Three Ingredients II – 18: Conclusion – Sweet Potato, Wimberries, Worcestershire Sauce

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball

Welcome back everyone! Our previous chapter of this interactive culinary mystery was essentially part-1 of a 2-part finale. And yes — I heard the commotion when I left our three suspects of ill-doing hanging in midair (literally) and basically you along with them. I’m just wicked that way… I really can’t help myself.

I sincerely do try to make this serial unplanned pantser fun and as interactive as feasible. So in writing this ending I let your thoughts and comments take the ending to places where I probably would never considered going myself. Without further ado, I present the conclusion to Three Ingredients Cookbook-2, a Ghost in the Kitchen.  Bon appétit!

18.  Conclusion – Sweet Potato, Wimberries, Worcester Sauce

With Looming Specter

The sight of Caleb Colman the cowboy looming to twice his normal height, with ruby-red fire in his eyes was enough to strike fear into anybody’s heart — including mine.  The three men, 1939 Saturday Evening Post Parrotssuspended high in the air above the hard marble floor were screaming and writhing as if they weren’t just afraid but were also in pain.

Something brightly colored streaked through the open French doors.  Cracker!  She had let herself out of her cage.  I should have known it was too much to expect to drive her home from the doctors Vale without her getting into or up to something.  Fear for the bird’s sake stabbed my heart.

“Cracker, go back to your cage!” I said in a voice that I forced to be calm, but loud enough to be heard over the noise.  So okay… that’s how I tried to sound.  I think I mostly shrieked at her.  For once the parrot showed good sense and didn’t try to get in the middle of everything.

“Twenty-three skidoo!” Cracker squawked with a whistle as she zoomed back outside.

Daisy turned to watch the parrot soar away.  Her expression was distracted, and the look in her eyes was so faraway that I wondered if the spirit was in her right mind.

“I know you,” Daisy murmured to Cracker’s departing form.  “My husband and I watched you hatch, but we made sure the first human you saw was Alastair Wong.  I guess you’re all grown up now, huh?  Is that why you keep coming to see me when I visit this plane?” she asked in a thoughtful tone, but the parrot had already flown out of sight.

Thunder cracked inside the mansion.  The scene playing out before my eyes terrified me for many reasons.  Regardless of what Henry Kingston III and the Binghamton brothers may or may not have done, I was afraid of what might happen if they were hurt or killed.  I was worried about Granny and Kate Kingston — they might come back inside and be caught in the chaos at any minute.  Not to mention Andy, who was right in the thick of things beside me.  I was also afraid for Caleb and Daisy if either of them took things too far.  I wasn’t sure what could happen to ghosts, but I was certain there would be consequences.

1923 Life woman devilish man masksDaisy stood mesmerized by the display.  There was an unpleasant, almost greedy look in her eyes and they glowed softly.  She looked like someone with a thirst for vengeance.  Based on what was happening, that thirst was about to be quenched.

Something had to be done.  I didn’t know if it might cause Caleb to turn his anger on me, but I screamed at him to stop.  If he heard me, he didn’t pay any attention.

“Daisy!” I yelled to be hard above the din.  “You have to stop him!”

“Pip, you don’t understand,” she said in a level voice that somehow reached my ears.  “Sweet Potato, I should have showed you too,” the ghost said and before I could move, her hand shot out and grabbed mine.

I staggered from an unseen impact.  It was as if a huge ball of electricity had blasted through my skull and into my brain. I fell toward the polished white marble floor, but Daisy still had hold of my hand and kept me from going all the way down.  She pulled me to my feet with unexpected strength.  My lungs strained for air — the wind had been knocked right out of me.  Spasms raked my body and I couldn’t stay on my feet. It felt as if I dangled from Daisy’s grasp.

“What are you doing?” Andy demanded of Daisy who looked at him with a mildly puzzled expression on her face.

“I had to show her,” Daisy told Andy, but then she seemed to finally notice my state.  “Oh my goodness!” she cried and seemed more herself.  “Oh Pip, I’m so sorry Sweet Potato!  I just 1936 Girl Horse Cole Bros Circus postermeant to show you the same things that I showed Caleb.  I guess that’s the difference between doing that with a ghost and with one of the living.  I didn’t mean to hurt you,” she said with tears of contrition streaming down her face.

With that extraordinary physical strength, petite Daisy lifted me in her arms as if I were a small child.  She carried me past a table where someone had been making Bloody Marys.  When she turned, my foot knocked over a bottle of Worcestershire sauce.  I remembered Andy calling it Worcester sauce, and how we playfully argued about which was correct back in Florida.

Daisy carried me to a sofa and gently deposited me on it.  With a worried expression on his face, Andy handed me one of the Bloody Marys.  He said that it wasn’t brandy, but maybe it would help.  I managed to take a couple of sips.

All the drama continued around us, buffeting winds, screaming, crying.  I lay back on the sofa, because I wasn’t able to even sit up.  I tried to speak but my brain was too scrambled for me to chain two words together.  So whatever I meant to say came out as gibberish.  You’d have thought I was speaking in tongues or something.  I couldn’t think straight either.  It was as if every thought I’d ever had competed for dominance in my mind.  And my head hurt.  Bad.

Finally one thought lodged into a clear spot in my mind.  Then another fell into line.  My brain was sorting the memory Daisy shared with me all in one electric blast, and putting things into their proper sequence.  In my mind I watched events unfold as if I stood looking over Daisy’s shoulder.  However, I felt most of it as if I had actually been her.  It happened like this…

***

1920s two women garden

Daisy was having the strangest cravings — particularly for wimberry pie.  She had even put on a frock the same shade of blue as wimberries.  Yes, Daisy thought she was pregnant.  She was bursting at the seams to tell someone the news, but she wanted to be certain.  However, she really did have to tell someone.  Surely, she thought, it was permissible if her best friend was the first to know.  She just couldn’t tell Henry until she had no doubts about it.  It would break his heart if it turned out she wasn’t really expecting a little one after all.

Mattie Maddox was in the expansive, well lit kitchen when Daisy divulged the news to her best friend.  Daisy was ecstatic, and Mattie was so happy for her that she cried and hugged her.

Then young Henry burst into the kitchen.  He sent Mattie hopping to some urgent errand that he said his father needed right away.  But Daisy could always tell when the young man was lying.

After the kitchen door closed behind Mattie, Daisy turned to him.  “Henry… You heard,” Daisy had said and it wasn’t a question.

Vintage Tuxedo adAs gently as she could, Daisy finished breaking the news to Henry III that he would have a younger sibling.  She knew that despite how well “King Henry” tried to raise the boy, he had a bad attitude.  Young Henry’s face turned red and a vein at his temple throbbed.  He stormed out of the kitchen without a word.

Then she heard the French doors open.  She heard Henry’s friends come inside from the terrace — the Binghamton brothers.  Daisy heard him shouting to them about her being pregnant.  In his anger he threw a crystal vase to the marble floor and shattered it.  The vase was an anniversary gift from her husband.

Daisy went out into the foyer to settle the young men down.  Bradley Binghamton stood near the door.  By the look on his face he had heard Henry III yelling and stopped there, deciding whether he should go back outside.  Byron was near the stairs with Henry.  Egging Henry on came easily to Byron, and the more the two boys talked the madder Henry got.

She approached the young men and tried to smooth over the situation.  But they turned on her.  They said the most horrible, unspeakable things to her.  She couldn’t keep her tears back and Henry and Byron laughed as she wept.  Henry pushed her shoulder causing her to stagger backward.  He called her a whore and things that were even worse.

Daisy fled up the staircase in tears.  Young Henry bounded up behind her, taking the stairs two at a time.  He continued to yell at her, to berate her for the life he felt she was taking from him by giving his father another child.

Cornelia Vanderbilt, 1924

Cornelia Vanderbilt, 1924

At the top of the stairs he grabbed her arm as she was about to run down the hall to her sitting room.  Henry was in his late teens.  He was as tall as his father, thickly built, and strong.  Daisy couldn’t pull or twist free of his grasp.  The pain and humiliation caused by his words turned to anger when he seized her arm.

Being manhandled was something Daisy could never tolerate.  She was livid when he grabbed her.  She drew back her hand, and with every bit of her strength behind it, she swung to slap his face.  But he saw the blow coming and reflexively pushed her away.

Henry III never had learned to think things through.  They were standing at the top of the stairs when he pushed Daisy.  She toppled all the way down the long curving staircase to the marble floor below.  Slowly blood started to spread on her skirt.  It was a lot of blood.

“We have to get her to a doctor,” Bradley Binghamton told the other two boys as he hurried over and knelt beside Daisy.

“No!” Henry said.  “My dad will find out.”

“He’ll find out anyway!” Bradley told him.

“No… No, he might not,” said Byron.  “I know somebody.  He took care of a girl once for me.”

They carried Daisy to a car, but by then she had lost consciousness.  She woke to the harsh smell of ether and a foggy head, and a lot of pain.  Looking around she saw that she was in a place that was sort of like a surgery, but not like one should be.  It wasn’t very clean, and the space around her was too large.  It echoed like a warehouse.  Then she remembered hearing of a doctor who did free work for the poor at the old warehouse.  It had been used as a hospital in wartimes long ago, so it was usable for that purpose.

She heard an unfamiliar man talking to someone.  “I couldn’t save it,” he said.  “But you didn’t want me to in the first place, did you?” he said with a trace of a sneer in his tone.  “Anyhow, she’s lost a lot of blood.  You need to take her on to the hospital.  You should have taken her there straight away.  I don’t have the equipment or the skills for this.  I’m afraid she still has internal bleeding.  She might not last the night,” he said as Daisy drifted back to incoherence.

vintage queen of the mayDaisy had proved them wrong.  She lived through the night and for a few weeks after that.  Her husband had his own physician examine her.  The man shook his head gravely and would not discuss his prognosis in front of her.  However, Daisy already knew.  She could tell her days on earth were limited.  She could tell something inside was damaged, something the doctors of that day didn’t know how to fix.

She never told King Henry what his son had done, but sometimes she thought he knew anyway.  She tried to get strong again as she lay in a bed next to a beautiful golden and aqua stained glass window in a quiet place where Henry took her to convalesce — he was determined that she would recover, especially with the right environment.  He couldn’t accept what the doctor said.

Daisy tried to be happy for Mattie’s sake.  Mattie never left her side.  She tried to be strong for Henry, to smile and be vivacious so he would feel better.  She was secretly afraid that if he saw how weak she really was that he’d stop loving her.

Finally a day came when she gazed at the luminous colors of the window and surrendered.  At that point the memories that belonged to Daisy drifted away from me, and I had my own thoughts once again.

***

Vintage ghosts several

Chaos still ensued all around me.  It took much longer to tell about Daisy’s memory than it did for me to actually get my wits about me.  Double-sized Caleb still held the three men hanging high above the floor and they still cried out in pain.

After a moment I started to feel a little more in control of my body.  I took another sip of the Bloody Mary and its spiciness was heartening.  I looked toward the staircase where Henry Kingston III was suspended in midair.  I found my voice.

“Somebody has to do something before Caleb completely loses control of his temper,” I said.  “Daisy, you have to stop him,” I repeated.

“The spirit woman looked abashed.  After what she’d been through, and decades of searching the great beyond for the awful memory of it… I figured it would feel pretty good to see someone taking revenge on your behalf.  I couldn’t resent her for momentarily considering vengeance.

Daisy vanished and then reappeared across the room to stand in front of Caleb.  She reached1920s Bride Kneeling up and placed her hand on his arm.  Caleb looked down at her seeming irritated for a moment, but his face softened as he regarded Daisy.  He returned to his normal size, but the demon-red glow didn’t leave his eyes, and the men still hung in the air, although their screams had toned down to whimpers.

“No ma’am.  It’s not right that you finally got a good life, after how hard thing started out for you when you were just a child — it’s not right that these men should be the cause of your dying and go unpunished for it,” Caleb said.

Her hand rested on Caleb’s chest.  I was sure Daisy would never intentionally hurt anyone.  She hadn’t meant to knock me down with an electric shock; she just didn’t know how to handle her new strength.  But I wondered if there was still a part of her that wanted payback.  Maybe Caleb felt that from her.

The spirit woman hesitated, but she squared her shoulders, affirming her resolve.  “Caleb, it isn’t for us to judge.  These men are each guilty in different ways and to different degrees.  However, it isn’t for us to decide their punishment.  It simply is not right,” she told him in a sincere voice.

1877 American Horse Oglala Sioux

1877 American Horse Oglala Sioux

Amid the sobbing from Henry and the Binghamtons I abruptly heard that old pop-fizz sound.  Maestro Martino knelt in front of my sofa.  He inspected me more closely than I thought was proper, but I knew the ghost chef was concerned if he had picked up even a fraction of my fears.  Maestro could do that, at least where I was concerned.  He could detect strong supernatural activity, and it somehow helped him home in on me.

Once he was satisfied that I was unharmed Maestro became agitated all over again.  “Signorina o Signore, this is far too dangerous.  You must leave at once!” he insisted.  “Signore, get her away from this place!”

However, Maestro’s caution was immediately followed by a double-pop-fizz and the ghost chef was no longer alone.  A man — no, I corrected myself, a ghost in heavy white satin robes stood behind him.  A looming specter towered over them both.  That was the tallest man I’d ever seen.  He wore pale buckskin clothes with turquoise stones decorating them.  He had flowing black hair with two white feathers tucked into one side.

Che peccato!  Maestro Martino, you should be ashamed.  Is this how you repay my gift?” demanded the short ghost.

“No, no.  Your Imminence, please do believe me.  I would not piss you off again!” Maestro said.

I was shocked by the Maestro’s choice of words, because I remembered how he told us he came to be cursed.

“But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost had said with a mournful look.

Wide-eyed I looked at the three newly arrived ghosts.  I wasn’t Catholic, but I wondered if I should try to get up and curtsey or something.  I didn’t know how to act in front of a live pope, let alone a dead one.  And who was the guy in buckskins?  I knew less than nothing about how to behave in front of a Native American authority-figure-seeming ghost.

Movement beyond the French doors caught my eye.  A tremendous cow with long curving black horns paced impatiently, pawing the ground with her steel hooves.  Her red-eyed stare turned to me and she snorted fire.  I jumped and looked from the demon cow to the tall black-haired ghost.  I understood then that he was the one who controlled the ghost-rider curse.Glowing-Longhorns copy

Surely, I thought, that powerful spirit’s presence would register with Caleb.  However, the cowboy remained transfixed in his determination to take revenge on Daisy’s behalf.  Maestro followed my gaze.  In an instant Maestro Martino stood between Caleb and the objects of his retribution.  The cowboy glared uncomprehendingly at the chef.

“Hey, cow-poke!” Maestro yelled at Caleb in a passable western drawl that finally got his attention.  “Incredibile! Non fare lo stupido!  What stupidity!  Do you mean to waste the gift I sacrificed and bestowed upon you?” he demanded in his usual Italian accent.  “Basta!  Stop this at once if you have any respect for this woman,” Maestro said indicating Daisy who stood looking up at Caleb with pleading eyes.  “Would you give up eternity with this woman to satisfy your thirst for the blood of her enemies?  You see the foolishness of that, no?”

Caleb looked at Maestro Martino so angrily that I feared for the ghost chef’s life.  I had to remind myself he was already dead.  After what seemed like a long internal struggle, Caleb’s shoulders relaxed.  Then Henry Kingston and the Binghamtons, suddenly freed from the magic that held them aloft, rushed toward the marble floor.

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920's

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920’s

Maestro’s eyes bulged and he whirled to face the falling men.  He held out his arm and snapped his fingers.  Their descent slowed.  Or rather it slowed until they were about five feet above the floor and Maestro let them drop unassisted the rest of the way.  All three landed quite uncomfortably.

Daisy approached the new, very official (not to mention powerful) seeming specters.

“Please,” she began, looking angelic in the flowing white wedding gown she still wore from reminiscing about her marriage.  “Please don’t punish Caleb.  He only wanted to protect me.  It’s my fault.  I didn’t act quickly enough to stop him before he went so far.  I know that I could have if I had tried sooner.  So this is my fault, not his,” she pleaded.

By then Caleb was behind her.  He took off his Stetson and bowed to the two dominant spirits.  Then he insisted that he was the one responsible, not Daisy.

“Stop it Caleb!” Daisy cried.  “I couldn’t bear it if they made you a ghost-rider again!  I’ve been so alone.  I was unprotected and fending for myself throughout my childhood.  I only had King Henry for what seems like a short time, and we were happy, but then I was adrift and alone all over again.  If anyone is punished for this, it has to be me.  I can’t bear to see anything happen to you,” she said and then looked down at the floor, apparently unable to meet the gaze of the spirits surrounding her.

The ghost in the white satin robes narrowed his eyes and his lips curled inward making a thin line of his mouth.  I thought he looked downright petulant, but I certainly wouldn’t have said so.  Maestro exchanged a look with me and gave a barely perceptible shake of his head.  Was I really that transparent?Michalemas daisy card

When the black-haired ghost spoke, his voice came as a bass rumble so deep I felt it vibrate from my ears to my toes.  I had thought he’d be fierce and furious, but he spoke in a very matter of fact tone.  With a shrug he said, “I see no wrong done here tonight.”  He tilted his head, raised one eyebrow and looked down at the white robed spirit.  “Do you?”

The other specter’s mouth twisted in an unpleasant expression.  Then he rolled his eyes at the much taller spirit, spread his hands and shook his head that he did not.

“However,” continued the buckskin clad spirit with a slow smile.  “I think you could be of service this night, old friend,” he added a suggestion.

At that moment Granny Fanny stormed through the open French doors.  She was fit to be tied, and Kate Kingston was right behind her.

“What do ya’ll think you’re doing in here?  I never heard such a racket in all my life!  We could hear ya’ll all the way down at the gazebo!  Why, your ruckus scared Kate’s cat so badly, I thought we’d never catch poor Marie Antoinette to put her skin medicine on her,” Granny said without taking so much as a single breath.

Vintage Catz Bitters adKate Kingston was carrying Antoinette the Maine Coon cat.  Her arms relaxed at the shock of seeing her devastated living room and foyer, and she let the cat jump down.  Antoinette walked over to the group of ghosts and delicately sniffed their feet.  The cat looked up at the collection of spirits, gave a satisfied purr-meow, and sauntered up the stairs and out of sight.

Mrs. Kingston’s gaze fell on the ghosts; they were all powerful enough that anyone could see them unless they just chose not to be seen.  For a moment she looked at them in doe-eyed amazement.  Then she fainted dead away.

My grandmother took in the chaos around us, the furniture overturned by the blasting wind and the struggles of the three men, the shattered lamp, and my own tousled appearance.  She glared at Maestro Martino as if it was all surely his fault.

Then my grandmother saw all the other ghosts.

Granny’s mouth snapped shut with a pop.

***

Flower petals in white, pink, and yellow floated gently on a breeze that kept them aloft and scattered in the air.  The petal cloud gracefully drifted down the stone path of the terrace that began outside the library of the Kingston mansion.  The petals glowed ever so softly in the moonlight as they slowly moved among us, magically suspended in the air.Vintage girl and parrot

Notes from a flute filled the night air.  The beguiling strains of music were calming yet uplifting.  The music and the flower petals seemed to encircle our small group as we stood on the terrace.  The petals exuded a sense of positive warmth, pleasure, and togetherness to all who were present.

Cracker the parrot swooped away from her perch on a magnolia tree and zipped uphill and out of sight.  I heard her squawk, “Dainty Dish!  Attagirl!”

A moment later the beautiful parrot glided down the path at an unnaturally slow speed.  Strands of pink, yellow, and white blossoms trailed behind her as if they were extensions of her long tail.  The flowers streamed gracefully behind Cracker during her magical approach.  The parrot alighted on a blossom decorated perch beside the white robed specter.

Cowboy Caleb Colman strode slowly to stand beside them.  I thought he looked strange without his Stetson hat.  But he was a fine figure of a man — or rather ghost.  He stood tall and straight, handsome beyond anything mortal.  He still wore western clothes, but they were different from his work clothes, nicer — and they were shimmering white.

As the moon steadily crept lower in the sky, the unseen flute played a loud trill that came from the top of the hill.  All eyes turned in that direction.  Daisy appeared; a vision in glowing diaphanous white.  I thought she could have been a moon goddess as she effortlessly drifted toward us.

A light stream of smoke carried a pleasing aroma to us. I thought it was sage with other floral 1920s Bride n Groom 2scents I couldn’t identify.  Then I heard the rhythmic sound of drums, softly beating.  The tall black-haired specter suddenly appeared, standing before Caleb and Daisy.  His counterpart bowed to the couple, made a motion with his hands.  He spoke something I didn’t understand.  I supposed it was Latin.  Then he made another motion with his hands and backed away.

The tall ghost spoke words that were reverent and beautiful as he united Caleb and Daisy.  It’s just impossible for such glorious phrases to come out of my flapper mouth, so I won’t try to repeat what he said.  Just know that he spoke words that you felt with your soul as much as you understood with your mind.  His speech touched every heart.  I cried.  Granny Fanny cried.  Andy Avis cried.  Maestro Martino sniffled and then burst out blubbering and sobbing so hard that the white robed ghost had to pull him aside and console him.

Cracker flew over and perched in a spot that allowed her to face me.  I could have sworn there was a tear in the parrot’s eye too, but that wasn’t possible.  Was it?  When another tear rolled down my cheek, Cracker hopped over to my shoulder and preened a strand of my hair, trying to comfort me.  I stroked the feathers of her back and she nuzzled her head behind my ear.

The flower petals had floated among us throughout the ceremony presided over by the two high ranking spirits.  At another trill of flute music the petals began to swirl.  They gently whirled all around us, and tickled when they touched my skin.  They grew in number as they lifted above our heads, making a cloud that rose higher and higher into the sky.  Then it exploded into a twinkling starburst.1903 Girl 2 Horses postcard

A faint clip-clop caused me to turn.  Caleb’s horse, always impressive, was transformed into a shining white magnificent steed.  Tiny blue sparks lit the paving stones as he pranced toward the couple.  The horse whinnied softly and shook his silken mane.

Then the horse lowered his head and shoulders.  Caleb lifted Daisy easily onto the steed’s back and held her steady as the horse stood.  Caleb leapt onto his horse’s back in an effortless bound.  They trotted the length of the uphill path, blue sparks flying as the horse built up speed.  Then the horse made a mighty leap and they soared into the sunrise.

I gasped in amazement.  Just when I thought they were gone I heard a whinny above my head.  I looked heavenward and saw Caleb wave his white Stetson in salute.  Daisy gave a genteel wave of her hand and threw something down to me.  I reached out reflexively to catch it.  It was a bouquet of white daisies and red roses.

“Those are for Mattie if you please, Pip,” Daisy called to me.  “Tell her I’ll always remember her,” she said.  Then another bunch of flowers dropped and I had to move fast to catch them. “And these are for you.  Remember me Pip,” Daisy called.

Caleb added his voice.  “Remember us!” they said together.

1920s Bride n GroomThe supernatural glow from the two spirits increased three fold.  The white horse made an intensely bright streak as they traversed the sky, blue sparks from its silver hooves glittering the breaking dawn.

Remember them?  Of course I would remember Daisy the Dainty Dish and Caleb Colman the Cowboy.  I was awed by the perseverance, communication, and trust they had shown throughout the time I’d known them. Then I realized those were three ingredients for success or happiness, or maybe both.

The End.

***

To celebrate the conclusion of A Ghost in the Kitchen, I’m including two different Bloody Mary recipes.

Video:  Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe from the 1920’s

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unwhUbwJiLM

 

Recipe:  Homemade Bloody Mary

Homemade Bloody Mary

Recipe and photo credit:  Vintage Cooking.com

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

2 teaspoons celery salt

Wedge of lemon

2 Jiggers (3 ounces) best quality vodka

Generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Several shakes of Worcestershire sauce

3-4 drops of Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

8 ounces tomato juice, chilled (I recommend Sacramento Gold)

¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt

¼ tsp. celery salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

 

Instructions

Mix both the kosher and celery salt in a shallow flat dish.

Rub the rim of a 16-ounce glass with a wedge of lemon and dip the glass into the dish so that it clings to the rim.

Fill glass with ice.

Add vodka, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce.

Stir in the tomato juice with a long spoon.

Add horseradish, sea salt, remaining celery salt, and pepper.

Stir again and serve this drink recipe with a wedge of lemon.

You may also add a dill pickle, olives, or a celery stalk. Serve with a beer chaser on the side, if desired.

 

Notes

Makes 1-16 ounce serving.

 ***

Skeiks and Shebas, stick around.  These interactive serials are not over and done.  During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I will rerun the original story, The Three Things.  Then in December we will begin another all new serial. So stay tuned!

Hugs,

teagan

Roy Rogers Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

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 II – 17: Spinach, Carrots, Yogurt

Horsefeathers! This took me by surprise. I didn’t know quite where the “ingredients” would take this story — until last evening.

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Balltake this story or how many more episodes would be needed to conclude this ghost in the kitchen story-line.

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Sheiks and Shebas, I have to tell you — this is the penultimate episode of Three Ingredients Cookbook-2, a Ghost in the Kitchen.  Sorry I didn’t add that subtitle sooner — it’s always been in my head.  That’s right. Next week will be the concluding episode of this story. >
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Your ingredients have taken us for quite a ghostly ride — and a delicious, multi-cultural one too!  The three food related things for this chapter are from the very creative Ishita at Kooky Cookyng. It’s been a while since she contributed these ingredients to the serial’s “cupboards” so she might have forgotten.  I hope it’s a nice surprise for her.
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So that I had more time for writing this episode, I’m also featuring one of Ishita’s recipes this weekend. Her blog also includes tabs/pages with lots of useful information like “Weights & Measurements” and “Oils & Fats.” Spend some time there and enjoy yourself.
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I give my sincere thanks and appreciation to each of you who take time to read these stories, and to those of you who contribute to the “ingredients cupboard.” You make it possible — and you make it fun!
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Need a recap?  Go to the top of the page and click on “Cookbook-2 Three Ingredients Serial Home.”  Without further ado, I give you the penultimate chapter in our interactive culinary mystery, Episode-17.  Bon appétit!

17.  Spinach, Carrots, Yogurt

With Demon

FDR Little Whitehouse banner

The Little White House – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Doctor Veronica Vale had arranged for Marshal Moses Myrick to go to Warm Springs, Georgia. She said the natural hot springs there were perfect for his convalesce.  Cracker the parrot left her perch on the G-man’s chair and glided across the Vales’ living room to perch on the back of the sofa where I sat.
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Cracker dropped a bit of spinach she’d been nibbling on the rug as she flew.  I saw Granny Fanny look disdainfully from the dropped food to the bird.  It sure seemed like the progress those two had made toward getting along had been forgotten.  When the marshal was shot, it looked like Granny and the parrot had forgotten their differences, in their mutual concern for Moses Myrick.  I was surprised to think that might have only been temporary.
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I missed Cracker terribly when she transferred her affection to Marshal Myrick, but I figured that she was helping the critically injured man in that amazing way that animals seem to help humans heal.  So I tried not to feel rejected, and repeatedly reminded myself that Cracker was just a bird.  She wouldn’t intentionally hurt my feelings.
>

Veronica again mentioned that the spa didn’t allow any animals.  Cracker bumped the side of my head with hers.  Then she did it again a moment later, as if she was nudging me.
>

“I don’t have any treats, Cracker,” I told the parrot.
>

“Who’s your daddy?” Cracker asked in an imploring tone and bobbed her head in a way that looked much like a 1920s Woman Parrotnod.

“Oh that vulgar bird,” Granny Fanny complained, reminding me of how much she hated that phrase.
>

“Oh Fanny, Cracker doesn’t mean any harm.  Why, she’s downright ladylike most of the time,” Moses said, and his voice seemed to echo the imploring tone Cracker had used.

“I realize it’s been quite a burden for Veronica and Vincent to have to look after me and Cracker too,” the aging law man continued amid protests from both the Vales.  “I’d hate to ask them to keep looking after the parrot while I’m at Warm Springs,” he added and Granny’s expression suddenly became stiff and suspicious.

“I know it was a challenge for you too, Fanny, when Pip was taking care of her.  It’s a lot of extra work for a woman to unexpectedly add a parrot to her household,” Moses said soothingly.  “I know Cracker gets messy sometimes too, just like a child.  Nobody could blame you for not being able to deal with it.”
>

Oh Horsefeathers!  Granny could handle anything, and she’d be the first to say so.  Was the revenuer baiting my grandmother?  He couldn’t have said anything that was any more likely to get a rise out of her if he’d tried!  Had he done it intentionally?  I wouldn’t have advised anybody to get Granny’s back up on purpose, but I saw a twinkle in the Fed’s eyes that told me he had done exactly that.

1920 Home Journal Parrot
“I think the poor bird has missed Pip,” Marshal Myrick went on to say.
>

“Whatever gives you that idea, Moses?” Granny exclaimed, agitated.  “It’s just a bird.  She switched her interest to you from Paisley easily enough.”
>

“Paisley Idelle Peabody!” Cracker shrieked in a fair imitation of my grandmother.
>

Moses started laughing, and then winced and clutched his side.  That was one of the several bullet wounds he had taken when Queenie Wetson’s thugs ambushed him.  “That’s why,” he said, still chuckling.  “She calls Pip’s full name several times a day.  I sort of think, since she’s calling her name the way you would, that it means she misses you too, Fanny.”
>

While Granny blustered wordlessly over that comment, I turned to Cracker and scratched her neck.  “Oh Cracker,” I exclaimed.  “Have you really missed me?” I asked feeling oddly guilty — it wasn’t as if I’d had much choice in the matter.  “So do you want to go home with me… if Granny says it’s okay?” I said turning my most imploring and saddest eyes on my grandmother.1920s PhotoPlay

>
I waited. I held the hopeful sad-eyed look for so long I thought my eyes might cross.  My eyebrows contracted and I was about to give up.  I looked down at my hands in my lap, unable to hold Granny Fanny’s gaze any longer.
>

“Don’t worry Moses,” Veronica finally said.  “Vincent and I will look after Cracker.  It’s really no trouble.”
>

“No, no…” Granny said.  “The bird can go home with us.  Paisley, she’ll have to stay in your room though.  And mind you, keep her out of my kitchen!”
>

Cracker made a noise that sounded like laughter.  “You slay me!” she squawked.
>

Moses started holding his side and laughing again, but I thought Granny’s eyes would pop right out of her head, she looked so mad.

“I remember Cracker Jack Daddy using that phrase a lot,” the G-man said.  There’s no telling what all she picked up from him.  “But I’ve noticed Cracker often says it when somebody laughs.  I wonder if she misses that gangster…” Moses said and his voice trailed away thoughtfully.  “I guess anybody can have a good quality, and Jack Daddy seemed to have taken good care of my girl here,” he said meaning Cracker the parrot.
>

Country Gentleman Kernan Sat Eve PostSomehow that seemed to calm Granny’s flare of anger.  Our visit wasn’t eventful after that.  Moses made a big deal over the apple pie Granny had made for him.  But Granny’s apple pies were well worth the praise.  Of course we didn’t have the pie until after the delicious meal the doctors Vale prepared.
>
Veronica said Vincent was a better cook than she, and the couple argued playfully about who was the better chef.  Soon we sat down to a delicious dinner that started with a beautiful creamy carrot soup, and just kept getting better from there.  Granny’s apple pie topped off the meal.
>

As we were leaving Vincent asked a favor of Andy and me. “Could you kids deliver some medicine for me, first thing in the morning?” the veterinarian asked.  “Bishop Binghamton’s mare is having difficulties, and she could foal at any time.  So I don’t want to go into town,” he said.
>

Cracker glided into the dining room.  I wondered if hearing the “Binghamton” name brought her.  She had acted strangely when she saw the bishop at a distance when we arrived earlier.  She’d said “Dainty Dish” when she saw him.  After the things Mattie Maddox had said about Henry Kingston III and the Binghamton brothers, hearing the parrot also connect Daisy, the ghost woman, to them made me really suspicious, despite how nice the bishop seemed.
>

“It’s for Kate Kingston’s Maine Coon cat.  Poor Antoinette gets a terrible skin condition sometimes,” Vincent said.
>1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

At the name “Kingston” Cracker cocked her head and looked at Vincent attentively.  “Fourandtwenty,” she chirped as if the phrase was a single word.
>

“What’s that Cracker?” Moses asked, not understanding the rapid speech, but the bird didn’t respond.
>

I could tell the G-man was going to miss the parrot.  It was as if he was paying extra attention to her all evening.  However, I remembered Cracker repeating that phrase when we were trying figure out who killed her owner, as well as when we worked to foil Queenie Wetson and her bootleggers.  She said four and twenty repeatedly and finally we ended up at…
>

“Pos-i-lute-ly,” Andy said, interrupting my thoughts.
>

“That’s quite alright, Vincent.  If it’s not too late, the children and I can run it over there this evening,” Granny offered.
>

“Where do we deliver it?” Andy asked.
>

Fourandtwenty!” Cracker screeched.
>

Vincent gave the parrot a surprised look.  “The big estate at 420 Kingston Lane,” he said and Cracker bobbed her head excitedly.Vintage girl and parrot

***

>
It was completely dark when we arrived at 420 Kingston Lane.  I could hear the river next to us as Granny headed the Model-T up the narrow drive that led to the estate.  Andy started complaining of a bad cramp in his foot.  We were just below where the drive forked with one way leading to the kitchen entrance and the other broader lane continued to the front of the mansion.
>

I exited the Model-T with Andy so he could walk out the cramp.  He limped along and I pulled his arm over my shoulder so I could help him.  It must have been a fierce cramp because I saw a tear in his eye that he pretended wasn’t there.  We kept walking and eventually found ourselves on the beautifully landscaped terrace, where the “parade of pets” was held at the ritzy party Granny Fanny catered as a front for the lawmen’s sting operation.  It seemed like a lot of time had passed since then, but I knew it hadn’t been all that long.
>

Michalemas daisy cardThe cramp finally left Andy’s foot.  We were near the big French doors and we debated whether we should knock there or walk all the way around to the front door.  As we stood discussing that minor problem a blast of frigid air tousled my bobbed hair.  I shivered and Andy tucked me tightly under his arm.  He’d never done that before.  Not to keep his arm there.  Not to hold me that close.
>

However I didn’t have time to wonder about Andy’s behavior.  Softly glowing light drew my attention to the uphill path.  Tiny white flower petals cascaded toward us on the wind.  With the cold breeze, for a moment I thought the petals were snow.
>

When the blossoms settled I saw Daisy at the top of the path.  She was dressed in a wedding gown, but the veil was turned back to reveal her angelic face.  Delicate lace trained behind her on the wide stone stairs.  White satin gleamed in the moonlight and beading glittered with her movements when she glided forward.
>

I realized Daisy was reminiscing about her wedding to Henry “the king” Kingston.  I knew she had a horrible childhood, but her marriage to him was a happy one, and clearly their wedding was a fond memory.  She looked at Andy and me and smiled sweetly.
>

The sound of a horse’s hooves on the pavers behind me caused me to start.  Turning, I watched the former ghost-rider, Caleb Colman dismount an otherworldly steed.  The spirit

Mary Pickford 1920

Mary Pickford 1920

horse whinnied softly.  The cowboy took off his Stetson when he saw me and nodded politely.
>

“Ma’am,” Caleb said and then nodded to Andy as well.
>

Then the cowboy saw Daisy glowing in the moonlight, a beatific specter in flowing white.  He gasped and dropped to one knee.  Hat over heart, Caleb bowed his head then slowly shook it from side to side as if in amazement.  He looked up at the spirit woman on the uphill path and his face was a mixture of wonder, uncertainty, and pain.  A single tear ran down his cheek.

>
At that moment I saw Bishop Binghamton come out of the wooded path to our left, halfway between us and Daisy.  Binghamton stopped to put out a cigarette.  Andy, Caleb, and I were farther down, closer to the kitchen and in the shadows.  He didn’t see us, but he was headed straight for the big French doors and not paying attention.  I don’t know if Daisy would have been visible to him, but he didn’t look in her direction either.
>

Daisy paused when she saw the bishop.  Her serene expression became puzzled and uneasy when she looked closely at the clergyman.  She moved toward him, but he continued toward the double doors and went inside the mansion.  Daisy’s full attention was on the scene within the house.
>

Wind buffeted us.  It was hard for me to walk upright into the gale.  I wondered if we were about to be caught up in a tornado, then I saw the frightening light in Daisy’s eyes.  Caleb saw it too.
>

“Daisy!  No!” the cowboy yelled.
>

1920s Cosmo FebShe turned and looked at Caleb and at Andy and me as if she’d never seen us before.  Then she turned her attention back to the house.  She took another step toward it and the French doors opened as if of their own accord.
>

We ran toward Daisy.  The bishop was standing just inside.  He turned in surprise when the doors opened behind him.
>

Caleb’s presence seemed to comfort Daisy, and the horrible light in her eyes dissipated.  I heard the two spirits whispering to each other.  I didn’t think anyone inside, except perhaps my grandmother, could see them.  Granny Fanny vacillated between disbelieving it was possible for her to see ghosts and actually seeing them.
>

As we moved close to the doors I heard Mrs. Kingston talking to Granny.  She sat a crystal bowl on a table.  It contained something creamy and white.

Yogurt is very good for lightening and brightening the complexion,” Kate Kingston said.  “Just leave it on your face for a few minutes and then wash it off,” she said, but her words died away when she saw the strange way the bishop was acting.
>

Andy and I hurried up to the doors and went inside.
>

“You didn’t open those doors,” the bishop murmured.
>

Daisy followed us.  She turned to Bishop Binghamton, who was still near the doors.  Then she saw his brother, Byron, standing at the foot of the gracefully curving staircase.  Henry Kingston was at the top of the stairs, on his way back down to join his guests.
>

“They’re all right where they were that night,” Daisy said as she stared transfixed by the scene.
>

She blinked and turned to me.  “Pip, I remember!” Daisy exclaimed.
>

Ghostly cowboy Caleb Colman moved closer to her.  “Ma’am?  Are you all right?” he asked, clearly concerned.

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920's

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920’s

>

“I remember,” Daisy repeated and trembled violently, dropping the bouquet of flowers she held.
>

Caleb took her hand.  I thought he meant to comfort Daisy, but I quickly saw there was more to the gesture than that.
>

He grasped her hand tightly.  “Are these the men who hurt you ma’am?” he asked softly, but she didn’t answer.  “Show me!” Caleb said in a firm voice.
>

Daisy squeezed the cowboy’s hand.  Wind wailed and buffeted inside the mansion.  A lamp turned over and shattered on the floor.  The crystal chandelier swayed dangerously overhead.  Voices rose near enough to panic.  The bishop fell to his knees, eyes tightly shut, praying for all he was worth.
>

Caleb bowed over Daisy’s hand and then let it go.  Abruptly the wind stopped.  The room went completely silent and I knew that everyone could see the formerly cursed ghost-rider.  Maestro Mario had made a great sacrifice, giving up countless years that would have been removed from his own curse, just to give Caleb Colman a chance to redeem himself.  Else the cowboy was condemned to a futile eternal chase.  I remembered Caleb’s words the first time I met him.
>

“It’s my curse.  Me and all the riders.  We chase that herd of red-eyed cattle, but we never get any closer to catching ‘em.  And we’ll chase them ‘til the end of time,” The ghost-rider had said seeing the expression on my face.

>
I wondered if Maestro’s sacrifice was about to be wasted.  Caleb looked steadily at each of the three men in turn.  His eyes started to glow a frightening red to match the eyes of the demon heard he used to chase.
>

The men cried out in fear as the spirit glowed with supernatural light and grew to twice his already impressive height.  The wind began again, lifting the bishop, his brother, and Henry Kingston III into the air where they remained suspended while Caleb cast that red-eyed stare at them.

***

Recipe:  Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, the Indian Way

Ishita spinach soup

Photo and Recipe credit to Ishita at Kooky Cookyng

This time I am just giving you the link to Ishita’s blog for the recipe and instructional photos.  I hope you’ll look at many of her creative meals.

http://kookycookyng.com/2014/09/12/autumnal-spinach-carrot-soup-the-indian-way/

 ***

In Memory of Izzy

October 2014

pug memorial candle

***

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 II – 16: Apples, Broad Beans, Curry Leaves

Sheiks and Shebas I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Yes, there is pos-i-lute-ly going to be a new episode of our 1920’s culinary mystery serial! The ingredients for Episode-16 are from the astonishingly prolific Olga Núñez Miret at Just Olga. Serendipity was with us, and this chapter coincided with the launch of her latest book, I Love Your Cupcakes Have a look at it — who can say no to a cupcake? Olga has a video trailer for this novel.  I thought it was so adorable I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGFcWLwoFfA . Once again I’m giving you a few fun, informative links, so keep an eye out for them. This episode doesn’t have cupcakes, but it has something sweet — the return of a favorite character. Bon appétit!

16.  Apples, Broad Beans, Curry Leaves

I still remember the rough country road and how Granny Fanny patted her yellow 1924 Liberty-appleModel-T every time we hit a bump.  A half bushel basket of apples sat crowding my feet in the floorboard, and I held a peck basket of Vidalia onions on the seat beside me.

Andy Avis sat in the backseat with Granny’s favorite wicker basket in his lap.  He sneaked the lid open and the aroma of Granny’s apple pie drifted up to my grandmother and me in the front seat.  I looked over my shoulder and saw Andy lick his lips.  I knew that pie was mouthwatering.  The scent found its way to Granny’s nose, and she glanced suspiciously at Andy.

“Sweetheart, try and keep the basket closed so the pie will stay warm,” she said, as if the lid accidentally came loose, though it was obvious that she knew better.  “Now that Moses is well enough to be moved, that pie was the one thing he asked for before he leaves,” she added.

Marshal Moses Myrick was a close friend of my grandparents when they were young.  Not too long after Granddaddy passed away, Myrick’s law enforcement career took off.  He worked his way through the ranks and eventually became a Federal Marshal — a Revenuer; a G-man.

Myrick nearly died when Queenie Wetson’s men ambushed him, but Savannah’s dashing Detective Dabney Daniels was able to get him to Dr. Veronica Vale.  She had been a renowned surgeon, but tiring of hospital politics and spiteful attitudes about women doctors, she retired from medical practice.  She and her veterinarian husband had a home and a sprawling facility for Vincent’s veterinary practice that was much closer to the site of the ambush than any hospital.  If it hadn’t been for Detective Daniels’ knowledge of area back-roads and for the doctors Vale living nearby, Moses Myrick would have surely died.Vales House During the weeks since the surgery Veronica Vale had performed in her husband’s veterinary facility, Marshal Myrick stayed with the Vales.  Veronica refused to allow him to be moved.  Finally his condition improved enough that she wanted the marshal to go to Warm Springs, Georgia.  It was well known for therapeutic mineral springs which flow constantly at nearly 32 °C (90 °F).  Doc Vale wanted him to spend several weeks at a spa there.

Soon the yellow Ford puttered up to the lovely white house with a green roof.  Granny Fanny reminded Andy and me to be quiet once we got inside.  Moses Myric was still far from being well.  When I stepped out of the Ford, I heard a horse whinny from the 1914 Model-T 2stable, and from inside the house I could hear a bird screech.  A parrot.  Cracker, I thought with a smile.  So much for being quiet…

I became far too attached to that bird when I was taking care of her.  But it seemed the marshal had stolen Cracker’s heart.  She refused to leave his side after he was shot.

As I got out of the automobile, a streak of brilliant color erupted from an upstairs window and loomed toward me.  I drew back reflexively, even though I knew it was the parrot.  Cracker alighted on the open car door, chattering unintelligibly.  Yes, I know the bird isn’t supposed to be able to speak the way humans do, and could only mimic our words, but sometimes it sure seemed like she knew what she was talking about.  Her lack of coherent speech led me to think she was extremely excited.

Cracker hopped from the car door to my shoulder and started preening a strand of my bobbed hair, as was her old habit.  I tried to push her away from my head and was scolded.

“Bad bird! Bad bird,” Cracker chirped at me.1920s SheetMusic Parrot

I stroked the feathers of her back and told Cracker I had missed her.  The parrot started making a funny trilling sound.  When Detective Daniels handed me the chore of bird-sitting after Cracker’s owner was murdered at the Bijou Theatre he asked Mr. Doctor Vale… not the same as Mrs. Doctor Vale… Oh applesauce!  It sure got confusing having two Doctors Vale in one place.

Anyhow Dabney asked the vet doc to take a look at the parrot and make sure she was healthy. The memory of Vincent examining the parrot popped into my mind.  He had said Cracker was at least forty years old!

“Parrots live a long time,” he’d explained.  “They need a serious, long term commitment from their owners.  Cracker is a macaw,” he said taking my name for the bird.  “She might live to the ripe old age of 95.”

I couldn’t help thinking about the old photograph, our only hint of a clue to who was involved in the death of Daisy the Dainty Dish.  According to the ghost woman, what I thought was a flaw in the photo was actually a parrot.  I looked into Cracker’s bright, intelligent looking eyes.  She might be old enough to have been the parrot sitting on the shoulder of Alastair Wong the elder in that photograph. Andy’s eyes bugged out when I turned to him and whispered that thought to him.

Movement further down the gently sloping green caught my eye as I looked beyond Andy.  He turned to see what had my attention.Broad Beans Beyond the spot where we stood, was the vegetable garden where the last of the summer foods grew.  A few of the broad beans Veronica praised for their nutritional value remained.  I tried to point discretely in their direction. “Just past the garden,” I told Andy.  “Those two men.  One is Doc Vale.  The other one looks familiar to me,” I said uneasily.

The two men made their way to the stable.  It was as if they felt our eyes on them.  They turned our way.  Vincent Vale threw up his hand in a cheery wave.  The second man was dressed in working clothes.  He was smaller than the veterinarian.  When he turned I saw a spot of bright white at his neck. It seemed out of place with the work clothes.

Cracker followed my gaze.  She shifted from foot to foot where she perched on my shoulder. “Bad bird,” the parrot hissed quietly.1920s Ja-Da Parrot “What’s eating you?” Andy asked seeing the intent frown on my face.

“I can’t really tell from here…” I began, squinting in attempt to see farther.

Cracker had her eyes glued to the men right up until they went inside the stable.  “Dainty Dish,” the parrot chirped and bobbed her head up and down.

Andy gave a suspicious look at the bird.  I’d told him how clever she was, but he had not believed me.  However, he knew the spirit, Daisy, had been known as The Dainty Dish.  I wondered if he was about to change his mind and see how smart the parrot was.

“Well?” Granny Fanny looked back over her shoulder as she reached the front porch.  “Come along you two.  And Paisley, do try to keep that nasty bird quiet!” she said emphatically.

It had taken awhile, but Cracker eventually won Granny over despite my grandmother’s aversion to having an avian in the house.  I thought Granny might need a refresher course to remind her that she actually did like the parrot.  Or maybe she just didn’t like to let on that she did.

Barrie Craig adventuresAndy shifted the wicker basket to his left hand and knocked on the door.  Veronica called to us to come on inside, so he opened the door for Granny.  I was happy to see Moses Myrick doing well enough to be downstairs in the living room.

“Take this mixture of curry leaves with you,” Veronica was saying as she handed Moses a small tin container.  “It will help control your stomach acid.”

The G-man sat in a cushioned chair with his feet on an ottoman.  A carved walking stick was propped against the cozy looking chair.  Veronica Vale leaned down to hand him the tin, and then looked up at us with a warm smile.

I didn’t really expect the range of emotions that played across my grandmother’s face when she saw the marshal.  I knew she cared a lot about him, but I thought it was just a carryover from the fact that he had been such good friends with my granddaddy.

Yet before my eyes I saw her expression shift from anxious, to pleasure, to concern, to something that it took me a moment to name.  To my surprise I realized she was feeling the pain of loss. That puzzled me.  However, I remembered her saying that she didn’t understand how any woman could bear to have a law man for a husband or a son.  The dangers were just too much and the agony of losing them too great.

She had refused a romantic relationship with Detective Dabney Daniels, but she insistedSheik of Araby it was because she was too old for him.  I didn’t think their age difference was all that big, so I had always wondered if that was the truth of it.  I could see where his line of work would be a constant source of worry.

After seeing the expressions parade across her face, I couldn’t help wondering if something similar had happened between Granny Fanny and Marshal Moses Myrick at some point in the past.  As my grandmother had once reminded me, she had a life before and after my grandfather.

The G-man picked up the cane and made to get up from his chair.  Doctor Veronica shot him a warning look.  Granny gently laid a slender hand on his arm and he relaxed into the cushions of the chair.  When Moses looked up at my grandmother the most peaceful expression came to his face.  I didn’t realize I was staring at the two of them until I felt Andy’s elbow nudge my ribs.

“Fanny…” was all Moses said.

She sat down on the sofa opposite his chair.  She didn’t sit all the way back, and she leaned a little forward when she spoke to him.  Cracker the parrot settled on the back of the marshal’s chair.  She preened a strand of his gray hair in the same way she had mine.  He brushed a hand at the bird to shoo her away.

“Hold your fire!” Cracker squawked at his hand, causing Andy to burst out laughing.

Encouraged by the laughter, Cracker hopped down to the marshal’s lap, demanding the-chinese-parrot adattention.

“Hold your fire,” she said again when he told her to go to her perch by the window.

Moses pointed his index finger at Cracker, a pretend gun, and made a clicking sound with his tongue.  Cracker plopped over, playing dead.  Then she got up and stretched her head so that it was under his chin and whistled quietly.  I couldn’t say quite how, but the parrot seemed sad to me and I commented on it.

“She knows he’s leaving,” Veronica said.  “They don’t allow animals at the spa.”

Then the most remarkable conversation ensued between the revenuer and the parrot.  The fact that there was any conversation at all between a G-man and a bird was astonishing enough.  Moses told the bird that he would be away for a month or so. His tone suggested this was something he had explained many times.  The bird made squawks and whistles and even something a lot like a raspberry sound!  It was obvious that she was protesting. Then he took a firm no-nonsense tone.

“Look Cracker, I need you to stay with Pip until I get back.  No argument,” he said. “And that’s an order!” Cracker squawked back at him, but she flew over to me and perched on the arm of the sofa. “Don’t you backtalk me,” Moses told the bird and pointed threateningly.

“Hold your fire!” Cracker snapped, but she moved closer to me and looked suitably chastened.

Granny commented on the parrot’s new phrase, hold your fire.  Moses said he wasn’t sure where she got it.  It wasn’t something he had said to her.  However, we knew the parrot had had a number of owners in her lifetime.1920s Life Faded blonde

Then she took an interest in Andy.  She waddled down the back of the couch to where he sat.  Cracker cocked her head to one side and peered at Andy.  I could tell it was beginning to make him nervous.  She tilted her shoulder toward him and bobbed her head up and down.  To me it looked like the equivalent of a human bobbing their eyebrows flirtatiously.

“Who’s your daddy?” she chirped at Andy, causing him to blush.

“Oh that foul mouthed fowl,” Granny Fanny said.  “Haven’t you broken her from saying that yet Moses?” Granny demanded.

I remembered how my grandmother hated that phrase.  She said it was horrid and vulgar.  However, Cracker was saved from any scolding by the entrance of Vincent and the man we saw go into the stable with him.

“Dainty Dish,” Cracker hissed quietly, looking at the two men who stood in the foyer.

“It’s odd, but she says that every time she sees the Bishop,” Veronica murmured as if she voiced a thought.  “He is a rather slight man. I wonder if that’s what she means.”

Veronica explained that Bishop Binghamton’s mare was soon to give birth and her husband was watching over things.  So Binghamton had been a frequent visitor during the past few weeks. Niven as BinghamtonI supposed that explained the work clothes he wore, Levis and an old twill jacket, but with the priest’s collar at his neck.  It was hard for me to reconcile that attire with the elaborately dressed, fancy bishop I had seen from a distance at that ritzy shindig at the Kingston mansion.

However, he looked perfectly comfortable being seen in a working man’s clothes.  I half expected him to apologize for his appearance, considering how he had looked at the party, but he didn’t seem concerned.  That added something unexpected to my perception of him.  Was there a touch of the common man to this high ranking churchman?

Vincent Vale introduced Bishop Bradley Binghamton to Andy and me.  Apparently he was already acquainted with Granny Fanny.  I supposed that was to be expected.  They were of a similar age and from the same town, even if their social circles hadn’t mixed when they were young.

“A fascinating creature,” he said with a nod to Cracker whose steady gaze didn’t waiver.

I noticed that he didn’t offer to get any closer to the bird, but considering the hard look in her eyes, I couldn’t blame him.  So this was one of the “boys” — the men that Mattie Maddox believed were implicated in Daisy’s death… However, when I looked at him I saw a kind face and a gentle manner.  There was no harsh expression in his eyes or anything that would make me think he would threaten anyone; to make them leave town and never return.  Yet I didn’t disbelieve Mattie stainge glass_parroteither.

Bishop Binghamton looked like a man remembering bygone days and a small smile came to his lips.  He motioned toward Cracker. “When I was a lad, one of my teachers had a parrot a lot like this one,” he said.  “The name escapes me,” he commented thoughtfully and put a knuckle to the little cleft in his chin.  “A brilliant Asian gentleman,” he said and Granny’s eyes got wide.  “Ah yes.  He was Asian, but from England.  Wong.  That was it!  Alastair Wong.” My mouth opened, but no words came out.  Cracker looked from Granny to Andy to me. “Hold your fire!” Cracker hissed at us and I closed my mouth with a pop.

***

Recipe:  Southern Indian vegetable curry with curry leaves

With courgette, squash, peppers and cauliflower Photo and Recipe Credit:  JamieOliver.com

Indian vege Curry Leaves

  Method Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to pop. Add the chillies, curry leaves, onions, coriander, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric, and chilli powder.  Stir and cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Add your potatoes and aubergine to the sauce.  Pour in the coconut milk and cook until the potato is soft and cooked through.  Throw in the beans, peas and okra.  Season and cook for a few more minutes until tender, then serve with some nice fluffy rice.

***

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 II – 15: Ribs, Watermelon, Corn

Welcome back to our interactive 1920’s culinary mystery serial!Kittens Daisies wheat ad vintage

The “ingredients” for this episode are from the very talented “Kraftycat” at Kraftycat Creations. You don’t have to be a crazy cat person to enjoy her blog.  Not only does she make adorable kitty toys, she makes wonderful gifts and jewelry for the humans.  I hope you’ll check out her great blog.

It seems that our “ingredients” bring as many questions as answers lately. What’s in store this week?  Keep reading to find out!  Bon appétit!

15.  Ribs, Watermelon, Corn

With Apparition

A vial of smelling salts that Maestro produced out of nowhere brought Mattie around from 1920s Fainther faint.  Andy and Vicar Varley helped her to the vicarage.  Everyone was concerned about the older woman, but she insisted that it was “only the vapors” and that she didn’t want anyone fussing over her.

The clang of pots and pans in the kitchen made me cringe.  It sounded like Maestro Martino was tearing apart the unfamiliar room as he looked for things.  The ghost chef had insisted that Mattie Maddox, and the rest of us too, needed a fortifying meal after the shock of seeing Daisy’s specter.  Of course, Vicar Vance Varley and Mattie had no idea that Maestro was himself a poltergeist.

Soon the aroma of Maestro’s bourbon baby back ribs dinner wafted to my nose as Andy, Granny Fanny, Mattie, the vicar, and I sat in the clergyman’s cozy parlor.  I could imagine the ribs melting in my mouth and my stomach gave an impatient growl.

The vicar’s cautions to Mattie about sharing information with “strangers” — that would be us, made Andy Avis suspicious and he whispered his concerns to me.  However, a discrete Daisy thread adquestion revealed Vance Varley moved to Tybee Island from Gulfport, Mississippi only ten years before.  So presumably he was nowhere around Savannah, Georgia at the time of Daisy’s demise.  Besides, I was pretty sure he would be a bit young to be involved.  When he again spoke to Mattie in a cautionary tone, she let him know where she stood, and explained to us.

“Vance has showed me great kindness since he came to Tybee.  He also became my friend and confidant,” Mattie said and patted the vicar on his knee.

There were a few age spots and an enlarged vein on the top of her hand.  It was clearly the hand of an old woman, but it did not look arthritic.  I was relieved for the painter in her.  It would be a shame for someone so talented to give up their art.

“Daisy wants me to tell what I know about her passing, else she would not have come to us.  There would have been no apparition,” Mattie said in a level voice.  “Vance, I know your only concern is for my safety, but I don’t want this shadow hanging over me anymore.”

She turned to the rest of us — Andy, Granny Fanny, and me.  “Don’t think poorly of Vicar Varley,” she said, though she didn’t sound worried.  “He’s only trying to protect me.  You see, after Daisy died, I continued to work for Henry Kingston senior.  However, when King Henry passed on, something odd happened.”

“Something odd, you say?  What sort of odd?” Granny asked, and I supposed she wondered Vintage Watermelon Seedswhat could be stranger than ghosts appearing.

Mattie’s expression and tone said she suspected more than she was about to reveal.  “After the funeral, I was surprised to see Byron Binghamton once again become very close to young Henry.  See, I had overheard King Henry tell his son that the Binghamton boys weren’t welcome in his home any more.  He told his son that he’d cut those ties if he knew what was good for him.

When the boy protested, Henry senior threatened to disinherit him.  So at least outwardly, young Henry quit having anything to do with the two Binghamton brothers, athough I was pretty sure they all hung out together when nobody was looking.  Why, they were so close you could spit a watermelon seed further than the space between them!  I always said those three were thick as thieves…” she said and seemed far away in thought for a moment.

Mattie’s eyes were on her hands folded calmly in her lap.  When she looked up, her tense frown suggested she wasn’t as calm as she appeared. She exhaled sharply, as if in frustration.

“Right after King Henry passed on, young Henry called me into his father’s library,” she said.  “When I entered the room I could still smell Henry senior’s cologne and a trace of tobacco from his pipe.  For a second it was as if he was still there.  It made me angry to see the boy sitting in the chair behind the big desk.  It was too soon, and it just wasn’t right,” Mattie said, clenching her hands.  “But I held my peace.  Then I saw those two Binghamton Antique daisy cup saucerbrothers lounging on the furniture…” she said.

“Or rather Byron was sprawled on the leather sofa.  Bradley was sitting with his legs crossed in a chair.  His posture was relaxed, but he looked tight as a drum.  His eyes had dark shadows under them, and his mouth looked like the frown he wore was etched permanently into his face,” Mattie remembered.  “Bradley acted so cold and detached that day, I couldn’t believe he went to the Church for his profession.  But then again, maybe it makes sense,” she said in a pondering tone.

Then she gave herself a little shake and went back to the core of her story.  “Anyhow, the group of them told me they were pensioning me off.  It wasn’t just Henry III, as one might have thought.  No, all three of them contributed.  And I had the impression that Bradley Binghamton was behind it — he looked so stern, and he took over the speech when young Henry started blustering and threatened me,” Mattie said.

“Threatened you?  How?” Granny asked her gently.

“There were all sorts of vague threats in that library,” Mattie answered shaking her head as if confused.  “I didn’t fully understand what they were talking about, but I did grasp the fact that they wanted me away from there and they wanted me quiet.  I just didn’t know what they seemed to think I knew about,” she said.

Vintage Daisy art“And Bradley — Bishop Bradley Binghamton, you think he was behind it?” Andy asked.

“What I meant to say,” Mattie corrected herself.  “I felt like Bradley was the one who wanted to pension me off, to pay me to keep quiet… even though I didn’t know what I was keeping quiet about…” she added looking confused.  “I believed young Henry and Byron had something a lot worse in mind for me,” Mattie said with a shiver.  “I actually think Bradley wouldn’t let them do something that bad, and made them basically pay me to go into hiding,” Mattie told us.

“They said I had to leave Savannah, and never show my face there again,” Mattie continued.  “Back then, Tybee Island seemed far enough away.  I’ve never been one to ‘think big’ as they say.  In those days there was no road here.  This barrier island was as far away from Savannah as I had ever been, so that was where I went.  And I went as fast as I could too, I can tell you.  Their threats were vague, but there was murder in their eyes,” she said and wrapped her arms around herself as if she was suddenly cold.

Andy looked at Vicar Vance Varley again.  “And what is your part in all this?” my friend asked suspiciously.  “You were pretty obvious about not wanting her to tell us anything.”

Vicar Varley shook his head as if in denial.  “Oh no, son.  You misunderstand,” the vicar began, but Mattie hurried to his rescue.

“I befriended the vicar when he first came to Tybee.  For years I had felt isolated, imprisoned here.  Vance didn’t have any family or friends anywhere in the Savannah area before he came here.  So I felt safe in making friends with him.  One day he wanted me to come to the mainland with him; he was being recognized for the work he’d done here on the island.  I got upset and refused to go.  Then I felt guilty, and I confided in him the things I’ve just told you,” she said.Daisy teapot

Well, applesauce!  Mattie Maddox told an interesting story, but it didn’t do a blessed thing but create even more questions.  It reminded me of the knitting I ruined for Granny once when I was a kid.  She made me unravel and untie every bit of it before I could go out to play.

As I saw it, the most tangled skein of yarn in this particular knitting basket was Henry Kingston, the young man who was actually a young punk.  It didn’t surprise me.  I thought back to the fancy shindig Granny catered at his mansion when I first came to Savannah.  It was all part of a sting operation put in place by Granny Fanny’s old friend Moses Myrick, a revenuer.  That’s right, a real life G-man.

Henry Kingston wasn’t found guilty of any crime related to that business, but his girlfriend Daisy cup saucer vintagesure was.  And Kingston knew all about it, even if his fancy lawyer got him off the hook.  Plus, Henry was a married man.  The fact that his wife knew about his affair didn’t make him any less of a heel in my eyes.

A strain of opera rolled from the kitchen.  I didn’t realize Maestro had such a voice.  Apparently he liked to sing while he cooked.  Granny had been so upset about having a ghost in her kitchen that he didn’t get to cook very often.  I knew he enjoyed cooking though, because often I heard him at night, puttering in Granny’s kitchen.  My stomach rumbled again, and I hoped that the aria heralded the arrival of dinner.

Regardless of the fact that Maestro Martino died centuries before, he had a wonderful Italian accent.  It was not diminished when he unexpectedly tried to take on a southern accent to announce that dinner was ready.  Andy and I looked at each other for a minute and then burst out laughing at his comical voice.

“Ya’ll come ‘n get it.  Dinner’s ready,” Maestro announced in a bizarre combination of Italian and southern accents.

“Why do you laugh Signorina o Signore?  I said it just as you taught me, Signore,” Maestro said sounding a bit crestfallen.

Daisies VictorianThe anticipation was clear on every face when we saw the meal the ghost chef had spread on the table.  He looked at our expressions and smiled, once again his bubbly self.  Bourbon baby back ribs, corn on the cob, sliced sweet potatoes drizzled with maple syrup, slaw, and cornbread awaited us.

Maestro pulled out a chair and seated Granny Fanny with more gallantry than I had ever seen, even from him.  Of course that prompted the vicar to seat Mattie.  With more grace and apparent practice than I would have expected, Andy did the same for me.  I was rather taken aback at the gentlemanly side of my old friend.  Maybe he was learning more than the movie business out in Hollywood.

We had barely begun to eat the delicious meal when a pop-fizz sound made me look up in concern.  I exchanged a look with Maestro, who seemed very apprehensive.  Just as I started to think nothing would happen, a mountain of white daisies cascaded down onto us, the table, and the food.  We were practically buried in blossoms.

No one spoke.  The vicar cast a fearful gaze around the room.  He clasped his hands in Michalemas daisy cardprayer, but I didn’t think he was saying grace.  Andy looked annoyed as he picked daisies from his ribs.  Then he shrugged and put a big bite into his mouth and complimented Maestro, in between the yum-yum sounds he mumbled.  Mattie laughed at Andy, and then threw a handful of daisies into the air with a girlish giggle.

I looked across the table at Maestro Martino.  He grinned jovially but the smile didn’t reach his eyes.  His smile quickly faded and his expression became contemplative and serious.  I asked him what was on his mind.

“Daisy has become suddenly powerful,” Maestro said in a tone that suggested he was sorting his thoughts as he spoke.  “I think here, with the flowers, she meant to celebrate seeing her old friend again, and naturalmente she used the daisies to let us be certain it was her, no?  Her physical appearance at the stained glass window, it also indicates she has become powerful,” he said in a worried tone.

“But that’s good isn’t it?” I asked.  “Maybe now she’ll be able to help us find out what happened to her — and what or who is responsible for her death.”

vintage queen of the mayÈ possibile,” Maestro answered doubtfully.  “But power, especially new power does not fill in the knowledge she was missing.  You see?  Daisy has power that is new to her.  She doesn’t know how to use it well, as you can see,” he said motioning to the flower covered dinner table.  “What if she becomes frustrated or confused in her quest for the truth?  What if she, with her new power, becomes angry?” Maestro asked in a dire tone that gave me goose bumps.

Daisy had been affable and kind in my encounters with her.  But what if she got upset with the search for her killer.  Or what if she suspected the wrong person and acted on a false assumption.  After all, moments ago Andy thought the vicar might be involved.  What if Daisy became a powerful, vengeful spirit?

***

Video:  Watermelon Lemonade | Volunteer Gardener

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h9jzr_Q6l0

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.

atch?v=8h9jzr_Q6l0

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Three Ingredients II – 14: Chickpeas, Curry, Coconut Milk

Vintage shampoo adPete & Repeat

Two chickpeas, Pete and Repeat were in a pod-boat. Pete fell overboard. What was left?

“Repeat!” you say?  Well, alright then… Pete and Repeat were in a boat—

Okay, I’m just being silly. I would have done something with “Lather, rinse and repeat” but I couldn’t come up with anything.  It took me this long to realize that I was repeating an “ingredient” from Episode-13.  But do you really mind?  What vegetable could be cuter than a chickpea?

The ingredients for this episode are from the remarkable SheketEchad at the “Sunflower Solace Farm” blog. I hope you’ll visit and learn a little about her.  I could relate to her “About” page, because the idea of a little piece of heaven homestead is akin to my own dream of a cottage in a tiny town, or an adobe in the desert.  I’m in a wistful mood, so fantasies of a dream home and ideal life come readily, if intangibly to mind.Pug Girl hat

Since I didn’t give you an episode last weekend, you might need a refresher. At the top of this page, click on “Cookbook-2 Three Ingredients (Serial Home)” — all the past episodes are stored there (omitting the introductions).

Our flapper has been upset. Granny Fanny wanted to send her home. Andy was so afraid of  Granny that he wouldn’t even look at Pip.  What would become of our 1920’s culinary mystery without Pip?  Here’s Episode-14.  Bon appétit!

14.  Chickpeas, Curry, Coconut Milk

With Vanished

Tybee Island LighthouseI sat dangling my bare feet over the ocean.  Daisy sat next to me, idly swinging her feet.  Saltwater sprayed our toes when a wave came to shore.  The salty mist was a little cold and I drew my feet back.  However, it didn’t bother Daisy.  She was dead.

Her head snapped toward the coast and her eyes looked like she had recognized something that I couldn’t see.

“You should go back,” she said with a wan smile that went no further than her lips.

“I don’t want to go back,” I told the ghost woman.  “I’m too upset about all the horrid things Granny said to me.  I haven’t done anything racy.  And I was trying to help you!  It’s wrong for her to take her spite out on me when I’m doing something good,” I said rebelliously.

“Her spite?” Daisy asked.  “Oh, you mean about that handsome detective who had such a crush on her?  It’s a shame that didn’t work out, but her heart is divided.”

“How did you know about all that?” I asked in surprise.

The dark-haired girl laughed.  “We ghosts talk.  Didn’t you realize?  Some of them are big ole gossips!” Daisy said impishly.  “Detective Dabney Daniels is not the only lawman in Phanny’s heart.”

“Why do I feel like you just pronounced her name slightly differently?” I pondered aloud.vintage queen of the may

“I think that’s part of your gift, Pip — the gift that lets you see spirits.  I doubt that it sounded any different, but you knew that it was spelled differently in my mind,” Daisy explained as I waited in confusion.  “Her name was originally spelled with a ‘Ph’ — it was Phanny, not Fanny.  Didn’t you know that she was a ‘Pip’ too?” Daisy asked.

“You know, it seems like my pops said something about her being another Pip,” I said.

Daisy continued.  “Not wanting to stand out or be different, when people spelled it with an ‘F’ she didn’t correct them,” the spirit told me.

“That does not sound like my grandmother at all,” I said shaking my head.

“She’s much stronger as a person now than when she was a young girl,” Daisy said agreeably.  “But Phanny never liked feeling different.  That’s why she unconsciously shut off her gift of seeing spirits. It made her unique when she desperately wanted to be like everyone else.”

Daisy patted my arm.  Her hand was very cold.  That time the smile reached her eyes.  “Really though, you need to go back.  It’s important that you witness something,” she said vaguely.  “You’ll see,” she commented in answer to the question that was on my face.

With a huge sigh I stood up on the big rock.  The sound of a large splash in the distance 1920s Mermaidencaused me to turn seaward.  I wondered if it was the merman.  Daisy urged me to go back.  I knew I was procrastinating.  I’d have to face Granny Fanny sooner or later.

I was so distraught when I ran away from Granny and the others at the church, when my shoes came off I hadn’t paid any attention.  I had no idea where they were, but I spotted first one and then the other along the beach.  Still dragging my heels about going back and facing everyone, I turned and looked at the big rocks.  Daisy was gone.

Picking up my wet, sand covered shoes I headed back the way I had come.  Or I tried.  I quickly found that the property around the church was a labyrinth of garden paths.  I wandered if frustration.  Finally I spotted the gravel that reminded me of chickpeas, and I knew I must be headed the right way.

“Pip!” someone called and I turned toward the voice.  “Not that way.  What you need is this way,” Daisy appeared and motioned for me to take a different path.

Actually, it was hardly a path at all.  Trail was a more fitting term, and that was generous.  When I started down the narrow trail Daisy vanished again.  Exasperated, I reached out and clutched at the air in the spot where she’d been.  Why couldn’t she ever just tell me something, plain and simple?  Why did there always have to be all that mystery?

After a few more steps I slowed my pace because I heard voices.  I stopped beside some Bonaventure Cemetery - Savannahdwarf palmetto and other palms.  A perfect red rose that reached through the palms hinted that more of the flowers grew beyond my hiding place.  I knew I must be back in the main part of the garden.

I tried to place the voices, but they were only slightly familiar.  Then I recognized the voices of Mattie Maddox and a man.  Ah, that would be the vicar, Vance Varley.  A third voice entered their conversation.  Granny Fanny.  Or should I call her Phanny, I thought in aggravation, but I let that go as unimportant.

The vicar sounded like he was consoling her, telling her not to worry.  “If she’s not back soon, we’ll send a few men out to look for her,” he said and I realized they were talking about me.

I’d be in even more hot water if I caused them to go to any trouble.  So I took a deep breath and got ready to make my presence known.  Then I heard Andy’s voice.  He sounded really agitated.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Andy began but my grandmother rode right over him, putting him in his place.  Andy cleared his throat and started over.  “Mrs. Peabody, it was firmly engrained in me to respect my elders, and not to talk back or interrupt.  And I’m sorry to do just that, but I need to have my say,” he said so firmly that my mouth dropped open.

Could that really be my old pal Andy Avis?  The mild little Astronaute-man who wrote science fiction stories, and jumped if anybody so much as said boo?  I shifted closer, trying Buster Keatonnot to make any noise.

“Pip deserves some consideration here,” Andy began, and after the way he let me down when Granny showed up ranting at me for going to the island without asking her first, I was shocked.  “She — we might have acted rashly, but we had to decide right then and there, if we were going to catch the last ferry.  And in all fairness, Pip did send word to you. She’s not a little child —”

“As long as Paisley is under my roof she’ll live by my rules, or go back to her father!” Granny exclaimed, and I thought that would be the end of it.

However, Andy surprised me by continuing.  “Please, Mrs. Peabody. I will have my say this once,” Andy said making me wonder at how he could be so polite yet so… so… insistent.

He wasn’t going to curry any favor with my grandmother, but my little Astronaute-man didn’t shut up at all.  I grinned ear to ear as I listened.  Who would have thought Andy could be that audacious?  Then my always hungry stomach rumbled when I thought of the other kind of curry.  Andy’s voice got my mind off my empty belly quickly though.

“Besides,” Andy was saying.  “Mrs. Maddox was our chaperone the entire time,” he added on a note of finality.  “I’m sure you don’t mean to cast aspersions on her morals and what she’d allow to go on in her home.”

Oh, I thought, nice one Astronaute-man.  Even Granny fanny couldn’t have manipulated an argument any better than that.  Maybe Andy wasn’t such a wuss after all.  Granted he wasn’t exactly heroic.  I’d always know he wasn’t the hero type; it took a little push for him to go into action during any of the things that happened to the group of us at Santa Rosa Sound and the Ca’d’Zan mansion.Ca d Zan-1

Even so, I never would have thought Andy would sink so low as to just hide behind something, while somebody attacked me verbally — even if it was my grandmother!  I still felt stung and abandoned that nobody stood up for me.  However, at that moment Andy was doing a lot to make amends for his behavior a little earlier that morning.  He stood up to my grandmother, and Granny Fanny in a tirade was enough to scare the pants off any man.

“It’s true,” Mattie confirmed.  “Why they really were the sweetest most well behaved young couple I’ve ever seen.  Why, nobody would have even thought there was anything between them,” she added sounding a bit mystified.

“That’s because we’re only friends,” Andy told her, sounded a tad exasperated.  “There wasn’t going to be any hanky panky in the first place.”

Granny Fanny mumbled something that I couldn’t make out from where I stood.  I movedVintage Pug painting closer and found a spot where I could peep between the palmettos.  My grandmother sat on a garden bench with a large handbag clutched on her lap.  Her fingers tightened on the leather, and she looked very stressed.  At first I thought there was a piece of luggage next to her feet, then I heard whining which told me that the case was a carrier for Wriggles, the little pug dog she was keeping for Arabella Wong.

I was surprised that Granny brought the dog with her, but I supposed she felt like Tybee Island wasn’t part of the mainland and maybe she wouldn’t get home in time to take care of him.  Wriggles barked and Granny started fishing in the huge handbag, eventually producing a leash.  In a moment the pug was sniffing the garden, Mrs. Maddox, and the vicar, and living up to his name with that tail wagging wiggle of his.

A sudden gust of frigid air made me shiver.  To my surprise I saw Daisy sitting on a bench across from Mattie Maddox.  Granny’s eyes widened in shock when the spirit woman suddenly appeared and she clutched the leather bag to her chest.  Andy saw the spirit too and took an involuntary step backward.  Wriggles went over and sniffed her shoes, and Daisy reached down to pet the pug, but she kept her sad, uncertain gaze on Mattie.  After a moment she smiled sweetly.

The spirit’s eyes wandered to the perfect red roses that grew behind the older woman.  Following her gaze I saw that white daisies grew in between the roses.  I realized that the setting was the same one I had seen in some of Mattie’s paintings.

Daisy’s words came back to me, “She said that I was as fine and good as any rose.  Kind Mattie — she knew I never thought as highly of myself as I should.”

“My dear, dear friend,” Daisy murmured looking at Mattie.  “How did you come to be an old woman?  Has it been so long?”

1920s Owl ClockAndy and Granny reacted to her words, but Mattie and Vicar Vance seemed oblivious to Daisy’s presence.  Granny fidgeted with the big purse in her lap.  I knew she wasn’t ready to accept the fact that she could see ghosts, but circumstances were forcing her to see them.  Then she opened the bag and took out that old wooden owl clock.  Maestro Martino bound himself to that clock when his cursed bottle was broken.  It was part of his curse — he had to be bound to an object, and could not be away from it for too awfully long.

But why would my grandmother bring the clock with her?  Yet she did, and moreover she held to it tightly, as if it was some sort of protection.  I was so intrigued by the scene playing out before me that I didn’t realize I was walking out into the open, making myself part of it.

Granny Fanny looked at me, and her eyes lit with happiness. However, the joy quickly flashed to pain, and then to anger.  I drew back, wishing I was still behind the dwarf palmettos.  No one spoke and it was uncomfortably quiet.  Daisy patted the bench beside her, and I gathered my courage and walked past my grandmother to sit beside my ghostly friend.

A pop-fizz sound broke the silence.  Maestro Martino appeared.  He was wearing his usual chef’s garb.  Wriggles started barking furiously at him.  Unlike Daisy, and I assumed most other spirits, Maestro Martino’s presence was so powerful that anyone could see him.  Of course, that was provided he actually wanted to be seen.

I was blocking their line of sight, plus the barking of the little dog distracted the vicar and Mrs. Maddox enough that they didn’t realize that Maestro had not walked into the garden inVintage Rose German Cologne the ordinary way.  He really had simply appeared out of thin air.  Maestro hurriedly took off the tall chef’s hat and hid it behind his back.  Remarkably, the pug quieted and sniffed his odd Renaissance era boots.

I had thought the dog was afraid of the ghost chef, but then I realized Wriggles was afraid of the hat, not the spirit.  Maestro was mischievous enough that he plopped the hat back onto his head for a moment and made a funny face.  The pug started barking again.  The poltergeist grinned and tucked the hat into his jacket.  Wriggles looked up at him, yapped once, and then wagged his curly tail.  His little black face looked like it was smiling.

Vicar Vance apologized and introduced himself and Mattie Maddox to the newcomer.  “I didn’t see you come up, sir.  Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked.

“This is…” Granny hesitated.  “This is Mr. Martino.  He was kind enough to escort me today on short notice,” she said somewhat awkwardly.

“Oh! It was you who radioed about the ferry being in trouble!” Vicar Varley cried.  “You have my heartfelt thanks, Mr. Martino.  I can’t tell you how helpful that was.  Some of those people might have succumbed to hypothermia if we had not been ready for them. But thanks to you we had everything in place when the boat limped to the dock.  I can tell you it was quite a scene on the beach last night.”

Maestro looked pleased but slightly embarrassed. He insisted that it was nothing, and started speaking Italian.  Since his English was perfect, if accented, I thought he must have done that to throw off the vicar — to keep him from asking unwanted questions.

Dormedary Coconut ad“Oh Signora, Che fortuna!” Maestro cried and pointed toward a palm tree that was different from the ones surrounding it.  “How fortunate, no?  It is a coconut palm.  Perhaps we could get the coconut milk for your special fruit cake recipe?”

“We don’t need to bother anyone with that right now, Maestr… I mean Mr. Martino,” she stammered.

I was amazed that Granny had helped the ghost come to the island.  She was still furious that Andy and I had unknowingly brought him into her kitchen in the first place.  Granny Fanny and the poltergeist argued more often than they spoke civilly.  Yet she backed up so that she stood closer to Martino than she did to the living people.

She didn’t get any closer to Daisy though.  Granny looked at the ghost woman suspiciously.  I supposed that Granny had grown accustomed to Maestro Martino.  And as he said himself, he was one powerful poltergeist!  Did she feel the need for protection?  But why?

My grandmother glanced at me, and I saw worry and sadness in her eyes.  Could she really have been so afraid for me that she took comfort in knowing someone powerful like Maestro was at her side?  Had an imagined need to rescue or protect me been stronger than her fear and distrust of the supernatural?  I suddenly felt like a heel for causing her to worry.

Meraviglioso,” he murmured and cast a meaningful look at Granny Fanny.  Maestro held the look for a bit longer than it seemed to me like he should have.  It wasn’t just a look.  It Vintage kitchen bouquet adwas an adoring gaze.  Then I knew he was up to something.  The exaggerated look of longing was an act, despite the fact that the spirit really was attracted to my grandmother.

The vicar and Mattie both noticed the way he was looking at Granny.  She blushed and looked away, clearing her throat.  Mattie gave an unexpected smile at Maestro’s behavior.  She leaned toward the vicar and whispered something about people in love being so sweet at any age.

I wasn’t sure if my grandmother heard what Mattie said, but she shot a glare at Maestro.  Then the flirty ghost bowed over Mattie Maddox’s hand in his courtly way.  He whispered something in Italian and the old gal actually giggled like a school girl.  I had to admit, the Maestro had a way about him.  He said something else to her in that accent of his.  It was English that time, but I didn’t catch what he said.  However, Mattie blushed and tittered.

When Mattie caught her breath, she looked at my grandmother.  “And you were worried about these two young people… but you set sail, so to speak, with this handsome rake!” Mattie chided playfully.  “Oh, now… I was only joking, dear.  No offense intended,” the older woman said when Granny’s glare transferred to her.

Maestro Martino laughed a bit too loudly.  He was still up to whatever it was.  “Sì, is it as you say, the pot calling the kettle black?” he exclaimed and then laughed again, but gave Granny 1920s two women gardenan adoring little tweak on the cheek.

Granny looked astonished, not just at Maestro, but at what Mattie said.  After a moment she shook her head ruefully.  “I guess you have a point, Mrs. Maddox,” she said, but I knew my grandmother too well to feel relieved that fast.

“Now please, you call me Mattie,” the other woman said warmly.

I wondered what Maestro had said to Mattie.  I couldn’t imagine what it was, but it seemed to have started things in the right direction.  Between Mattie and Maestro, maybe Granny Fanny would calm down enough that she’d give up the idea of sending me home to Florida.

Or maybe the antics of the little dog would distract her enough, I thought as I watched Wriggles wrap his leash around and around a bench leg.  When he ran out of lead, he started to whine and pull at the confining mess he’d made for himself.  However, no one was paying much attention to him.

Just as I noticed that Daisy had disappeared, I saw that a rose and a white daisy were at Mattie’s feet.  She wore a bemused expression as she leaned down to pick them up from the pavement.  The woman looked at Granny rather than me when she spoke.

“You know, when I was young I had a friend, a best friend… Pip reminds me of her.  She was so headstrong and intelligent, and so vital.  But she didn’t think as well of herself as she 1917 Vogueshould have,” Mattie said.  “I hope your granddaughter realizes how special and valuable she is,” she added looking at me from the corner of her eye and giving a little nod.

“I’d love to hear about her, your friend,” I cut into the conversation, causing Granny to raise an eyebrow at me.

“It was so long ago now, but I’ve never forgotten,” Mattie Maddox spoke in a soft voice as her memory stretched back over decades.  “Oh, she was a strong young woman, but just as sweet as she was strong.  I couldn’t imagine how anyone could fail to love her, but there were plenty of people who resented her.  King Henry though, that’s what they called Mr. Kingston senior, he worshiped the ground she walked on.”

Vicar Vance Varley at first gave Mattie a quizzical glance.  Then the look on his face shifted to worry and fear.  “Miss Mattie—”

“She?” Granny prompted, obviously curious despite the situation.

“Mr. Kingston’s second wife, Daisy,” Mattie said.  “I was her personal maid, but she always said I was her best friend.  She certainly was mine, but I always felt I didn’t do enough…” Mattie said but her words trailed away with her thoughts.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but at the end, I think she thought King Henry had left her,” Mattie went on.  “She was so badly off by then, I think time was passing differently for her.  Daisy didn’t understand everything that was happening then as she drifted in and out of 1920s faceconsciousness.  Her husband wasn’t at her side every minute.  To be honest, I thought he should have been there more, but he was beside her more than many men would have been,” she said in a reasoning tone.

“He arranged for an important doctor to come to Savannah and take a look at her.  King Henry left on the ferry to pick up the doctor at Union Station.  I think the hours must have felt like days to Daisy, and she thought he’d left her.  She passed before he even got to Savannah.

“Miss Mattie,” the vicar interrupted.  “What you’ve told me in confidence… It might not be wise to disclose to strangers,” he said sounding very agitated.

Mattie sighed and smiled a small smile.  It reminded me of Daisy’s sad smile, and I wondered if they shared that expression because they had been so close.  “Vance, I’m an old woman.  I’m not worried about that.  And I’m not going to look over my shoulder anymore,” Mattie said flatly and my curiosity rose at her affirming tone.Stained Glass 2

Though I was mesmerized by the odd exchange between Mattie and Vicar Vance, it registered with me that something in my surroundings had changed.  Something was missing.  It was quiet.

I glanced at the bench where I last saw Wriggles pulling at his leash.  The collar was there, but the dog was gone.  Granny followed my gaze.

“Oh great heavens!  Where is that doggone dog?” she exclaimed.  “I have to find him. I said I’d take care of him,” she said and hurried down what was probably a random garden path.

Everyone followed Granny.  I heard barking up ahead.  Even before I could see the building I saw the bright golden glow.  My feet squished uncomfortably inside my wet shoes as I hurried along the paved path.  The barking grew louder and then I rounded a curve where huge shell pink camellias grew extraordinarily tall.  The path opened onto the beautiful stained glass window, the one Daisy showed Andy and me back at the abandoned warehouse, the same one Mattie Maddox had in her paintings.

The golden and aqua light reflected in the glass was impossibly bright.  I knew it had some supernatural help.  It cast a golden glow over the red roses that grew before it.  I heard alphonse mucha 1Mattie gasp.  Vicar Varley clasped his hands prayerfully before his chest and murmured something about God.  Wriggles stood barking at the window.  With every bark his little body scooted backward a few inches.

Daisy, looking even more ethereally beautiful than I’d ever seen her walked toward us from the window.  She gave me that little smile that rarely reached her eyes.

“You are so close Pip.  I can feel it,” Daisy said.

Mattie Maddox crumpled to the ground.

***

Recipe:  Curry Mushroom Toast – Cooking Club 1908

Adapted from: Cooking Club Magazine, February 1908

1908 Cooking Club Curry Mushroom Toast

Recipe and Photo Credit:  Tori Avey at History Kitchen http://toriavey.com/history-kitchen/2014/02/curry-mushroom-toast-cooking-club-1908/

Please visit Tori’s great blog for step by step instructions and photos, as well as a terrific post.

Ingredients

1 baguette, cut into 12 slices

1 lb button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 1/2 tsp curry powder (or more to taste)

2 tsp flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and black pepper

Yields 6 servings

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the sliced bread and toast for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Transfer the toast to a baking sheet and place in the oven at 200 degrees F to keep warm.

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and add about 1/2 of the sliced mushrooms. Cook until brown, about 8-10 minutes. Then add remaining mushrooms and continue cooking for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle curry and flour over the mushrooms and stir to evenly coat.

Add vegetable stock to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the liquid thickens and is reduced by half.

Reduce heat to medium and add cream. Cook until thickened. Stir in salt and black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of salt and a pinch of black pepper– your amount may vary based on the saltiness of your stock). Remove from heat.

To serve, place 2 slices of toast on a plate and spoon the curry mushroom sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

 ***

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 II – 13: Chickpeas, Winkles, Rice Pudding

2 Flappers Pug Motorcycle SidecarOne of the ingredients for Episode-11, red currants, caused me to add a merman to our serial.  Later I had the thought that Andrea Stephenson might like that character. You see, she has written about mythical water beings like selkies.

So I am very pleased to tell you that the ingredients for this episode are from the marvelous magical mind of Andrea Stephenson at Harvesting Hecate: Thoughts on life, writing, creativity and magic.  Andrea’s blog is captivating. Charming and well written, it covers a wide range of things in a very organized, easy to navigate way. I always enjoy my visits there.

Last time we all wondered about the mysterious relationship between Daisy and Mattie Maddox. Will anything be revealed?  What turn will the “spooky ingredient” cause the story to take? Most importantly, we left Pip with Granny Fanny very angry, and exclaiming that she was sending our flapper back to live with her father!  Granny is a formidable woman and Pip has been through an awful ordeal.  What will Pip do?  Find out now.  Bon appétit!

 

13.  Chickpeas, Winkles, Rice Pudding

With Unnatural Cold

In the past twenty-four hours I had fallen overboard from a ferry, nearly drowned, been kissed by a merman, rescued by a ghost-rider (on a giant seahorse no less), and reduced to wearing a borrowed old-lady dress.  Add Granny Fanny’s eloquent outrage — and mind you Granny ranting on her soapbox could strike terror in the heart of a revival preacher…  I refuse to accept the label of emotional young girl, but hoserfeathers!  It was more than even a flapper could take.

1920s Buster Keaton sad

Buster Keaton, 1920’s

Andy Avis, my old friend gave me a sheepish glance and prudently retreated behind Vicar Vance Varley.  Good ole Andy wasn’t going to be any help.  Not that I could blame him.  Granny Fanny in a tirade was enough to frighten any man.  However, I couldn’t help feeling a little betrayed when my friend looked away without saying a word in my defense.

The thought flashed into my distraught mind and I wondered if that was why our friend Mona “the movie star” was never interested in Andy, despite the torch he carried for her.  I remembered the time, back at the building where I lived with all my friends.  Boris’ apartment was burglarized.  The Russian had a painful limp from a bad injury that ended his ballet career, but he charged after the burglar nonetheless.  When Andy and Mona arrived a moment later, Andy went after Boris and the thief.  But he hesitated noticeably, even though Boris had a head start and would catch up with the man first.  Andy wanted to impress Mona, so he gave chase, even though he was afraid.

At the time I had thought the fact that Andy rose above that fear made his action truly courageous.  However, as I stood outside the church on Tybee Island, with my grandmother ranting at me, I wondered if I had been right.  Mona never said an unkind word about Andy, but did she see something in him I had missed?  Something that told her Andy was a wuss?

man_ray_tearsAnybody would have thought Andy Avis didn’t even know me.  Unconsciously I stretched my hand toward him, but he studiously did not look at me.  I burst into tears, turned on my heel and ran.

I wasn’t paying any attention to where I was going.  The sound of the double doors closing behind me and cool air against my face told the functioning part of my brain that I had gone inside the church.  But I didn’t stop there.  I ran straight through the sanctuary and out the back door.

My shoes were still wet from my dunk in the Atlantic, and my feet slid around inside them as I ran tearfully through a carefully laid out garden.  My kitten-heels clicked on the brick pavers.  Shrubs, flowers and statues outlined the curving path.  Mulch surrounded colorful impatiens that circled the base of an ancient oak tree.  Tiny beige gravel that looked like Pink Pampas Grasschickpeas bordered a row of sculpted planters.  I pushed my way through ornamental grasses, some of which were taller than me.  Pink pampas and fountaingrass whispered drily at my passage as if accusing me.

Accusing me of what?  I hadn’t done anything, yet even the grass criticized me.

Then I was alone on a stretch of beach.  One of my shoes caught in the sand.  I stumbled when it came off my foot.  Not stopping, I kicked off the other shoe and continued my flight barefooted.  I saw a sand dune ahead, crowned by swaying cattails.  There was no clear way around it, so I just kept going.  I skirted the cattails and mostly slid down the other side of the dune.  The sound of waves lapping against the shore met my ears.  The ocean was about a hundred yards away.

I slowed to a staggering walk as I approached the sore.  Several large boulders dotted a haphazard path out into the Atlantic, and my feet moved toward them.  Sunlight shimmered in a small tide pool.  Little shells that were broadly ovate and sharply pointed were abundant in the pool.  Some of them crawled.  Winkles.  The sea snails moved as they fed on algae and barnacle larvae.

In the distance I heard a slap, like a large fish hitting the water.  I glanced out to sea and wondered if it might even be a dolphin.  However, it was too near the shore for a dolphin, unless the ocean floor dropped off sharply near those big rocks.  Some parts of the shore did that.  It could be dangerous for beachgoers.

A sunbeam glinted off one of the shells, and I stood and looked at the winkles.  My racing 1920s La Vie Parisienne Mermaid by hérouardthoughts gradually slowed as I watched the measured movements of the sea snails.  There was something almost hypnotic about it.  The salt breeze brought a snatch of song to my ears.  Or was it an instrument, rather than a voice?  The slow cadence matched the movements of the winkles and it soothed my troubled mind.

The music became more insistent.  The melody pulled me closer to the shore.  I wandered aimlessly, letting my feet choose the way.  I climbed onto the rocky path made by the boulders.  Perhaps mankind had lent a hand, because they were arranged in a way that made it easy to skip along from one to the next as they stretched out into the ocean.  The sun soaked rocks were comfortingly warm against my bare feet, and I skipped to the furthest one.

I sat down and dangled my feet from the rock.  The ocean didn’t reach that high except when a wave came in, but now and then the sea spray misted my toes.  I heard another big splash, followed by the sound of something large surging up from the water.

Abruptly the bright green eyes of the merman were locked with mine.  His long pale green hair tickled my shoulder as he leaned in and kissed me.

Now I want you to know that while I wasn’t a prude, neither was I in the habit necking with strangers.  No matter how exotically beautiful they might be… and the merman truly was stunning, both graceful and virile, and handsome as Valentino.  At the time I didn’t realize that he had an innate hypnotic ability.  He could lull the mind without 1925 Review Ad; butterfly kisshaving any intention of doing so.

So I kissed him back.  Come on… what else would a flapper do?  And I kissed him again.  His arm dropped from my shoulders to my hips as he wordlessly urged me to go back to the ocean with him.  I wondered foggily how I could understand him so well when he didn’t speak a word.

A large wave crashed against the rock, splashing both of us.  He smiled and I relaxed against him.  His arm around my hips held me tighter.  Then an unnatural cold touched the back of my neck and I shivered.  He mistook it for pleasure and his bright green eyes started to glow in response.  I didn’t pay any attention to a tiny pop-fizz noise that blended into the sound of the waves caressing the boulder.

“I remember this place. A few times I came out here to think,” Daisy said.

1920s face

The ghost woman appeared on the other side of me, and I pulled away from the merman’s kiss, turning to her in surprise.

“But I became too weak to hop across the rocks,” she added as if she described a distant memory.

The merman’s eyes widened when he saw the spirit.  He snarled then hissed.  There wasn’t so much as a splash as he dove into the ocean, cleanly cutting the water like a knife.  A broad green tailfin broached the surface and gave the water an angry slap.  Daisy looked at it with a derisive expression.

“Merfolk don’t cotton much to ghosts,” she said, her southern accent took on more of a rural 1920s Seaside Postcard Flapperedge than usual.

After I thought about it, I realized that Daisy had more of an accent when she spoke of times before her marriage.  I supposed that being around different people, hearing different ways of speaking caused her country manner to fade.

“After that… that place,” she said, sounding more her sophisticated self.  “I was hurt, bleeding.  Somebody brought me here.  I think it was Henry.  Yes,” she exclaimed as part of the memory became clear to her.  “My husband brought me here after that horrible hospital.  But I didn’t get better, and he went back to Savannah.  He came often, but I kept getting weaker.  I wasn’t able to be vivacious enough to make him stay,” she spoke softly and I could hear the self-blame in her tone.

What hospital, I wondered.  I thought whatever the horrid thing was that Daisy couldn’t remember had happened at the abandoned warehouse.  Then I remembered Andy’s title research on the building showed that it had been used as some sort of hospital at one time, during a war.  It was possible that it had some medical purpose again later.

A newer puzzle came to me.  “Daisy,” I began but wasn’t sure how to phrase the question.  “The old woman on the beach?  Mattie Maddox?  You stood behind her on the beach last night and you seemed very unhappy.  Did you know her?”

1916 Norma and Constance Talmadge

1916 Norma and Constance Talmadge, film stars

Daisy looked at me uncomprehendingly for a second.  Finally she seemed to remember the moment. “Oh yes, that woman. She seemed familiar to me.  Mattie, you say?  Mattie was the name of my personal maid!  Could that old woman have been my Mattie?  I believe you’re right Pip!”

“You seemed sad, maybe even angry when you looked at her,” I said rather cautiously.  “You had such a frown when you watched her.  Did Mattie do something to you?  Was she part of the horrible thing that happened?”

“Yes,” Daisy said then stopped.  “No.  No, she wasn’t part of it, I don’t think,” the spirit stammered.  “No, Mattie took care of me afterward.  I remember now.  Mattie stayed.  She refused to leave my side, even when Henry had to go back to town.  Why, her fiancé broke off their betrothal because she wouldn’t go back to Savannah.  I was so hurt for her sake.  I was upset with her too.  I felt she was ruining her life, to take care of me,” Daisy said sadly.

“I felt like Mattie was my only friend then.  I was too weak to go out and do much.  I remember that I lost a lot of blood, and there was infection…  But Mattie was always there.  She’d take me in a wheelchair outside into the pretty garden.  There were beautiful roses.  One day she upset everybody by planting daisies amid those prize roses.  She said that I was as fine and good as any rose.  Kind Mattie — she knew I never thought as highly of myself as I should.  And she’d even get the kitchen staff to make my favorite rice pudding.  She made sure I had it whenever I wanted.  But I suppose I reached a point where I wouldn’t eat much of anything,” Daisy told me.

I felt like I had pieces of a puzzle spread out around me.  It seemed like the parts of it should fit together, but they just weren’t quite right, they wouldn’t lock into place.  I tried to sort through all the things we had learned about Daisy and the warehouse.1916 Hart Schaffner ad

My jumbled thoughts centered on that big old photograph back at the Kingston mansion — the one of all the young men.  Daisy had made it clear that it held important information, even if she couldn’t say what it was.  Andy and I figured out that two of the boys were the Binghamton brothers.  One of whom owned the Bijou theatre, and the other became a high ranking bishop.  But who were the others?  The photo was of a large group and as far as I could remember it was mostly boys of about the same age.  There might have been a couple of older men.  If only I could remember all the faces.  Suddenly inspiration struck.

“Daisy, I know you can’t remember what happened to you.  And it’s okay that you don’t understand why the photograph you showed me is important,” I said.  “But can you remember the photo itself?  It was obviously a special occasion.  Can you tell me who was in it?” I asked imploringly.

Her eyes took on an unfocused look as she dredged up the memory.  Daisy jumped as if startled.  I asked what was wrong and she gave a rueful chuckle.

Vintage Tuxedo ad“I just remembered the big flash when the photograph was taken,” she answered.  “Yes, Pip.  I remember the picture now.  All those boys.  Of course Henry’s son was in it the photograph, and the Binghamton brothers.  Those three were thick as thieves.  Bradley was a nice enough boy. But that Byron — I just didn’t feel right about that boy.  He was so self-centered.  I was afraid he’d be a bad influence on young Henry.  I hate to say it, but my stepson had a tendency to be greedy,” Daisy remembered.

“Anyhow, it was a sort of mentoring group for future businessmen.  Henry and his friend Alastair coached all those boys along with their regular schooling, grooming them to be Savannah’s future, as Henry liked to say.  My Henry had the photograph taken after all the boys graduated from school.”

“His friend Alastair?” I asked as something tickled at the back of my mind.

It wasn’t a name I heard often.  The only Alastair I knew was my friend whose family owned Wong’s Chinese.  Granny was dog sitting their little pug while most of the family was on vacation in California.  Then I remembered Granny Fanny saying the words “Alastair the elder.”

My thoughts returned to Granny’s cottage and a time not too long ago (Cookbook-1, Episode-2) when she talked about her tea set.  Granny had given me a downright wicked, Grannys teacupmischievous smile and even wriggled her eyebrows.  Then her expression turned fond and she chuckled as she told me how she came to have the set.

“They were a gift — when I was a very young woman.  They were actually from Mrs. Wong’s grandfather,” Granny Fanny had told me.  “He was a widower.  Yes, he was interested in me.  Oh Pip, are you surprised that a man besides Grandpa was interested in your Granny?” she’d said with a smile.  “If ever I was going to be attracted to an older man, it would have been Alastair Wong the elder.  He was a fine man.”

I tried to remember seeing an Asian man in the old picture.  But the faces were all so small that nothing stirred in my memory.  However, I did remember an odd shape about one man.  I had thought maybe it was a flaw in the photo.  Yet as I concentrated I realized it was a thing, not a defect.

“So Alastair’s great-grandfather was in the picture,” I voiced the thought.  “Which one was he, Daisy?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” the ghost said with a smile.  “He’s the one with the parrot on his shoulder.”

chatelaine_1928 Feb

***

Recipe:  Creamy Rice Pudding with Brandied Cherry Sauce

Rice pudding

Recipe and Photo Credit:  Betty Crocker.com

Prep time:  15 mins

Total time:  4 hours, 20 mins

Servings:  8

Ingredients

Rice Pudding

4 cups milk

¾ cup uncooked regular long-grain rice

1/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup whipping (heavy) cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Brandied Cherry Sauce

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ cup orange juice

1 ½ cups frozen unsweetened tart red cherries (from 1-lb bag)

2 tablespoons brandy or orange juice

Directions

  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat milk, rice, 1/3 cup sugar and the salt to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered 40 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is thickened.

  2.  Stir a small amount of the hot rice mixture into eggs, then stir eggs back into mixture in saucepan. Continue cooking over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until heated through. Cool for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. In chilled large serving bowl, beat whipping cream and vanilla with electric mixer on high speed until thickened. Fold in cooled rice mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours until well chilled.

  4. In a 1-quart saucepan, mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in orange juice and frozen cherries. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils and thickens slightly.  Stir in brandy. Serve sauce warm or chilled with pudding.

 ***

 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 II – 12: Lentils, Cumin, Roast Lamb

Sanctuary

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923) Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda.

The first time I remember hearing the word I was a small child watching a very old black and white film of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and it had a lasting effect on me.  Not just the movie, but the wordsanctuary, the sound of it, the meaning and the concept.  Sanctuary resonated with me, even at that young age, on a core level.

There are many reasons why writers write. Some want to leave something behind. Others hope to inspire the masses. Some hope to exercise the ghosts of the past, or at least come to terms with them.  Others want to share their struggles in order to help a stranger with theirs.

For me, it’s an escape.  I build imaginary places that are my sanctuary.  My safe place.  And that’s what I want this blog and the serials to be a sanctuary where each of you will know you are safe from the worst parts of life, even if only for the length of your stay here.Episode 12

I hope I never cause anyone to feel judged or threatened in any way through my stories.  I don’t kill off beloved characters.  That’s not part of my personal sanctuary.

The ingredients for this episode are from Daniel at Willy Nilly To and Fro ~ The Philosophy of Inanity.  Daniel’s beautifully woven tales will take you to a place far apart from your daily life, I’m certain.  Please take time to get to know his blog. Prowl around at your leisure. You might even meet a wee Scottish dragon there.

And now I give you Episode-12.  Bon appétit!

12.  Lentils, Cumin, and Roast Lamb

It was the wee hours of the morning.  All three of us were cold, wet, and exhausted.  I had nearly drowned.  Yet what were we doing?  Moving furniture… that’s what.

There would have been enough space in the living room for both Andy and me to sleep, but 1885 Illustration of the lentil plantMattie Maddox wasn’t about to let the two of us sleep in the same room.  As if we weren’t too exhausted to be making whoopee… and as if we would in the first place.  Andy wasn’t my beau.  He was my friend.  I couldn’t even imagine Andy Avis that way… and I didn’t think I wanted to either.  It just felt wrong.  Andy was more like a brother than a beau.  That whole line of thought sort of gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Mrs. Maddox had a tiny sitting room connected to her bedroom, and that’s where she wanted me to stay.  I really wanted to sink into the cozy looking chair.  It had a ruffled slipcover with an unusual print done in greens and yellows showing pods and flowers of peas, beans, and lentils.  Later Mattie told me that she did the artwork for the fabric.

However, I didn’t try the chair that night.  Rather, Andy and I moved furniture around to make enough room for me to have a pallet on the floor.  We moved a sturdy artist’s easel, a dress form, the chair, and Mattie’s heavy treadle base sewing machine.  It was a beautiful piece, black with gold leaf designs.  The treadle base was made of swirly wrought iron — that’s what made it so heavy.  I would have appreciated the sewing machine more if we hadn’t had to move it three times.

Wearing a nightgown borrowed from Mattie, I finally crawled into the thick stack of soft quilts.  I was asleep before my head touched the pillow.  However, one thing we had not taken into account the night before was the lace curtains.  The sitting room faced east, and the new day dawned brightly through the lace.  So I woke with the rising sun.  I was awake, but my body was not ready.  I didn’t expect to be sore all over.  My muscles must have clenched and strained while I tried to fight my way to the surface of the Atlantic when I fell overboard from the ferry the evening before.

1919 Nightgowns adAn unexpected sneeze escaped before I could stop it.  I hoped I wasn’t being rewarded with a cold for my unintended dip in the ocean.  I also hoped my sneeze wasn’t loud enough to wake anyone else.  My ears strained in the early morning silence.  Ah!  It wasn’t so silent after all.  In the next room I heard Mattie Maddox snore softly and then turn over.  I heard those small sounds despite the much louder sawing of Z’s that came from Andy Avis all the way in the living room.

I sat up cross legged in the middle of my pallet of quilts, and looked around the little room.  The night before I was too tired to pay much attention to it.  It seemed to be filled with small mementos of Mattie’s life.  Spotting a photo album just out of reach, I crawled to it on my hands and knees.  I sat back down on the quilts and started looking through the album.

There were a few really old pictures, even some tintype photographs.  I wasn’t sure if those would be Mattie’s parents or grandparents.  An older woman in one tintype resembled Mattie, but her Gibson Girl hair and attire were from too long ago for the woman to be my hostess.  As the clothes in the photos became more modern, the number of pictures per page grew.  That was to be expected.  It used to be a big deal to get your photograph done, so nobody had very many back when that album was started.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell

Finally I saw a picture of a girl that looked like a young version of Mattie.  A boy stood arm in arm with her and they both smiled broadly.  However, a closer look showed me that the “boy” was a girl wearing the tomboy style of clothes.  That’s how Daisy, the ghost woman, dressed the first time I met her, though at the time I didn’t know she was a spirit.  Could the girl in the picture be Daisy?  It was maddening!  The girl wore a hat that cast a shadow on her face, and I just couldn’t tell.

I was so busy turning the photo album every which way, trying to get a better look at the girl’s face that I didn’t hear Mattie get up.  I was embarrassed to learn that while I had been fooling around with the pictures, she had been up working on the clothes Andy and I had been wearing.  She had steamed and pressed Andy’s clothes and they looked good as new.  He was all grace and compliments as he took them from her.  Then he ran as fast as he could, out of the room to change.  You see, he was wearing one of Mattie’s most feminine robes.  I promise that I didn’t laugh at him.  Seriously.  No, really I didn’t laugh.  Well, not much…

Buster Keaton 1923

Buster Keaton 1923

“Pip dear, I’m afraid your dress isn’t laundered yet.  I did Andy’s clothes first because I didn’t have anything I could loan him.  You on the other hand can use one of my dresses,” she said and I tried to keep smiling.  Mattie must have seen through me.  She patted my hand.  “I know it will be horribly matronly on a young lady like you, but that’s better than a saltwater stiffened, dirty, torn frock, isn’t it?” she said with a hopeful tone.

I assured Mattie that I’d be most grateful for the loan of a dress, and I tried to put the dowdy style out of my mind.  Andy and I needed to go to that church and rectory with the stained glass window like the one Daisy showed to us.  Maybe the “proper” dress would encourage them to share whatever they knew.

By the time I finished changing into the very non-flapper dress I heard Mattie cooking breakfast.  I felt guilty all over again.  It just wasn’t my nature to let someone else do all the 1923 Peoples Home Journalwork, especially when I already felt like we were imposing on Mattie.  It didn’t matter that she had insisted.

Andy soon got even with me for “not” laughing at him wearing a ruffled satin lady’s robe.  Before we got to the kitchen the smoky aroma of cumin reached my nose.  It was a pleasant scent, but I wasn’t expecting it at breakfast.  It turned out Mattie’s grandmother was from Mexico.  She treated us to her family recipe for huevos rancheros.

Mattie said she didn’t get to entertain very often, and she insisted on using her good china and having breakfast in her lovely dining room.  I was used to eating at the kitchen table.  Wearing a borrowed old fashioned dress and sitting at the gleaming mahogany table, I felt a little awkward.  So it was hard for me to bring up the subject of Daisy.  How would I bring up a spirit?

I finally realized that I didn’t have to talk about that part.  I didn’t handle it smoothly.  Even Andy did a double take when I just blurted out my question.  “Miss Mattie, did you ever know a woman named Daisy? It would have been a long time ago,” I asked bluntly.  “I need to find out what happened to her.”

My hostess looked like she really had seen a ghost.  Her face went still and expressionless.  Then tears streamed down her unmoving face.  Mattie picked up a napkin and blotted her face as if nothing had happened.  She stood up and carefully placed the napkin on the table.

“Ya’ll wanted to see the rectory and that stained glass window,” she said calmly.  “We’d best get on over there before the vicar gets on his rounds.  I think you’ll want to talk to him,” she said and went to get her pocketbook.

vintage queen of the mayAndy and I looked askance at one another and shrugged.  I was certain that Mattie Maddox was acquainted with Daisy the Dainty Dish.  I had assumed they were friends of some sort, but after Mattie’s reaction, I didn’t know what to think.

Either Mattie was athletic for her age, or my question had truly upset her.  She walked so fast on the path to the church that Andy and I barely kept up with her.  She didn’t say another word until we reached the church, and then she spoke to her friends, not to us.

I wasn’t expecting so many people to be at the church.  However, I reminded myself that several of the passengers on our ill-fated ferry decided to stay the night.  There was a good bit of bustle and activity.

Suddenly Mattie grabbed my arm and pulled me along with her.  I caught Andy’s hand to make sure I wasn’t getting into some kind of trouble alone.  Then I spotted the clergyman and knew where Mattie was taking us.

“Vicar Varley,” Mattie called out to the obviously busy cleric.  His expression was a rather harried, but he greeted us with a smile.  “These young people want to know about daisies,” she said, emphasizing the word and raising her eyebrows.

The vicar’s face blanched.  He took us to a stone path that led to the rectory.  I could see the golden and aqua blue stained glass window.  It caught the morning sun, and glowed in a way that was not unlike the image Daisy showed us.Stained Glass 2

We took a few steps down the path.  Then I heard an upset and familiar voice behind me.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody!” Granny Fanny exclaimed.  “Just what do you mean by running off to this island, and with a man to boot!  When I heard what happened to that ferryboat I was scared to death.”

“But Granny,” I began.

“But nothing young lady!” Granny cut me off.  She’d brook no argument, not when her dander was up like that.

“But Granny please!  Let me explain,” I tried again.

“And to think I made a perfectly good roast lamb dinner.  Why it might have gone to waste if not for that nice young policeman who stopped by to tell me where you’d gone,” she complained as if we wouldn’t have eaten the leftovers.

“So Hank let you know everything was okay?  Then why are you so upset?” I asked, though I probably should have meekly kept my mouth shut.

“You didn’t get my permission.  You can’t just to traipsing off to wherever for an overnight stay!  It’s not proper. What do you think that will do to your reputation? No respectable girl would do something like that. I can’t condone it.  And then I heard what happened to the ferry!” she said.

young Lucy blueGranny was working her way to a full-fledged rant.  This was bad.  Really bad.  Hopefully nobody would let it slip that I’d fallen overboard and nearly drowned.  I’d never hear the end of it then.

Unfortunately Mattie Maddox tried to come to my rescue.  And yes, she mentioned me getting thrown from the ferry when the freak storm hit.  Granny Fanny’s face turned all colors.  I thought she might kill me for not drowning.  I took a deep breath and braced myself for the next wave.

“Paisley, I can’t put up with this kind of nonsense,” my grandmother said in a cold voice.  I don’t care whether I’ve made a passable cook of you or not.  I’m sending you back to Florida to live with your father!”

***

Video:  The Galloping Gourmet – Huevos Rancheros

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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