Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DELICIOUS (02/04/16)
- TITLE: Fairytale Kitchen
By Vince Martella
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In her neighboring village, Lucinda couldn’t stand it any longer. “I won’t lose another contest to her,” she hissed to her nephew Kane. “I’ve got to know how she does it.”
Lucinda plotted and planned, and finally concocted a scheme. She would get her nephew Kane to attach himself to Annabel, working at her cottage. “When you are not sweeping her floors, dusting her shelves, and cleaning her dishes, I want you to find out how she makes her award winning goodies. She must have some secret ingredient, some magical recipe. When you find it, bring news to me.”
Kane passed himself off as an out of work handyman, and soon found himself in Annabel’s employ.
“As luck would have it, I could use the help around the house as I prepare for the King’s contest,” said Annabel.
One day Annabel prepared to head into town. “I must see a man for some baking provisions,” she told Kane.
Kane followed Annabel into the woods outside of town. He hid behind a tree as Annabel stopped at a large bush and knelt down. Kane could hear her talking, but couldn’t make out what she was saying. She sounded like she was having a conversation with someone. Suddenly, she re-appeared with a bag of something and a small bottle. Kane quickly doubled back to the cabin before Annabel arrived.
The next day, Kane went back to the bush. He searched high and low, but could find nothing there. Frustrated, he headed back, unaware that a pair of eyes followed him as he left.
Annabel spent the week before the contest baking up a storm. Kane searched the cottage for any clue to the magical ingredient that made Annabel’s treats so tasty, but found nothing out of the ordinary. It was driving him crazy. With just a few days before the contest, he reported back to Lucinda.
“There must be some magic potion,” Lucinda screamed. “You must try harder!”
Kane shuffled out the door as Lucinda continued her tirade.
The day of the contest finally arrived. Dozens of contestants came to compete. They brought scrumptious cupcakes, cream puffs and tarts. Mrs. Fritz made a German chocolate cake. Eugenia Hollis offered a delightful toffee crunch cheesecake. Kendra Langston brought a lemon praline pie. There were dumplings and meringues, mud pies and scones, sticky buns, croissants, beignets and biscotti!
Annabel’s crowning piece was her heavenly Triple Chocolate Mousse cake. She had combined dark, milk and white chocolate mousses, layered between vanilla bean moistened chocolate cakes and caramel honeycombed drizzled. The judges could be seen wiping tears from their eyes as they indulged!
Across the square, Lucida fumed, as the judges barely took notice of her Truffle Framboise. Her raspberry topped mousse and chocolate ganache sat untouched, melting in the heat of the sun and her anger.
Meanwhile, in the forest, Kane frantically scrambled toward the tree line, as the judges were trying to decide the winner. He bounded into the clearing and stopped short, his heart racing.
“Looking for this?”
Kane stood dumbfounded, as a large squirrel held forth a handful of nuts and a small vial of liquid.
“Yes, this is Annabel’s secret,” he seemed to read Kane’s mind. “She’s been a friend to all the animals in the forest since her earliest childhood. She has fed us, protected us, and loved us all these years. We have loved her in kind, sharing with her these magical nuts which make everything she bakes taste absolutely glorious, and this potion, which ensures her victory.”
Kane was upon the squirrel in a rush, and snatched up the goodies. With an air of triumph, he tossed him aside and headed back.
“Why should Aunt Lucinda get the glory?” he muttered to himself, as he downed the potion. “I will win next year’s contest!”
He stepped back into the square just in time to see Annabel crowned the winner. As he opened his mouth to cry out, he dropped the nuts onto the grass, having absolutely no memory of where he had been or why he had been there.
Hidden in the shadows, the squirrel smiled, and headed back into the forest.
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