Tell Me A Story is a new feature I’ve been thinking about for a while.  For no particular reason, I decided to launch it on a wet, snowy, windy last day of winter.  From time to time I will post a photo of some sort of food-related object.  It may be something of my own, or a treasure discovered at a yard sale or flea market.  Whatever it is, it will be the prize for the best story about it.  Perhaps you’ll write about one just like it that a family member used to have or use.  Maybe it will be something you’ve long wanted.  If you take us on a winding tour with the object at its periphery, we’ll enjoy the trip.  The only rule is that your story must revolve, as essential parts of our days do, around food.  This is certainly not limited to readers and storytellers in the U.S.  Members of my family are probably not eligible.

Please post your story in the Comments section.  It can be a paragraph or it can be a page.  There will be nothing random about the selection process.  I will choose the story that moves me most in some way.  The winner will receive the object, and the story will be featured on the blog.


I found this pretty, rosy pink serving plate at a garage sale being held by a friend whose mother had recently died.  She and her family were getting the house ready to sell, and a garage sale was the first step along that path.  It may have cost a dollar.  Among other things, I do catering, and thought it would be a good addition to my eclectic collection of serving pieces.  Indeed it was, but the fact is that I rarely use it.  It’s too small to be of practical use on a catering table.  But it’s perfect for use at home (about 10″ in diameter), so to a good home is where it needs to go.  As I mentioned, it is pink, with a swirl pattern on the underside that casts interesting shadows.  There is a tiny bubble flaw on one edge that I am amazed has never chipped.  I have no idea what its past life has seen, and I’m very interested in how you see it.

Please respond by Friday, March 23, 10 p.m. MST.  The winner will be announced on Monday, March 26.

Let the stories begin!

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in RECIPES, TELL ME A STORY. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to TELL ME A STORY

  1. Pat says:

    I think you’re Spring cleaning!! (LOL)

  2. Rita Kau says:

    This plate reminds me of my Grandma Eileen and my most vivid memories of her are from when I was 7 years old and spending a month with her on Siesta Key Florida in the 1960s. She could make the most simple meal special by serving it on special (or so they seemed to me) plates and bowls. She had dessert plates like the one that you have in different pastel colors. Those glass plates with the swirls made her special egg salad sandwiches (she added relish and I LOVED it) even more special.

    She was able to convince me to try her coquina soup (small “bean” clams that we harvested from the beach) by serving it in a “fancy” glass bowl.

    These memories reminded me that everything looks better on nice serving plates.

  3. tom says:


    I don’t dream.
    Tonight the moonlight is bright, still,
    fluttering wings;
    hummingbird, a cake
    with tropical fruits
    in need of a delicate pink plate.
    A pedestal, befitting, love at first sight.

  4. Jenny says:

    This plate reminds me of my hero. Here is our story.

    Ann lived in a four-room structure, the epitome of a rundown shack. Roaches and mice, “my uninvited guests,” she called them, gained entrance by slithering through cracks in the worn exterior and foundation. Curls of peeled paint hung from walls adorned with artwork and cross-stitched samplers. Buckets and pans placed sporadically would catch the rain that seeped in from the leaky roof. In the unforgiving heat of a St. Louis summer, an ancient fan, perched before a bowl of ice cubes, would whirl hot air around. The winter winds brought the cold faster than the tiny heater churned warmth in the living room. Despite the dilapidated condition of the building, Ann sprinkled the interior with antiques, quilts and other objects of art. She especially loved depression glass. More than the furnishings, the crumbling dwelling contained the most incredible power and strength, and gave me an overwhelming sense of freedom and unconditional love. Ann was that power.

    With Ann, I could shed tears and laugh. She’d serve hot toast with real butter and the world’s best coffee in fine china cups while she told stories of beautiful far away places. We would discuss reading, writing and refined things. Time spent with Ann allowed the luxury of dreaming. I could hope to dream that I had a future. She told me repeatedly that I was beautiful, smart and talented. She drilled into me that everything my parents told me I was, and would not be, was a product of their illness. All the negatives were cancelled for those moments I shared with Ann. She gave me a sense of “home,” a safe haven.

    Ann was comically serious, an intellectual who was lost in a fast-paced world. I was seriously comical, an aspiring intellectual lost in a sea of unacceptable behavior. I was old at age eight; Ann was young at age sixty-five. She was my best friend who just happened to have six decades on me. Although she never asked a single thing of me, I helped her with household chores and aided her in the care of her great-nephew, Jason, an infant left in her care a majority of the time. My unsolicited repayment was kindness, love and a sense of well-being.

    Ann had known real pain: her mother had mistreated her (yet, Ann took care of her elderly mother for years); her first husband was an abusive alcoholic; her only daughter, son-in-law and baby granddaughter died in a hotel fire; and her second husband died after a sudden heart attack. Ann was evidence that a person could overcome painful obstacles, she was heroic.

    A short, grandmotherly-plump woman with wild, white hair righted the wrongs in my life. My unlikely hero left the house one day with a toilet paper trail cascading out of her pants, which thought still brings me to tears of laughter.

    A few special nights I slept over in a tall bed with an elegant headboard. Safely nestled in the glorious bed made up with white eyelet sheets, fresh scented pillows and one of her prized quilts, nothing could harm me. She told me repeatedly how precious I was and how she enjoyed spending time with me. Precious? Me? It was hard to believe a word so foreign to describe me.

    Many wonderful memories she gave to me. Ann was thrilled when my senior English term paper, An Analysis of Ernest Hemingway, over which I toiled, received an “A.” Ann predicted that I would be a great writer one day. When I escaped from an eleven-year marriage that was horrid from the start, I received Ann’s full support. My mother told me “don’t leave him…no one else will want you…so what if he hurts you.” The woman who said these things I supported for twenty years after my father died. Because of Ann, I became the type of person that would behave in that manner.

    Remembering the night of my high school graduation, I was exhausted after burying my father, three days before, who had not made life easy. Ann drove me home from the ceremony and honked her horn nonstop for three miles. She hooped and hollered out the window for the whole ride. That night, I smiled as I imagined the other graduates at their parties as I drove with the Medicare brigade’s ring leader. I would not have traded places with anyone.

    After a long battle with heart disease, Ann died. The last six months of her illness I felt betrayed by her when she developed panic attacks and dementia; she became so much like my mother. I tried to be with her as much as I could but it hurt me beyond consolation to see her so mentally weak. I was 33 years old and I should have handled the situation better.

    How could my hero be defeated by something innocuous as illness when she had successfully battled all my demons? I should have visited that four-room shack more often; I should have been her hero and stayed for one more cup of coffee from a fine china cup. For reasons that haunt me today, I was not strong when she needed me most. I should have done more. I hope she understands my fear and forgives my weakness. She led by example, taught me to be a better person. Because of my own fear of seeing her deteriorate, I hadn’t been that better person for her. When covered in the warmth of a quilt she gave me, I think about Ann and know that she is now happy and reunited with all her loved ones. The little girl in me wants to believe that. Ann gave me a home when I did not have one; I feel in my heart that she is now, once again, home.

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