NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 27: Debacle of the ‘leftover’ mac and cheese

overhead shot of a plate of mac and cheese

The morning after Thanksgiving I wake up craving leftover mac and cheese—only, we didn’t eat the traditional feast this year. Sure, there was turkey, but we chose corn chowder over mac, casserole over stuffing, yams baked rather than candied. But I have all the ingredients—the milk, the cheese, the elbows. No one has to know it’s not actually leftovers— only, the milk is low, so I add vegetable broth, and I’m all out of cheddar cheese, so the ricotta, pepper jack, and parmesan will have to do. The noodles are…the jumbo size. Did I bother to read the box? The cheese sauce looks way too soupy. I’ll add two beaten eggs and bake it in the oven at three hundred and fifty degrees for thirty minutes. It’ll taste…

ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING!

Well, at least I didn’t experiment on Thanksgiving.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

A Dash of Paprika

The white woman’s potato salad is the butt of every Black family’s Thanksgiving jokes.

Last year was rough.

Stammering “A-A-Allison” to blank stares. Realizing Darren never bothered to mention me before I invited myself to dinner. His Nana asking if I’m only there because my parents disowned me.

“I don’t see them because they live in Utah. Not because my fiancé’s Black.”

This year I come bearing the gift of an old family recipe, hoping for Nana’s blessing.

When her eyes widen, I think I have it. But almost immediately she’s gasping for air.

Apparently, Nana is allergic to paprika.

Last “Thanksgiving” Supper

“Grateful for you.” He leans over and kisses me.

I feel nothing. Just skin touching.

“You too.”

He knows I don’t mean it.

Everyone else around the table chews in silence.

“Well, I’m grateful for Grandma’s mac and cheese! We missed this last year.” My sister Shelby shovels a spoonful into her mouth. Her stomach is the size of the 20-pound turkey at the center of the dining room table.

It’s no secret how the pandemic has treated our respective marriages.

But for Grandma’s sake, Frank and I have agreed we’ll wait until after the holidays to announce the divorce.  

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of November 27

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some quick creativity.

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

Happy Cyber Monday! Yes, now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas shopping can begin. Of course, I’m more of a last minute shopper myself, and if you ask my mom, those Black Friday/Cyber Monday prices are far from good deals, but there’s always someone running to the store for the sake of commercialism…

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

#1MinFiction: Thanksgiving Calories Don’t Count

Grandma hobbles around the kitchen, fixing everyone’s plate.

She’s deep fried the cornbread, and the turkey. The yams are mostly sugar. So is everything else on the table.

“A salad?” she says, hand on her hip. “Girl, don’t you know Thanksgiving calories don’t count?”

“Thanks, but no thanks, Grandma.”

I’d rather have both my feet than diabetes.

—Nortina


Do you follow the #ThanksgivingClapBack memes on social media? I imagine that last line could easily be one of them, though I wouldn’t dare say it to my Grandma. By the way, she has both her feet. 😉

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. All November, I’m giving you Thanksgiving-themed prompts. Today’s prompt is thanks, but no thanks

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of November 20

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some quick creativity.

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving! A time when we gather together with family and loved ones, express our thanks for our many blessings, watch football, and stuff our faces ’til our belt buckles pop!

But do I have to be thankful on Thursday? Because I’m feeling a little rebellious today. So your prompt for #1MinFiction is…

thanks, but no thanks 

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: After She Cooked You a Feast for the Gods

Woman!
Loosen my belt,
unbutton my trousers,
release this belch—
there’s room for more.
And how stupid are you
to not know stuffing
from dressing? Baste
the bird, gobble its
giblets; gravy pairedfe1f64b599ed42caf657a7b99a0ee401
with rice; mac missing
cheese; ham baked
in honey; hocks season
collards, turnips; yams
from a can, needs more
sugar, overcooked like
sweet potato mash.
Don’t speak while the
‘Boys are on, spoon me
berry cobbler, pumpkin
pie; pound cake apple
chai sits like a boulder
in my gut. Still there’s
room for more.

—Nortina


Thanksgiving is next Thursday! Are you ready for the gluttonous feast? 

Originally published November 24, 2016.

#1MinFiction: Acquired Taste

“Pass the dutch, young blood.”

Uncle Ted takes a drag, holds it in, eases into the lawn chair next to me.

“Your mama burned the turkey. And you know Betty can’t cook no damn mac and cheese.” He inhales again, passes it to me. “This might make it taste better.”

I shake my head. “You forget, old man. I’ve lived with her my whole life, been smoking half of it.” I puff, breath, puff again.

“It doesn’t.”

—Nortina


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. All November, I’m giving you Thanksgiving-themed prompts. Today’s prompt is pass the…

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of November 13

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some quick creativity.

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

All November long, I’m giving you Thanksgiving-themed prompts! I’m sure every culture has some form of a Thanksgiving holiday. In the States, we celebrate ours on the fourth Thursday in November. We gather together with family and loved ones, express our thanks for our many blessings, watch football, and stuff our faces ’til our belt buckles pop!

So, to continue the feast we started last week, today’s Thanksgiving prompt is…

pass the… 

What side dishes are you passing around your dinner table this Thanksgiving? Mashed potatoes, gravy, mac and cheese, stuffing (technically “dressing” if it’s not stuffed inside the turkey), collard greens? Is it making your hungry just thinking about it?

Courtesy of Steve Johnson via Flickr

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!