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Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick

Cold Curry by Phedra Deonarine

She sits on the rough concrete ground outside her backdoor. The ground is uneven with milkweed growing from the cracks. She bunches her faded purple dress around her knees. Her grey plait is as thin as her crooked little finger. She looks like a potato boiled with the skin on. She hunches her shoulders, a posture so different from when she was young and beautiful with glossy black hair and large eyes.

She heaps cardamom, mustard seeds and jeera on a terrazzo slab. She crushes the spices with a smooth speckled stone and makes a well with brown fingers twisted from arthritis. She pours in cloves, coriander and curry leaves before adding a bright orange Scotch Bonnet pepper. Her left ring finger is blistered from years of handling these hot peppers barehanded.

She pounds the curry into a coarse powder and rubs it onto three plump chicken thighs; her favourite pieces. Her two children send her money and so she gorgers on meat to keep from feeling lonely. She heats oil in the kitchen. The chicken sizzles and fills the room with fragrant smoke. She spoons boiled rice into a cream enamel bowl and ladles the spicy greenish-gold curried chicken on top. She fishes a pickled red bird-pepper from a jar and crushes it on the side of her dish with her spoon. She sits on a wicker chair and says her prayers before eating. She doesn't speak to God for very long. She doesn't care too much for cold curry.

Phedra Deonarine is from Vancouver, BC

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