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Where No One Has Gone Before
The Author's Training Wheel Journal
Through the Stomach 
11th-Jan-2011 08:32 pm
Of Legend

Alice is a baker. She'll use the prepackaged mixes when she has a lot of it to do, during Purim and during December when she's careful to have something for everyone whether they have holidays to celebrate or not, but that's not her preference. She likes baking from scratch, likes seeing all of the ingredients go in, measuring them out precisely and mixing them together until you couldn't separate them out. She liked pouring them into pans and setting them into the oven to rise, and then sitting down with the next book on 'Must-Read' list while the smell fills the air.

It's chemistry, reactions involving solubility and temperature and fixed outcomes. She likes predictability: rituals, routines, and habits are comforting to her. It's not that she doesn't like spontaneity (look at who she lives with) but it is that when things are in order she knows they're okay, and that they'll be there again when she needs them.

Nights are for baking, these days, so whatever it is she makes is sitting out and waiting for them in the morning. She scrapes the last of the batter for her banana bread into the pan with the edge of her spatula as Hatter loads the day's dishes into the dishwasher. She could have sworn that she had an extra banana in that bunch (and had thought that she might have it as part of her lunch the next day) but it's a small thing, really. There are enough leftovers to eat, and besides, she's having the bread for breakfast tomorrow anyway.

Hatter shuts the dishwasher just as she finishes setting the timer on the oven.

"Forty minutes?" he says, without checking. "Whatever shall we do with the time?"

"I can't wait to find out," Alice replies, and means it.

Hatter likes cooking. He specializes in stews, with a flair for frying things he doesn't get to show off often enough. He doesn't use recipes, or measurements: he was eyes, a nose, and a tongue, and if something's gone wrong he can spot it easily enough. He likes to experiment, picking things up he thinks will go well together, and throwing them into a pot. He stirs, so that when he brings his spoon out he can taste all the different ingredients and make sure they aren't clashing horribly.

It's like music, the good kind that's never the same twice no matter how many times you've heard the song before. It's constantly in flux, spontaneous, and always changing. He likes the surprise: if things aren't moving, then how do you even know you're alive? Not that he can't stomach some structure (look at who he's living with, after all), but it always seemed so fragile, so set up for failure.

He doesn't often get the chance to cook a meal and eat it these days, so much as throw things into the crock pot before he leaves in the morning and hope that they'll come together okay by dinner time. Tonight's meal was something he would call "hot cheese varenyky" and Alice describes as "ricotta-stuffed dumpling boiled in a mild curry-like thing". She very nearly licked the plate, so he counts it as a success.

He looks over at Alice when he finishes loading the dishwasher; she's just finished putting her bread into the oven.

"Forty minutes?" he asked, though he doesn't need to. "Whatever shall we do with the time?"

When Alice replies "I can't wait to find out," he knows exactly what he wants to do.

There's a new game among the instructors at the dojo: the guess what Alice is eating game. It's all the more fun because of the general unspoken agreement that even Alice doesn't know.

"Potstickers?" Jenny guesses. Alice shakes her head.

"Something that's not out of a can?" Kenji tries.

"No," Alice tells him.

"Wait a minute!" Daitaro cries, and sticks his fork into her lunch.

"Hey!" Alice protests.

"This is banana!" he replies, waving the offending piece of fruit around.

Alice almost falls off her chair laughing, and refuses to tell them why.

12th-Jan-2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
They're so cute. :)
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