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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Culinary Episode or Cuisine Bronxaise

By Joseph Petes, '36

The Magpie, January 1936, v. 37, n. 1., p. 15.

If there is anything I dislike more than preparing my own meals, it's eating them! The ritual I have to go through when I am home alone, with nothing in the refrigerator prepared for my digestive tract, is not only complicated and tiring, but frequently disastrous. The following is an example of the usual mealtime occurrence:

I do nothing until I feel it about time to eat, but after looking at the clock, and finding it to read only eleven fifty-five, I go back to doing nothing, deciding that I am not hungry. A little later, another glance at the clock shows it to be midday, so I let the clock convince me that I am hungry. This point being settled, I explore the contents of the refrigerator. There I find a dead chicken, neatly dissected, but alas! ... it is in a raw state. Further exploration rewards me with a box of potential chickens. I decide that I'll have eggs for lunch; eggs a la bull's eye. This being settled, I go about preparing my meal by first gathering together the necessary cooking utensils and ingredients. After having a couple of pots bounce off my head, I finally find the necessary pan in the innermost depths of the closet. Into this I put some butter; then I put it on the range in order to melt this product of Bossie. As I usually eat three eggs, I get four of them ready to break into the pan. (This I do in order to have some I left over and thus save myself the trouble of washing the dishes.) When the butter has liquified, I gingerly rap each egg with a knife in order to break the shell but not the yolk. One egg I hit too hard; another too lightly; and the other two I drop. The floor and my trousers are not immune to eggs! Because of the unforeseen circumstances my original plans alter to scrambled eggs for that portion which I was able to get together in the pan is, by now, well burned, and my hunger is well rooted. With the feeling of a martyr, I bravely, but with a wry face, sample my cooking. It suddenly and disagreeably dawns on me that I have forgotten to use salt. After about a four and a half minute search, I fail to find the necessary compound, so, in its stead, I use sugar, feeling, as did the lady playing solitaire, that I will fool myself. This novel addition to my eggs makes them absolutely uneatable. Not wishing to die young, I throw the product of my labors into the garbage pail and go out and eat three hot dogs, which weather me through until my mother comes home.

The above incidents which, now, on paper, seem incr-Edible are, at the time, tragic and painfully true!

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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