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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writing Prompt 5/12/10: Childhood Junk Food

By Marilyn Friedman

All of our May classes are full except there are 2 spots left in this wonderful Humor Writing class with Chad Gervich, a writer for the Wanda Sykes show! Call 323-333-2954 to sign up!
Writing Prompt: Make a list of five of your favorite junk foods from childhood. Pick one food item and write the story behind it. Make sure to include at least one sensory detail (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight). Write for ten minutes, then post what you've written in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog. What was your favorite childhood junk food? The best comment of May will win a free class! All comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn.


Writing Pad said...

When I was a kid, I would compete in classical piano contests twice a year in the hinterlands of Illinois. As a reward for winning a plastic gold trophy, my mother would always take me to McDonalds.

For me, it was a huge treat! I loved the hot, squishy french fries. Some of my happiest memories involve dredging those fries through the lake of ketchup that my mother made for me on the back of the paper wrapping of my hamburger or Filet O' Fish.


GloJoeSews said...

I was the kinda kid that loved all the delectible beauties. Ya know...Marlo Thomas' swinging hair, my mother's paisly dresses, and those otherworldly treasures the Helms man would bring, and to our front door no less. I'd peruse all the shiny traveling booty, but always gravitate to the red wax lips and the candy cigarettes. With those treasures in hand I’d be Bette Davis, or Joan Crawford—a little Mildred Pierce with a touch of Possessed hatching—no Latina martyrdom for me. I was a 50’s glamour diva, dragging and rolling cigarettes between powerful, tiny, embroidering fingers, while big red lips encased frenetic energy bursting from my small Spanish life. When I had squeezed every bit of deliciousness from my decadent props, I’d devour them ala Kali, with equally great chomps, until I had obliterated any traces of their original state. Then I’d place my wax sculpture on the nightstand, and with my last candy cigarette dangling from pursed lips, I’d admire my gallery creation, taking deep… long… drags…disappearing in a puff of candy smoke.

Julie said...

When you come from a home where dad bakes bread on the weekends for fun, mom makes DIY fruit leather for a snack and macramé art adorns the walls, trips to the local fast food joint are few and far between. So, it is with great anticipation that I sit, in my blue terrycloth shorts jumper with the rainbow ribbons, waiting for my special day with grandpa. He picks me up in his robin's egg blue Karmann Ghia convertible, and off we go.

We do this once every few months, these one-on-one outings, and we've made a deal. I get to choose what we're having for lunch. So far, I've sampled the delectable fries at Carl's Jr. I've had enough McDonald's hamburgers to know that I don't like those little onion bits. I've enjoyed a clandestine shake at Wendy's, even though I'm allergic to milk. Even Long John Silver's is a treat.

Today, we're headed to Burger King. It's warm and sunny, but the restaurant, with it's orange and red decor, brown floor and faux wood walls, is cool. This is the home of the Whopper, and for the first time ever, I'm going to have it. My way.

"No pickles," I say to the lady in the perky orange and red hat, "No tomatoes, no onions and lots of ketchup, please." It comes just the way I want it, warm in it's paper wrapper. The first bite is nirvana, meaty and tangy, with a little crunch from the lettuce. The fries are salty, and dipped in the shake, they're like a little taste of heaven. Before I know it, we're finished and I'm buckling back into my bucket seat in the little blue convertible, comfortable in the knowledge that I will make it another couple of months in the land of carob-chip cookies and homemade pickles.

Emanuel Bergmann said...

I used to eat fried chicken. I didn’t feel about it one way or another. It was crispy and greasy and that was enough. As a kid, I never made the connection between chicken (alive) and chicken (fried). It was like a potato to a potato chip. There was nothing to connect the dots.
American junk food seemed like heaven to me. They opened the first McDonald’s in my country when I was four or five. My mother drove five hours so we could eat our first Big Mac. It tasted like heaven, but afterward, I threw up. I wasn’t used to it. We never made that kind of drive again, not for a Big Mac. We didn’t have to. Soon, McDonald’s restaurants were sprouting everywhere. I liked the cartoon characters, and I liked that everything inside was made of plastic. But it was a rare treat. The food was expensive, and you had to stand in line.
Getting fried chicken was just as hard. There was a US Army base nearby, and if you knew the right people, if you were friendly with the soldiers, you could get inside. It was paradise. There were soft drinks and junk food everywhere. My favorite was a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I still didn’t make the connection. Months later, I saw decapitated chickens hanging upside down in the shop window a butcher shop. I started to realize that these were living animals, and that in order for me to eat them, they first had to be executed. The hot and crispy stuff at the army base was essentially the same as the feathery guys hanging around my grandparent’s yard, looking for grains. The food chain suddenly hit me. I began to cry. I hid in my closet and refused to come out. My mother calmed me down, and I continued eating chicken. But I no longer wanted to. I did it because I was told it was good for me. This is when I gradually began to realize that there’s a larger world outside, and it isn’t made of plastic.

Writing Pad said...

GloJoeSews--What a wonderful piece! I love the imagination of the narrator: that the wax lips and cigarettes would make her "Bette Davis, or Joan Crawford—a little Mildred Pierce." I love the "decadent props," and the image of the candy cigarette dangling from her pursed lips. Thanks for posting!


Writing Pad said...

Julie--fabulous piece! I love the homemade fruit leather and macrame. I love the very specific way the narrator wanted her burger and that it tasted like "nirvana, meaty and tangy, with a little crunch from the lettuce!"


Writing Pad said...

Emanuel--great piece! I love that the narrator didn't make the connection about the chicken--that it was like a potato chip to a potato. I love the world of plastic and that the narrator hid in the closet and cried.

Thanks for posting! :)


Erin Anadkat said...

My favorite junk food when I was little was soda. My mom used to get cases of Diet Pepsi (though never Coke) and fill our basement refrigerator with them. I would sometimes have three or four in a day, at least. My dad always preferred Diet Coke to Pepsi, so he never drank any.

I visited India the first time with just my dad when I was five years old, and we were there for a month. There is also a soda in India, similar to Pepsi or Coke but it has a different taste, called Thumbs Up! My uncle would take me to a little convenience store in the town where we were, and get me a Thumbs Up! When I was home, I told my mother I had had 86 bottles of Thumbs Up!, though I'm not sure where I thought of that number (hopefully I didn't drink that many!). I remember some time had passed, and I was ready to return to the USA. My aunts asked me what I wanted to eat, because I was crying and missed my mother. I said Kentucky Fried Chicken, but there definitely wasn't any in India. Staring at my pink Minnie Mouse brush and the red nail polish my aunts had painted on for me, I wanted to go home.

Writing Pad said...

Erin--Great story! I love that the narrator said that she drank 86Thumbs Up's. I also love the red nail polish and the Minnie Mouse brush. Thanks for posting!