Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Food"

by Jack Sollars
Food: An escape

To the unfamiliar eye, the three by five foot vent is harmless. It is nested forty or fifty feet from the entrance to the chow hall. From this grate seethes the vaporous fog of a permeating sludge commonly referred to as human waste. Not to be one to complain, mind you. On those days, when Captain Cut Back, the food service manager is experimenting with tuna, canned chicken, or even a strange concoction of ground swine. This vent becomes a blessing for the wind whips the rancid ammoniac aroma about then into the chow hall. When this happens, one is able to eat, excusing the man-made gruel in question.

It is these horrific times that I sink into memories, escaping the captivity. It's thirty five years earlier; my mom has the kitchen door open. It has been a hot day too hot for baking, but she did. Man in his most blessed of times has not tasted heaven until he has had, handed to him, a freshly baked, piping hot sour dough bun with a big chunk of butter planted in the bun's center. The very essence of bringing a flood with drooling anticipation. So was the moment, I was lost in time, biting into this motherly manna. As I sink my teeth into the bread, a slight breeze from the north delivers the pungent aura of hogs cattle and a few horses from the barnyard.

Then, and only then can one appreciate the delicacies of which they once took for granted. Many times I have escaped the miry pit of this Christian's nation merciful design. I dream of those better days. The meals and the smell of a simple life. It is food for thought that helps me survive. As Captain Cut Back continues his biological experiments for the shear joy of dehumanizing, I fold my wheat bread, smile and rally around my one deliverance. I won't be locked up much longer and I have my own recipe now for sour-dough bread.