Three Ingredients II – 6: Turnips, Onions, Sauerkraut

Casper cookingWelcome back everyone! I’m pleased to tell you that today’s ingredients were sent by a reader who hasn’t always been with us here at Teagan’s Books — Jo Robinson.

Jo lives in beautiful South Africa, and has written quite a remarkable collection of stories.  She has a wonderful imagination.  For instance in her novel “The Shadow People, The Finding” characters are hurled across time and space, and find themselves on Lapillus, a beautiful world made up of precious gems.  (If you had any idea what a self-proclaimed “rock geek” I am, you’d understand that is a huge attraction. I have such a thing for semiprecious gems…)

Jo says all creatures feathered and furred inspire her writing, so I’m curious to know which of the “critters” in our serial she likes best.

Jo Robinson bk

This week’s ingredients have remarkable health benefits.  I never knew that about sauerkraut!  Another reader, Sally at “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” told me she recommends onions (among many other vegetables) for their healthfulness in her book on nutrition and emotional health. Check out Sally’s nutrition book, “Turning Back the Clock.”

Episode 6Maybe I need a nice “dose” of sauerkraut myself — to energize me. But on with our “interactive” serial instead! Without further lament, here is Episode-6.  Bon appétit!

6.  Turnips, Onions, Sauerkraut

A scent of mint was on the breeze and I inhaled with pleasure.  I sat on the ground in Granny Fanny’s garden wiping dirt from a turnip and an interesting idea popped into my head.  “I wonder how turnips would taste cooked with some mint,” I pondered aloud.Vintage rabbit driving

Cinnamon Bun, Granny’s Flemish Giant rabbit, looked at me quizzically and twitched his dirty nose.  I could have offered the huge bunny a turnip, but he clearly enjoyed digging up his own.  Just as we both went back to the dirt, a loud noise cracked the air.  I jumped half out of my skin, and Cinnamon Bun dashed to the security of his hutch.

The loud sound was followed by the beep-beep or a horn.  I looked down toward the road and saw a Dodge Roadster.  It wasn’t new.  I guessed it was about a 1921 model.  It was a black two-seater with a tan rag-top and tan spoke wheels.  The automobile was not familiar to me.  However, it pulled into Granny’s driveway.  A moment later Andy Avis jumped out and hurried to the back yard, where I sat in the vegetable garden.

I shook my head and chuckled to myself.  It seemed like every automobile Andy ever drove backfired like that.

“What do you think?” Andy asked motioning to the Dodge.

“It’s the berries,” I told him, because it really was a cute little vehicle.  “What happened to your Studebaker?” I voiced my thought.1921 Dodge Raodster

“Oh, it wasn’t worth the cost of shipping it to Hollywood, so I had to let her go,” he said with a touch of regret in his voice.  “Garth Gilley, down at the garage, let me rent this roadster from him.  If I knew more about how long I was going to be in town, I’d just buy it,” he said and I chuckled.  “Yes, Pip. I’ve already succumbed to the charms of a new vehicle, before the dust of the Studebaker has even settled,” he said, taking off his hat and placing it over his heart in pretend drama.

Garth,owned Gilley’s Garage.  Garth’s brother Godfrey owned Gilley’s Grocery where my grandmother and I bought much of our food.  Godfrey was attentive to Granny Fanny’s preferences for just the right produce, and Garth handled her Model-T with kid gloves.  They were good people, the Gilleys.

I took my basket of turnips, and on impulse plucked some fresh mint.  Andy followed me to the side of the cottage, that’s where the water pump was.  Always thoughtful, Andy got the water going and I rinsed off the vegetables and cleaned my hands.

Vintage Water PumpThe pump was near the open kitchen window.  An unexpected sound caused me to be immediately concerned.  Andy asked me if I needed any more water, and I shushed him.  Then I apologized in a whisper and motioned to the window.  Had I heard sobbing?  Granny was the only one inside the cottage.  Or was she?

I strained to hear, but Wriggles the pug was whining at Cinnamon Bun’s hutch, trying to get him to come outside.  I didn’t worry about Cinnamon with the dog, because the rabbit was much larger.  Besides, they seemed to be friendly with each other.  They weren’t making much noise, but it was enough to prevent me hearing what was happening inside the cottage.

Yes, yes… I know I shouldn’t listen that way, but I felt awfully protective of my grandmother.  Suddenly I heard a consoling voice.  A male voice.  Quietly I moved to the house and stood below the kitchen window.  Andy was right behind me.

“Holy Hannah,” Andy whispered.  “It can’t be.”

I scrunched up my face and gave Andy a look because he wasn’t making any sense.  Then the voices became louder.  The man had an accent.  Applesauce!

“No, no, no bella.  A flower like you should not cry.  Dry your tears and tell the Maestro all about it.  This will make you feel better, no?” the ghost chef consoled my grandmother — and she let him, despite the fact that she kicked his posterior into the refrigerator and slammed shut the door the first time she saw him..

My jaw dropped open.  I heard Granny mumble something about onions.man_ray_tears

“No, no, Luce dei Miei Occhi!  Light of my eyes, you do not fool the Maestro.  These tears are not from the onion.  Someone has broken your heart, I can see it.”

Suddenly the sobbing grew louder.  Poor Granny!  She was bawling her eyes out.  I moved to go inside and make sure she was okay.  However, Andy held me back.

“Actually Pip… the ghost seems to be doing a good job of comforting her.  There might be things that she needs to get off her chest that she wouldn’t necessarily want to tell her granddaughter,” my friend whispered.

I had to admit that Andy had a point.  My thoughts went to the big shindig where we had cornered the gang of bootleggers, and moments before I had accidentally found Dabney Daniels and Granny in a passionate kiss.  Granny had rejected him because she1920s Arrow couple couldn’t accept being older than the handsome detective.  I figured she was probably no more than a dozen years his senior, and I couldn’t understand why she let that bother her.  But it did, and it was her choice, so I didn’t try to convince her otherwise.  Anyhow, when you consider Granny’s mixed feelings for Detective Dabney Daniels, maybe the ghost was right.  Maybe her heart was breaking.

I heard indistinguishable words in between sobs.  Then finally she spoke clearly.  “I don’t know if it was the right thing for me, but it had to be the right thing for him.  It just had to be.  A beautiful man, still in his prime shouldn’t be saddled with an old woman,” she said, though Maestro Martino protested.  “But just because I turned him down — it didn’t mean I wanted him to move halfway up the east coast!” she cried.  “And I surely didn’t want him to run off and do something so dangerous!” she wailed.

In between a lot of blubbering we learned that Dabney Daniels went to Washington DC to become part of a special taskforce.  Granny also felt a little betrayed, because her old friend, Federal Marshal, Moses Myrick gave Daniels a glowing recommendation for the new position.

“So he’s gone for training with the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Taskforce.  That’s even more dangerous than his work as a police detective.  If anything happens to Dabney I’ll never forgive myself,” Granny sobbed.  “It’s my fault.  I pushed him into it by rejecting his romantic advances.”

Martino continued to console Granny Fanny.  Once she seemed calmer, Andy and I went to the back porch and inside the cottage.  As I opened the kitchen door I heard Kitchen Maid adbustling sounds.  To my surprise, it wasn’t Granny moving around her kitchen.  It was Maestro in his white chef’s apron and hat, along with those odd looking Renaissance era boots.  His back was to us, but he appeared to be making tea and a snack.

I couldn’t believe Granny would sit still for the ghost to be cooking in her kitchen — not after the way she had acted the first time she saw him.  I supposed that was testament to how distraught she was.  I also didn’t know what to expect the ghost chef to do when he saw us.  I thought maybe he’d wink out, disappear; whatever you’d call it.

“Ah! Signorina o Signore please do make yourselves comfortable.  The Maestro, he will soon have prepared something nice to make everyone feel better, no?” the spirit said.

Granny avoided looking at us.  I knew she didn’t want me or Andy to see her tear stained face.  She excused herself and went to wash her face.  She gave a sidelong, annoyed glance to Maestro for daring to do anything in her kitchen, but she hurried out of the room without saying anything else.

Maestro Martino turned to watch her retreating form as she went down the hall.  He was humming a tune that I recognized for a madrigal, It Was a Lover and His Lass.  So intent was the ghost on watching my grandmother’s backside that he overfilled a teacup and didn’t notice, even when the liquid spilled over the countertop to the blue and white tile floor.

It Was a Lover and His Lass – Highland High School Madrigal singers 20131215

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTvcDjOrA9A

I cleared my throat loudly and then got a dishtowel and mopped up the mess.  The Maestro acted as if nothing had happened.  He served tea and sat down at the kitchen table to join Andy and me.  There was something different about his face.  I looked at him closely.  The corner of his lower lip was swollen and inflamed.  He seemed to sip his tea very carefully.

It was puzzling to me… after all, he was a ghost.  “Maestro, is everything okay,” I said pointing to the corner of my own mouth to show what I meant.

He sighed unhappily.  “No, Signorina.  It is only …” he paused, searching for the correct term.  “It is only a canker sore, I think you call it,” he said sardonically.

“Oh, that can be miserable,” I said sympathetically.

I moved to the refrigerator.  I took out a dish of sauerkraut and got a fork from the drawer.  “Here.  Get a wad of kraut Sauerkraut adand put it against the mouth ulcer for a minute or two.  Then chew it up and swallow it,” I instructed him in the same remedy Granny had
given others in the past.  “It works, I promise.”

He did as I said.  After a moment he chewed and gulped, then washed down the sauerkraut with his tea.  Andy looked at the ghost chef with a speculative expression on his face that probably matched my own.  My friend seemed to weigh a couple of options and then discard them.  Finally Andy cleared his throat and questioned Maestro Martino.

“Pardon me, but how can a ghost have a canker sore?” he asked what might have been an impertinent question as politely as he could.

“Ah Signore,” Maestro began and shook his head remorsefully.  “When first I met you two lovely young people, I told you of my predicament.  Through no fault of my own, I pissed off the Pope and in short the point of the parable is now I am a poltergeist,” he said and waited for us to confirm that we remembered.  “Perhaps I postponed providing the piece where my predicament also presents another problem,” he said looking embarrassed.

Had the spirit really used that many Ps?  I blinked and gave my head a shake to make sure I was keeping up with him.

Vintage kitchen bouquet ad“Well, part of the predicament is…” he paused and winced as apparently the ulcer pained him when he moved his mouth a certain way.  “Whenever I lust after a beautiful woman… I get the canker sore.”

Andy chortled and I gave his ankle a little kick under the table, and told him he was being insensitive.  However, Andy just laughed again.  “Pip, don’t you realize?” he asked, though I didn’t understand what he meant.  “The beautiful woman he was lusting after was your grandmother,” he said as he leaned his chair backward and
 rocked it on two legs while he chuckled at me.

My eyes popped open wide as I looked at Maestro Martino accusingly.  The ghost looked down at his teacup and nodded penitently.  I got up but I didn’t know what to do with myself.  When I rested my hand on the countertop it landed on the dishtowel, sopping wet with tea.  I threw the towel at Maestro’s face.

The ghost immediately became transparent, and the wet towel went right through him.  It plopped wetly across Andy’s face.  Apparently I threw it pretty hard.  Andy was still leaning his chair back on two legs, and he toppled over when the wet towel landed, covering his face.Lon-Chaney_London_after_Midnight poster

When Andy sat up, wet white towel still covering his face, he looked like a ghost out
of a Lon Chaney movie.  I made a comment to that effect, and Andy proceeded to make monster-like motions and chase me around the cottage, with the towel still covering his face.  It was amazing that he didn’t run into more furniture than he did.

Wriggles the pug’s sensitive ears picked up the excited noises of play and he barreled into the game.  The little dog barked as he chased behind Andy.  I ran into the parlor and both of them followed.  Granny Fanny must have been “on a mission” to learn something again, because there were several stacks of newspapers and other periodicals from the library around the room.

Unable to see very much, Andy stumbled over a stack of newspapers.  Our laughter subsided, but Wriggles hadn’t given up the game.  The pug bounced around on the strewn papers and in a moment the entire floor was covered.  Andy and I set about collecting the pages and putting them back into the right order.

I noticed that they were very old issues of the Savannah Tribune, from before I wasVintage Pug even born.  Andy was on his hands and knees trying to get newspapers away from the dog without tearing them.  Something caught his eye, and he shifted from his knees to a sitting position to read a page.  He scratched his head and made a humpf sound that I’d often heard him make when he was thinking about an idea for one of his science fiction stories.

“What is it?” I asked.

“This name is familiar, but I don’t know why.  It’s an announcement article about a local boy rising up in the organization of the Church here,” Andy said as he continued to browse the write-up.  “Two brothers had been on scholarships to some hoity-toity business university, but during summer break, back home in Savannah, one of them suddenly joined the priesthood.”

“Do you mean the Binghamtons?” I asked

“Yepper,” he said and then smacked his palm against the polished oak floor with a loud smack that started the pug barking.

I shushed the dog by scratching his back.  Wriggles lived up to his name.  That little dog loved getting his back scratched.  He stuck out his tongue to lick his little pugged nose and wagged his tail until I thought he’d tip over.

Andy continued. “Now I remember where I’ve seen that name.  I saw it when I was researching the ownership history of the abandoned factory Manny Mayer had me buy for him.  I don’t remember the first name, except that it started with a ‘B’ but the surname was Binghamton for sure,” he said.

I remembered the old photograph I had seen at the Kingston mansion during the big shindig. It seemed like Daisy wanted me to see something in it.  I remembered it clearly.  I saw Daisy step through the broad French doors.  She went to a large framed photograph and placed her hand on it.  She nodded to 1917 Vogueme.  I knew there was information in that photograph. But then Daisy vanished.

He handed me the yellowed page.  It had a much smaller version of the same old photograph.  However this one had the surnames of the men listed under it.  Sure enough, one of them was Binghamton.  The image was so small, that it was hard to tell if one of them was a much younger version of the man who was now a bishop.

Looking closely, I realized there were two men who were thinner than the others.  The bishop was a very slight man.  So those must be the Binghamton brothers.  However, I couldn’t make out much about their faces from the old newsprint image.

Andy and I sat back and looked at each other.  One of the Binghamtons had owned the factory where Daisy the ghost girl said something happened to her.  It was something so horrible that she blocked it out of her living memory and she was afraid to go inside the place even as a ghost.

“We need to make tracks back to that factory and look around,” I said.

***

How to Preserve Onions

Next time, Barbeque Sauce, Baby Bok Choy, Aluminium Foil

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Three Ingredients Serial – 6: Turnips, Parsnips, Juniper Berries

Episode 6 dog cat copyA truly remarkable friend in Albuquerque supplied the “ingredients” for this episode.  Clever of her to think of juniper berries and how they relate to the 1920’s and prohibition! That’s how you drive the story.

I’m delighted to have all of you readers behind the wheel, steering this mystery with the ingredients you send.  And they’re coming from all over.  When Episode-7 comes around, the food-related things will be from the UK.  So stay tuned for that one.

Remember all the previous episodes live at the serial’s homepage.  And now, Episode-6…

6.  Turnips, Parsnips, Juniper Berries

I found Granny Fanny at the far end of her back yard.  The lot was a long fenced-in rectangle.  What looked like ordinary bushes at that time of year would blossom to reveal azaleas and forsythia in warmer months.  Granny and Cinnamon Bun were gathering turnip greens and some turnips.  I think she mostly took the turnips the huge rabbit dug up.  He was clearly enjoying himself.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell

“Now Cinnamon Bun, you’d better eat the next turnip you dig up,” she happily chided the bunny.  “And I don’t mean just nibble at it.  I don’t think you really like eating them, but you’re having a grand old time digging them up!”

She stood when she saw me.  “Pip, you’re a sight in those boy’s clothes!”  The good natured scolding switched focus to me for the Levis and flannel shirt I wore.  “And muddy taboot,” she added.

Then she smiled fondly.  “So how was the little foal?  Did you have a nice time with Doc and Missus Vale?” she asked.  “It’s a good clip out to that farm.  Did you and Veronica get to chat much?”

I nodded and smiled.  Did we ever!  It had been Granny’s idea that I go with the veterinarian and his wife when he called to check up on the foal he delivered.  It was born the day Detective Daniels and I found the parrot, Cracker, in the dead man’s room, so the vet wasn’t available to take the bird.  Granny wanted me to get to know the veterinarian’s wife.  She said that if I was bound to be an independent woman, then I should get to know the real deal.

1920s woman scientist-microscope“Yes, it was a nice drive,” I told her, and went into detail about the charming little foal, and what an accomplished and remarkable woman Veronica Vale was.

Veronica told me that for many years she worked at the South London Hospital for Women and Children.  Of course it was in England, but even more interesting, it had an all-woman staff.  Then Veronica retired and went back home to Savannah.  She met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice, doing what she called “lab work” with microscopes and other scientific things that I had never been around.  I had only touched a microscope one time.  I thought doing that kind of work must be the cat’s meow.

In turn I told the Vales about the man who turned up dead at the local premier of the movie “Night of the Killer Clam.”  I told them how strange I thought it was for him to have cilantro bits all over his shoes.  Doc Vale shrugged and looked puzzled.  Veronica seemed more interested as he drove.  “They still don’t know what killed the man?” she asked as the car puttered along.

I shook my head, and Mrs. Doctor Vale… or Doctor Mrs. Vale… Oh applesauce!  I didn’t know what title to give the woman.  She told me to call her Veronica, so I did.  Anyhow she looked at me conspiratorially and said she’d talk to Detective Daniels and see if she could get any samples to look at under her microscope.Turnip greens label

“I’m glad you had a good time,” Granny said, bringing me back to the present moment.  She looked pleased.  “Dabney Daniels is coming by to get some of these greens.  We’ve got more than we can use.  People who want catering don’t seem to eat turnip greens,” she added.

With a shooing motion she sent me inside to change clothes.  Granny didn’t think it was proper for a young woman to go around in trousers unless it was for a specific labor-related purpose.  They were acceptable for the “barn call” to see the new foal, but not if a visitor was coming to the house.

Detective Daniels arrived just as I put on a headband I had bought at a boutique in downtown Savannah.  It was a little plain (I wanted one with rhinestones) but it was pretty.  I noticed a little 1922_Saturday_Evening_Postflower arrangement Granny had set on the drop-leaf table in the parlor.  It had Cherokee roses and several stems of juniper.  I broke off a sprig with berries and tucked it into my headband to jazz it up.

“What’s that in your hair?” Daniels greeted me when I opened the door.

“Hello to you too,” I said.

“What are those,” he repeated.  The man was like a bulldog; single minded.  “Juniper berries?” he asked then chuckled.  “You’ll have me thinking Granny Fanny has gotten into bootlegging,” he commented and I looked a question at him.  “Don’t tell me you don’t know…  Okay, playing innocent, I see.”

I crossed my arms and raised one eyebrow at him.  “Detective Daniels, whatever are you talking about?”

He sighed and muttered that maybe I really didn’t know.  “Juniper berries are used in making gin,” he informed me.

Then a mischievous twinkle lit his eyes.  I had not seen that playful side of the policeman, and I rather liked it.  “Do I need to check the bathtub to make sure this establishment is not turning into a speakeasy?” he joked.  “Is there bathtub gin on the premises?”

“If Granny is making gin, then I sure don’t know where Cat_menu_Episode-6 copyshe’s hiding it!” I laughed.

“What do you mean, making gin?” Granny said as she walked into the room.

I could have sworn there was a guilty blush on her face.  I wondered if Granny really did have a stash of hooch somewhere.  She cleared her throat and deftly changed the subject.  “Dabney, Pip and I are about to sit down to some lamb and parsnip stew.  And I have some greens and cornbread to go with it.  Won’t you join us?”

The detective licked his lips just as his stomach growled.  I knew the answer to that question without having to hear it.

***

Lamb & Parsnip Stew

Credit:  The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Yield:  Makes 4 servings.

2 pounds cubed lamb

2 medium onions, quartered

2-1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large carrots, scraped and sliced

8 small parsnips, scraped and sliced

1 bay leaf

Brown lamb in a large stewpot, then add onions and sauté.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for up to 2 hours.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Juices can be thickened with flour or mashed potato to make gravy, if desired.

***

Tune in again next week.  Same flapper time, same flapper channel.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 22.2

Wednesday, December 19 , 2018 

Train Christmas lights_Natural Tunnel RR at VA St Parks

Natural Tunnel R.R. of Virginia State Parks, public domain image, Wikimedia Commons

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day!  The #SteamPunk train wears festive holiday lights today.  It’s headed to the northern Pacific coast of the USA, during the Victorian Era.  That’s where we’ll finish chapter 22 of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.

Today we will see what the third of the “three things” provided by John W. Howell at Fiction Favorites created in this spontaneously written story. 

This post also has a mention of a cross-over character who is featured in “A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients 2.”  I hope to book-ize that story early in 2019.  If you were following Jazz Age Wednesdays way back then, you will recognize Maestro Martino.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 21.  

Cornelis held out his harmonic tuner.  A faint current of green streamed from the tuner to the washing machine.  It wobbled, gurgled, and creaked.  The wringer started to turn again, the magic pulling the tablecloth on through as we watched.

Alchemically inscribed phosphorescent lettering appeared on the tablecloth.  The Dutchman shined the light on the cloth as it finished rolling from the mangle.  In large glowing green script I read the word aloud, 

“Daddy.”

Laundry washing machine

Chapter 22.1 at Straightlaced Saturday

To my surprise the alchemist produced the long map we had been looking at on the terrace.  The area on which he had used the harmonic tuner still gave off a greenish glow.  However, the phosphorescent script “Daddy” on the table cloth had begun to dim.  Cornelis noticed the diminished glow with a frown.  Hurriedly he placed the map atop the cloth.

The map was copied onto the tablecloth.  At first the drawings of topography overlaid the word “Daddy,” but then the script blazed through the map.  The word shone with eye-searing chartreuse light, before stabilizing and dimming to a flat pistachio green. Did it mark the location of Copper’s father? 

Alastair and Victoria Wong would stay with us until we reached the Pacific Ocean, where Copper, the alchemist, and I would continue our journey.  We still fled three groups of foes, but now we also were looking for Copper’s father.  Let’s find out what is revealed in the rest of chapter 22.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

22.2 — Penne Pasta

640px-Road_locomotive__John_boy__(5605531950)

The sun was directly overhead when Cornelis slowed the road locomotive.  We were on high ground overlooking a blue river.  Below I could see a collection of log cabins of some sort.

“Look, it’s a fort!” Copper exclaimed.

“Have we really journeyed so far so fast?” Alastair Wong said in a tone of amazement.

“What do you mean?” I queried.

“That is Fort Clatsop,” Alastair explained though I looked at him blankly.  “It was built by the explorers, Lewis and Clark and their expedition.  They spent a difficult winter there before getting back on their way.”

“And they were hungry, you may be sure,” Victoria interjected, causing Alastair to chuckle as she pulled out the large picnic basket.  “That is a fate we shall not share with the explorers,” she said to our oohs and aahs as she opened the basket.

The woman surely could not have a single drop of Italian blood in her veins, but she laid out a feast worthy of any great Italian chef.

“Dear Victoria!” Cornelis exclaimed and bowed.  “This is a feast worthy of the 15th-century legend, Maestro Martino de Rubeis!”

Vintage kitchen bouquet ad

“Who?” I couldn’t help asking, even though I knew my question would meet with derision from the alchemist.

Cornelis put on a mournful face and shook his head, muttering about my lacking education.  So naturally I had to tweak his nose, so to speak.  “Oh, did you know him then?” I made my question a playful taunt.

The Dutchman narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips. 

“The 15th century was the fourteen hundreds I remind you — that was quite before my time, as you well know.  I wasn’t even born until the year 1572,” he said and continued without missing a beat.  “Maestro Martino was a culinary expert unequaled in his field at the time.  He was quite the celebrity.  He was the chef at the Roman palazzo of the papal chamberlain, the Patriarch of Aquileia.  The Maestro Martino was called the prince of cooks,” Cornelis lectured.

Then he wriggled his bushy blonde eyebrows.  “So of course I did not know the Maestro in the fourteen hundreds,” he said and paused briefly.  “I did, however, meet him during his cursed afterlife.”

Though I knew I should not encourage Cornelis, I took his bait yet again. 

“Cursed? How so?” I asked.

“The poor soul pissed off the Pope.  Enough said.  Please pass the porcinis,” the alchemist said.

Mushroom faries Carrousel

That naturally prompted animated questions from everyone.  Cornelis loved to have an audience and he told the tale of the cursed chef and his acquaintance with him most vividly while we enjoyed Victoria’s Italian feast.

Needless to say, we were all quite pleasantly stuffed.  Alastair lit a beautifully carved pipe.  I faintly heard Victoria humming what I suspected was a nursery song from her home, as Copper rested her head in Victoria’s lap.  I was feeling rather sleepy in the sunshine myself.  Cornelis looked infinitely far away in thought as he toyed with a last spoonful of penne pasta in his plate.

“What’s on your mind, Dutchman?” I intruded on his thoughts.

“The next leg of our journey,” he replied, still examining the pasta.  “I need to summon our transportation.”

He picked up a piece of penne and held it up to his eye, looking at Copper through the pasta cylinder.  Copper giggled.  I told the Dutchman that he was a bad influence.

“Copper, could I see your mystic monkeys bell?” he asked the girl.

“Why not use the harmonic tuner that is more familiar to you?” Alastair asked quietly in a voice edged with concern.

I was in agreement with Alastair Wong in his newfound concern about Cornelis and his tricks.

“You are right,” Cornelis told him.  “Ordinarily, in the working of magic it is best to use implements to which one has become attuned.  However, in this case the harmonic tuner that Copper has always thought of as her mystic monkeys bell was a gift from Daddy.  And that is whom we hope to find.  So the more elements relating to him, the better.”

Girl Flute Green pixabay

Altered image from Pixabay

A detailed carving of the fabled three mystic apes — see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil was worked into the surface of the bell.  Copper reverently handed Cornelis the second harmonic tuner.  Her solemn expression was at odds with her youth.  It reminded me of how difficult the entire situation must be for the girl.

The alchemist looked down at the scraps of pasta in his plate and arranged three pieces of penne end-to-end.  Then the alchemist held the harmonic tuner over them and flicked the bell with his fingernail.  It gave off a sharp ping sound.

The pasta glowed greenly.  The aura intensified until I had to shield my eyes.  When the supernatural light abated, a jade flute lay where the penne had once been.

The alchemist picked up the flute and played a trilling series of notes.  Then he abruptly stood. 

“Shall we?” he asked, and we gingerly made our way down the steep hill to the water’s edge.

Once there he piped the same notes again.  Cornelis looked at the water unconcernedly.  I looked at him impatiently.

“I don’t see anything.  What’s supposed to be happening?” I wanted to know, but the infuriating man ignored me.  “Should you do it again?” I asked motioning to the jade flute.

The Dutchman’s mouth twitched to one side in a dissatisfied way. 

“Perhaps I should…” he speculated.

As Cornelis raised the flute to his lips the water started to bubble and gently swirl.  He lowered the flute without playing another note.  He wriggled his bushy eyebrows and grinned.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

“You’re going to love this,” he told Alastair.

Wong looked somewhat apprehensive.  After all, he certainly had reason to be concerned, after the wayward alchemy caused his washing machine to break down the storage building door, and do assorted other damage at his hot spring.  However, he quickly caught the contagious gleam of excitement in the Dutchman’s eyes.

The movement of the water became intense.  Something was rising to the surface.  Involuntarily I took a step backward.  Victoria took Copper’s hand and pulled her several feet away from the shore.

For a moment I thought a whale was breaching.  Then I realized it was no living thing.  Wong beheld the sight with gaping mouth, but I had the impression that he at least thought he knew what was coming to the surface.  Expressions of worry and wonder were at war on his face.

When the entire large shape was in full view, I still didn’t know what it could be. 

“Cornelis…” I began, but found I was at a loss for words.  “Wha—”

Cornelis Drebbel clasped his hands and a gleeful expression lit his face, as if he beheld something he had long missed.

“It’s my submarine!” he crowed.

***

Real World Notes

Drebbel’s first submarine, 17th century, Wiki Media Commons

Submarines.  Yes, the real world Cornelis Drebbel actually did invent the first navigable submarine. He became a famous inventor during his time.  King James I of England was eager to gather explorers, theologians, economists, and you guessed it — alchemists around him at court.  He invited Drebbel to England in 1604.

Drebbel’s first submarine looked like it was based on a row boat with raised and meeting sides.  All that was covered in greased leather, with a watertight hatch in the middle, a rudder, and four oars. Under the rowers’ seats were large pigskin bladders, connected by pipes to the outside. Rope was used to tie off the empty bladders.  To make the sub dive, the rope was untied and the bladders filled.  In order to surface, the crew mashed the bladders flat and pressed out the water.

He eventually built two more submarines, each one bigger than the last. The final model had six oars and could carry 16 passengers. Drebbel demonstrated that one to the king along with thousands of Londoners on the Thames.  The submarine could stay submerged for three hours at a depth of 15 feet.  However, we don’t know how Drebbel maintained the air supply.

***

Will the flute lead them to Copper’s missing father?  Can anything be that easy in our trio’s journey?  Remember, three different groups of foes pursued them.

The next three random things are “Feather, Yorkshire Pudding, and Absinthe.”  If you think this steampunk train has been on a crazy ride, just wait until you see what I did with absinthe!

The next episode will air on Straightlaced Saturday this weekend.  So please stay tuned.  I’ll be looking for you at the station.   

I love your comments, and reblogs.  Although today I will be slow to reply.  Please don’t let that stop you from saying hello!  I will reply as soon as I can.

Mega hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Superstitions You Might Find in Atonement TN

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The amazing Sue Vincent recently hosted me at her Daily Echo blog.  We were talking about superstitions and I shared some from my youth.  I had a great time at Sue’s and I hope you’ll click over to visit her.

I expect the townsfolk in fictional Atonement, TN would tend to be superstitious.  How could they be otherwise with all the strange goings on and supernatural beings?

The first writing advice I heard was something I took to heart ― Write what you know.  When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee I followed that guidance and created a fictional southern town where the urban fantasy takes place.  Of course, the second novel, Atonement in Bloom, is also set there.

I made it a very small, rural town so some of the manners and personalities I grew up with would not seem out of place.  The townsfolk would be familiar with the old superstitions that were often quoted to me.

tilt shift photography of yellow flower plants with spider web

Unsplash

I’ve always wanted to collect old southern superstitions.  I wish I had written them down back in the day, because I’m sure I’ve forgotten many.  I agree with Sue that so much of that kind of thing is lost.  Some of them are fun or charming.  Others, not so much…

From my grandmother:

  • If a young woman left her handkerchief outside overnight, a spider would weave a web on it. The next morning the dewdrops on a spiderweb would reveal the name of her future husband.
  • A dream dreamed on Friday and told on Saturday will come true, no matter how old.
round copper-colored coins

Unsplash

  • Never give anyone a purse or wallet without adding at least a penny to it. Else you will be made poor.
  • Never give someone a knife without also giving them a penny. Else they will harm you with it (whether or not they mean to).
  • If dogs howl three nights in a row, someone will die.  (Wasn’t she full of cheery thoughts?)
  • Dogs and cats attract lightning. She warned me that I should put my pets outside in a storm rather than cuddle them.  I refused to do so and held them tighter every time it thundered.  As you might guess, I didn’t exactly have the happiest childhood…
black dog wearing blue denim collar

Unsplash

From other relatives:

  • If your pets are extra playful, there’s going to be a change in the weather.
  • Bees won’t sting you during a month with a name that has an “R” in it.  (I refuse to test that one – I have anaphylactic reactions to bee stings.)
  • It’s too early in the year to go barefoot outside if the whippoorwill hasn’t begun to call.
  • Any chore that you do on New Year’s Day – you will be doing all year.
  • For every black-eyed pea you eat on New Year’s Day, you’ll get a penny. (The dads would give the kids the penny for each pea – as long as they didn’t eat too many.  Although I like them now, I didn’t like black-eyed peas back then.  I asked if I could have a dollar instead.  That was not well received.  I didn’t even get the pennies for the five peas I ate.)
    That’s actually more of a tradition. The superstition was that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brought good luck, and the good luck meal for that day was black-eyed peas, turnip (or collard) greens, and ham, preferably with a side of cornbread (no sugar in that bread!). 
  • If your nose itches, company is coming.
  • If your ears are burning, somebody is talking about you.
  • Don’t cut your hair on the new moon, because you won’t get your money’s worth from the hair cut — it will grow too fast.
  • Don’t have teeth pulled when the “Signs” are in the head.  This refereed to a anatomical Zodiac chart in the Old Farmer’s Almanac — however it had nothing to do with that hippie astrology stuff. It was just the Signs.
assorted-color umbrella hanging on gray wires

Unsplash

From my playmates:

  • Never open an umbrella indoors.  (I didn’t understand that one.  Was it going to rain inside if I did?  That rather appealed to me, so I tried several times with no effect.)
  • Hold the stem of an apple. Twist it once for each letter as you recite the alphabet.  The letter on which the stem breaks will be the first letter of your boyfriend’s name.

My little friends and I used that one a lot. It gave us fits, trying to make the stem break on letters that were very early, or later in the alphabet. Based on my former husband’s name, the apple was right.  I recommend eating pears in stead. 

red apple in person's palm

Unsplash

All those superstitions reminded me of the very naughty mirror Ralda Lawton discovered in the old estate house she bought.  Here’s a snippet about the Mirror of Truth and Justice Most Poetic.

Lacey Hampton led me down the foyer in her home.  I stifled a gasp when I saw the mirror I had sent to the consignment store the day before.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Lacey said sheepishly.  “I was quite taken with it.  Oh shoot!  That’s the second time,” she said stooping down and frowning.

When I looked down, I saw the reason for her reaction.  There were several red droplets on the floor beneath the mirror.  I had the morose thought that it looked like teardrops of blood.  I felt a chill along my spine.  It made me think of the reddish stain the wardrobe where I found the mirror.

Lacey speculated aloud that it was rust.  After all, the frame was metal.  Annie must have cleaned the frame and it had not dried properly.  I didn’t make any comment.  Looking at the smear on the napkin I would have said it looked more like blood than rust, but that was a ridiculous thought.

Ornate Mirror autoestima-cidada-682096-unsplash.jpg

Autoestima Cidada, Unsplash

***

Would you risk several years of bad luck to smash that creepy mirror and get rid of it?  Somehow I don’t think it would be that easy to do away with the Mirror of Truth and Justice. 

I’ll see you at the station to catch the #SteamPunk train for the next chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers on Hidebound Hump Day this Wednesday.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2012 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Back to a Pug in the Kitchen — Granny Phanny & the Giant Rabbit

Update

I finally got around to making Suzanne’s “Creamy Spring Turnip Soup.”  I know anything from A Pug in the Kitchen is going to be delicious, but I confess to being lukewarm about turnips.  I say that for the non-turnip lovers in the crowd.  I always take shortcuts in cooking, so I know my versions won’t be as good.  So imagine my pleasure when, even in my clumsy hands this soup was stand-up-and -cheer delicious! 

Preparing to Launch…

This spring I plan to book-ize the second serial story, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients I.   As I get ready for the takeoff, I’m doing a few collaborative posts with people who blog other topics — combining my stories with their respective talents.  Since Murder at the Bijou is a culinary mystery, I am particularly happy to do another joint post with the fantastic chef, Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen.

The post is already live at her blog.  Click here.  I appreciate those of you who have already left comments there.  pug memorial candle

First, here’s Suzanne to introduce our special purpose with this collaboration.  Go ahead, Suzanne…

Another delightful installment from the joint collaboration with writer/author extraordinaire Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, we planned this post to occur in March, Women’s History Month.  We’ve come a long way baby and every month, week, and day should celebrate women and our contribution to society, this country, our families, and communities. I am woman hear me roar.  Well that is a little cliché I know, but we are empowered and accomplished and strong and proud of how far we have come.  It amazes me that at one time women didn’t even have the right to vote.  In some countries women are still considered objects of disdain, almost subhuman, and of less importance than their male counterparts.

I also am including a recipe that I posted years ago for a spring turnip soup.  You may turn up your nose when you read “turnips” but honestly this soup is delicious.  I use Hakurai turnips, which appear late winter and early spring at the local green markets. They are crisp, sweet, and mild — making an outstanding soup!  The soup is topped with some crumbled bacon and the turnip greens, which are sauteéd in the bacon fat. For vegan and vegetarian option all you do is eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth or water. For vegan option of course you would not use the cream but you can sub a non dairy option of your choice.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Greens And Bacon

(Bacon is optional for my vegetarian friends)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 heaping cups turnips peeled and quartered (Use the small spring turnips if possible)

1 potato peeled and quartered (I used Yukon Gold and it’s Optional to use a potato)

2 cups leeks (cleaned well and sliced) or use a medium size onion or 2 shallots

4 1/2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable or water)

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4-6 slices bacon

Turnip greens cleaned VERY well

In heavy sauce pan heat a little olive oil, add the leeks or onion or shalot and sweat, cook just until tender don’t brown. Add the turnips and potato, now add the liquid (broth or water). Cover and cook until the turnip and potato are tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes and blend either in your blender or use the immersion blender. Note: If using an immersion blender remove some of the liquid you don’t want the soup too thin, you can always add it back in. Add the butter and cream and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the fry pan and add the greens to the bacon fat, season with salt and peppper and saute until the greens are tender and wilted.

To Serve:  Garnish the soup with the wilted greens and crumbled bacon.

suffragettes-in-white

When I asked Suzanne for an ingredient to use in a story for this collaborative post, right away she said turnips.  Every time I hear that word I think of the “Cinnamon Bun” character from my serial, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-1 (which I mentioned at the beginning).  That story is in the timeline right after The Three Things Serial Story.

Many of you are familiar with my flapper character, Pip.  However, this time the story is told from the point of view of Pip’s grandmother, Phanny Irene Peabody.  (Yes, Granny was also a Pip.)  I thought that was appropriate since March is Women’s History Month.  Granny lived during the height of the suffragette era, and she was a woman to speak her mind.  It’s also something of a back-story for Cinnamon Bun.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as Suzanne’s recipe!  Although that’s a lot for me to live up to…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

“The only true woman is a pious, submissive wife and mother, concerned exclusively with home and family!”

Even more irksome than the words themselves was the fact that they were uttered by a woman.  I was glad that I had already left the building.  Otherwise I might have lost my temper.  What business did anyone with that opinion have at a women’s meeting in the first place?

suffragettes-marching

In 1920, Georgia was the first state to “reject” the Nineteenth Amendment, which assured women the right to vote.  It was two years later before women actually got to vote in my home state.  Long after that, we were still suffragettes, working for equal rights.  We still wore suffragette white to our meetings.

That intolerable statement was immediately followed by the resounding crack of a slap across the speaker’s face.  I cringed, knowing full well who had likely delivered the smack.  I turned on my heel and hurried back inside.  Veronica Vale was no meek little lamb.  She was a force of nature when her righteous wrath was incurred.  I tried to make my way through the pandemonium to my friend.

1920s woman scientist-microscopeBy the time I got to Veronica, I could hear police sirens.  A quick look around told me several attendees had slipped quietly away, including the woman who spoke the words that started the trouble.

“It was all planned,” I muttered.  “That bunch wanted to make trouble from the minute they asked to join.”

Not much later a handful of us — enough to make an example, but not so many as to cause the coppers much trouble — were hauled down to the police station.  A group of men stood laughing and cat calling while we were hustled outside.  My cheeks heated in a blush.

Detective Dabney Daniels of the Savannah Police got a tip that something was going to happen.  By the time the paddy wagon reached the station, he was already diffusing the situation.

“Miss Phanny,” he began with a smirk and a shake of his head.  “I wish I could say I was surprised to see you,” he told me before turning to Veronica Vale.  “Mrs. Vale your husband is already here.  You’ll be released into his custody.”

I knew that “custody” statement wouldn’t sit well with Veronica.  She was a doctor and a scientist, not some man’s property.  No matter how good the man.  For years Veronica Vale had worked at a hospital in England called Clapham Common.  It had an all-female staff.  She retired and returned to Savannah.  Then she met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice.

Before she could complain, I blurted out my puzzlement.  “Dabney, how could you know…?”

“I’d like to claim powers as a mentalist, Miss Phanny.  However, Dr. Vale had just arrived to pick up someone else,” the handsome detective explained as chaos erupted elsewhere in the station.JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

Detective Daniels quickly excused himself and walked toward the sounds of people shouting.

Veronica gave a downright evil chuckle.  I looked a question at her and she laughed out loud at the expression on my face.

“Phanny Irene Peabody,” she said.  “You are indeed a Pip.  I suppose you’ve never noticed the way that young man looks at you.  He probably doesn’t care a whit for the turnips  you’re always giving him, or the meals he gets in return for fixing one thing and another at your cottage.  Tsk-tsk.  Phanny, that young copper is smitten with you.”

“Veronica, don’t be ridiculous.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Dabney is just a goodhearted young man,” I told my friend most emphatically.

Another crashing sound and men shouting prevented her from talking more of that nonsense.  How absurd.  I was old enough to be that boy’s mother.  We might enjoy one another’s company, but there was nothing more to it.

“Hi, Honey.  Are you hurt?” Vincent Vale asked his wife as he skidded to a stop.  As Veronica shook her head he turned to me.  “Mrs. Peabody, are you well?” he greeted me politely.Christopher Timothy as Vincent Vale

Veronica assured her husband that neither of us had come to any harm.  I noticed Vincent held some kind of harness.  There was more shouting, and then the veterinarian pelted away toward the commotion.

A moment later we heard Vincent shout.  “Got ‘em!”

However there was another crash.  I heard dull thumping noises.  The sound was quite rhythmic, and coming closer.  Veronica and I exchanged puzzled looks.

I stuck my head around the corner and gasped loudly.

“I must be seeing things.  Else I’m just plain zozzled,” I murmured.

Veronica craned her neck to see what had stunned me.

“Well horsefeathers!  In all my born days…” she began.  “A Flemish Giant.”

“Flemish?  Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “You’re hallucinating too,” I mumbled.  “Somebody spiked our tea a little too much at the women’s meeting.  Or else I’m looking at a cinnamon colored rabbit that’s three feet tall, sitting on his haunches.”

I crouched down, befuddled.  The big bunny hopped over to me and nuzzled my hand.  I scratched between his impossibly long ears.  I helped hold the big bun still as Vincent got the harness around him.

“This big ole boy decimated Godfrey Gilley’s garden.  Dug up every turnip he had,” Vincent commented.  “When the big bun headed toward his grocery store, Godfrey was so upset that he called the police saying there was a bear in his yard!” the veterinarian laughed.  “Trouble is, I’m not sure what we can do with him.  We’ve taken on so many animals lately,” Vincent admitted, but cast a pleading look at his wife, who gave a resigned sigh.

My face ended up against the giant rabbit’s soft hair as Vincent adjusted the harness.  I found that I didn’t want to move.  My fingers sank into the plush fur.

“I’ll take him,” I spoke up, and questioned my own sobriety again.  “Oh good lord, but I need a hutch for him.”Vintage rabbit driving

I hadn’t noticed that Detective Dabney Daniels was standing beside us.

“Don’t worry, Miss Phanny.  I can take care of a rabbit hutch in a jiffy,” Dabney said.  “Even one big enough for this miscreant,” he added with a grin.

Veronica elbowed me sharply in the ribs.  She gave me an I told you so look and winked.

“He’s sweet on you,” she whispered into my ear.  “So what if he’s younger.  He’s a damn fine figure of a man!”

“Absolutely no!” I told her so fiercely that everyone looked askance.

Fortunately I was spared from an explanation because of Veronica’s loud bark of laughter.

The Vales offered to drive me home.  I got into the automobile with Vincent and Veronica, and of course the rabbit.  Dabney bent down and promised to come by to start on the rabbit hutch that evening.  Veronica wriggled her eyebrows at me.  I gave her a withering look, then turned and smiled at the detective as I thanked him.

“What was all that about?” Vincent wanted to know as we drove away.

Veronica had no inhibitions about sharing her embarrassing speculations to her husband, despite my denial. 

“It simply will not do!” I told her, my patience close to its end.

“She means that dear,” Vincent said.  “You might want to leave it alone before your sense of fun hurts your friendship.”

“You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh.  “I’m sorry Phanny.  I just want to see you happy.”

“I am perfectly happy as I am.  Besides, I told you that my granddaughter, Pip, is coming to live with me.  I’ll have my hands full, teaching her to cook,” I reminded my friends.  “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

The End

***

Thank you all for visiting. If you’ve already been to this post at A Pug in the Kitchen then double-thanks.  Happy St. Patrick’s weekend.  I’m still wearing my green!

St Patricks Day Vintage

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Mini-Series — The Senses — Taste

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch

Welcome back to my mini-series on the five senses.  Last weekend I interrupted this series by posting a Valentine’s story.  The previous installment of this series was about the sense of smell, and I was glad everyone came out to sniff around! (Okay… I’ll try to control myself with the play on words.)  Now for the next-to-last installment of this series — Taste

Purple mouth

Think about the many different ways the sense of taste could be used to enhance your writing.  It doesn’t have to be the taste of food or drink. Consider other ways that taste could come into play. I had a friend with no sense of smell.  She said she could taste the air when it carried a strong odor.  Concentrating on that, I found she was right! My point is that taste need not be limited to foods.

For my example of taste I’m using one of the “interactive” serials I’ve provided here at this blog. Click the button at the top of the page if you want to know more about this serial.  This tidbit is from episode-6 of A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients, Cookbook-2.  All the episodes are together and in chronological order on the serial homepage.

This serial is a culinary mystery-fantasy set in the 1920s. It’s narrated by Paisley Idelle Peabody, better known as Pip.  In this tidbit Pip is working in her grandmother’s vegetable garden.  Describing Pip’s actions, or the smell of the air is fine. However, causing the reader to think about a taste adds fullness to the scene.

Early Lucille 2

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

A scent of mint was on the breeze and I inhaled with pleasure.  I sat on the ground in Granny Fanny’s garden wiping dirt from a turnip and an interesting idea popped into my head.  “I wonder how turnips would taste cooked with some mint,” I pondered aloud. 

Cinnamon Bun, Granny’s Flemish Giant rabbit, looked at me quizzically and twitched his dirty nose.  I could have offered the huge bunny a turnip, but he clearly enjoyed digging up his own.  Just as we both went back to the dirt, a loud noise cracked the air.  I jumped half out of my skin, and Cinnamon Bun dashed to the security of his hutch.

The loud sound was followed by the beep-beep of a horn.  I looked down toward the road and saw a Dodge Roadster.  A moment later Andy Avis jumped out and hurried to the back yard, where I sat in the vegetable garden.

***

As many of you know, the serial stories are spontaneous and unedited. Looking back I could have improved this scene by having the odor of the exhaust from the car’s backfire overlay the tastes that were in Pip’s mind.  Or I might have brought out something about  the garden soil for one of the other senses.  I’m sure you get the idea.

Since this installment is about taste, I’m adding a bonus.  Click on over to A Pug in the Kitchen for this delicious offering from Suzanne.  Also, congrats to Suzanne on her new furry family member.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup with Wilted Greens and Bacon

Creamy Turnip soup.jpg

Your Turn!

Hey! Come back!  Now it’s your turn.  A photo of an old truck and gas station might seem like an odd choice for an exercise about the sense of taste, but challenging your senses is the point.  Look closely at the image below — put yourself into the picture.   It’s a brisk day.  You were out on the road and stopped at the old gas station to fill-up.  You may or may not be the person driving the red truck.  Or perhaps you are not a patron — maybe you work there, or live across the street. I’m sure a scene is in your mind at this point.  Now add fullness to it by mentioning a taste.

Red Truck Gas Vintage

What did you taste?   Leave a comment with just a few words about a taste this photo brought to your mind.

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Three Ingredients II – 9: Chanterelle Mushrooms, Gin, Trifle

Pug Girl hatHello everyone — I’m so glad to see you again!

At the end of Episode-7 Andy’s fate was unknown. Whether by design or by accident, the ghost-riders had taken him away. Then last weekend Maestro Martino sacrificed something important to him, without knowing whether or not it would return Pip’s friend. However, that segment ended without the ingredients revealing anything about Pip’s dear friend “Andy the Astronaute-man.”

The food-related things for this episode were provided by Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.  She was also kind enough to let me use a recipe for one of those ingredients. I hope you’ll check out her wonderful blog.

Let’s see where Suzanne’s tempting ingredients take the plot of our interactive culinary mystery in Episode-9.  Bon appétit!

9.  Chanterelle Mushrooms, Gin, Trifle

With Aura

Though it seemed like much longer, only moments had passed since Maestro Martino took the hand and shoulder of Caleb the ghost-rider.  Suffused with blinding light, the spirit chef seemed to merge with the cowboy before the ghost-rider disappeared.

My breath caught when I heard the fizz and pop, not unlike a bottle of champagne being uncorked.  I began to associate that sound with the appearance or disappearance of poltergeists.  The sound was immediately followed by something crashing and then the unpleasant noise of puking.  I glanced at the Maestro and saw his grimace.Chanterelle Mushrooms

“I haven’t heard such pathetic retching since I took a bumbling apprentice foraging for chanterelle mushrooms.  The poor buffoon gobbled up the wrong species while I wasn’t looking,” the ghost chef said, and he looked like he might sick-up himself.

I hurried around a tall stack of old crates toward the noise.  To my immense relief I found Andy sprawled on what appeared to be an old church pew.  When he saw me he pushed himself up on his elbows and wiped his face with a white handkerchief.

“That was one helluva ride,” my old friend groaned.

“Andy!  Are you okay?  I was scared to death!” I exclaimed.

1920a TB adI immediately regretted my poor choice of words, but neither Andy nor Maestro seemed to pay any mind.  In fact, the ghost chef wasn’t paying any attention to either of us.  He studied a rotted old crate intently.  Meanwhile Andy looked pale and woozy.  “Maybe you should put your head between your knees,” I said.

“Isn’t that for fainting?” he asked.

“Uh… yeah, I guess so,” I said lamely, and wondered if Andy really expected me to believe he was not about to pass out.

“I’ll be fine,” he mumbled, swaying where he sat.

Startling me, the Maestro drew back his foot, still wearing those odd looking Renaissance era boots, and gave the dilapidated crate a hard kick.  The wood practically disintegrated with the impact.  Several bottles rolled out onto the floor.  The poltergeist chuckled delightedly and scooped up a rolling bottle.  He had it open in a jiffy.

“Here Signore,” Maestro told Andy as he handed him the open bottle.  “This should set you to rights.”

I sat down on the dusty church pew next to Andy Avis.  He took a swig right from the bottle.  Andy made a surprised face, but he swallowed the liquid.  Then he held out the bottle to look at the faded label.Skull Ghost Bottle

Gin!” he exclaimed.  “And the real stuff too, not bathtub gin.  “Wow! I wonder how old this booze is.”

“Everything in this old warehouse, or factory, or whatever it is seems to be ancient,” I commented as I took a closer look at the carved wooden pew.

“The place was both at one time or another,” Andy said.  “So you’re right either way.  Based on what I’ve learned through the records at the courthouse, it might have been a hospital on and off too.  Or at least part of it was.  Probably not this part,” he said sounding like the swig of gin might have gone to his head that fast.  “Maybe somebody held religious services here while they were having a church built or something too,” Andy added and with a little burp he patted the pew and left a handprint in the dust.

Goose bumps covered my arms and the little hairs stood on end.  I looked at the antiquated church pew, at Maestro, and back to Andy.  I remembered the recent day when Andy and I found all those newspapers Granny Fanny had apparently been using to look up something (see Episode-6).  Andy found an old issue with a picture of a lot of young men, including the Binghamton brothers.  I recognized it for the same photo I had seen at the Kingston mansion during the big shindig.  It seemed like Daisy, the spirit girl, wanted me to see something in it.  I knew there was information in that photograph; that Daisy was trying to give me a clue, but she just wasn’t able to be clear.

abandoned factoryThen Andy had said that he found the name Binghamton in the title research he did for the abandoned building.  A chill went down my spine to match the goose bumps.  I heard the same low whistle cowboy Caleb made at me when he first appeared.  I turned toward the sound.

Multi-colored light glowed softly, just beyond the antique pew.  As I blinked it took the form of a beautiful stained glass window.  Aqua-blue and gold designs cast a soft beam on the three of us.  Then I saw Caleb, bathed in the beautiful light, Stetson hat in hand.

The ghost-rider bowed to us, and bent his head a little lower to the spirit chef.  “I don’t know how I can thank you,” Caleb said, managing to include all of us in the comment.  “But I will keep looking for a way.  If it helps you at all, Daisy knows you’re onto something,” he said causing me to do a double take.

Had the spirit girl managed to encounter the ghost-rider?  Caleb seemed to sense my question and nodded with an unexpectedly shy smile.

“Daisy still doesn’t understand it, but that old picture, this building, and the church window figure together somehow,” the cowboy tried to explain, but his expression said that he didn’t understand the message he relayed.

“How did you show us the stained glass window?” Andy asked in an awed voice.

“Oh, that wasn’t me, Pardner.  No, that was Daisy the Dainty Dish,” Caleb said with a grin, and Daisy’s form flickered beside him.Pew-n-Window

The petite dark haired woman looked fondly up at the cowboy.  Then the image of Daisy blinked out after that brief appearance.  I knew she was terrified of the abandoned building.  I supposed she mustered enough courage to let us know it was her.  Caleb’s impudent grin softened to a gentle expression as he looked at something we could not see, in the spot where Daisy had stood.

“If you’ll excuse me now,” the cowboy said.  “It’s not polite to keep a lady waiting,” he said and faded away.

The image of the stained glass window brightened in a way that seemed insistent, as if the glow refused to be ignroed.  Andy and I both studied it intently trying to memorize the intricate details in the design.

Then I heard a familiar voice in the distance, along with the sound of an automobile’s door slamming.  To my surprise, Maestro abruptly winked out with a fizz and a pop.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody!  Are you in this God forsaken place?” I heard Granny Fanny’s voice, and I cringed at her use of my full name.

“Oh-oh,” Andy muttered, but gave me a mischievous wink.

My grandmother flounced across the warehouse floor to us.  She looked mad enough to spit nails, and I thought I perceived an undercurrent of worry.  She glared all around the factory floor.

1920s Flapper n Phoenix“I take it you two are safe and sound,” Granny said, and it didn’t sound like she was all together pleased with that.  “Although you look downright peaked, Andy,” she pronounced the word as southerners of that era did, peak-ed, and she almost roughly put her hand to his forehead to check his temperature.

Granny was awfully agitated.  I asked how she knew where to find us.  Then she really got mad.  “That dad-blamed ghost you two let into my kitchen!” she spat the words.  “That vulgar so-and-so!  He said he’d teach me to make a trifle, but he’d rather trifle with me.  Then rather than apologize like any gentleman ought to, he started going on about you being in danger.  I managed to drag it out of him about where he was headed. Then I got here as fast as the automobile would take me,” she said in a rush.

Trifle with her?  Granny said all that so fast that I had to replay it in my mind before I was sure what she’d said.  Had Maestro made a pass at my grandmother?  Really?  At my grandmother?  When I realized that Andy was having trouble suppressing his mirth, I realized that was exactly what had happened.

Then Granny noticed the supernatural image of the stained glass window just as it faded away.  It left an aqua and gold colored aura in the place where it had been.

“What the devil was that?” Granny Fanny exclaimed wonderingly.

The little pop and fizz sound warned me and I tried to shush the ghost chef before he spoke and made things worse.  But he had a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

“A most ironic choice of words Seniora,” he said with a bow.  “Especially since yon window is part of a church.”

“You!” Granny gasped in a voice that could have frozen the Savanah River.Harold Lloyd

Maestro had the good sense to back away.  However, that had him moving next to Andy.  That probably was not a good thing, since they both had similar baffling expressions on their faces.  What is it with men?

The ghost chef and Andy looked sideways at one another.  “You see young Signore?  She is a spitfire, no?” Martino said to my old friend.  “The woman, she is so exciting when she is angry!”

To my astonishment, Andy’s expression matched the ghost’s and my friend agreed.  However, a mere glance from Granny straightened out Andy Avis.  Maestro didn’t get off so easily though.  Granny Fanny could give a talk fierce enough to make a Baptist preacher green with envy, and brilliant enough to leave a Supreme Court judge feeling like he only had a fifth grade education.  The ghost chef got the full brunt of her eloquent speech.

Maestro Martino hung his head, thoroughly shamed.  Granny Fanny gave a sharp nod of her head.  She said she’d see me and Andy back at the cottage, and told us not to doddle. Then she turned on her heel and practically flounced out of the abandoned factory-warehouse.

Andy watched her go with the oddest series of expressions on his face.  His face held admiration, fear, amazement, and something else about which I surely hoped I was mistaken.  Or at least I’d better be.  I raised one eyebrow at him and that odd part of his expression left in a hurry.

The ghost chef’s eyes were still downcast humbly.  Then I saw him give a sidelong look at Granny’s departing form as she sashayed away.  That lascivious look made me gasp with indignation.  After all — that was my grandmother!  Then the cursed poltergeist winced and made a small uncomfortable noise.

When Maestro looked up, there was a big red cold sore on his lip.

***

Video:  Better Homes and Gardens – How to Make a Trifle

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZqcqzJcAlE

Recipe:  Roasted Chanterelles, Baby Eggplant and Shallots

Chanterelle Mushrooms to Roast

Recipe and Photo Credit: Suzanne Debrango

***

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Three Ingredients: Character Recap

Hello friends — old, new, and as yet unmet! Welcome to this character recap of the Three Ingredients serialDog-Cat-Cooking_dreamstime_s_24255835

I feel huge gratitude for all of your comments and encouragement. The Three Ingredients is the second storyline we’ve done in this “interactive” format. For new reader-friends, I call it interactive because the story is moved forward by the inspiration I get from the “ingredients” (things) you send.  The story is un-plotted, “panster” fun — because of you!

We started this interactive format with the previous serial, The Three Things. There you gave me three random things to drive the story. That allowed the “things” to directly drive every aspect of the plot, setting, and even the characters.Grannys teacup

When The Three Things concluded, I asked you readers for input on what sort of story you wanted next, and I settled on our current “culinary mystery” theme.  So this time, we have The Three Ingredients, with food-related interactive offerings from readers. However, that means the “things” you send have a less direct impact on the tale, but they still guide and inspire everything about the story.

That said, I can’t be sure how close we are to concluding this particular storyline.  However, I can see it somewhere on the horizon of my writing crystal ball.  So I’m offering up a pictorial review of the characters your ingredients inspired.

veil_of_sky_open_1 copyOften I write stories, intentionally leaving part of the physical descriptions of characters vague. I do that because I want the reader to supply part of what they want the character to be for things like race. The last thing I want is for someone to fail to identify with a character just because of how I happened to imagine their appearance. That is something I very intentionally did in writing Atonement Tennessee.  With the setting of a small (and Twilight Zone-ish strange) town, I wanted it to fit with anybody’s idea of that kind of place. I described hair color to help identify and differentiate characters, but I deliberately left most of the rest up to the reader.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I’m sharing with you some images that either directly inspired, or later came to represent the various characters to my imagination because I realize illustrations are helpful to many readers. If your mind supplied a different look for a character, I hope you will keep your idea.

I have omitted a few characters with especially small “walk on” parts. However, I hope I’ve developed a bit of personality even in those. Just so they don’t get left out… in alphabetical order:

  • Cotton the Poodle
  • Eunice of Eunice’s Uniforms
  • Godfrey Gilley of Gilley’s Groceries
  • Hortense Houston, the Kingston housekeeper
  • Alastair Wong the elder, an old flame of Granny’s

Now, I hope you’ll enjoy this review of the characters that developed from the ingredients you’ve sent.

Cast of Characters

Pip

Young Lucy as PipThe Three Things gave us Pip (Paisley Idelle Peabody) the narrator of both storylines. I was so fond of Pip, a flapper and aspiring “modern woman,” that I kept her around for The Three Ingredients. I added her grandmother, Granny Fanny, and the fledgling catering business so that we could have the culinary mystery theme.  The rest of the story is inspired by your ingredients.

The moment I stumbled upon a photo of a very young Lucille Ball, I imagined the voice of grown-up Lucy as Pip, telling the stories of her youth.

Granny Fanny

Margaret Sanger as GrannyFanny Idelle Peabody.  The ingredients haven’t given me the opportunity to go there, but Granny is actually a “Pip” too.  Her given name was Phanny Idelle, and when she married into the Peabody family her initials became P.I.P.  However, everyone kept spelling her name with an “F” and she eventually went with the flow.  (Granny would like the phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” She didn’t mind the misspelling that much.)

Writing this post put me on a mission to find a picture that I thought of as Granny Fanny.  I had a vague image of her in my mind, a woman with delicate features, but a backbone of steel. However, the photo that resonated with me looked different from my initial mental image. In pictures of Margaret Sanger, I saw Granny’s kind heartedness, firm resolve, and spunk.

From this point, I’ve listed the characters in order of their appearance in the story.

Alastair Wong

Sessue_Hayakawa_as AlastairThe very first ingredient (geoduck in Episode-1) was the inspiration for Alastair Wong.  The Wongs immigrated to the United States from England, and Alastair has a faint British accent.  Neither he nor his parents had ever been to China, though they dreamed of visiting and faithfully passed down family recipes used at Wong’s Chinese, their restaurant. Alastair is a talented businessman and chef.

I have a small crush on Alastair, so his prolonged absence from the serial should show you that it really is guided by your ingredients.    :o)  

I think a vintage photo of Sessue Hayakawa could be Alastair — if I could find one of him in a less somber, brooding mood. Alastair certainly has a serious side but he also has a beautiful, ready smile.

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Arabella Wong1920s Vogue red hat

Alastair’s mother, Arabella also appeared in Episode-1 and she is mentioned a few times afterward. However, the ingredients haven’t led to a larger part for her… At least they haven’t yet. Only the ingredients can say!

A vintage Vogue magazine cover made me think of Arabella’s graceful elegance, though there has been little opportunity to describe her.

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Byron and/or Bradley BinghamtonNiven as Binghamton

The Binghamton brothers are actually “walk on” parts.  However, at the moment, I’m not sure where the ingredients might take them. So I’ve included them, just in case.

Byron is the owner of the Bijou theatre (Episode 1). That setting is where our storyline began, when “the dead man” was found.  Bradley Binghamton, Byron’s lookalike brother is seen much later (Episode 22).  They have been minor characters, but might be necessary to the story just the same.  Something tells me that there might be some sadness in the history of the brothers, and this shot of David Niven in “The Bishop’s Wife” could be either of the lookalike brothers.

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Cracker Jack DaddySpeakeasy_Stories-July

Jack Daddy was a minor character who was fundamental to the storyline. His nickname was Cracker Jack because he was a skilled safecracker and a mobster.  But he must not have been 100% bad if he was Cracker the Parrot’s “daddy.”  He entered the story in Episode-1, but we didn’t identify him until Episode-9.

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vintage bunnyCinnamon Bun

When I received “cinnamon” as an ingredient for Episode-3, we got Cinnamon Bun, a Flemish Giant Rabbit with reddish fur.  The veterinarian, Vincent Vale gave him to Granny Fanny. She adores the oversized bunny, and so does Cracker the Parrot, who often brings Cinnamon Bun treats.

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Dabney Daniels

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adEpisode-3 also introduced Detective Dabney Daniels of Savannah’s finest. The moment I saw a vintage ad for Arrow shirts, I had an image for Dabney. He has known Granny Fanny for some time, and helps her with heavier work around her cottage. Dabney seems to take an interest in Pip, letting her ride along for part of the murder investigation and work at cataloguing evidence. Is Granny trying to push the two together?

Detective Daniels has been patient with Cracker, even thought the parrot bit his ear. He shows concern for Granny, and for his fellow law enforcement officers. Though he seems emotionally distant to Pip’s way of thinking.

 

Vincent Vale

Christopher Timothy as Vincent ValeEpisode-3 also mentioned our veterinarian, but Vincent Vale didn’t appear until the next episode.  He has broad knowledge and training for a veterinarian of that era, including acupuncture.

Vincent seems like a gentle soul. He rescued both Cinnamon Bun and later Cracker.  Together, he and his wife Veronica built an impressive medical facility for animals of all types.  Who else would I imagine as Vincent Vale but “All Creatures Great and Small” actor, Christopher Timothy.

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Cracker

Parrot in flightThe ingredients for Episode-4 included “graham cracker” and of course that gave us Cracker the parrot.  Granny Fanny resisted liking that “nasty bird” for quite a while.  But Cracker’s unexpected devotion to the injured Marshal Moses Myrick won Granny over.

Cracker is a most unusual and clever bird. The one thing we can expect from this parrot is the unexpected.  Cracker learned many things related to the various mysteries in this storyline through her association with Cracker Jack Daddy, her late owner. When Vincent Vale examined her, he said Cracker was about 40 years old, so we can only guess at the scope of the parrot’s life experiences.

She definitely has opinions about the humans in the story. Cracker took a dislike to Dabney Daniels, perhaps associating him with the death of her “daddy.” But she loved Moses Myrick and the rabbit, Cinnamon Bun from the very start. It took her a while to win Granny Fanny’s affection, but she did. Cracker seems to like Pip and the poodle, Cotton. And she at least tolerates Hank Hertz.  However she shakes her foot as an expression for her disdain of “The Joker.”

Veronica Vale

1920s woman scientist-microscopeEpisode-6 brought us the wife of Vincent Vale.  Mrs. Veronica Vale is an accomplished medical doctor and surgeon who has traveled widely. She is the most accomplished woman Pip has ever met. At Pip’s determination to be a “modern woman” Granny introduced her to “the real deal.” Veronica’s intelligence is matched by her good nature and sense of humor. Both the doctors Vale are caring, generous people.

She performed emergency surgery on Marshal Myrick after he was ambushed by the bootleggers. Vincent is a veterinarian, rather than a “people doctor” but he proved his skill too during the operation. Granny revealed yet another skill, acting as surgical nurse.

 

Marshal Moses Myrick

Barrie Craig adventuresOne of the ingredients for Episode-8 was “peas”… and we got Moses Myrick.  Pip was distrustful when she unexpectedly learned that he’d known her grandmother for a long time, and apparently quite well. So her first reaction to Marshal Myrick was less than positive, “He was very polite and all, but I couldn’t help thinking what beady little eyes he had.  Green eyes… like little peas!

I saw an ad for a vintage detective story, and thought the man could easily be Moses Myrick. He wins Pip over, and Cracker likes him right away. He seems to have an affinity for the parrot… and a history with Granny Fanny.

 

Queenie WetsonJoan Crawford as Queenie Wetson

The Queen of Clubs is introduced in Episode-12.  I was looking for a vintage queen of clubs card, when I found celebrity playing cards. Guess whose picture was on the queen of clubs?  Joan Crawford. From that moment, there was no other choice for Queenie Wetson.

As of this writing, Queenie has not showed up in person, but I’m pretty sure she will soon!

Hank Hertz

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-BurtWhen we came to Episode-13, I faced a challenge. I try not to put restrictions on your ingredients, but one of the items was microwave. I knew it was meant as the microwave ovens we use today, but as I suspected, my research showed they had not been invented in the 1920’s.  However, scientists had long known about microwaves. That gave us a new character, Hank Hertz.

Our Hank is the fictional grandson of Heinrich Hertz, who proved the existence of radio waves back in the late 1880s. So the “microwave” ingredient gave us Hank, who is a wizard with the police radio. It also led to more layers in the mystery — Since the gangsters were using  open radio transmissions (microwave brought us to radio waves) they used code names.

As I visualized Savannah’s youngest policeman I thought of a TV actor who could easily play Hank — a slightly younger version of Hugo Johnstone-Burt who played Hugh Collins on “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.”

Daisyvintage queen of the may

In a planned (or technically correct) story I would not add new players so late in the tale.  However, Episode-21 unexpectedly led me to new characters — including Daisy.  Also called The Dainty Dish, Daisy was the second Mrs. Henry Kingston. Her story was a local legend, according to which she was given to him as a payment for a gambling debt, but Kingston fell madly in love with her. Daisy died mysteriously.

Pip also met a young woman named Daisy at Eunice’s Uniforms.  However, at this writing, we shouldn’t get into that. Besides, who can say where the ingredients will lead?

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Mr. Farceur

The domineering major domo was also introduced in Episode-21.  At first I saw him as a stodgy old Black Butler 2man… but then the ingredients suggested that he could be an interesting complication to the story.  That’s also when his name came along.  Maybe his name, Farceur, is significant, or maybe it’s a red herring — only the ingredients know for sure!

For a moment he had been a nameless butler. When a classic anime character pinged into my mind, I indulged myself with the image of “Black Butler” Sebastian Michaelis.  How could I resist?

***

Keep sending ingredients, please.

I don’t think the “ingredients” all of you supply will lead to any more new characters this far into the storyline… but only the ingredients know for sure!

Please continue to leave ingredients for future episodes. Even when this storyline concludes, there will be another “interactive” serial.

I hope you’ll keep dropping in to visit, read, and comment.

Hugs,

teagan

 ***

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

 

 

 

 

Three Ingredients – 10: Liver, Za’atar, Sunflower Seeds

Episode 10 Rabbit signSince I started this culinary mystery serial, The Three Ingredients, I’ve been reading a lot of cooking blogs.  One of my favorites is Kooky Cookyng, written by Ishita.  She was kind enough to provide the three ingredients for today’s episode.

Don’t be shy!  Leave a comment with three food-related “ingredients” to help keep this story going.

I hope you’ll enjoy Episode-10.  Bon appétit!

Liver, Za’atar, Sunflower Seeds

I stopped on the broad veranda to remove my gardening shoes.  Cinnamon Bun, the Flemish Giant rabbit, thumped up the stairs behind me.  I bent to scratch his long russet ears, and noticed that he had a small carrot in his mouth.  The huge bunny usually ate everything he dug up, but I had noticed that sometimes he sneaked a tidbit inside and gave it to Cracker the parrot.  I couldn’t help smiling at that.

“You’d better not let Granny catch you digging carrots without her 1920s Pate adpermission,” I told him playfully.

 

We both went in by the kitchen door.  Right away I smelled the plate of thinly sliced onions.  The task had been left unfinished, with the next onion waiting to be cut.

Granny had mentioned making liver and onions.  I loved the aroma of the dish… so why was it that I couldn’t abide eating it?  Ugh!  All morning I had been trying to think of an excuse to be away from the cottage come meal time.

The muffled sounds of voices drifted my way from the parlor.  Someone must have interrupted Granny, so I washed up to take over where she had stopped.

The onion had warmed to room temperature, and it was already stinging my eyes.  Granny always chilled onions before cutting them.  Somehow that helped keep them from irritating the eyes.  I blinked my watering eyes and sniffed.  With the knife in hand, I stopped mid-slice.  Granny’s voice rose enough that I heard her distinctly.

“Moses, I just don’t think I’m up to this,” my grandmother said.1920s Style Book

The first thing in my mind was concern.  That didn’t sound like Granny Fanny’s reaction to anything.  She was the most capable woman I had ever known.  The next thing I thought was “Why is that revenuer here with Granny — again?”

I knew it wasn’t right to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help myself.  I tiptoed closer to the sound of their voices.  Cinnamon thumped softly behind me, the carrot still in his mouth.

“Fanny, you know I’d never ask you to do this if I thought it would put you at risk,” Marshal Moses Myrick said.  “I’ll have men there, some pretending to be guests, Detective Daniels disguised and acting as your waiter, and a dozen others outside, waiting for my signal to rush in.”

“Oh I’m not worried about that!” Granny said sounding more like herself.  “I’m not afraid of any bootlegger, no matter how much money he’s got.  No, it’s the fancy food they want me to make.  I had never even thought of making crème brulee until I tested the recipe for it the day you were last here.  It turned out fine, but I’m just not used to making… foreign things like that.  And now, they say some ambassador is going to be there.  They insisted that I make something with an exotic sounding condiment.  I’ve never even heard of it, but it’s the big shot’s favorite thing,” she complained.

Vogue-Apr 1919I eased a little closer to the parlor door.  I could see into the room, but still couldn’t see the speakers.  However, I could see stacks and stacks of books, mostly cookbooks and travel books.  Granny must have checked out every book in the library on those subjects.  She’d probably borrowed any her friends had as well.

Marshal Myrick spoke soothing words that I couldn’t make out.  Granny continued, “Have you ever heard of za’atar?”  The marshal must have said no, because my grandmother continued her lament.  “I have to admit, za’atar does sound delicious, but I hope they don’t ask me to make anything else unusual.  Why can’t they want turnip greens?  I hulled sunflower seeds all morning, and I had a devil of a time keeping that parrot out of them.  I ended up giving half the seeds to her to keep her quiet,” Granny said.  Then to my surprise she chuckled.  “I think I’ve found something I can use to bribe the little imp.  She liked the sunflower seeds.”

Wonder of wonders — was Granny warming up to Cracker?  The kindhearted defense Moses spoke for the parrot was in such contrast to his gruff manner and unflappable attitude that I still couldn’t get my head around it.

The G-man had learned the art of pitching his voice in a way that it didn’t carry.  As I sidled closer a floorboard creaked.  I just knew I was caught.  Then I heard Cracker rattling her cage door.  She could have it open in a matter of seconds, anytime she chose.  Cinnamon Bun hopped past me and into the parlor.

Granny adored that oversized bunny.  “I thought I heard you out there, Cinnamon Bun!  How’d you get in?” she asked.Lucille Ball teenaged 1

I pretended that I was just walking up the hall and feigned surprise when I saw the marshal sitting on the settee next to my grandmother.  However, I didn’t fool him one iota.  “So Pip,” he began.  “Now that you know something about this sting, are you onboard?”

Sting?  As in bootleggers, and mobsters, and guns?  Really?  I gulped.

“Now Moses,” Granny Fanny began, shaking her head and giving the marshal a stern look from the corner of her eye.  “I don’t know that I approve of Paisley having anything to do with this business.”

“Fanny, you had intended to have the girl help you with events.  You can’t handle a big party like this alone.  Detective Daniels can only do so much as a waiter, because I have to have him as an investigator,” Myrick said.  Then he added as if to himself, “That young man’s got potential.  As for the rest of my men, they wouldn’t make believable caterers.  They’d stand out like a sore thumb.  So you need the girl.  She just needs to be an ordinary waitress and stay out of the way.”

1920s wrathOh…! Now that was the last straw.  It was bad enough that they were talking about me like I wasn’t even there, but stay out of the way?  I was flabbergasted!  I cleared my throat loudly.  Granny’s eyes widened when she saw the expression on my face.  There must have been steam coming from my ears.

“Marshal, I’ll have you know that I’m standing right here, since that fact seems to have escaped you,” I began.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody!” Granny said in a warning voice.

“I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, and I most certainly do not need to ‘stay out of the way.’  Why of all the —”

I was fit to be tied because Moses Myrick sat there chuckling.  Then he gave in to all out laughter!  I was so put out that I was speechless.

“That apple didn’t fall far from the tree!” he said as he wiped his eyes.  That’s how hard he was laughing; it had brought tears to his eyes.  “Fanny, not that I ever doubted, but this is truly your granddaughter.  Young lady I apologize.  I just couldn’t help myself.”1920s Peoples home journal girl parrot

I was not much mollified by the apology, but I didn’t know what to do besides accept it.  I cleared my throat awkwardly.  Then I heard the rattle of metal that meant Cracker had decided to let herself out of her cage and see what all the fuss was about.  The parrot flapped into the room.  She briefly perched on the back of the settee next to the marshal.

She bobbed her head and whistled at the marshal.  “Fourandtwenty,” she said to him.  However, she prudently fluttered out of Granny’s reach and alighted on the back of the chair beside me.

Cracker looked studiously at each of us in turn.  She ruffled her feathers and shook her head.  She turned to me and flapped her wings once.  Then she turned a circle to make sure everyone was looking at her, and with another whistle she repeated, “Fourandtwenty!  Fourandtwenty!

***

Roasted Carrots with Za’atar

Recipe credit: Food Network.com 

Roasted carrots Za'atar

Photograph by Roland Bello

Total Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients

4 pounds carrots

¼ cup olive oil

¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper

4 teaspoons za’atar spice blend

3 tablespoons parsley

1 lemon

Directions

Preheat 2 baking sheets in a 450 degree oven. Quarter 4 pounds carrots lengthwise and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread on the hot baking sheets and roast until browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Toss with 4 teaspoons za’atar (a spice blend available at Middle Eastern markets), 3 tablespoons chopped parsley and the juice of 1 lemon.

***

The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2013

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.