Bechamel Test

Food can feature strongly in many stories, to the point where whole recepie books have been published. Our winner this week didn’t go so far as to serve us lamprey pie, Instead, the focus was on preserving memory through food: The lemon tree from Catherine’s childhood stood in the corner of the yard, rotting fruit scattered across the ground. She remembered inhaling the strong citrus scent as she stood on tiptoes to pluck fruit from the branches for her grandmother. She’d also tried scrambling onto the metal fence beside the tree to reach the higher-hanging lemons and cried when the hot posts blistered the soles of her feet. “Silly pork chop,”… A big congratulations to Victoria Nugent, taking out first place by a single, all important point. Special mention to …

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She looked at the frozen block of mince, uninspired and frustrated. As per usual, she’d left it too late. She hadn’t remembered to pull it out of the freezer the night before, too harried as she relived her busy day over in her head. She had also forgotten that morning, too focussed on just getting out of the damn house to be thinking about dinner. She barely remembered to eat breakfast these days anyway. She forced the mince into the smaller half of the sink, jamming her fingers between the icy block and the faucet. Of course. She was just trying to keep it together, do something nice, and it comes back to bite her. She couldn’t remember whether the advice she had read was to wash it with warmth …

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  The once-lined page was now a near-uniform pale blue, threads blurring so that they no longer guided the generations-old script that danced across its coffee-stained surface. Ink had spread in patches, dispersed by droplets of a liquid long-since dried, disfiguring letters and disguising words. The paper was stuck within a transparent sleeve that Mally’s mother had used to protect it. Now the disintegrating polypropylene only acted to hide the ancient procedure further, layering ink imprint upon imprint, a plastic palimpsest. In the fluorescence, Mally tilted the page, thinking the perfect angle might make the translation easier, but it was clear some words were unsalvageable; even those that were distinguishable suggested little. Mally decoded the cursive, which resembled kanji more closely than characters from the Latin alphabet. Ingredients: Five hundred …

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“Stir up, we beseech thee Oh Lord…” The words of the collect rolled around her and Sarah felt the magic gather. Her puddings would be the better for her participation in Christian ritual on Stir Up Sunday. The priest noticed her inward focus and guessed the reason. He glared as she came out of the dimly lit church, blinking in the winter sunshine. “How dare you turn my service into heathen witchery, woman?” “But it’s Stir Up Sunday, Father. ‘Tis traditional to make the puddings on this day.” The priest grunted, considering her a lost cause. Sarah slipped away. She had such a lot of cooking to do today. But she’d have to make sure the priest ate one of her puddings. With all the goodness she stirred in, he …

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The rust on the wrought iron gate left brown marks on Catherine’s fingertips as she pushed it open, stepping on to the stony path for the first time in 30 years. Her eyes stung as she gazed at once magnificent old homestead, its veranda now sagging and the corrugated iron roof riddled with holes. Droppings littered the path where sheep and kangaroos had invaded the once pristine yard in search of green pick. The lemon tree from Catherine’s childhood stood in the corner of the yard, rotting fruit scattered across the ground. She remembered inhaling the strong citrus scent as she stood on tiptoes to pluck fruit from the branches for her grandmother. She’d also tried scrambling onto the metal fence beside the tree to reach the higher-hanging lemons and …

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  They ate home-made burritos every Friday. They had both been raised on chicken casseroles and macaroni and hot dogs in the summertime. They had never travelled south of the border and the only non-English words they knew were the same non-English words everyone knew. Hola. Mi casa es su casa. Adiós amigos. It began on her 23rd birthday. She opened the card and read the details slowly. “A cooking class?” The dimples didn’t appear in her cheeks when she smiled at him. On the day he waited in the driveway and watched as she locked the front door, fumbling with the keys she wasn’t used to yet. “New jeans?” he asked. He was asleep when she left work work in the mornings and by the time he got home …

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Dad, I never skimp on garlic. Yes I know garlic is awesome. Do I need more onion? Yes mum, more onion would be good. Can you get them please? No problem, I’ll get them from the garden myself. By the way, is this for the stuffing or the Solomon Grundy? I’ll take that nod as yes to both. Onion onion onion. Ooo, rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley. Better get them too. Wow, the chillies are coming along nicely. Here we are. This is how you peel an onion and this is how you dice one. This is how you put it in the mortar. Not a glass one. No porcelain either. Has to be a stone mortar and pestle. Has to be heavy. Has to be solid. This is how …

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It’s no secret that for decades publishing houses have been cheating the system. A quick google of ‘best seller scandal’ returns over 5 million results detailing plot after pot of publishers and their cohorts cheating the system by bulk purchasing their own books to improve their ranking, or employing other companies to do so in their stead. So next time a major author or publisher bemoans the failing sales or ‘industry crisis’ maybe they should look inwards. After all, they’ve only got themselves to blame.   After much consideration, bribery, gratuity and schmoozing, we can release the winner for the VISIONS OF 2020 Award. Congratulations to Joey To. Joey’s ‘Uranus Journal’ is a tongue-in-cheek (which cheek? -Ed) deliberation on current trends. Absurdist, but still relevant. As one judge described it: “I …

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