cooking

Fruit Killer

Have you ever cut open a pomegranate before? I did this for the first time the other day, desperate for something fruity. My husband had brought a few over from a client’s house. They had tried them and didn’t like them. I didn’t even know how to begin to gut one, so I called my mother, knowing she had done it before.

 She told me to cut it whichever way—vertically or horizontally—and scoop the seeds out. Allen had said something about soaking it. I tried both. Mom had said she usually halved it like she would an orange, so I cut it horizontally. She told me there would be some seeds lost in the cutting.

 Intent on what I was doing I paid little attention to anything else. I made the cut, grabbed a spoon and started scooping seeds out into a bowl, imagining them popping open between my teeth, allowing their juice to gush across my tongue. Noting that some of the pith had come out with the seeds, I also decided to soak the seeds to separate out the pith. The scooping was not easy work. Those seeds are packed inside pretty tightly and I had juice running down my left hand as I scooped. At long last the seeds were out, soaked, and the pith skimmed off. I went into another room, determined to enjoy first and clean up later.

 When I went back into the kitchen, I allowed myself to look at the scene of the fruit murder for the first time. It really did look like the scene of a violent crime. There was juice everywhere! It had gotten on the cutting board, spurted onto the counter, splashed onto the wall behind the counter, seeped over to the stove, and even painted the roll of paper towels.

 That section of the kitchen was awash in purple pomegranate blood. As I stepped up to the counter to wipe it down, my toe got wet. Not surprisingly, there droplets on the floor as well. I hadn’t made that big of a mess in that short of a span of time for quite awhile. Not wanting the juice to stain anything, I worked quickly, even though I was starting to do a potty dance.

 Once the kitchen was clean, I allowed myself time in the bathroom. When I stood before the mirror, washing my hands, I noticed that the kitchen was not the only place that looked like the scene of a violent murder. I looked the part of a killer! I had spatters of juice on my face and left arm. As I stepped back from the mirror a bit so I could see more, I realized my shirt, too, bore witness to my fruit victim’s blood.

 The shirt was spattered purple and looked like a Jackson Pollack painting. I was an absolute mess. Fortunately it was just an old t-shirt I was wearing around the house, not something I liked to wear out. I made a note to myself: never open a pomegranate without a paint shirt on.

 The purple will probably not come out of the shirt. There wasn’t enough Shout in the world to get all the spatters. The wall is lightly stained in a couple of places, but so faint you have to know it is there in order to see it. I have decided that maybe cutting open pomegranates isn’t for me, especially since my knives are right-handed and I am not. If I do ever murder another one, I might have to set a large bowl over it to catch the mess as I slice into it’s flesh.

 Lesson learned: fruit murder doesn’t pay. But the seeds sure tasted good!

The Dough is Risen!

This was my first creative free write in nearly 10 years and I wrote it last fall. The topic was touch—the squish of kneading dough between your fingers, the smooth texture of it when you pat it and roll it out.
There was nothing like making bread dough to satisfy her. While most people longed for the toasty smell of it baking in the oven, she longed to relieve her stress and take all of her frustration out on the risen dough. Unlike many forms of stress relief, using risen dough requires a certain amount of patience and time since it takes over an hour to make the dough and allow it to rise. Having already done these things, she was at long last able to punish the dough before her. First, she thrust her fist heavily into the bowl, feeling the dough collapse around her hand and hearing the satisfying hiss of air rushing out. But that was just the beginning. As she took in the scent of risen yeast, she mercilessly punched and punched to release every air pocket and every ounce of anger she could find. She dipped her hand into the silky flour and sprinkled it onto the table in a wide circle. Next, she forced the dough out of the bowl and into the snowy surface. She worked and worked, turning the dough and putting her soul into its kneading, adding flour when it became too sticky until finally she could run her hand over it, feeling its smooth elasticity. She viciously tore a chunk off, grabbed her rolling pin and began working the dough into an oblong shape. Placing the dough onto a pizza pan, she tugged at its stubborn edges, willing it into shape. The corners were always the trickiest part. She tore holes in the dough as she tugged in frustration, having to repair them by squishing the edges of each hole together into one piece. She carefully popped any remaining air bubbles taking in the floury scent. She could breathe again. She felt like herself again. She took the remaining chunk, this time less viciously, and began to roll it gently in the flour. This piece was not as challenging. This piece was more lovable and pliable. There were no holes torn in frustration as she worked the dough into the corners of the pan. Once finished, she slowly ran her hands under the faucet, watching the drops leave patterns on her pasty white skin as she worked to rid her hands of tenacious dough remnants.
This entry made me think of my experiences baking pizzas. I’ve sort of gotten out of baking, but my mom still loves to make pizza and bread. I don’t know if she vents to the dough as much as I used to, but it really felt great to beat the living daylights out of some dough once in a while. Perhaps, I need to make some pizza again. Are there any activities that allow you to vent frustration in unusual ways? What are they? How do you get rid of that heavy anger we all experience at times? Please leave a comment down below and tell me your stories.