How to Make a Grocery List

1. Number it. Start with the number one.
2. Use a piece of scrap paper. Leftover stationery from the insurance agency is good. For the weekly list, you will need the whole page, divided in two columns. For a quick weekday list, tear off a quarter of a page.

 the author's mother

the author's mother

3. Sit in your chair in the living room. The one across from the TV.
4. Write it in black ballpoint pen. Bic. Don’t write it in pencil. That will smear.
5. When your son-in-law offers to go to the store for you, make him read the list aloud to you before he leaves the house. When he hesitates on an item, tell him to hand the list back to you and write the name of that item in block print above your script.
6. Apologize to your son-in-law for your terrible handwriting.
7. If your son-in-law comes home with two cakes, a chocolate and a vanilla, instead of the two cukes you needed for the tomato salad, make a big fuss over the cakes. Pretend like they are the most beautiful cakes you’ve ever seen, like you didn’t even know Rouse’s made cakes at all.
8. Make a pot of coffee. Eat the cake. Go on and on about how moist it is. 
9. Slice two extra pieces, put them on paper plates, cover them loosely with foil, and ask your daughter to walk one over to Miss Lorraine and one over to Aunt Sally.
10. Throw the list away.

 One of her lists from right around this time of year (I didn't let her throw them all away!), which you can tell because of "Crawfish" added at the top. They come into season in late Feb/early March.

One of her lists from right around this time of year (I didn't let her throw them all away!), which you can tell because of "Crawfish" added at the top. They come into season in late Feb/early March.

Originally from southwest Louisiana, Elizabeth Boquet now lives and works in southwest Connecticut. She writes to bridge the distances between New Orleans and New Haven. Her writing has appeared in Full Grown People, 100-Word Story, and The Bitter Southerner.

How to Cook Cod Pil-Pil for Your Son-In-Law and His Mates

Drive sixty miles to La Sucursal in Lugo. They sell the best salt cod; it doesn’t flake and will leave your son-in-law and his mates (and, of course, yourself) satisfied. Why Lugo, in the interior, has better cod to offer than your town, on the coast, remains a mystery.

Immerse the cod in a bowl of water under a cloth so that it can free itself of the salt. Leave for forty-eight hours and change the water every twelve. Shake your head every time your grandchildren come into the kitchen to check if the cod is still under the cloth.

1882 Eva Ferry.jpg

In a clay pot coated with olive oil (generously), brown a chopped head of garlic and eight chilies. Take out and replace with the cod, skin on the outside. Grab the sides of the pot with both hands and shake firmly, in circles. Do it for twenty minutes: it is vital that you don’t stop, even after the sweat starts to pour. The grandchildren will stare at the cod as it lets out its fat to produce the thick, white sauce known as pil-pil.

Dish up with the garlic and chili. Join your son-in-law and his mates in the basement and enjoy your dinner. Your grandchildren will eat their soup in the kitchen, but make sure they eat a bit of cod too: fish is an acquired taste and it is important they start early.

 

- Originally from Galicia in Spain and a resident of Glasgow in Scotland, Eva Ferry's fiction and non-fiction work has been published or is forthcoming in Salome Lit, The Public Domain Review, The Corvus Review, The Cold Creek Review, Foliate Oak and Novelty Magazine, among others.

How to Shop for a Car

Never buy a new car.

Never buy a car from a dealer.

Buy directly from another owner, and have your own mechanic check it out.

Try to buy for cash, or put at least half down. A car loan is the worst loan to have.

To find your car, comb the paper all week for several weeks.

Don’t rush. 

Seek patterns. 

The people who took out an ad every single day of the week bought the package deal the newspaper offered, and so they know good value. 

They do not cut corners. 

They are pound wise instead of penny wise. 

They probably cared for their car, and probably know how to negotiate.

Never enter into agreements with anyone who does not value what they offer.

Do not begin with a dream in mind. 

Read first, see what’s out there, see which cars have the lowest mileage for the best price, consult the Blue Book, consult Kelly’s. 

Let the dream car find you.

 Lisa's dad, J.J. Wormser in 1970, while he was an engineer at Continental Electronics. If this thing had tires, he'd kick them.

Lisa's dad, J.J. Wormser in 1970, while he was an engineer at Continental Electronics. If this thing had tires, he'd kick them.

Low mileage and a clean accident record are the two most important things, followed closely by ownership. Single ownership is best, two at most. Three? Walk away. But stay detached. Don’t lock in on anything. Be ready for the surprising right one.

Look for rust. Don’t buy a car that has rust.

Check the tires. If necessary, ask for a couple hundred dollars off if the tires look anything but wonderful.

When you find the one for you, don’t go in with half measures. 

Make an offer, make it fair, be ready to be rejected. 

If you get the car of your dreams, be proud. Drive safe.

I will do this first one with you. Hand you the keys. Tell you to be proud. Tell you to drive safe.

Someday you will share these lessons with your child.

- Lisa Schamess

Julie Getting Groceries

 image by Asha Rajan

image by Asha Rajan

Walk to the grocery store.

Accept a ride from your sister if she offers. Never ask. If she is not available when you plan on going, do not wait for her. Never let her plans dictate yours.

Walk.

Walk to the good grocery store even though it is two miles away and you are every inch a little old lady. Bypass the overpriced grocery a few blocks from the house. Paying extra for “convenience” is no kind of bargain. Shake your head at the thick men and sallow ladies who speed past you, leaving whirlwinds of hamburger wrappers and soda cups churning in their wake. Never learn to drive a car.

Walk.

Bring a list, even though the core has been unchanged for two decades at least. Always buy the staples: milk, eggs, butter, bread, bacon, potatoes, grapes, sausage, crackers, ring bologna because Bill likes it, cabbage, cookies, tuna fish, egg noodles. Do not worry that you have most of these things at home already. Staples are staples for a reason, and if expiration dates were as all-fired important as your niece tries to tell you, then why are you nearly 90?

Ignore the pimply Polish boy who asks if he can help carry your bags to your car. Carry the bags yourself, one in each fist. Take a block to acquaint your body with their weight. Relish their gravity as it makes your shoulders burn with that familiar fire that lets you know that you are living, moving, doing. Let the burden become a buoy as you take a deep breath and walk walk walk walk walk walk float

 

- Ira Brooker is a writer and editor residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota's scenic Midway neighborhood. You can find his writing all over the place, and especially at irabrooker.comhttp://atalentforidleness.blogspot.com and @irabrooker on Twitter.

Five Star Mixtape



Evergreen

The pine-scented candles go on sale right after Christmas, and that is when you make your move. It always smells like Christmas at your house. Leaving the candles out all year is your version of never taking the tree and lights down. And pine scent is what you love most about Christmas.

Buy as many as you can carry out of the store. Buy as many different kinds as they have: glass jars, tea lights, giant pillars with pinecones imbedded in them, giant blocks with four wicks. Haunt the sale aisle all year long, just in case.

 photo by  Sade Murphy

photo by Sade Murphy

Every surface in your house should have a candle on it. When they are spent, burned down to residue and charred glass, don’t throw them out. The jars or stubby candle rinds will still give off a faint pine scent. Just place another one next to the husk. There will be about 25 in each room of your small apartment. Light them all at once, just a few for mood, or gaze at their lovely un-lit greenness. Inhale deeply.

They will grow a fuzzy layer of dust. It will burn off when the candle is finally lit, or it will just sit like a sweater on the candle rind. Keep the extra candles in the coat closet on a shelf. Opening the closet door will be the best part of your morning. Your jackets, scarfs, hats and gloves will always smell of pine. This smell will cling to you and remind all of your friends and family of you, long after you are gone.

 

- Beth Dugan grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where she learned to fear mayonnaise and the suburbs of Chicago. She loves the great indoors and enjoys sitting in beer gardens, looking out of windows and having bugs not touch her. She works for the Man in various capacities as a writer and editor of words. Beth is an nationally recognized theater reviewer, a humorless feminist and a lover (not a fighter.)

 

 

Containers

Buy store brand sour cream and margarine, unless name brands are on sale for less. Wash and save all of the empty containers.

            If you stay in the same apartment for a few years, the apartment with a smell of expensive paper and dry chicken bones and unscented lotion, you’ll build an impressive collection of flimsy plastic containers which shouldn’t be microwaved but have lids with satisfactory seals.

            As a likable older guy living alone, with an oxygen tank and an illness, people will give you foodstuffs. Keep those containers, too.

                                          drawing by the author

                                         drawing by the author

            Dedicate a whole pair of kitchen cupboards to saving them. They are good for mixing hues and rinsing brushes while you paint delicate watercolors in front of the TV, a sunrise over a rooftop, a pair of plums. You were originally a sculptor but money limited your materials and sickness your strength.

            If you snap at a helper for throwing one in the garbage, tell them it’s okay after awhile. Use a voice that’s resigned to being agreeable to the people you’ve come to depend on.

            The dry tubs are also a suitable place to leave a chewed bit of nicotine gum that you mean to resume chewing later.

- Meredith Counts