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Wisdom is rare in adults. Those who have it made life impossible for everyone around them as children. We beat it out of the weak. It threatens us like joy. Like water balloons. Like youth. We want everyone to be old, and we don’t want to be wet. Or too dry. Or too anything. We want everything to be just so. We like to know where things are. Have you been to a grocery store? We’re obsessed with the size of the nuts. We think it measures worth. Are they colossal? Giant? Are they grand? (Grand is not a category of nut size, but if it were, we’d calibrate the right price for a grand nut and we’d pay it feeling righteous. Also—without telling you anything you don’t already know—we’d pay more for a grand nut to a place that would gift-wrap, and even more to a place that would gift-wrap and call a “grand nut” a “colossal nut.”) Nuts are sold in a round cardboard foil-lined container wrapped in the image of a friendly man who loves nuts, and veracity, and a square deal, and whose name is inoffensive, goofy even, maybe just initials. (And a reclosable plastic lid.) When he says “Honey Roasted Nuts” with “real honey” we should all be unnerved by what else “honey” might mean, and cheapened. But instead, we’re grateful for our paychecks. We’ve matured. “Honey-roasted nuts” in quotes is the least of what we’ve swallowed. The nuts cost a dollar ninety-nine in a package that would retail for a dollar and a half. Hardly nuts at all. Barely protein. They’re mean small fragments of nut meat that deliver salt and sugar. God bless them. Good from nothing. If we had found them, roasted them, seasoned them ourselves, we’d be heroes.

I feel as if I’d met you yesterday though it’s been thirty years and at my age that means I die tomorrow or at best the day after. So what shall we do this blue evening streaked with gray? Read the rest of this entry »

I might have chosen the needle and thread, thereby insuring myself a long if not necessarily happy life, or the bow and arrow, the significance of which seems obvious. My rich aunts had both grabbed rice cakes on their ceremonial turns around the table Read the rest of this entry »

He showed us what was on his fork, triumphantly, as if he had made it or given birth to food. I have no idea what this is!, he told us. What is this? He made us taste it from his fork, reloading as needed, and guess what it might be. Read the rest of this entry »

We bought the farm, not to grow anything, but because it came with so much food. The farmer had died without a will and let it go for taxes, complete with furniture and cars, and in the barn some big machines we siphoned of their gas to joyride down the country lanes. Read the rest of this entry »

How you begin is who you are. Only a killer can do it alone; for others, whether you slice, chop or do field surgery, have someone reliable hold the bird by the wings at the shoulders. Read the rest of this entry »

She was our youngest and tender-hearted (tender, in fact, throughout) and therefore hard to eat. All through the lengthening day, the aroma tempted us to open the oven and peek, to pluck at the crisping skin, to let just a bit of her escape. Read the rest of this entry »

Every new technology makes it harder to live together. His first thought, on seeing the summons, was of his wife: had she noticed it, was what he thought. She was in the kitchen, reducing wine and lemon juice for scampi. Read the rest of this entry »

Emil is a genius. What he does with food is more like alchemy than cooking. The dishes that come out of his kitchen might not be food any more. Read the rest of this entry »

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Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

Behind the Pseudonym

The pen name David B Dale honors my parents Beatrice and Dale. David+B+Dale = davidbdale

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