A Story by Marie

Sad story of a man and his appetite...


     “Scrumptious!” Bailey cried, as he dug into his wife’s pineapple upside down cake. “Scrumptious,” he said when he tasted her tender, juicy meatloaf. “Scrumptious,” he sighed about even her simple baked potatoes, which were a feast in themselves.


      Maggie, this  great cook, was not Bailey’s first wife. That had been Lambeth. Lambeth was a terrible cook. It was said of her that she could burn water. The dishes she took to pot luck suppers were tasted, for politeness sake, and immediately discarded. Her hard boiled eggs were rocks with tiny fragments of shell clinging to them. Her salads consisted of wilted lettuce with bits of cardboard tomato. If she peeled and sliced an avocado it became stringy and full of rotten spots. Cheese molded as she grated it.


    Bailey, a tall man, weighed less than 140 when he married Maggie. On her cooking he was soon up to 180, which he considered his ideal weight, then 190, then 200. “Honey,” he said, “I love your cooking, but I love it too much. I’ve got to lose some pounds. Could you manage to make things a little less scrumptious?”


     “You should have told me before,” Maggie said. “I can cook without oils or sugar; I’ll serve more salads and green vegetables. You’ll lose weight in no time.”


    But he didn’t. Maggie’s grilled chicken with succotash was delicious. Her salmon noodle bowl was superb. Her honey-oat clusters melted in his mouth. Everything was, in a word, scrumptious. Instead of having his usual three helpings, he had four or five.


     Bailey walked every morning, but that only gave him a voracious appetite for Maggie’s egg white omelet and lean bacon, from which every bit of fat had been drained.


     When he reached 300 lbs, Bailey went to see Dr. Carruthers. “Eat less,” the doctor told him. “Exercise more. It’s very simple.”


     “No it isn’t,” Bailey said. “You see, my wife is a great cook.”




     “No. She left me for Bill Hascomb. I remarried a little over a year ago.”


     “Well, that would explain it. Bill was just in to see me. Seems he’s suffering from malnutrition.”


     “Really? I remember him as a big guy. Probably 200 lbs.”


     “Not anymore.”


     “Oh.” Baily remembered the atrocious meals Lambeth had once served him and understood.


     Dr. Carruthers gave Bailey a diet sheet, which he took home and showed to Maggie. “I don’t this will help much. No matter what you fix, it tastes wonderful. I can’t help eating  more than I should.


     Maggie knew there was only one thing to do. She deliberately became a bad cook. She learned how to overcook and undercook food. She learned how to serve dishes that were so salty they were inedible, or so bland they were tasteless. She squelched her natural talent and made herself forget all her culinary skills.


     It worked. Bailey did no more than pick at his food, and he rapidly began losing weight. But he wasn’t happy. Neither was she.


     Then Maggie noticed the postman who brought their mail each morning. He was a very thin man, almost emaciated. Looking at him she suddenly had an impulse to bake a superb ham, crusted with brown sugar and cloves. She wanted to make peanut butter kisses, three-cheese lasagna, her specialty of blueberry cobbler thick with cream.


     Maggie fell into the habit of chatting with the postman every day and found out he wasn’t married. He found out she wasn’t happy…


     After losing two wives to other men, Bailey didn’t remarry. He buys frozen dinners and heats them in the microwave. As he digs into reconstituted Salisbury steak or chews corn pudding, with crystals of ice, he remembers the days of fried chicken and mashed potatoes…succulent pork-stuffed cabbage rolls…apple dumplings. A tear rolls down his cheek as he thinks of the delicious multi-layers of coconut crunch delight. Scrumptious, he mouths sadly, bitterly.


     And he knows he’ll never say the word again.

© 2015 Marie

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Aww Marie - this is too sad. Poor old soul. You got me really invested in the man's plight and I could hear sobbing that word with crumbs of food spewing forth like a sad volcano.
Brilliant writing :(

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

Thanks Anto. This review made me laugh.

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11 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on July 3, 2015
Last Updated on July 3, 2015
Tags: food, cook, ham, postman



San Antonio, TX

I have been writing for almost 60 years. Writers' Cafe is the best writing site I've found. If you send me read requests, expect me to be blunt. I don't like poor grammar, misspelled words or mistake.. more..


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