Cooking With Anger

By Rob Wittig and Mark Marino

A frontal outline and a profile of faces expressing anger, by Charles Le Brun, 1713. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

As part of the ‘What is a Recipe?’ Virtual Conversation, we’re pleased to introduce a story-telling game, called Cooking with Anger. And you can play it in the comments below!

We’ll keep bumping the post up so you can play from now until the end of the Virtual Conversation.

This is a creative game modelled on TV cooking competitions. Cooking with Anger is a netprov where storyteller chefs improvise a tale and a recipe from a given basket of ingredients. Many have written about cooking with love; now it’s time for all the other emotions.

How to Play

  1. Get a basket from the Protag-o-Matic ingredients machine.
  2. Copy and paste your basket at the top of your tale.
  3. Create a small dish of a stirring story — 300 words or less — using ALL the ingredients from your basket. Use people places and things as narrative; use food items for a recipe folded into the fiction. Season the tale with the emotional spice packet.
  4. Post your delectable concoction in the Comments section below.

To enjoy other story/recipes from last April’s version of this netprov, visit the Cooking With Anger website.


8 thoughts on “Cooking With Anger”

  1. Main Ingredients:
    lamb shoulder

    Spice Pack:
    1/4 tablespoon of eagerness
    1/2 smidge of anxiety

    The witch checked the bubbling pot again, nerves and eagerness rising in her chest. This had to be right, otherwise it was all for naught. She reached out with a spoon, tasting the concoction on the very tip of her tongue. A little more salt, she thought. To serve something like this, with lamb shoulder and champagne, you had to get the flavours just right. You couldn’t risk upsetting the most high-strung brother-in-law in the history of the world on his wedding day. That was like deflating a basketball just before play. It wouldn’t do. She added some salt, stirred, chanted, waved away the plumes of purple smoke, stirred and chanted again. Tasted it. Perfect.

  2. Father’s Day D. Lights.

    Main Ingredients:

    Spice Pack:
    1 tablespoon of fondness
    1/3 dollop of amazement

    “Snake,” said my son. Uh, oh, nightmare time.
    “What?” I asked. He was pointing at something.
    “Snake,” I said. Oh, he was pointing at me. It must be father’s day.
    “What’s going on my son?” I asked, and he held up his hand. Four fingers up.
    “You see 4 snakes? This is the fourth snake you’ve seen tonight?”
    No, he shook his head.
    “I am one-fourth snake?”
    He shook his head again.
    “Well, what is it my love?”
    “Go forth.”
    “Ah, you are practicing your puns, I see,” I said. “But what does that have to do with snakes?”
    “Don’t be snaked when you go forth,” my son said, referencing an origin tale a shaman had told us. The first child and the first dad, naked (or sss-naked) in the garden. “And chocolate.”
    “Chocolate,” I asked.
    “Chocolate, I’m having trouble sleeping.”
    Now I shook my head. “I’m not getting that one.”
    “It helps me to hear your voice, so choc a lot.”
    “Ah, you like it when I coc to you while you’re trying to sleep. Why?”
    “Choc to me. It keeps away the snakes.”
    “Especially the snaked ones, I bet.”
    “Esss petally the snaked snakes,” said my sweet prince as he finally closed his eyes and drifted off to a punny sleep of slushy syllables and the sweetness of a secret language.

  3. The Fountainhead of Regret

    Main Ingredients:
    mustard seed
    fountain pen

    Spice Pack:
    1/8 whisper of regret
    1/3 teaspoon of bitterness
    1 dollop of panic
    1/2 tablespoon of sentimentality

    Barely brushing his skin, she placed the fountain pen between his fingers. That touch that once excited him so, could send his heart fluttering like a pheasant in the sights of a hunter, now only evoked bitterness and regret.

    When he had met her, the seemingly shy accountant, in her pale peach dress on the double decker just outside the Tower of London, he had thought her to be a delicate and unassuming flower, like the kind one might find in Kensington gardens but only ever staring for a very, very long time.

    A chance encounter, soon led to a night or two at his flat. These were breezy summer days and so he thought nothing of her impulsive decision to move in, Panic at the Disco playing on repeat, “Death of a Bachelor, “why not? Why not entertain the idea of settling down? The Hampstead flat had been his aunt’s on his mother’s side, and when she willed it to him, a new era of his life had opened, the era of the poet, the flaneur.

    But perhaps such summer breezes are meant to blow through the gauzy chintz of our lives. A mustard seed of a moment which passes quickly into something sweeter, more stable. Why not settle down?

    What she did for Accenture, he didn’t quite understand. Consulting being a cloudy word for crookery, he would joke with her. And maybe when he’d signed the bank notes, or transferred those other funds he should’ve been paying a bit more attention.

    But now, flash forward not even the length of a villanelle and here he was, signing away the remnants of his love, wondering with a haiku of panic,
    Where will I move to
    back to Sheffield? Oh Heavens!
    pumicing mum’s feet
    as his summer dalliance had him signing his acknowledgement of his eviction, so this his beguiling accountant could live her life with her dark and passionate new paramour, Basil.

  4. Rawhide

    Main Ingredients:
    green beans

    Spice Pack:
    1/3 dash of jolliness
    1/8 teaspoon of grouchiness

    Tex’s hair was a mess of emerald dreads, like a pile of green beans. He wore a fat hemp necklace and baggy jeans, had a mean mushroom tattooed on his arm, and his hand gripped a thick leather leash just barely holding back a pitbull (named Cisco).

    Here and there, you could catch a dash of jolliness, but only a fraction of one. Because it was drowned out by grouchiness, sprinkled on a bit of a teaspoon at a time, like sand slipping through an hourglass, making his brow heavy and his lip sneer. No amount of weed cut through that sour disposition. He’d yank that leash, as if holding back a part of himself. And when Cisco took a dump, it was like he was taking a dump. It stayed there. On your lawn. Where children (and adults) stepped in it, regularly.

    He considered himself a cowboy, an outlaw. The city is his frontier; breaking broncs in his mind; wranglin’ dank nugs from sacks he sold behind the restaurant where he washed dishes. While reaching his hand into partially chewed, waterlogged garlic bread sludge to tug a mangled spoon from the garbage disposal, his heart murmured a sad, sad song.

    It was a song about a girl from art class who he thought was too pretty for him, who used to call him after her parents were asleep and talk to him until sun came up, who he’d imagined someday impressing through some vague, but notable, accomplishment. When she moved away to college, he never talked with her again.

  5. Chukkar
    A short play by Cathy Podeszwa

    Main Ingredients:

    Spice Pack:
    1/2 smidge of gloom
    1/4 dollop of cheerfulness

    The play begins, with a sister talking to her brother. In the vicinity is a bird.

    “It’s a chukkar.”
    “A what?”
    “A chukkar partridge. It’s an escapee from a game farm. Not native. I think people might shoot them with pellets, or use a bow and arrow even. Tasty, I suppose, but I’m not gonna shoot him–I’m a vegetarian. Besides, it’s Dad. ”
    “Dad. That bird is Dad. I saw him when I first had to tell Mom that Dad was really sick. The bird was outside the facility with his partner, throwing himself at his reflection in the brass on the outside door. I told him he could move along–that what he was seeing was only himself. So he did move along. They both walked away together.”
    “But why do you think it’s Dad?”
    “I saw him again, the day of the memorial. He was outside the doors where we had the service. He was alone. It made me cry.”
    “But where was his mate?”
    “I don’t know. And then I saw him again, the day I finished getting Dad’s stuff out of the apartment. I was moving a load into my car and heard this soft clucking kind of sound. He was right there, watching me. It’s Dad for sure.”
    “Maybe we should try to catch him?”
    “How would we do that?”
    “I don’t know. Tip a box up with corn and spinach underneath and then pull out the stick?”
    “You’ve watched too many Roadrunner cartoons.”
    “There must be a trap you can use for birds.”
    “I’ve thought about that. Catching him…taking him home. It’s not realistic.”
    “But I’m worried about him now.”
    “Yeah. But I think he’s okay.”

    Lights out.

  6. The Terror of Chard

    Main Ingredients:
    girl next door
    porterhouse steak

    Spice Pack:
    1/2 teaspoon of capriciousness
    1/8 cup of terror

    She’d had it.

    No more nice girl next door.

    His cat was a menace, terrorising the otherwise charming streets of Chard. Well, terrorising her boxers in any case. Once again, his blasted tom had strutted into her garden, proud as anything, and pooped in her begonias. The little devil constantly taunted her dogs and this time had led them on a merry chase–straight out of her garden and into the street.

    Fortunately, the clatter of bins, accompanied by yowls and barking had alerted her in time to recapture Betsy and Bobo. And that blasted cat.

    Straightening her shoulders, she rang her neighbour’s bell, warily holding the strangely docile cat in front of her. ‘Your cat, I presume?’ she started, ‘He…’

    The neighbour eagerly took the cat: ‘Oh Leo, have you been out causing trouble again? I’m so sorry!’ He looked up at her glowering face, smiling charmingly. She noticed the pencil tucked behind his ear. ‘But I’m so glad that you’re here, I’ve been meaning to ask you…’

    ‘Yes?’ She drummed her fingers.

    ‘Your dogs…’

    Her eyes narrowed, and she breathed deeply, preparing to tell him —

    ‘Are wonderful! I’m an illustrator and would absolutely love to draw them. Such characters.’

    She exhaled slowly, but still cocked her eyebrow.

    He continued, while stroking the cat, ‘Perhaps we could discuss it over dinner. I’m cooking porterhouse steak, and there will even be enough for a doggy bag!’

    Call her capricious, but she did like a good steak. And so did the dogs. She smiled back at last, ‘I’d like that.’

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