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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Savory to the Taste (07/26/12)

TITLE: Behind Closed Doors
By Deborah Engle
08/01/12


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Saying a final good-bye to my family home was harder than I expected. Mama was gone now, but this kitchen had been her domain, and she had turned out the kind of meals that could tempt the most reluctant appetite.

Memories of enticing aromas reminded me to look for Great-gramma’s spice cupboard. Our only family heirloom, it was made of solid walnut, had 32 metal-lined drawers, and hand-carved scrollwork covering both doors. I couldn’t help but admire it once more. Cooking was both a joy and a calling to Mama, and she kept this little cupboard well stocked. Nostalgia overcame me, and while I was wandering around in the days of my childhood, tiny little voices were having their say behind the closed doors of the spice cupboard.

“No more ABC’s for us!” “I’m more than a letter!” “Yeah!” “Alphabetical order is for babies!”

Sesame took charge. “As it happens, I agree with you, and as Chairman of the Cupboard, I submit that our little Cupboard is in desperate need of reorganizing. For now, though, I insist that you all control yourselves!” He tended to be quite bossy.

When quiet returned, Allspice strutted forward. “It’s obvious that the most prominent of us should be assigned to the top row.”

Some of the others vigorously objected. “He just thinks he deserves special treatment because his family tree is listed as one of the founders of the Spices of the American Revolution!”

“Ha. So are most of ours. Besides, that’s not such a big deal.” Cayenne Pepper could be hot under the collar at times, but today he just pointed toward Nutmeg. “His family sailed with Magellan during his first around-the-world journey.”

Oregano began, “I’ve said it before, but I don’t mind repeating myself. The oldest -- ”

As he spoke, exotic Cardamom objected. “Oregano, you are not even of the Spice persuasion. Your kind has no place at this gathering.”

But Oregano was bold, and stood his ground. “Neither is Basil. So what? We herbs need a place to stay, too. We all work together, anyways. “

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair . . . “

“There they go again. You guys -- Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme! Now is not the time for singing. We’re having a meeting here.”

Sage only smiled. “Oh, we don’t agree. Music soothes the savage beast, and it appears there are several of those here. Besides, we can’t help ourselves. We’re just a musical bunch.”

Ginger and Curry chuckled at the crazy antics, but standing so close, Ginger realized her friend had a “personal” problem. “Um, Curry . . . I don’t mean to embarrass you, but, well -- you don’t -- smell. You used to be the strongest smelling guy around.”

“Oh, sorry. Am I offensive? I’ve been around for a while, ya know? Nobody stays pungent forever.”

“And nothing can be done? I’m so sorry to hear that.”

Sesame tried once more to gain control. “Spices! Spices! . . .er, and Herbs. Obviously, everyone here can boast of a noble ancestry. Most of us came up hearing stories of the Spice Islands, or camel caravans trekking through the Arabian Desert. Turmeric and Cinnamon, and some of you others, your histories go back into antiquity, but we must not lose focus on our task here today. As Chairman of the Cupboard, I am aware that things have been slow lately, but there is likely roasting, grinding and crushing ahead for many of us. If we are to be at our best, we need to take care of business now.”

Star Anise sashayed to the front. “I have a suggestion, if you care to listen.” Star had a way of adding a bit of sweetness to everything. “I think it would be fun to organize according to form. Seeds on the top row, pods next, then leaves and stems, and finally, herbs.”

Mostly because spices and herbs are no good at business meetings, the whole group gladly went along with Star’s plan. They all hurried away to get settled in their reassigned lodgings, leaving the Chairman of the Cupboard frantically calling after them, “But wait, I need a motion for dismissal!”

I shook my head, trying to clear the fog from my brain. “Wow. I must be more tired than I thought. I need to get home now, and this cupboard is coming with me.” A silly grin covered my face as a thought occurred to me. “Maybe now I’ll finally learn to cook.”


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This article has been read 349 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 08/03/12
This was in my opinion, sheer brilliance in terms of addressing the topic. I thought it was highly entertaining and extremely clever. I loved it! Great job.

God Bless~
Charla Diehl 08/03/12
This was cute, entertaining and quite fun to read. It'd be a fun page to insert in a cookbook.
Helen Curtis08/05/12
I simply love this; it appeals to my delight in the quirky and light-hearted!

Not only is the idea enjoyable, you have done well to include background on the spices and where they are from. And their characters are so well applied to each one - especially the Scarborogh Fair reference!

I really enjoyed this and hope it does well - this is one I will remember for a long while! Well done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/05/12
Things talk to me like this, too! Very creative and cute. I couldn't decide if I think the beginning quite goes, but I'm not sure why not... Good job!
Myrna Noyes08/05/12
Very fun and imaginative! I enjoyed how the various spices and herbs were characterized, and I was interested in their histories. Good job! :)
Laura Manley08/05/12
Your pen is telling a very unique and adoreable story this time; how clever and cute. I love what you've done with this entry. I can see why you're in Masters. Very nicely written!
Ellen Carr 08/06/12
This is a quaint and fun story. I enjoyed the spices' and herbs' discussion. Well done.
Loren T. Lowery08/06/12
You always manage to teach as you tell your stories. They are always fun and informative which is a skill and talent all readers enjoy getting into.
lynn gipson 08/06/12
without a doubt....The cutest thing ive ever read and excellent writing.....i love this1
Noel Mitaxa 08/07/12
I've heard that too much spicy food can repeat on you, but to hear them talking just has to be something else again!!!!
You must have had too much fun with this, because you have left plenty for us to enjoy with you.
Beautifully told, for it evokes my grandmother's adage that there was "love in every spoonful."
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/07/12
I enjoyed the creativity in your "spicy" story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/07/12
This is a fun read. You had me chuckling and took me back to my childhood where I worried that inanimate objects had feelings that could be hurt (My favorite color was yellow because everyone liked blue and green and I felt a tad sorry for it)

My only red ink is tiny but when you said the aromas reminded you to look for... I thought that a tad strange that something with 32 drawers would need to be found. I'd think something that pretty would jump out and shout to be noticed (turns out the spices did the shouting:))

This is just a perfect example of creative writing. Even though I may not have been familiar with all of the spices your descriptions of their personalities brought them to life for me.
Jody Day 08/07/12
I enjoyed this very much. It is a unique rendition of the theme, and well done:)
Danielle King 08/08/12
This is simply brilliant and so imaginative. It reminds me of Beatrix Potter's animals coming to life on the page. Loved it!
Myrna Noyes08/09/12
CONGRATULATIONS on your E.C. for this cute and "spicy" story! :)