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Angela M is holding the BlogFeast…food blogfest and this one involves food: ” scene where food is central or just happens to be in the scene. It could be a poem about food. Heck, it could even be about a character named after food…”
Here’s my entry from a WIP I’m working on…and I hope it is ok, Angela, that there are no dialogues :D.
Please visit Angela’s blog for links to the other entries!

She looked out from the pale intensity of her being, her face neither man nor woman, neither happy nor sad, neither silent nor yet unspeaking for her eyes said what her lips did not as she stirred the pot of soup. Her upper lip pursed over the lower, her square jaws tight on her unwrinkled but leathery face, she looked up from her pot at the wall behind me, and then back to her cooking. Her left hand wiped itself on her dull, tattered apron, and reached for the thyme she had chopped and left on the block of wood she used as a cutting board. With her right hand she stirred, never looking up, her short curly hair falling over her brow and her eyes, making of her gaze a secret thing, a secret also of her cooking.

Under the thyme, I could smell the chicken (I had spotted it running out in her backyard not two hours ago when I entered her hut slung on her shoulders,) which had now become simply flesh and bone, food, nourishment. It had lost its blood, been made to give up its feathers, and now lay simmering in her crock-pot, the water bathing its unfeeling skin, its fat melting slow and easy, mating with the salt and pepper. For a minute I forget her, my rescuer, and concentrate on the chicken I cannot see. I can imagine its bones, and I know its marrows will do me good, force a bit of warmth into my muscles, expand my stomach, give it something to linger over other than its steady fare of water, dirt, and roots for the past weeks.

She had not spoken to me, my rescuer, the woman who bent into the river and fished me out, who murdered her chicken for my sake. I can see plenty of smoked fish she could have eaten, so I must assume the soup is in my honor, to work on me on the inside as the poultices and bandages joined and soothed on the outside. My bed of rags must be hers, for I could see none other in the room.

I watched her as she dropped potatoes and carrots into the pot, and they fell with soft swishes and plops, and still she did not look up and greet my eyes. I wanted to read her look, but had to content myself with watching her as she dipped her finger in the pot, snatched it back to her lips, sucked it and added a pinch of salt with her right hand. Her lips became slack as she let go of her finger, and on her face spread the look of a mother suckling her child, her jaws fell, and for an entire minute I watched her as she let the steam rise from the pot and dot her brows with shining beads, of mingled sweat and soup.
She did not feel my look, or ignored it if she did, for her eyes stayed inside the pot, as if she were cooking the soup from the heat of her eyes and her mind and not over a fire. I tried to speak, but my lips were sealed with something like mud, and my arms were too weak to lift my hand, touch my own face. The afternoon light from the windows receded. Over the bubbling of the soup and the roar of the river in the gorge beneath her kitchen, I heard footfalls.
I was too weak to react or move, so I did nothing to alert her. The soup had infused into me through my nostrils and now played with each tendril of emotion in my being, toyed with nostalgia, and for a minute in the rising aroma of the chicken soup I could sense my mother, the woman who must have given birth to me, some time some place, and then left me for dead on the jungle floor. The door behind her opened with a sigh, and still my rescuer did not look up.
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • eeleenlee says:

    this is very sensuous writing- all the details of cooking and flavours.

  • Lovy Boheme says:

    Lovely job with the descriptions.:)

  • You are mastering writing, Damyanti. A captivating read! Thank you.

  • Beautifully written…but very dark. It felt like something really bad was lurking in the shadows…NICE JOB!

  • Definitely a foodfeast story! Soup is so soothing and it sounds like this person needs to be soothed.

    Missed your entry for the Happy Birthday blogfest on Southern City Mysteries today! Hope all is well with you…Really enjoyed this piece! Come by and read the other entries.

    Southern City Mysteries

  • This was very beautifully written, D, I could smell the vegetables. Very, very nice.

    So sorry that I am a day late. This is the first time I forgot that I entered a fest. I have posted anyway, if you are so inclined to stop by.

  • J.C. Martin says:

    I LOVE the last paragraph about how the smell of the soup was stirring up the MC's emotions and memories. Chicken soup for the soup indeed!

  • Blogger hates me. O.K. for the third time :

    I've heard from the frying pan into the fire but this might be from the river into the boiling pot.

    Or not.

    Very mysterious and evocative. My entry, of course, is urban fantasy where the main course talks back. Don't you hate when that happens? Roland

  • Donna Hole says:

    Intriguing. I could smell the aromas, taste the herbs.

    Very nicely done.


  • L'Aussie says:

    On the surface this looks like chicken soup for the soul all right, but there's something creepy happening too, right? Excellent imagery. I loved it..:)

  • Angela M. says:

    The imagery here is amazing: "as if she were cooking the soup from the heat of her eyes and her mind and not over a fire"

    There are so many different ways this story could go! I got a bit of that ominous feel toward the end of the scene. I'd definitely like to read more of this story.

    You certainly didn't need any dialogue to get us all hooked 🙂 Thank you for joining in the Blogfeast, Damyanti.

  • bryan sabol says:

    Very well built narrative, starting with a tired, but comforting ambiance and building to something very ominous.

    The only thing that caught me was the momentary switch to present tense in para 3 ("… I can see plenty of smoked fish she could have eaten, so I must assume…").

  • You can tell a lot about a person about how and what they cook. I enjoyed the revealing and mystery of this woman.

  • Cinette says:

    Beautiful description! I'm in the hut, experiencing the moment. Well Done.

  • Summer Ross says:

    very different take- I'm waiting for something horrible to happen though

  • You have such a way with descriptions. I love it. We are left with so many questions as to why she's there and meanwhile, you whet our appetite.


  • Ellie says:

    I agree with Elena – there is an undercurrant of danger running through the words in this scene. I so want to know how it turns out! Beautiful.

  • Francine says:


    You've got me hooked, and I'm thinking Hansel and Gretel, and oh God, like Elena I'm thinking evil is yet to come.


  • Madeleine says:

    I like the descriptions (e.g. soft swishes and plops)
    This piece seems very profound and mysterious. Very intriguing.

  • There's something ominous about this. You're trying to soothe the reader with description (and it's working) – but I'm on to you! Something bad is gonna happen, ain't it?

    I would definitely read on. This was beautiful.

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