The 58th OTP mini-contest launched in October 2023. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long in which food played an important role.
We received 227 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Four of the six winners are new to OTP.
Third Place by Kenna Duncan (new to OTP)
Janet twisted more spaghetti around her fork. “Wow, this is delicious! Your sister made this?”
Eric sighed. “Yes. Now will you answer the question?” He was on one knee, a ring box in hand. “Will you marry me?”
Janet hesitated. “You can’t cook, though. Is your sister single?”
Second Place by Lisa Lopez (published in mini-contest #41)
The kids at my brother’s birthday party can’t sit still. Hand wrestling and Hot Wheels outshine cake. Only Susan, from the other side of town where sleep and internet aren’t a given, eats. As unruliness surges, Susan sits quietly, hoping somebody will ask if she’d like another slice of cake.
First Place by Fiona Jones (published in mini-contest #53)
I’ve offended him. I’m eating my dinner instead of sharing it online.
“This is a great restaurant.” Reproachfully.
He returns to his phone, his photo, his followers. Conversation drags. In the end I take out my own phone, pretend to scroll something.
He relaxes. “Let’s make another date,” he says.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Three other entries earned honorable mentions.
Abuse followed Ellie, father to husband, until she broke free, mostly.
“How did your date go?”
“He asked me what kind of pie I wanted.” Her eyes met the therapist’s. “I never knew I had a choice.”
by Nicki Nance (new to OTP)
Grandpa sneaks a Hershey’s bar into the grocery cart and winks at me conspiratorially as though Grandma, not diabetes, starves him of fun. And I—witness and accomplice—debate for a second whether to save him from sugar’s threats or Grandma’s. Sighing, I slip one in for myself, too.
by Lana Rosenthal (new to OTP)
“Rise!” I watched the rolls through my oven window. My mother’s recipe. They looked flat, like tuna cans.
“Please rise?” I begged.
One began to mound. Then another.
I hadn’t seen my mother in ten years. In an hour, she’d arrive for lunch. “Thank you,” I said. “Thank you.”
by Vicki Wilson (new to OTP)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.