fiction by Nina Gaby; illustration by Frances Jetter

The Anti-Zen of Grandma

To begin with, my mother was a marinater. To those of you who have no idea what the process of marinating entails or why I would utilize this as a definitive attribute, let me explain.

Marinating requires a plan. One must have on hand the ingredients, a vessel large enough, and the time to engage in the process. If the pan or bowl isn’t large enough to submerge the whole roast, if indeed a roast is the item, the marinater must be available to turn it at regular intervals. The closer together these intervals are, the more infused and succulent the roast. In fact, one can take a fairly cheap brisket, an old chicken, bland vegetables or even simple potatoes, and soak them into delicacies that will excite even those weariest of tastes. There are accolades, patience rewarded. Even crap tastes good. Not that it mattered. We were very comfortable, and able to afford the best cuts of meat. That wasn’t ever the point.

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