by Talya Tate Boerner
Momma was still mad at Daddy. I knew it by the way she beheaded the pineapple, slicing off the prickly crown with one expert swipe of her sharpest butcher knife. Swooooosh! Instantly, juice pooled on the counter, and the smell of sticky summer filled the kitchen air.
“Can I have a piece?” I asked.
“Not yet.” Momma sheared the tough skin from the fruit and dropped it in the trashcan with a thump. Then, as though the knife wielded energy independent from her wrist, she cubed the pineapple into bite-sized chunks like squares of cheddar cheese.
“Here you go. One bite.” She offered a taste to me; a chunk of pineapple balanced on the wet blade of her knife. I took it and popped it into my mouth. The sweetness exploded on my tongue, made my jaw tingle.
Next, what Momma did both fascinated and horrified me. She scooped the pineapple into her mixing bowl, spooned an entire container of Cool Whip on top, and, with a rip, tore open a package of lime gelatin. A fog of green dust escaped and lifted like a puff of flour.
“What are you making?”
“A new recipe,” Momma said. Her voice trembled slightly. With the swift stir of a wooden spoon, Momma ruined our beautiful pineapple, turning it into a lumpy, sea green concoction.
“Gross!” I said.
“It’s called Pineapple Whip. You’ll like it.”
“Daddy will never eat that in a million years.” Daddy hated all green foods except iceberg lettuce.
Momma shrugged her shoulders. “More for us,” she said.
Talya Tate Boerner draws inspiration from nature, hoards old books, and believes a side of collard greens will improve almost any dish. Deep down, she trusts her debut novel, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, will find its magical way to the big screen via Reese Witherspoon’s desk. She lives in Arkansas but don’t hold that against her.