Fun Stuff and Humorous Stories by C.L. (Cindy) Beck
I have to say that although the following story is more sweet than humorous, it's one of my favorites. I hope it becomes one of yours, too ...
By C.L. Beck
I touched it with the tip of my finger and then dabbed my tongue to see what it tasted like. My taste buds tingled with a sweet/salty flavor, mixed with a hint of something. What was it? The only word that came to mind was earthy, but the essence evaporated before I had a chance to decide.
“This tastes interesting … what’s your recipe?” I asked him.
He leaned against the counter and said, “Did you figure out there was sweetener in it?”
“Definitely, along with a little salt. So what’s your secret? You’ve really got to tell me, because you’re the best at making these.”
His smile warmed me, like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold morning. He said, “First, you need some bone. And meat. And then you add the casing. Sometimes it’s dark brown, other times it’s light-colored. Just depends on which you prefer at the moment.”
I nodded and wondered where a novice like me could get casings.
“The rest is a mixture of spices and seasonings that you have to fine tune.” His eyes sparkled when he said “spices” and I hoped he wouldn’t hold anything back in the telling.
“Okay, like what?” I asked.
“You’ve already figured out salt—about .9%. And sweetener.” He dusted his hands on his apron.
“Hmm. How much is .9%? Can you give me that in teaspoons?” It seemed this was going to be a lot harder to prepare than I’d thought.
He laughed, and it shimmered right through me. Face it, I was smitten with him.
“You need ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ cup of sweetener.”
“Does it matter what kind of sweetener?”
He paused for a minute, stroked his salt and pepper beard and thought about it. “Molasses and brown sugar give a darker flavor; white sugar gives a lighter one. Some sweeteners are stronger than others, so it just depends on what you want for the end result.”
Pondering that, I put my palms together and brought my hands to my mouth, with the sides of my forefingers resting against my lips. It was an unconscious habit on my part.
He laughed and said “You look like you’re praying.” Feeling silly, I crossed my arms. He looked at me reassuringly and then continued, “Add two or three drops of curiosity, a teaspoon of playfulness, a cup of hugs, an eighth teaspoon of mischief, and just a pinch of starlight.”
His voice dropped and he said softly, “The starlight is the hardest part. Put in too much and it bounces off the walls. Put in too little, and it doesn’t shine.”
I was amazed. Who’d have thought of starlight? He was definitely the greatest chef—the master craftsman of all time.
“What do you call it?” I asked, wondering if it had a fancy, epicurean name.
He smiled, the air around us sparkled as if sprinkled with diamond dust, and then it formed into visions of sandlot baseball, tree climbing, fishing and sledding. “I call it … little boy.”
(This story is dedicated to my son, Dave, on his 35th birthday. Only God could have made someone as fun as you, Davey!)
------ © C.L. (Cindy) Beck------
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