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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

TITLE: I Married the Mystery Meat Queen
By Betty Castleberry


I came home from work yesterday and found a platter of mystery meat on the table, again.

Perhaps I should explain further. I married Patsy ten years ago. From the day I proposed, I knew she couldnít cook. That didnít matter, because I was prepared to eat sandwiches for the rest of my life, if she would only accept my proposal. However, I didnít fully understand what I was in for.

I have to give Patsy credit for trying to learn a few cooking skills. The first dinner she fixed really stands out in my memory. Patsy had been watching a cooking show on TV, and decided she would try to make something she had seen. When I came home, the fireman who greeted me at the door thoroughly explained everything. Patsy now knows Cool Whip is not the same thing as meringue. It cannot be browned in the oven.

When our first little one arrived, I hired a cook to help out temporarily. Helga was a robust German lady who made wonderful pastries and good solid meals. She even offered to teach Patsy how to cook. While the baby was sleeping, Helga took Patsy into the kitchen and tried to instruct her.

When I wandered upon the scene, Helga was standing with her hands in the air, shaking her head. ďThis woman does not know a noodle from a strudel. I give up.Ē

Neither Helga nor Patsy explained to me how the biscuit dough got stuck in the ceiling fan, so I didnít ask.

I would have loved to have hired Helga permanently, but her elderly brother back in Germany called for her to come and stay with him, or so she claims. I canít help but wonder if Patsyís surprise muffins werenít the real cause. Did you know that even a small amount of popcorn stirred into muffin batter will not soften? It will, however, pop. My firm but gentle explanation that popcorn was not really considered a whole grain did not fall on deaf ears. The Fourth of July Muffins were not revisited.

If youíve never had to explain to your family doctor how a simple tossed salad caused a cracked rib, you have missed a blessing. I know, because when I did this, the doctor had a hard time keeping his face straight. I was glad I could entertain him, even though I was in pain. As I told the doctor, Patsy was cutting tomatoes, and somehow, a piece flew out of her hand and landed on the floor near me. I bent to pick it up, and another piece shot out from somewhere in the vicinity of Patsy. I slipped on it and started to fall. I did try to catch myself on a nearby chair, but only succeeded in soundly whacking my side. The contortions I performed on the way down must have been side show worthy.

Patsy rushed to see if I was all right, the tomato knife still in her hand. Fortunately, it was a very small paring knife, and I only received a flesh wound.

By the time our second little one arrived, Patsy had gotten the hang of making a few simple meals. We ate a lot of spaghetti, topped with sauce from a jar. Sometimes, it was even heated.

Fast food is a staple for us. With just a little practice, I really think Patsy could master a cheeseburger, but she hasnít really tried. She says the kids would miss the clown too much.

One Saturday I awoke to a spicy scent wafting into our bedroom. When I got to the kitchen, Patsy was pouring juice for the kids. I looked around, hoping beyond hope that something delicious was baking in the oven. When I asked her what the delightful aroma was, she pointed with one hand to a scented candle, while opening a box of cereal with the other.

Maybe you can understand a little better now why I wasnít surprised to come home and find something unrecognizable on the table.

I wouldnít mind cooking, but the truth is, Iíve been known to burn water. So, if not being able to cook is Patsyís biggest fault, then Iím a very blessed man. Sheís my soul mate, and Iím glad she doesnít hold my faults against me. Sheís great at calling out for pizza, and I donít even mind mystery meat now and then. Besides, it tastes just like chicken.

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This article has been read 1209 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Teri Wilson01/11/07
This is very cute! I really enjoyed the story and its charming tone. Good work.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/11/07
Humorous and interesting read. Patsy reminds me of myself; if my husband hadn't owned his own restaurant, he'd have starved to death. Thanks for the chuckle - I got a kick out of it! Good job!
Jan Ackerson 01/11/07
Charming, adorable--too many great zingers to list here. I loved it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/11/07
A charming story! Fictional, I presume? Anyway, he's a real prince!
cindy yarger01/12/07
This was cute. I liked your last line about tasting like chicken!
Marlene Bonney 01/12/07
This is the very first time I felt moved to comment on anyone's writing. I enjoy reading the humorous and ludicrous, and this piece certainly meets that criteria! Thank you for sharing this great piece!
Joanne Sher 01/14/07
Oh, is this ever funny! I laughed out loud in just about every paragraph - and I'm forwarding this one on to my hubby! (This is the first piece I've ever done it for.)
Pat Guy 01/16/07
A very creative take on the topic - and humorous to boot!

The humor, wit and writing all flow well for the reader - a really great job.

What a hoot! :)
Leigh MacKelvey01/16/07
I thought I was watching I Love Lucy, especially the cracked rib part! Very gifted writing and I wouldn't be surprised if this places. It should.
dub W01/17/07
Rolling on the floor. Wonderful story, and very well written. Bravo.
Jen Davis01/17/07
I enjoyed the humor of this piece. There were so many cute touches throughout. Some of my favorites were Patsy discovering that cool whip was not the same as meringue, not knowing a noodle from a strudel, and the flesh wound. Very entertaining and strong on topic. Great job!
Tabiatha Tallent01/17/07
This was a fun read. Thanks for sharing.
Sara Harricharan 01/17/07
Hilarious title and hilarious story! You had me laughing through the whole thing-humor is certainly your gift! I loved the character of the wife and the part with the hired 'cook'. Absolutely wonderful job with this!
Sandra Petersen 01/17/07
You have a gift for lacing a story with humor so liberally that the reader doesn't realize until the end that they have laughed all the way through. (Until they feel their hurting sides!)

There were way too many funny lines for me to list a favorite. I loved the part about Cool Whip not being meringue. Your parting line was the crowning touch.

Thank you for making my day.
Marty Wellington 01/17/07
Bravo . . . Bravo . . . hilarious. A thoroughly delightful read.
Kathie Thomas01/17/07
What a laugh! A great read - your home life would be fun to watch on TV!
Sharon Singley01/17/07
When did you meet my daughter and son-in-law??? I swear you wrote this story about them! LOL. Very funny, I really enjoyed it.
Donna Powers 01/17/07
I loved this! It made me laugh and I could feel the love these two have for each other. Extremely well written; thanks for sharing this
Bonnie Derksen01/25/07
I would like to add my bit to all of the other commenters.
You have a way with humor. Candid, believable, such an enjoyable read.
I look forward to reading more of your writing.