“Teriyaki steak with rice, steamed veggies.”
“Teriyaki steak! Tonight?”
“You’re complaining? You always beg me to make teriyaki steak. Tonight I made it extra sweet and gingery just for you!”
“I like it; I just… not tonight.”
“Too bad. It’s already defrosted and soaking.”
Kona looked at the thinly sliced beef swimming in sugary soy sauce, thinking hard. He tried again.
“But Mom, what about Dad? My teacher said that eating red meat is junk.”
“Robert Konahele, steak is not junk!”
“Not junk like junk food, Mom. I mean like the food pyramid. My teacher said people, people like you and Dad, need to watch what you eat. More fish and chicken.”
Mom paused her chopping, knife held aloft. “People like me and Dad?”
Sensing an advantage, Kona pressed his luck. “Yeah, you know. Older, rounder folks, the kind of people that need to stay away from beef and salt so your heart doesn’t explode. Maybe we can give the steak to the Nakamuras. Trade it for fermented tofu and kim chee. We can make a stir fry with lots of garlic. Easy and heart-healthy.”
Mom’s look curled his hair and chicken-skinned his arms. Too late he saw the smoke coming out of her ears as she grabbed a dish towel.
“Robert Konahele Inoye, you better engage your brain before you speak again or I guarantee you not going sit down for a week!”
He tried to scramble out of the way, moving like a cockroach when the kitchen lights come on.
“Sorry, Mom,” he mumbled, weaving from side to side as Mom snap, snap, snapped the dish towel at his feet. “Teriyaki steak sounds delicious. Never mind my teacher. I think she’s a vegetarian. Those guys are always a little crazy when it comes to meat. Too many mung beans and edamame for dinner.”
“Eh, boy, you better show some respect for your teacher!”
Mom turned to the sink and began wiping the spotless counter.
“But, hey, you’re worried about your heart, you don’t want to eat steak, your loss. You can eat the leftover chili, then. Lots of beans, no steak. Gotta be good for your heart. But don’t blame me if no one wants to sit by you! Now stop futzing around and wash the rice. Your father’s coming home soon–unless he keels over in traffic from all this beef and salt!”
Excerpted from Sniff by Lehua Parker. Copyright © 2013 by Lehua Parker. Excerpted by permission of Lehua Parker, LLC and Lauele Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher or author.