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"Tales of Woe, Culinary"
(a creative nonfiction micro biblio-memoir)
Homemade baklava seemed an intriguing challenge one Richmond evening in our souped-up" antebellum kitchen with its modern metallic gold self-cleaning electric stove poised raffishly against exposed burgandy bricks of the ghostly woodstove's chimney near serious molding of the door to a sagging two story back porch for idling mid-repast to view heirloom yellow rose bushes rushing thickly to shush pebbles crushed under cyclicals of the service alley, eggplants gamely pushing through overworn soils crackling to taunt the heady jasmine next door from narrow summer border beds outlined by owners foregone long ago when building an uptown home without a family fireplace was flagrantly contemporary a la mode, and to glare at the war from the air of pecans falling for squirrels harassed by kamikaze bluejays bred to compete in speed and weight.
The stick-to-itivess of baklava depends on a sweetly thin syrup, all I recall of which is the menacingly memorable message echoing again on winding winds there to here: "do not taste test this until it's thoroughly cooled." An inveterate sampler along roads diverse and unreported, I stirred the opaque liquid in its shallowly round decor-ready pan. When I lifted the wooden spoon drizzled with that exotic liquour, it mated instantly with the roof of my mouth like something out of "Alien." Or like super-glue on steroids, or viagra. As Triage Queen, necessarily, I screamed in alarm for my companion-of-the-moment. Physicians are unschooled in Alien Syrup Attacks we intuited as I gargled cool beverages and relented, wincingly, to peel The Thing from my interior flesh, nerves and capillaries. Ah, I remember the hanging shreds well.
Original material c. A Country Rag, Inc. and/or Jeannette Harris, Jonesborough Tennessee, April 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, March 2015. All rights reserved.