Editor's Note: Consider the many prim and ludd worlds that have existed across the Terragen Sphere across the centuries. While each would develop its own history and culture, some might also display traits that would appear superficially similar to our 21st century sensibilities. Consider also that, from time to time, a higher power, a transapient power, might choose to intervene in the destiny of these worlds. Some times obviously and with great fanfare. Sometimes much less so.
Richard Tornello shows us a brief interlude on what may be a low-tech world anywhere and when in Terragens space. All terms and imagery are, of course, translated from their original language and milieu for our comprehension.
As he stirred the sauce, the sweat dripped off the top of his bandana and down to his chin. It was summer. The A/C compressor was compressing as hard as possible but the kitchen was still hot. It bothered him not. He was doing what he loved, cooking. He just sweat a lot.
"Frankie", Lord Francesco, Chef of the Gods, now a semi-retired immortal, was on sabbatical from The Heavens. He opened a small eatery for his favorite and truly insane people. It was a ten seat operation just behind a strip mall with parking for ten vehicles. He served weekday's lunch only and served until the prepared meals were depleted. When he was out, he was out. On weekends he cooked for a food kitchen pro bono. He had one assistant. His name plate read Number Two.
"If the Health Department ever saw you, they'd shut us down," yelled Number Two, pointing to the sweat falling into the rich, sweet tasting, red sauces.
Frankie looked up from the pot of quick sauce he was stirring and said, "They will never see it. I will make sure of it, trust me. Now, go set the tables and tape today's offering in the window."
Number Two looked at the offering:FRIDAY OFFERING: Rigatoni pasta, w/sliced grilled salmon, in a sweet red sauce, w/ olives, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and artichokes, a small salad, and a glass of Chianti, $15.00.
The perfume of the sauce was heavenly. Number Two knew the basic recipe by heart. It was just the little things that he was missing.
2 large 28 oz. cans imported Roma Tomatoes
(or equivalent fresh local organic)
1 small can paste
1 medium onion chopped
1 small shallot diced
4 to 6 cloves of Garlic crushed or diced
1 medium carrot diced
Various Italian spices, fresh only
Salt and pepper
Either 2 cups Marcella wine for sweet, or Chianti for stronger fuller sauce
Olive oil and butter
The tomatoes, paste, and wine would be blended and placed in the "frig" for a day to ferment. The next day the other ingredients would be sautéed in the olive oil and butter. Then the tomato mixture, at room temperature, would be added and cooked uncovered at a medium low heat for about an hour. The whole mixture would be blended again and cooked for about another hour.
Number Two inhaled deeply. The dining room and kitchen smelled heavenly. One thing bothered Number Two. It was those spices that he was never sure about. Just how much and just where did Frankie get them? What was the secret? He knew he had a few more millennia of apprenticeship to undertake before all would be revealed and he would be allowed on his own. He'd just have to wait. And time? Time really meant nothing to him.
Frankie looked up at Number Two, wiped his brow, and asked, "Gavone, what-are-you looking at? NOW, go set the tables, tape the offering on the window, and get the fish ready."
The customers were queued up before 'Frankies' opened. On the door in red letters was nailed the notice: First come, first served. No reservations.
As they entered and were being seated by Number Two, one patron was heard to say, "You know, I feel better for days after I eat here."
His buddy replied, "Me too. "We're lucky to even get a seat. It's Friday. I had to call in and say I had an AM business meeting so I could get here on time.
Another patron said, "Frankie cooks better than my wife and she's kill me if she ever heard me say that."
"I don't know what it is, but this food is heavenly," added even another patron at another table.
The whole crowd gave a hearty laugh. The atmosphere was very warm and informal. The assembled patrons raised their glasses and in unison, said "Salute" as they looked toward the kitchen.
Frankie came out, bowed, wiped his head, smiled and ducked back into the kitchen. He was preparing the Saturday meals for the food kitchens. You see, as only Frankie knew, the sweat from his brow dropped into the sauce. And a little bit of this god's DNA was absorbed by anyone who ate his food. It cured any disease. No one ever knew it, not even Number Two, yet. But everybody who ate it left of sounder mind and body than when they had entered.
As Frankie backed into the kitchen he heard someone state, "The food is a bit saltier today. It's still great. I wonder if he let his Number Two cook?" This was followed by laughter all around.
Number Two just shrugged. Frankie smiled and knew. He gave an extra dose for a few of them. In a sense he was an unknown secret superhero and that's how he wanted it for now. The End
You Are who you eat by Richard Tornello (2014)Voices Future Tense Table of Contents
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