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I have read and understand the sections in the Student Handbook regarding Mason High School's Honesty/Cheating Policy. By affixing this statement to the title page of my paper, I am certifying that I have not cheated or plagiarized in the process of completing this assignment. If it is found that cheating and/or plagiarism did take place in the writing of this paper, I understand the possible consequences of the act, which could include a "0" on the paper, as well as an "F" as a final grade in the course.

Iggy Cossman Miss Wilson AP English Literature & Composition 7 December 2013

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Iggy Cossman Ms. Wilson AP English Literature & Composition 8 December 2013 Spicy Food in the Icy Winter My sister and I had finally finished cleaning our rooms and decorating our gingerbread house for the Christmas Eve party that was to start the next day at our house. As my sister went upstairs to take a nap, I headed outside, where my dad was sharing a drink with his brother Gregory, who had arrived earlier than expected due to an error at the airport. They were reminiscing about old times, and once again, my father was telling Gregory about the time he and his friends tried to re-enact Fandango by crossing the Canadian border and burying a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, only to ironically have their car break down moments after they departed; Gregory was just happy that he finally got to have a nice Christmas dinner with his family, as he had spent the last one snowed in and alone, but that was a story for another time he told my father. Dad, I had to interrupt him in the middle of his story, The first guests are starting to arrive. Looks like Uncle Stanley and Cousin Ashley came along as well. Great. Did Ashley bring Mike and baby Audrey with her? My dad asked. Audreys definitely with her, but I think Mike had to work tonight.

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Theres no good reason to spend Christmas without your family and friends. Just doesnt fit right in my book.

With that, my dad got up and started preparing for the swarm of family members about to buzz into our house for the next eight hours. I was stuck on coat-hanging duty, and even though I was constantly shifting between cold single-digit weather outside and double-digit weather inside, I was also the first one to hear of the stories people had to tell over the past year. Christmas was always the time of year where my family members all brought their signature dishes and stories to share around the table. My cousin Paul had brought his stellar home-made mashed potatoes and stories that hardly no one could comprehend about his work for NASA. My cousin Sam brought his six kids and a casserole that could feed sixty; we were a diverse family from all over the country, but it allowed for a wide variety of foods and an endless amount of stories to be shared.

The only downside to these holiday parties was that everyone was either over five years younger or five years older than me. Obviously, I always wanted to speak to my older cousins and find out what these cool twenty and thirty-somethings were doing with their lives, but I was always stuck with entertaining the little kids the ones who were too old for their parents to be babysitting them, but too young to be left unsupervised. They got particularly troublesome when they had to wait to be the last ones to get food at dinner. After hearing the oldest of them, Aidan, tell me about how he got the scab on his elbow for the third time, I tried to think of a way to get them to be quiet without driving myself to boredom. Thinking back to how my father entertained his brother with his Fandango story, I tried to see if the same tactic would work on kids.

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"Aidan," I acknowledged him, "Did you know your uncle Stanley belonged to the Iron Horsemen?"

That seemed to do the trick: his eyes filled with bewilderment, "No! Who are they?"

Now, I knew I could not tell these little brats that one of their family members used to be a member of a notorious biker gang, but I could spin the tale into my own and still interest them, so thats what I did. Their leather jackets became suits of armor, and their motorcycles became their stallions. The kids were especially enthralled when I talked to them about the huge meals they ate, and although their stomachs made the sounds of a hobbit that skipped second breakfast, it could be seen that they were starving for my story. As one Stewart Lee Allen explained in his novel In The Devils Garden, Victorian-era children were, fond of American childrens literature. It was the scene of kids gorging on buckwheat pancakesthat they really liked, and that, Withholding pleasant food was considered a particularly plum way to [bring children under control] because it trained them out of the expectation of natural pleasure at the table, (Allen 121). It had seemed that the scene of these bikers-turned-knights gorging on delicious foodstuffs was what kept the kids from acting rebellious anymore. The mere thought of food had made them hungrier, but given how much better or should I say sweeter the food was in my story compared to what was in the kitchen had distracted them long that by the time I was finished wrapping up my new piece of fiction, their dinners had been ready for several minutes, and they devoured their meals just like the heroes of my story had.

Realizing how caught up in my story I had gotten, I came to the dinner table with hardly any foot left. The majority of my family had moved outside to enjoy the outside snow. The only people left inside were the elderly members of my family whose thick skin had worn off long

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ago. I was happy to spend time with the people who had the greatest stories I knew, but I was sad to have an empty stomach. Luckily, my grandma has saved me my favorite dish just in case. She held out a platter of her famous spicy sausage balls that had me salivating at just the sight of them. She had told us that she acquired the recipe from a good friend when she had lived in the South for a few years. The spiciness and zest of them sure did not remind you of a sweet, old lady from Ohio, but they did reflect her personality from when she was younger. Many food essays suggest that the foods we eat are a reflection of ourselves, Furthermore, as an individual eats, his or her food becomes embodied in him or herEndowing the individual with the symbolic associations of the food and reinforcing the food as a metonym of the self, (Twiss 2). Much like the sausage balls represented my grandmother when she was younger and full of life in a time of great change in our country, their zesty and spiciness reflect a part of me, and they show me off as a rebellious youth not afraid to challenge the traditional norms of society. I still have not figured out how mashed potatoes represent a NASA rocket scientist, but I am sure that the saying, You are what you eat, has more truth to it than we give. Entire regions are known by their cuisine, such as Cincinnati with its chili, and the same goes for individuals. As I took a bite into the sausage balls, like my relatives had done earlier, I was reminded of the passion all my family members have inside them.

The night was drawing to a close, and many family members left for their houses, anxious for the gifts Santa was going to leave for them under their tree. It had never dawned on me before that evening, but excluding the eldest members, my family was highly non-religious, and yet each and every year, we celebrate Christmas with more devout passion than some Christian families we knew. Surely, it was not the birth of Christ we were celebrating. It was the joy we had all been looking forward to of spending time together for that one day of the year we

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celebrated. The stories we brought to the table were as good as the food was, but the food was, a story of ingredients and pulling from one area and another and another, memories of flavors thatwould work out together, (Satterfield). Each dish each family member brought forward contained a bit of its creator in it, and in consuming these dishes, we had become a part of our family members life, and now our bodies were embodiments of the stories they had to share. Sometimes, the best stories are not the classics told in hushed tones around a campfire, but the ones experienced at the dining table with vociferous laughter.

Grandma Bates Spicy Sausage Ball

1-pound ground sausage

3 cups baking mix

4 cups grated cheese

1 tsp. hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly.

Form into 1 inch to 1-1/2 balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls.

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Place the balls on the baking sheet.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes five dozen.

Works Cited

Allen, Stewart Lee. In The Devil's Garden - A Sinful History of Forbidden Food. Ballatine Books, 2003. 117-121. Web.

Satterfield, Steven, perf. "A Story of Ingredients." A Spoken Dish. A Spoken Dish, . web. 1 Dec 2013.

Twiss, Katheryn. We Are What We Eat. Diss. Boston University, 2007. Web.