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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Salt and Pepper (07/24/14)

TITLE: Stirring of the Melting Pot
By Pam Ford Davis


Salt makes me thirsty; pepper makes me sneeze…



“Thank you.”

The cliche’ is tired, yet tried and true. 'Variety is the spice of life,’ especially if you live in the melting pot. I speak from experience and wince as I recall the repugnant smells readily produced through the mixture of ethnic dishes.

It was the late 1960’s. We were young, married and newcomers to the north side of Chicago. Finding parking nearby our third story apartment was a rarity; we walked not in attempts to keep fit but instead to avoid hassle of repeatedly parking our 1961 Chevy Impala.

Walks to the storefront Baptist mission, a neighborhood grocery or Laundromat were not leisurely when toting our one-year-old daughter. Making the best of a bad situation, we used her baby stroller or carried her atop our shoulders. Windy city breezes wafted a spicy stench.

Turning corners at intersections, sickening smells turned my stomach. Neighbors preparing favorite native dishes were oblivious to negative effects of a pinch of this or dash of that. Instead, opening their windows, they allowed winds to carry spicy sensations to passers by below them.

Alas, I was ‘salt and pepper’ encroaching on their cayenne pepper domain. I did not appreciate the aroma sensations afforded the samplers of their wares. Spicy concoctions might have awarded the cooks appreciation of their family and friends but I gonged.

It has been forty-five years since we left our West Jonquil Street address; yet the putrid fragrances of global cuisine linger still. Names of exotic spices are gibberish to this Salt City, Syracuse native.

Salt makes me thirsty; chili pepper makes me sneeze.

Friend or foe, cloves of garlic keep not only vampires of midnight movies at bay.


“God bless you!”

With each additional stirring of the melting pot, immigrants blend in with the scenery.

Is that ‘McDonald's French fries’ I smell?

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This article has been read 101 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dannie Hawley 08/01/14
I found myself wanting to sneeze right along with you! My eyes tear at just the mention of too much black pepper. However, if you are talking chili peppers or the strong African peppers, this is a delight to anticipate. i never sneeze when eating foods rich with them. I'm too busy enjoying the savory taste. I loved the way you used this topic to highlight the great diversity in the American cultural experience... the foods being one of my favorites. I just loved the prose in this piece and thank you for sharing it with us.
CD (Camille) Swanson 08/01/14
I enjoyed your story from past days. I smiled reading it as I've been sneezing a lot lately whenever pepper is within "nostril proximity"

Well written account, enjoyable, educational, and certainly on topic. You made the story come to life in more ways than one!

God Bless~
Phillip Cimei 08/05/14
I really enjoyed this.

It brought back memories of times when I was working as a termite and pest control worker (there are some funny stories behind that job 30 years ago). I would have the same feelings you illustrated in your story as I would go from home to home and smell their ethnic cooking.

Great Job.

If you want to hear my spider, cockroach, and snake stories, give me a hollar!
Judith Gayle Smith08/07/14
I LOVE this! Witty, attractive story . . .
lynn gipson 08/08/14
Congratulations on your EC! This is a fine entry and a well deserved win.

I once lived in a multi-cultural apartment building. Most of the tenants were med students from other countries like Russia and China. Talk about smells!

I really enjoyed this.
Dannie Hawley 08/08/14
Congrats on the well-deserved E.C.! A delightful read for all ages and cultures.
CD (Camille) Swanson 08/08/14
Congrats Pam!

As you say, "Wing His Words!"

God BLess~