Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Amanda Harter: Essay

Amanda Harter

One evening back when I was about five yearsold there was a small battle fought at our dinner table. The opposingsides consisted of me against my mom and dad. Why? Because I washaving serious difficulty eating my dinner. The cuisine presentedto me that evening was some concoction that most people call SalmonLoaf. Salmon Loaf’s main ingredient is of course, salmon, butany number of different substances can be added to it. Usuallybread is mixed in, along with some onions and celery or something,and it is all mixed together and baked. The result is a mass ofdry, pinkish chewy stuff, which I found then and now extremelyhideous.

After spreading it out as much as possibleto make it look less obtrusive, I stared at this lump of pinkon my plate, realizing that I had three options. I could takeminiscule bites, so small that it would be difficult to tasteanything, or I could mix it with something else on my plate andhope that I could somehow disguise the horrid taste. Finally,I could choose to take gigantic bites and get it over with asquickly as possible. The first option was less desirable consideringI would probably end up sitting at the table until the millenniumrolled in. The second was slightly more appealing, but I ruledit out since there wasn’t really anything on my plate to mix itwith.

So I set out to attempt my final option. ThereI was, taking huge bites of the stuff, desperately trying to washit all down with huge gulps of milk and silently praying thatit would stay down. As I gagged with the crocodile tears in myeyes, my dad, not appreciating what he saw as unnecessary drama,reached from across the table and grabbed my arm like a vise.The whole room spun as he stated violently that I was going toeat that if it was the last thing I did. I ended up in bed, sobbing,but victorious. I never did finish my dinner.

I’m pretty sure that was the last time my momever made Salmon Loaf for dinner. I don’t know why she ever madeit in the first place. I suppose my dad liked it and it was probablyeasy to make, but didn’t she realize what trauma it caused? Thesedays I’ve managed to forgive her and even begin to understand.After all, what else can you do with leftover salmon?

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