Flash Fiction Challenge
Writing prompt: “A woman purchases a cookbook at a charity book sale and discovers a note tucked in the pages.”
By Eilidh Thain
Joan Whirly was more than pleased with her purchase. She traced the texture of the cover, embossed. “Mrs Poppycock’s Marvelous Old-Timey Recipes” it was called. She’d flipped through it at the church charity book sale. A couple of recipes caught her attention. “Marvelous Greek Meatballs in Gravy” and “Mushy Pea Soup.” She looked forward to making this for Stu, the new man in her life and paid the fifty cents for it.
At home, she flipped through the book, thinking about recipes she could make. “Marvelous Cupcakes with Creamy Frosting.” She imagined taking these little babies to work. Everyone would be so impressed at the deliciousness and surprised at her natural cooking talent. Flipping the page, a bread recipe for “Marvelous Din Din Rolls,” and knew she would make these for Stu. He would love them!
Each recipe was better than the next. She turned the page from “Marvelous Chocolat Brownies,” when a folded piece of paper fell into her lap. She unfolded the paper and began to read.
If you are reading this letter it means that your are the new owner of “Mrs Poppycock’s Marvelous Old Timey Recipes.” For that, I pity you.
For 34 years I lived with Mrs. Poppycock, Betty as I called her. For 34 years, I ate the recipes contained in this cookbook — for better or worse; in good times and in bad. And I can tell you they suck. Really suck. The following list (not an exhaustive list be any means) is based on my observations over the last 34 years.
- “Marvelous Tuna Casserole” tastes worse than hot garbage smells.
- Everything was “Marvelous,” as in my “Marvelous Tuna Casserole;” my “Marvelous Crappy, Crap.” A different adjective wouldn’t have killed her.
- I was a regular at the diner down the street.
- “Marvelous Chocolat Brownies—tastes like burned things smell. And enough with the fake French pronunciation of chocolate.
- Ketchup is her secret ingredient.
- Her cupcakes are as dry as a cow patty and that’s an insult to cow patties.
- She believed her specialty was my “Marvelous Beef Stroganoff,” but she said it like “beef strokin’ off,” and then laughed her phlegm-y laugh until she gagged. She would then light a smoke.
- The worst are her “Marvelous Greek Meatballs.” If by Greek you mean hairy, then she’s mastered it. These giant balls might as well belong to Sasquatch. They should be called “Marvelous Sasquatch Balls.”
- If you need a paperweight to hold down all your bills, then Betty’s “Marvelous Din Din Rolls” are for you.
Joan chuckled at the list. An old married couple who are sick of each other. She tucked the note back into her new cookbook and called Stu to invite him for dinner.