This is my great grandmother’s dictionary. Born in Kiev, my great grandmother could speak three languages: Russian, English, and Yiddish. She came to America as a young girl fleeing the pogroms, eventually to live and bicker with her daughter in Yiddish almost 90 years later in a suburban Miami neighborhood, where, unable to live on her own anymore, she slept in a back bedroom. I never saw her pull the dictionary from the shelf, open it, and consult it if she forgot a word’s meaning in English. The dictionary sat on a small bookshelf in the hallway that separated her…


My Co-Star horoscope the other morning gave a simple direction: Ask for a recipe. As someone who spends a great deal of time cooking, I am familiar with recipes. A week after my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce, I wrote a Medium piece called “Recipes.” My life collapsing around me, betrayed and lied to, I looked over at my book shelf and saw the various cookbooks I often drew culinary inspiration from. These books are based on the concept of the recipe: the set of instructions one follows in order to produce something to eat. The concept is…


Bob Dylan had a birthday recently. I read it online. On my Facebook profile, I did not get a notification of his birthday. We are not Facebook friends. That simple point strikes me as simultaneously both reasonable and absurd. Why shouldn’t Bob Dylan be my Facebook friend? Have I done anything to insult him, offend him, or even bore him? Does Bob Dylan hate me or my Facebook writing? Is Bob Dylan angry with me? Does he have a bad memory of me? I cannot have done any of those negative things to Bob Dylan. …


When I got this dog, I knew I would have to walk him. I walk my dog approximately five miles a day. I walk him through alternative paths and routes I have chosen for that day. These routes carry us through the neighborhood and into the next neighborhoods, offering variety to the mundane task of leading an animal toward a place to piss and shit more than once a day. I try to walk him along a route where a public garbage can may be located so that I can throw out his shit half way through the walk. I…


We woke up with ice. Trees, cars, grass, bushes, sidewalks, overhangs, all covered in ice. This was not the first ice storm we’ve lived through, nor the worst. Once, in Missouri, many years ago, an ice storm cast a thick sheet across our streets and cars, smoothing out the neighborhood into one plane of frozen water. We were stuck at home for days. Thickness covered my windshield, the sidewalk, the street. My sister had to catch a flight home from the airport in St. Louis, almost a two hour drive away. Somehow she made it to the airport. I often…


Sometimes after a long day of fishing off the coast of South Florida, my dad would stop at a Dairy Queen somewhere between wherever we had been spending a hot summer day on the water and the southern Miami suburb we lived in. “My dad used to take me here after fishing,” he’d say each time we pulled up into the parking lot of some random Dairy Queen located off the highway. Inside, the walls were covered in Dennis the Menace pictures. The cups were also printed with Dennis the Menace pictures and scenes from the comic strip. For almost…


I didn’t invent this sushi sandwich. Two years ago, I bought it, I think, at the local Whole Foods. Whole Foods, like many grocery stores, sells a number of pre-made sandwiches. The pre-made sandwich offers convenience and expectation: If I want a turkey sandwich, I can have one. This sushi sandwich, however, was not in the sandwich section but in the sushi section. Among rolls and sashimi, there was something unexpected: a sushi sandwich. I posted this photograph to Facebook because I often post on Facebook pictures of what I eat. Why do I do that? Because I have no…


Whenever I am feeling restless or I have anxiety or I am in need of some form of hope, I go to grocery stores. Typically, I go to Whole Foods where I do the bulk of my food shopping. But my other trips to the grocery store seldom have to do with needing more food to eat. I buy a lot of food normally. I also go to the local Indian, Asian, Mexican, or Middle Eastern stores scattered throughout Lexington, Kentucky, whether I need food or not. Usually, I do not need to purchase any food. For someone who lives…


Several years ago, I wrote a short piece for an online academic publication about having a beard. Newly appointed as department chair, I did the only logical thing possible and stopped shaving. I have always hated shaving, opting only to shave on days I taught or had a meeting with someone higher up than me in the academic hierarchy. The cuts. The blades. The hassle. I found no meaning in shaving. This decision to stop shaving provided me with great insight regarding beards and departmental leadership. …


Sometime during the summer of 1987, my father took me to the University of Florida for freshmen orientation. He had a business appointment in Gainesville that day, so we flew up from Miami on a short flight. When I arrived on campus for orientation, I told my academic advisor I did not want to take freshmen writing. He didn’t question me about this decision and just nodded. I also said that I’d major in English since I liked to read. He seemed uninterested in this choice, but wrote it down anyway. When I was done with our short discussion, my…

J.Rice

Professor. Craft beer drinker. Beer trader. Sometimes I tweet more than Ratebeer reviews.

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