her little “shame on you” pout. “Carrie Thompson, tell me that is not all you’re having for dinner?”
“Of course not.” I couldn’t help the guilty grin. “I was gonna order a pizza, some three cheese enchilidas, and then have a piece of Chocolate Cheesecake and maybe some Apple and Blueberry crumble for dessert.”
Uh-oh. I’ve seen that look on Sammi’s face before.
“You will definitely not be eating any of that garbage.” She shifted the bags, gave me a gorgeous smile and continued. “Mark’s coming for dinner, and you can join us.”
Oh, goody, goody, goody. Instead of a nice peaceful night of good food and entertainment, I’d be stuffing my face with some healthy garbage like grilled salmon and couscous, with a side order of mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Or God forbid—Talapia with rice and beef or even worse Spaghetti Bolognese. And all the while sitting through The Big Bang Theory while Mark whispers sweet nothings. God hates me. He really does.
With one last wistful look at Viggo Mortensen, I paused my movie, stood up and took one of the bags of groceries and headed to the kitchen. “So what wonderful culinary dishes are you planning for the evening?”
“You’re going to love it. We’ve having Sushi with green beans in a dry coconut curry, and for dessert we’ll have blueberries and cream.”
Bleeyuk! Okay, I know that’s probably not a word, but it was the first thing that came to mind. Dropping the groceries on the counter I turned to give Sammi my best “you’ve got to be kidding me” look. Hands on hips I stared her down. “Sammi, how long have we been living together?”
Giving me a flash of those pearly whites she dropped her purse on the floor and put her bag on the counter. “Like forever.”
“Well, then you should know I’m not really a Sushi, green been curry kind of girl. I’m a chili, mac and cheese kind of girl.”
“Oh, poo,” Sammi pouted. “You serve the most delicious cuisine in the world every day, and yet you eat garbage.” She turned to give me a look I’ve never seen before. A cross between scared and elated. “Besides you need to lose some weight before the wedding.”
I could feel my mouth flop open, and did my best to wrap my tongue around something intelligent and spiffy to come back with. Instead I wound up stammering. “Wed…wed…wedding?”
Sammi bit her bottom lip and nodded. A single tear rolled down her face.
Okay, Carrie, this is where you do that high pitched girlie squeal, grab her hands and dance her around the room giggling and bouncing like an idiot. Problem was I just wasn’t the “squealing, giggling, bouncy” girlie type. I’ve never squealed in my life. But Sammi was my very best friend. Taking a deep breath, I let it out slowly and grinned. I crossed the room, grabbed her hands and hopped up and down. “Squee! Squee!”
Sammi giggled and pulled me into a bear hug. “That’s the most pathetic squeal I’ve ever heard.” Pushing me away she looked into my eyes. “But I do appreciate the effort. So you’re happy for me?”
“Estatic. So, how long do I have to lose this weight, and how much do I have to lose?”
Sammi started unloading the groceries. “I was only kidding about the weight. We haven’t even set the date yet.”
“But I still have to eat Sushi?”
“And green beans in a dry coconut curry. So go back to Viggio and let me cook.”
“It’s Viggo!” I yelled out, returning to the couch and picking up my bowl of pudding. Funny thing was, it didn’t taste as good as it had before. I’d always known this day would come, and I loved Mark. I really did. Sighing I hit the play button and homed in on Viggo. What a hunk. Now if he asked me to marry him I could probably squeal like a girl.
The phone rang, and I turned up the volume shutting out the giggling and love talk from the kitchen. Bleeyuk!
“Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”
Uh-oh. The sounds of pans clanging lifted the corners of my mouth in a pleasant smile. A new Sammi. I’d seen happy Sammi, sad Sammi, and even on one occasion angry Sammi—but this was new. Frantic Sammi. I knew what was coming, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard the wail.
Of course, if I’d known what was coming I would have quietly slipped on my shoes and run like hell. Instead I flipped off the TV and walked toward the kitchen, an unsuspecting fly heading for the spider’s web. The look on Sammi’s face stopped me in my tracks. Not frantic—panicked. “What’s wrong?”
“Mark’s bringing his mother to dinner.”
“Smorgasboard Mary?” I backed out of the kitchen slowly. All I had to do was make it to the door. Screw the shoes.
Sammi caught me, grabbing my arms. “Carrie, you’ve got to help me. The apartment’s a mess. I’ll clean, you cook. Please?”
“Oh, hell no! The last time she inhaled three pounds of barbeque ribs and accused me of trying to kill her because she swallowed a bone.”
Sammi squeezed my arms, her eyes huge. “Please, Carrie. Please, please, please.”
Okay, maybe I could turn this around to my benefit. Have a little fun. “All right. But I get to cook what I want.”
“Anything you want. Just make sure there’s plenty of it.” Sammi gave me a quick hug and headed for the living room.
Opening the freezer I pulled out a pack of pork chops and threw them in the microwave to defrost. That should be nice and greasy.
An image of Mary licking barbeque sauce flickered in front of my eyes. She did love her meat.
Going to the pantry I pulled out potatoes and started peeling. A nice baked potato soup and salad as an opening course. I could probably live with the green beans. Hawaiian rolls would do nicely, and we still had the apple and blackberry crumble as well as a couple of pieces of chocolate cheesecake.
Yet it was missing something. Something special. Going back to the freezer I pulled out the corn on the cob. Perfect. After all if Sammi was going to marry Mark, she needed to realize she was also marrying Mary. Humming softly and grinning from ear to ear I pulled out pots and started cooking, imagining those huge teeth traveling up and down those ears of corn like a manual typewriter. Chew, chew, chew—ka-ching. Chew, chew, chew—ka-ching.
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