A Literary Feast

Posts by Rachel Hoogstraten

Spatula of Salvation

Posted on August 16th, 2012

The box was only half full when I finished tucking in the mixing bowls and straightened to scan the kitchen for my next target. My gaze slid over the high use shelves, jumped the spot recently vacated by a set of white porcelain ramekins, shuddered away from the scary cupboard over the sink, and came to rest on the drawer of miscellaneous kitchen utensils. This was the drawer that seems to exist in all kitchens, the one that houses both your favorite and your never-used-even-once gadgets, the one where someone asks, “where’s your lemon zester?” and you say, “in that drawer…with the other random stuff…no, no, the one next to the fridge.” I slid my box over. Here was the hard part. Everything that…

Are Ya Achin’?

Posted on July 20th, 2012

I became a vegetarian by accident. This wasn’t hard, at the age of twelve, in a family that didn’t eat meat at home. I realized one day that I hadn’t eaten any meat in weeks and decided to see how long I could keep it up. More than ten years, it turns out. I reacquainted myself with carnivory in a far more intentional manner than I left it. “Be so careful at first,” everyone told me; “your stomach won’t be used to meat and it might make you sick.” I tried bites of fish, then some chicken soup, taking only small portions or tastes off other’s plates. I listened anxiously to my GI tract, alert for signs of distress, ready to pursue my stomach…

The Dregs

Posted on June 25th, 2012

The boy who gave us bananas carried a machete casually slung over his shoulder. He seemed confused when I broke one open and began to eat it, and talked very fast in Swahili to my guide. It seems I had made yet another cultural gaffe. These were cooking bananas, my guide explained; no one in their right mind would eat one raw. The boy, shooting me looks that clearly said he was worried about this tall white girl, nimbly climbed a nearby tree and brought me down a petite, deep golden, and oddly heavy replacement. Its peel was thin and fibrous and the three bites that it afforded me were rich and sweet. The boy took the first banana – a fruit that might…

The Womb Of My Discontent

Posted on May 13th, 2012

As I square off with my two-year-old niece, it occurs to me that I may have gone over the edge. She sits across from me, her wispy blond pigtails and huge blue eyes barely clearing the table top. It’s lunch time, and I’ve amassed a startling array of foods – things that I never knew lurked in the back corners of my cupboards. Earlier in the day, I had confidently sprinkled dried cranberries in front of her only to have them unabashedly handed back to me in a sticky glob after she put several in her mouth, chewed for a second before her face puckered into a wince of disgust, and she just as quickly took them back out again. Now, still smarting from…