write two pages about the first food you remember preparing for yourself
“Hey, Titsy, I can’t reach the orange juice!” He sounded kind of frantic.
I went to the holey screen door and looked out into the garage to find my younger brother hanging upside down into the deep chest freezer. His back—showing skin as his favorite t-shirt, the one with the big twelve on the front, fell toward his head—was pressed thin against his stomach, which was in turn pressed against the front of his jean shorts. The waistband of the shorts was the only thing keeping him from sliding head-first into the big white abyss, and his feet were the balance to the top half of his body that was barely visible. He called me Titsy because when Adam was really little he couldn’t say Corby, and called me C-Torby or Torby. As he got older he couldn’t say sister, instead substituting titster, which morphed into Titsy. When he is annoyed or is trying to be funny, to this day he calls me Tits. It’s a great nickname, really. One I am proud to bear.
On this night, the one in which my brother was almost lost into the “outside freezer,” our parents were on a rare night out, and we had already cleaned the house, done the dishes, constructed an oddly shaped bookshelf out of scraps of lumber we had found in the garage, and watched several episodes of Belle and Sebastian. We were bored, so we decided to fix ourselves dinner. We weren’t allowed to use the oven when our parents weren’t home—and we didn’t yet own a microwave—so dinner required a little bit of an imagination.
We had a cookbook called The Young Children’s Mix and Fix Cookbook, which was big, with a red and white cover, and we hoped that hidden somewhere inside, behind the Humpty-Dumpty and friends on the cover and nestled among the “Over 55 Tasty, Nutritious Easy-to-Make Recipes,” there was one magical recipe that would tantalize our taste buds. Of course, we fancied ourselves gourmet. What we found was a recipe that combined equal parts orange concentrate and peanut butter. Specifically, I think it was two tablespoons of each—enough to make two sandwiches and to create a wasted can of OJ—mixed together and spread on bread. The recipe was detailed, right down to the way we were supposed cut the bread—in fancy triangles from corner to corner, not ordinary rectangles straight across the white bread the recipe recommended. While I was trying to find the peanut butter in our madhouse of a pantry, he was digging for a can of orange juice concentrate. That was how he ended up suspended, calling for me by his only term of endearment.