A black and white watercolour image of a bowl with two spoons resting on the lip, one spoon lies in front of the bowl.

One Dish, Many Spoons

It appeared on the porch on November 13th. A plain white dinner plate covered with a faded tea towel. Something lumpy underneath. I carried it inside. Banana bread! Four fat generous slices. Thicker than I would cut them. No note. No handwriting clues. Turn the plate over. Made in China. HomeSense™ . A plate for nobody and anybody. Two slices go into ziplock into the freezer. It’s cold outside! Cynthia and Jair bought a very small car. Snowfall on top of rain then dropping to -8. TextDo you have a windshield scraper? Yes. And lamb vindaloo! Leg of lamb over the fire on Christmas Day. Turkey might have made us: a) sad; b) tryptophann’d; c) avalanched by dishes. Google: Dishes made with leftover lamb? Vindaloo! A good portion, still hot, on a white plate. For whom? Next door: Mae. Shaped like a question mark. Must be 92 or 93. Biggest house on the street but she sleeps in the living room next to the rotary phone. PCWs come and go. There goes Nick, masked up, with a plate of food for her. Six feet, friends, six feet. No dessert. 🙁  Wait!! Banana Bread!   

My neighbours and I live on “Dish With One Spoon Territory.” The Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect. This microstory is written in that spirit. We owe the wampum, the ancestors and the pandemic gratitude for drawing out the peace, friendship and respect among us; teaching us how to eat well and eat together even when we do not share the space and time of a table. 

Karen Houle

Dr. Karen Houle

Karen Houle is a poet and Professor in the Department of Philosophy. Currently she is obsessed with fungi and is translating a biography of Leonard Cohen. 

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