Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Rituals"

by Chantell P. Price
Ritual Meals

In the beginning, I was at a loss on how to start this piece... And when I saw the theme for October would be Rituals--a monsoon of ideas forms in my psyche, and giving into the natural and instinctive reaction when caught in a fury of ideas; I seized the angle I liked from among the raging and demanding others; then ran for the shelter of the angle development process!

Once inside the not too comfortable, but all too necessary development process shelter--I sighted that my not yet developed angle had come with a very natural, reflective, and hopefully, amusing opening; that I hope you all like, and somewhat relate to!

When the words "rites" or "rituals" come up, I automatically relate them to my personal religious practices. See, I'm pagan, which is a fairly ritual dominated faith practice. And being a "to the bone" pagan, my immediate reaction to the theme was to pull out the big guns on why ritual practices of any kind are good for the subconscious and conscious self-analization, plus positive character building--which induces good self-image structure! And to accompany the big guns, it would have been uncivilized of me not to drop an inspiring A-bomb of rituals, combined with instructions, and purpose of the rituals!

But, never the less, though I am a "to the bone" pagan, I am also a "to the bone" writer! Which is why I mix business and pleasure in this theme, and which is why I decided to a hopefully entertaining and humorous piece; instead of being a big fat kill joy on such a multi-scale topic! Plus, I figured someone else is probably Hi on the anticipation of being a real ball buster on this topic!

With that said, let's have it at my chosen angle:


I'm pretty sure everyone has certain spices or foods they like to combine to create a personally desired taste! And just because some of us are currently paying a debt to society; doesn't mean we don't go through the preparation struggle; as well as the emotional ups and downs of chasing a desired taste!

For those of you who don't know, or whose prison might run differently--in the prison where I'm currently at (and in most prisons) our meals are pre planned, and continuously the same in regards to the days they are served on: for breakfast, Monday to Monday, 365 days a year, we have the exact meal from the week before! Dinner is conducted the same way 92% of the time, except when they use up too much of a particular dinner item the previous day, and have to bump that meal to another day, but we still have that meal sometime during the week!

Now, most inmates lean toward the canteen when it comes time for some "real eating" and flavor combining! As for me, it's still hard for me to see canteen as food instead of snacks; and this is mainly because most of it is chips, crackers, candy bars; and topped by the fact none of it was ever "alive" in any shape or way! So, though I do combine canteen with state meals sometimes; I've taken up the habit of combining state meals with state meals; or certain state meal items--all to create a desired taste! And if that isn't ritualistic enough, I've taken to combining a fair number of meals and items weekly!

So, with all that babbling outlining done, let's set to my ritual combining of two state items with two fair state meals. On Fridays in here we usually have a Mexican breakfast of brown beans, eggs, flour tortillas, some kind of oatmeal, a banana, milk, and coffee (one pack).

Now, here's how things get kind of tricky! For our Saturday lunch we usually have peanut butter and jelly, cookies and chips, an apple, and a kool aid (one pack). The combination here goes: banana from Friday with the peanut butter and jelly on Saturday!

To some this may not seem like a big deal, but like I previously stated--our meals are pre-planned an d are continuously on exact days, which means point blank you get a banana on Friday, and the next time you can expect one is next Friday--not Sunday or Tuesday!

And boy I anticipate my Friday banana! Once it's sliced up and inserted into my Saturday peanut butter and jelly sandwich--by God! What is this thing called, Peanut butter and jelly banana sandwich? (laugh)

I literally have become intoxicated by the rich texture of the combination! And especially when they give us strawberry jam instead of jelly!

Now that is one of my lesser meal rituals, and a fairly accomplishable one at that!

But this next one is a fist full of hair more evasive, due to dinner meals flip flops, unlike, and for some strange reason, the never flip flopping breakfasts--I'll have to analyze that further...

Now, for Friday's dinner--somewhat regularly--we have Macaroni and cheese, some kind of vegetables, chopped cabbage, cake, kool aid (one pack), bread, and dreaded fish. You know, the fish sticks on steroids? Mmm...what's it called...mmm--oh, fish patty! (laugh)

The combination here goes: tortillas from breakfast, with fish sticks on steroids from dinner!

Now this particular taste is something I truly marvel at! The texture from the breaded fish substance, combined with the flower tortillas, some chopped up cabbage, mustard, fish sauce, and a pinch of salt.

"Hey there fellah...what's that there you eating? Mind if I have a little taste?"

"Hell yes! Let go of my fish taco!" (laugh)

Sorry for that dialogue outburst...but honestly that's how I feel after waiting a whole week to pleasure myself with the mystery that is my fish taco!

And you all might think that I'm being a little extreme over the taste of certain food... but I'll tell you guys this: after two years of chasing the taste created by that bloody fish taco--you all don't want to tango with me on the days they flip flop it without notice because I will have my nose high in the air, and will be looking down on such an unfair world.

-Chantell P. Price