The restaurant critic, Anabelle Mitchell, seated at table four, has ordered the specialty zombi de boeuf, which takes the beef of zombie cattle. It is coated with garlic and butter, then grilled to perfection. Working with zombie beef is tricky and comes with certain risks. The chef must wear goggles, mask, and gloves to handle the meat. She cuts away the really rancid parts but leaves just enough to give the customer that “slightly dead” feeling for a couple minutes without turning them.
Anabelle signed all the standard waivers. Her magazine has retained the right to write a review, regardless of her condition. On this one meal rests the fate of the restaurant’s three-star rating.
Of course, nothing goes to plan.
The obvious analogy that comes to mind is blowfish (fugu), eaten in Japan and other places, which contains a toxin. It requires expertise to prepare the fish and remove the parts where the toxins are concentrated. It won’t make the consumer a zombie, however.
The ending is not a surprise, but there are cute elements to the story that make it fun to read. I enjoyed it.
According to her blurb, author Carol Scheina is a deaf writer living in a traffic-jammed world [though I bet that’s let up in that past couple of weeks], dreaming of new places to explore. She has been published in Enchanted Conversation Magazine and On The Premises. Her works can be found at page.
The story can be read here.
Title: ”The Food Critic”
Author: Carol Scheina
First published: Theme of Absence, April 18, 2020