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19 March 2017 @ 12:41 pm
LJ Idol Season Ten: "The End Of An Era"  
The End Of An Era
idol season ten | week twelve | 801 words


"All right, it looks like everyone's here, so let's get started."

"I don't even know why we're doing this," the anchovies complained. "What's the point of talking about how we feel? It doesn't change anything."

"Sharing sometimes helps us feel less lonely," the French fries said.

The anchovies sniffed. "Speak for yourself. Except for Caesar salad and the occasional pizza, I've been out of favor for decades. You want to talk about loneliness? You're a little late to the party."

The olives shrugged. "None of us are as popular as we used to be. With so many aging Baby Boomers watching their blood pressure, salty foods are the first thing to go. I still get gigs on nachos and pizza, and the kids use me to make space-alien fingers at Thanksgiving. The grownups, though? It's like they hardly know me! My cousins, the greens, still get cocktail work. But half the time, they don't even get eaten. Straight into the garbage, like some kind of decoration…"

"Exactly," the pickle said. "Man, I used to be in the middle of everything. At delis, I was the go-to guy as the extra on a sandwich order, and for hamburgers and some of the sandwiches, I was part of the main event! They even sold me at Disneyland for a while, jumbo dill pickles the size of a jam jar, for five whole bucks. The Japanese tourists loved me. Boy, those were the days."

"No kidding." Over at the coffee pot, the beef jerky sighed and poured a fresh cup. "Salt used to be a valuable commodity! People mined it out of the ground and traded it for jewels and gold, for crying out loud. Now we're, like, pariahs."

"Some of us more than others." The pickle jostled the bag of potato chips sitting next to him. "Being salty and high in fat has to totally suck, am I right?"

"At least I'm fun at parties," the chips said. "I get invited everywhere."

"Hey," the olives said. "Speaking of fatty foods, where's bacon?"

The macaroni and cheese rolled its eyes. "He says there's a bacon renaissance going on, and he doesn't need help with his self-esteem."

"Geez, what an ego," the movie popcorn huffed.

"I know, right?" The canned soup passed the box of donuts around. "Must be nice."

The hot dog scooted his chair forward. "It's so hard to let go of what we had. I mean, I used to be part of the whole American ballgame experience. I'm still there, but I just don't feel important anymore. If I didn't have pretzel right there in the same boat as me, don't know what I'd do. He just gets me, you know?"

The other foods sat quietly, feeling sad. Apart from the corn chips and chile con queso, none of them had that kind of special bond, and oh, how they wanted it.

The French fries looked around the room. "Spam, we haven't heard from you yet."

"Not much to tell, really. Still big in Hawaii, still ignored on the mainland. It could be worse. When I get noticed around here, it's usually someone sneering at the ingredients, or the can, or the jelly coating, or whatever. Being overlooked isn't always bad."

The macaroni and cheese nodded. With its artificial colors, flavors, and mysterious additives, it was happy being a comfort food and escaping close scrutiny, even if it was nearly toxic to anyone on a low-sodium diet.

The French fries checked the clock. "Well, our time is up for this week. I think this was a good first session, with a lot of important sharing. Our next meeting is in two weeks, same time and location. For those of you who are also in the Fatty Foods support group, that meeting is next door and starts in ten minutes. Thank you, everyone. Please fold the chairs and put them against the wall before you go."

The pickle stacked his chair, and snagged the last remaining donut. It was a plain glazed, hardly worth the calories, but Eh—a donut was a donut.

The potato chips walked past.

"I suppose you're headed for the fatty-food follow-up?" the pickle said.

"Yeah, so?"

"So, do you know that ice cream gal who goes to that meeting? I've seen her around. She's hot. Well, not hot, but you know what I mean."

"Not really."

"Dude, get your head out of the bag! She's, like, three scoops of gorgeous with a maraschino cherry on top." The pickle shook himself. "Man, would I ever hit that!"

The potato chips rustled and shuddered. "Gross."

"Why? I totally would."

"Ice cream and pickles? Plus, you're covered in warts."

"Yeah, so, who isn't?" The pickle leaned in an elbowed him. "No, seriously, be a pal…

"You think you could introduce me?"


If you liked this story, LJ Idol community members can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

Direst Ryl: Blue Roseryl on March 19th, 2017 09:23 pm (UTC)
I love your literal takes on these topics. Also, now I'm hungry.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 19th, 2017 09:30 pm (UTC)
:D The literal take is what so often leads to the crack, though that's the most fun take as well!

My desire for chips and queso, and bacon, is really surging right now. And I just wants some green olives because. ;)
bleodswean: pic#126855595bleodswean on March 19th, 2017 09:26 pm (UTC)
Your personifications are reaching new heights, K! This was quite amusing. It's crazy how foods go in and out of faddish fashion and who knows if any of it really makes a difference!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 19th, 2017 09:32 pm (UTC)
For those on sodium-restricted diets, it definitely makes a difference in terms of blood-pressure or water-retention. But those salty foods are so GOOD! And I didn't even get into hidden salt, though I had a whole idea about bread joining the meeting wearing a creepy trench coat and possibly getting beaten up by all of the legitimately salty foods.

:D Another time, perhaps...
(no subject) - bleodswean on March 19th, 2017 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 02:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
adoptedwriter: pic#102963215adoptedwriter on March 19th, 2017 09:33 pm (UTC)

This is a hoot! What fun!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 02:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
unmowngrassunmowngrass on March 19th, 2017 10:35 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant! :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 06:32 am (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed it!
cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on March 20th, 2017 02:38 am (UTC)
this was so fun and so cute - the pretzel just gets the hot dog! the pickle is hot for the ice cream! - except now i'm hungry. :p i haven't made alien fingers with black olives in SO LONG, but man, that brought back memories.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 06:38 am (UTC)
I had a lot of fun writing this one. I don't know where all the crack is coming from this season (well, the prompts, in part), but I'm sure enjoying the ride.

I used to love black olive alien fingers, and it disappoints me that one of my kids doesn't even like olives. What the heck is wrong with him?
rayasorayaso on March 20th, 2017 01:09 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful, ans so funny! For those on a low salt diet, I'm sure it hit home. I loved the dialog, especially "the kids use me to make space-alien fingers" -- that was great. The whole concept of a support group for food is pure cracktastic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 05:28 pm (UTC)
I know this is all too real at our house, so why not make the foods themselves feel the sting? ;)
i_17bingo: toileti_17bingo on March 20th, 2017 01:45 pm (UTC)
I got a pretty big kick out of this--though it reminded me how bad my diet is.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 05:29 pm (UTC)
It's usually okay until you have to care, and then... oh heavens, the number of tasty salty things is legion!
Murielle: Scrunchedmurielle on March 20th, 2017 02:21 pm (UTC)
LOL! A support group for no longer appreciated foods! Brilliant! I laughed, but...I still love pickles (I recently discovered how good pickled chic peas are when I dumped a can in pickle juice) and olives.

This is so clever, and poignant. Maybe it's just me being weird, but yeah, poignant.

Brava! Great read...and the last bit about the ice cream--so cute!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 05:30 pm (UTC)
I love pickles, too. I don't eat them as often as I used to, but I pretty much love all the foods in here.

I always try to include a little pathos with my crack, so 'poignant' makes me especially happy!
favoritebeanfavoritebean on March 20th, 2017 04:42 pm (UTC)
I was smiling through your entry, because these foods are absolutely regional. For example, you can get fried dill pickles at Disneyland still, and Spam is very popular in LA. We have a significant Chinese and Philipino population who enjoy Spam musubi, which kind of looks like tamago sushi, but with spam. Meanwhile, anchovies are really popular in Italy (they put anchovies in many Roman style dishes), as are olives. Olives end up in a lot of enchiladas down in LA too. Finally, french fries were super popular in Germany, which of course, filled my salt fix for a few days. Yum.

This is a very fun read, and I was smiling a lot. You do have a minor typo close to the end with this line:

"Dude, get your head out of the bag! She's, like, three scoops of gorgeous with a maraschino cherry on top." The pickle shook himself. "Man, would I ever hit that!"Voting informa , although I guess the polls are up so it's too late to change it.

Still, great work as always.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 20th, 2017 05:58 pm (UTC)
FRIED dill pickles? Wow. When we first spotted them, they definitely were not fried. They were huge, though. Larger than I knew pickles tended to be! This was in Anaheim, too, so probably the same Disneyland as yours. Definitely a more US-centric view of foods overall. I wonder how many other cultures have similar issues, given that they probably don't have as much processed food and don't pack as much hidden salt into things like bread. Avoiding stealth salt makes known salt less of an issue, I think!

I inadvertently added that typo after the polls went up (I wondered why my typing was having no effect-- it was the "jumpy mouse" problem), so I feel okay about removing it. D'OH!

mamas_minion: Minion Romancemamas_minion on March 20th, 2017 10:35 pm (UTC)
Having both high blood pressure and diabetes I do not think you mentioned a food here that I can eat. I love the concept and the story was hilarious.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 02:43 am (UTC)
Lovely forbidden foods, how I know them! My husband has to be on a very low sodium diet for health reasons, to the point where adding up the sodium in bread and peanut butter and ketchup and salad dressing matters. :(

I'm glad you liked the story, and maybe having some of those foods feel a little of your pain for a change. :)

Rebeccabeeker121 on March 21st, 2017 02:20 am (UTC)
I had to be on a low iodine diet for a while - which was essentially a low salt diet (most salt is iodized and sea salt was out - so unless a label had no salt or specified kosher it was no go). I had to skip all of these things and it was surprisingly hard to do. It's fun to think the food didn't like it either.

When I was a kid I'd put a black olive on the end of each finger and then eat them off, as many times as I could get away with it. I still love them as snacks.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 04:49 pm (UTC)
Low salt is really tough, especially when even "minimally processed" foods still have a huge amount of added salt.

Those black-olive alien fingers seem to be part of many childhoods. Most of the kids in my family did this, because olives! They're delicious! And when you're a kid, the amount of salt is not an issue, thank goodness. ;)
Shadow Wolf Byrdshadowwolf13 on March 21st, 2017 04:27 am (UTC)
Cannibalistic food! I love it! :)
Teo Sayseternal_ot on March 21st, 2017 08:29 am (UTC)
Haha..I noticed that.Poor Donuts! But then who wouldn't eat donuts ;) :D
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 04:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 04:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Teo Sayseternal_ot on March 21st, 2017 08:32 am (UTC)
This was Brilliant! Hilarious from start to end. Being a foodie this just catered to my taste. I loved it :) Superb take!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 05:09 pm (UTC)
Yay! So glad you enjoyed it!

I pretty much love all of these foods, except for the anchovies. Mmmmmm, bacon...
🐶d0gs on March 21st, 2017 12:06 pm (UTC)
as always, i loved your take on this topic. there's always such a clear voice and it makes them a joy to read!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! That's wonderful to hear. :)
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": Mac n Cheeseroina_arwen on March 21st, 2017 08:32 pm (UTC)
This was brilliant! I can see that pickle knocking up that scoop of ice cream, lol! :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 21st, 2017 08:50 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! If anyone ever formed a support group for pregnancy cravings, the two of them could go together! Fictional cravings, at least, because that combination has always sounded SO vile. :D