Story 37 of 100

Elena Tucker
5 min readMar 24
Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

The Sunday Breakfast.

Arnold Fentoni finished peeling the potatoes and quickly used the mandolin to slice them into thin, round discs. Arnold was a first-generation Italian American. Actually, his mama was 7 months pregnant with him when she and his papa immigrated from Naples to Detroit, Michigan. Arnold’s name was really Arnoldo, but only his parents ever called him that, not even his brothers and sisters ever did. One girlfriend tried, but every time she did, she sounded disturbingly like his mama, so that relationship fizzled out quickly after that.

Arnold didn’t have a lot of expensive kitchen tools, other than the finest German knives he could afford. But as a self-respecting Italian, he owned one of the best and most expensive espresso machines. He had ground the beans and had the machine going before he did anything else this morning.

Arnold took the last of the bacon strips off the griddle, and put in a layer of potatoes. Then, he went to work on the peeled onion. He made sure that the slices were so thin as to be near translucent. Those he tossed into a small iron skillet. He didn’t always use onions in his breakfast potatoes, but sometimes their sweetness added just the right note.

Arnold was a cook by both vocation and avocation. He didn’t remember a time when he wouldn’t rather cook. While other kids mowed lawns to save money for candy or movies, he mowed lawns to purchase cook books and exotic ingredients he read about in those cook books. After Arnold cooked with his mama side-by-side and learned as much as he felt he could, he would muscle and hustle his mama out of the kitchen at every opportunity. And he would get her out of every means he possibly could think of — he even tried to bribe her with money once, which enraged her … for some reason. Cuteness did the trick more often than not, but failing that mode to cajole her to let him cook, mother and son still cooked next to each other, talking about spices and pasta shapes, the best tomatoes to use in sauces, and even how to seduce through food.

“Eh, Arnoldo,” his mama would say, “you need to get yourself a wife, someone who would cook for you once in a while.”

“Why, mama? When I’ll get myself a wife, I will cook for her, and I will cook for my children. I will find a job where I cook…

Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.