The Paris Review

Sometimes the Pie Just Calls Your Name

An illustration from A Apple Pie, by Kate Greenway.


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,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review2 min read
The Ritual of American Racism
The multidisciplinary artist Betye Saar is best known for her assemblages: meticulous arrangements of found objects, religious iconography, and cultural ephemera that, together, interrogate the ritual of American racism. “Betye Saar: Call and Respons
The Paris Review10 min read
The Perseverance of Eve Babitz’s Vision
Eve Babitz. Photo: Mirandi Babitz. © Mirandi Babitz. And because we were in Southern California—in Hollywood even—there was no history for us. There were no books or traditions telling us how we could turn out or what anything meant. —Eve Babitz My g
The Paris Review6 min read
A Bluebeard of Wives
Sabrina Orah Mark’s monthly column, Happily, focuses on fairy tales and motherhood. Bluebeard Illustration, “What She Sees There,” by Winslow Homer, 1868 “Sabrina,” says my husband’s first wife, “is married to my husband.” I hear this through The Gra