Prompt Day #301: Speculate on paper: If you were to eat your own brain matter, what do you think it would taste like? Describe it, appealing to the senses, evoking the texture and flavor. Then begin the next paragraph. See if you can keep going, unfolding a plot that explains why you would be eating your own brain to begin with. Don’t force it…discover it.
I couldn’t do this in first person, obviously, not with the story that popped into my head when I read this prompt. Either way, I tried to stay true to the idea behind the prompt.
The Food Critic
“I’m going to say that when presented with the chef’s newest creation, one is immediately enticed by a familiar scent reminiscent of Sunday dinner at your grandmothers. My stomach rumbles in anticipation. The plate, when presented, was…uh…also like something I ate as a child at my grandma’s. Of course when I write this I’ll make it flow better, you understand, I just, well obviously I’m a little stressed, a little overwhelmed and to be honest, I have a splitting headache.” She said. The chef standing in front of her was her career long nemesis. She’d never once wrote a kind word on his restaurants, his menus, or his technique. She abhorred the idea of reimagined comfort foods or deconstructed common dishes. It was presumptuous and unimaginative. Sure, his food tasted fine, but it certainly didn’t stand out.
“Go on. Tell me what you will say about it. I want to hear exactly what you plan to say.” She said. His arms crossed in front of him as if he was some iron chef from that silly show. His sleeves rolled up revealing his multiple tattoos another aspect of the man she found offensive.
“Well, I want to say it reminds me of that old dish ‘shit on a shingle’ but obviously I wouldn’t say that. I’ll think of a better way to put it. It’s just I can’t think right now. Don’t you see that this is insane?”
“What will you say about it? Describe it and then eat it.” He said.
“Fine. I would say that there appears to be perhaps a lovely portion of foie gras lightly fried and stacked on a thick crostini. The creamy sauce gives the comforting aroma of mushrooms and sage. It really does smell delicious, I’m not lying to you.” She tried to pick the fork up but it took a tremendous effort and concentration to do it. She’d been drugged, there was no doubt. She wasn’t sure which came first; getting hit over the head and then drugged or drugged and then attacked. She suspected she was still being drugged through the IV that was hooked up into her hand. The IV pole was behind her, so she couldn’t turn around to look, not while strapped in to the chair she was in.
Chef grabbed her fork and knife off the table and began to cut her food into small bites like one would do for a toddler. He stabbed a piece and swiped it through the sauce. He put it up to her lips and like a child she opened her mouth. She chewed.
“Oh. This isn’t foie gras. It’s soft, like tofu or…hmm ricotta, no it isn’t cheese. It’s almost like a sweet bread but the texture is softer.” She chewed a bit more. “May I have another piece?” He fed her.
“It’s certainly a meat flavor, animalistic. Is it pork brain?” She asked a little panicked. Pork brains were notorious for hosting parasites, would he deliberately undercook pork brains as a revenge, hoping she would contract a brain parasite? The truth was, she doubted she was getting out of this whole thing alive. She worried that he was forcing this review just to torture her before he killed her, but still she was going to do whatever it took to stay alive.
“This really is the most amazing and dare I say original dish you’ve ever created. These brains are cooked perfectly and put on a crostini like that, almost as if it is a spread rather than the main piece in the dish. The earthiness of the chicken and mushroom sauce speaks of the juxtaposition between the mind of man and the earth from whence we all came. It really is a statement dish. I’d love to do some photographs and a full spread on this new direction you’re taking with your cooking.” She said and meant it. Too bad he’d felt the need to do all this. Had he invited her, she would have come, hadn’t she always, even if it had always been another excuse to skewer him again and again.
“I can admit when I’m wrong, Chef.” She said and smiled. “Please let me go.”
“I can’t, not yet. This was only the first of many dishes to come. My butcher is providing us with the freshest of cuts this evening. All for your pleasure.” He walked over to the table and lifted the large silver dome covering a platter she’d assumed was the main course. Instead it held a hand mirror. He picked it up and held it in front of her.
She met her own eyes and gasped. Dark circles ringed her sunken, red eyes. Then she realized the rest was much worse. Her head presumably had been shaved, her scalp peeled back and the top of her skull had been removed. Membranes that had once wrapped themselves protectively around her delicate grey matter had been torn away like the foil on a Jiffy Pop pan. She could see the butcher standing behind her with the carving knife in his hand. There was a quarter of her brain missing. She looked down at her plate, the fried grey slice now cut into tiny pieces two of which were now being digested in her own stomach. She looked up at Chef in horror.
“Now, which organ would you like to try next?” He asked.