The Paris Review

Sometimes the Pie Just Calls Your Name

An illustration from A Apple Pie, by Kate Greenway.

1964

This is not the first memory I have of food. My first memory, I believe, was when I ate the Wet-Nap that came in the bottom of a two-piece dinner from Kentucky Fried Chicken just outside the high school football stadium in Sylacauga, Alabama, because I believed it was food. The less we say about that the better.

This is only my first memory of my mother’s food.

And I thought I would die.

I had already been banished from the kitchen, banished from any proximity to the hot stove and sharp instruments. She made me step back even a few steps farther, beyond the door, in case I should suddenly go peculiar and fling myself into the cabbage grater. I had exhibited some unusual behavior already, even beyond the Wet-Nap incident,

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