Let's write a food novel together
A throw away remark on the Home Cooking board's What's for Dinner thread prompted someone to ask what it might be like if we each wrote a paragraph or two of a food related novel.
The opening paragraph follows in the next post.
Please join in.
But....what if HE'S not what he appears to be? When our eyes first met at that conference for aspiring food entrepreneurs, it was as if we'd known each other in a former life. Or was it? Maybe he seemed so familiar because he'd been hovering on the periphery of mine, where my subconscious took note of him while my conscious mind wore blinders. Yes, that was it! The county fairs. I'd seen him there, for several years running. How could I not remember that ascot?
He'd been stalking Aunt Millie, trying to get her recipe. When she complained that she thought her home was being watched, we'd all dismissed her concerns as the confabulations of one whose faculties are in decline. It had begun shortly after I hired a lighting contractor to install task lighting in her kitchen. Cooking was Millie's joy but her eyesight had weakened. The lighting was a surprise for her 88th birthday. I arranged things over the phone. When I called Millie with birthday greetings, she was already at work on a rhubarb crisp. She thanked me profusely. The installer had been very polite, she said. She could tell he was a real gentleman....by the ascot he wore with his coveralls! She was looking forward to making a batch of marmalade the next week. Sadly, that day was not to come. When we arrived for our weekly Sunday brunch, we found Aunt Millie slumped on the settee, stone cold save for her lap, which was kept warm by the ancient Maine Coon Cat curled upon it.
I made a hasty excuse about needing more truffle oil, racing not to the gourmet boutique but to Aunt Millie's shuttered bungalow. After rummaging in the bougainvillea for the hidden key, I hurried into the kitchen and shone my flashlight up to the track lighting. My worst fears were confirmed. Every other polished aluminum can held not a halogen bulb, but a miniature camera.
The thought smacked me in the back of the head.
I'd been standing at a roadside vegetable stand yesterday, holding a fragrant spray of dill in my hand, and I had thought -- I'll need a binding or thickening agent.
"good luck finding an agent here," I reminded myself as I gazed across purple striped heirloom tomatoes and a table with split watermelons warming in the morning sun.
Now, those thought swirled through my brain as my knees sought their stability.
What was I planning to cook that had needed an agent???
Fruit and raclette? I swooned, shaken, legs weak beneath me.... could he know? how could he possibly know? I thought that was in past - the marmalade was a test. if he could withstand the seduction of the sweet, yet tartly bitter, sticky goo of the gods.... if he knew what to do with it, if he would use it to its full potential, if he knew how to spread it, lavish it on a piece of hot buttered toast, or slather it over a plump pork roast.... then he was the one. but.... he was throwing down his own challenge, testing met! did he know? did he know of my long and shadowed history with fruit and raclette? was it written all over my face? oh! the buttery grace of raclette.... i felt myself swoon again...
Dear Lord, why do all the cool people have to go paleo?
Well, at least it wasn't Vegan, I don't think I could have handled another Vegan.
"Wait. Please don't leave yet". "I....I think I have sugar free". I lied. Great Aunt Millie would have NEVER made her marmalade with anything other than sugar.
What am I doing? How far will I go to keep him here? What am I even looking for? Could I ever really be happy with someone that eats mostly meat and vegetables?
He stared at me, contemplating the sugar free marmalade and what could happen if he stayed.
Then the phone rang........
I lilted into the kitchen with our plates, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a zipper being undone. A flush of emotions raced through my mind – maybe I should look into the dining room before honoring my guest with the Majestic Marmalade?
The cleaver and I step around the corner.
Spread across the table was an opened messenger bag, from which my date was removing an assortment of gadgets and rounds wrapped in brilliant cello.
A throat clearing sound and our eyes meet.
“You prepared dinner, so I thought I’d do the dessert course…” trailing off almost apologetically…
"Fruit and Raclette.”
Not any ordinary marmalade, of course. This was Great Aunt Millie's secret recipe for Millie's Marvelous Marmalade. An award winner 21 years running at the local county fair.
Absolutely no one knew what was in that marmalade except Great Aunt Millie. And now I know, since she entrusted me with the recipe before she went on to the Big Kitchen in the Sky last summer.
Oh, believe me. Family members have come out of the woodwork asking for that recipe. People who claim they were Great Aunt Millie's best friend have asked. I've had many national brand name manufacturers asking - nay, *begging* - me for the recipe.
But I promised Great Aunt Millie that I wouldn't reveal the recipe to anyone, except the one person I myself could trust when it was time to pass it along.
Now - just how would I use this Marvelous Marmalade to entice the gentleman upon his visit? I had some ideas.
"But you said we would wait."
He had arrived. I told him in the doorway. About the marmalade, about Great Aunt Millie. That damn recipe that would change everything. I couldn't wait.
"You said you wanted Sarabeth to suffer and that her kingdom would be crushed."
"And you said you would bring scones. Things change," I spat out. My mind was spinning. Something was different - his tone, his eyes were not on me. He wasn't the One. He didn't care about Marmalade. There was something he wasn't telling me, I felt his nervousness resonate through the air, it hit me in the face like a wet potato.
"I'm... " I knew it was coming, I braced myself.
"I'm .. I'm going paleo" he said. And then he turned and walked out the door.
You know what it's like when seduction has been involved. There's some guilt, but the fun takes over. And so it's about to be.
I’d met him at a conference a few weeks ago but this was the first time he’d been to the apartment and it also going to be another first time – if you get my drift. I’d spent hours deciding what to cook for dinner but, in the end, knew my killer pasta and salmon dish would do the trick. We’d enjoyed that and we’d enjoyed each others company.
It was time to take the relationship to the new level that I knew we both wanted. It was time for the marmalade.