Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)
TITLE: Culinary Perfection
By Kara Dunham
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She and Marcus had been married for two months and already she had exhausted her knowledge of recipes. She had prided herself on her skills and specialities. Marcus praised her after every meal, she would blush with pride knowing he was right.
Now she was out of ideas. She had even done several of her favorites twice, how could she not know more recipes?
Finally, she made up her mind to invent her own dish. After all, she was no novice. Years of helping her mother in the kitchen gave her the confidence she needed. This will be the best meal yet, and it will be all of my own invention, she thought proudly. Sifting through various doors and shelves, she lined up her cast of characters. Everything was ready for production, no dress rehearsal needed!
There was a hollow knock from the cutting board each time the knife sliced through the onions. Tears poured down her cheeks from the burn.
Onions were done, next! Chop, chop, slice, mince, her fingers performed fantastically, dancing from veggie to knife. As good as Julia Childs, she beamed, approving of her own comparison.
Butter sizzled as she dropped it into the skillet. A mouth-watering aroma filled the room as she mixed in the onions. Her boldness growing every minute.
The next act: meat. Gross, gross, gross she thought repeatedly as she pulled the slimy pieces apart, dicing them into smaller pieces. She dumped them in the pot and washed her hands.
Clean? Check. Back to the stove. Sizzle, pop, her chorus sang. A dash of this, a sprinkle of that, she poured in this, drizzled that. Add, add, add, a mound of bottles and shakers collected by the stove. So confident of her mixture, she decided she would wait to taste it until it was all finished.
A few final touches, and then perfection. She had even finished early! Excited by this revelation, she rushed to find some candles, setting the table for what would surely be a candle-worthy dinner.
Light streamed in the windows, Marcus was home. Kelsey lit the last candle, the soft light reflecting on her pearly china.
“Something smells good!” his baritone voice called from the doorway. There was a thud as he dropped his shoes, and a clank as he emptied his pockets. He came in the dining room, giving her a kiss on the cheek before sitting down opposite her.
“Wow,” he said noticing the candlelight and china, “this looks great, honey!” Holding out his hands to her, she placed hers in his and they prayed.
Kelsey carefully arranged her artwork onto their plates, gently spooning on her special sauce for a final touch.
The moment was here. She watched as Marcus forked a bite into his mouth, waiting for the look of utter satisfaction from mouth-watering culinary perfection. He chewed, and chewed, and chewed. His eyes did not close, he did not pause to let the delight of flavors dance on his taste buds. He swallowed, reaching for his glass.
“How is it?” Kelsey asked, losing some of her enthusiasm.
“It’s...not bad,” he said, avoiding eye contact. Her curiosity was fully peeked, her confidence in question. Grabbing her own fork she cut off a bite, and put it in her mouth. She chewed. Lifting her napkin, she promptly spit it from her mouth.
“Uhg!” she managed to get out before gulping down her water.
Laughter rang from across the table as Marcus watched her frantically trying to rid the flavor from her mouth.
“That is terrible,” she said “I can’t believe you actually ate that!” her own laughter joining his. “You must really love me.”
“I really do,” he replied his eyes twinkling from the dancing flame. “Would you be offended if we just ordered pizza?”
“Not at all!” she replied, another round of laughter washing away her embarrassment and hurt pride. After all, there would be plenty more dinners to fail but even more to succeed... or at least she hoped!
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