Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Salt and Pepper (07/24/14)
TITLE: Stirring of the Melting Pot
By PamFord Davis
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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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