Table Talk: Cravings | Newberry

Table Talk: Cravings

The conversation had turned, as it often does, to food. The subtopic of our concern was “Foods You Can’t Do Without.”
One woman said it was candy, especially licorice. “There’s no sense making resealable bags,” she sighed. “Once I’ve opened one, it isn’t getting away until it’s empty.”
“I couldn’t make it without chips,” said the man next to her.“I eat too many, but it’s the way I time my breaks: my fifteen minutes is up when the chips are all gone.”
“Bologna sandwiches,” said another man. He grimaced. “Especially when the doctor tells me to give them up.”
“I wonder if there are books like that,” I murmured, in an attempt to divert the conversation before we started to discuss my possible failings.
“True crime,” said a woman who hadn’t spoken yet. “A serial killer at bedtime, that’s what I need.”
“Not mysteries?” I asked. “Only true crime?”
She shook her head. “It just doesn’t give me the same shudde r if I know it’s not true. I like them better if I know the killer was caught, though.”
“Well, I need a good travel book, usually with pictures,” said the man who depended on chips in place of a watch. “It’s not that I’m planning a trip: I just like to look through a travel book.”
“Kon-Tiki, or some adventure story?” asked the man addicted to bologna.
“Not really. As long as it’s somewhere far from here, and there are pictures in color,” the chips man told him. “And maybe a different climate. Hawaii in winter and the Alps in August.”
“It’s show biz biography for me,” said a man farther down the table. “One with as much good, solid scandal as they can squeeze in. A few photographs help out there, too, but I want dirty details.”
“I’m always picking up biographies,” sniffed the candy woman. “But I prefer people who have done something substantial.”
“Some of these scandals are substantial,” said her adversary. “I’m reading one now, and by the time I got to page 100, he’d already….”
“I can never pass up a price guide to antiques,” said the woman just beyond him. “No, not antiques so much as collectibles. The glasses they gave away in gas stations, and not cut glass or crystal.”
“You want to find out a price for the stuff your mother threw away?” I inquired.
“Not so much. I want to know what to watch for at the next garage sale I go to, and there’s always something in one price guide that other price guides haven’t got.”
“How many garage sales do you go to in a month?” asked the licorice lady.
She shrugged. “I haven’t actually been to one in about five years. But somehow, I HAVE to pick up those price guides and flip through them.”
“So not, say, paperback mysteries or paperback romance or anything like that?” I asked.
They stared as if I had just suggested they were slipping out to watch porn videos on their phones at lunch. “I thought you meant BOOKS,” said the man who liked scandal.
I left, chastened. One reader’s classic is another reader’s tapioca meatloaf.

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