I’m back on schedule, more or less. Got home tired, almost feel asleep in my chair, and did my last Human recap, then I started on the story. And it didn’t start out the way I expected . . .
Originally this scene, titled Tied at One, was supposed to take place in the afternoon, after lunch and before racing started. 24 November, 2012, is the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in the US, otherwise why would the scene before happen on Black Friday? But, you know, books aren’t written in stone, at least not any more, so you can change things around as they suit you. And the way I started seeing this scene play out, I felt it was more of a breakfast scene than something after lunch. More of a “Kerry is awake but crabby” scene, which is something started in the first couple of paragraphs.
With that in mind I started, and right away I knew where I was going . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
“So what it is we’re having for breakfast?” Walking towards the Great Hall Kerry tried to keep his mind off the fact that right now, at seven in the morning, it was as warm as it was going to get. It was eight Celsius at the moment, and by race time it was going to be about a degree cooler and a whole lot windier. It didn’t help that he’d been sore throughout most of the Friday Midnight Madness, due to having flown over eight hundred kilometers during the Black Friday Scavenger Flight, and that he hadn’t slept well.
Now he was trying to remember the name of the dish she’d planed for them this morning, and failing miserably . . .
“It’s mekitsa.” Annie looped her arm through Kerry’s and hugged it tight to her body. “It’s deep fried dough made with eggs, flour, and yogurt. We’ll have ours with feta cheese, since we both like that.”
“Uh, huh. And this drink—?”
“Ayran. It’s cold yogurt mixed with salt.” She scrunched her shouldered as she thought of the culinary treats. “The last time I had a breakfast like this was the morning I left for Berlin.”
“Why haven’t you had it since?”
“It’s a bit different than princesses or banitsa, and I was concerned you might not enjoy this.”
Kerry pressed against Annie as they walked, smiling for the first time. “How long have I known you?”
She looked upward as if she were deep in thought. “All my life.”
“Mine, too. Have I ever not wanted to try something you’ve recommended?”
This time Annie did consider the question. “Hum . . . no. Everything I’ve ever recommended you’ve not only tried, but liked.”
He nodded. “Which reminds me, I’d love some teshko—”
“Teleshko vareno.” She began laughing at Kerry’s mispronunciation of the Bulgarian beef soup. “I know: it’s going to be chilly today, and a few bowls of that will be perfect. Maybe a large one at dinner—” She snuggled closer and kissed his check. “—another during the Midnight Madness. I can ask Una if they can start a pot this afternoon.”
“Just the think to take off the creeping winter chill.” He waved open the heavy West Entrance door. “After you, Darling.”
“Thank you, my love.” She giggled as she walked through the open passage. Ever since their garden discussion after the Samhain Dance, Kerry had taken to calling her “Sweetie” less and “Darling” more. She loved both sobriquets, but darling touched her more. He’s saying it to be cute, but— She waited for Kerry to join her inside the West Transept as the heavy door swung shut behind him. I can also hear his affection buried inside the word. It means so much to hear him express his love this way—
“What are you thinking?” He swooped up behind her and cradled her in his arms.
She leaned back into him, thankful they were standing near one of the walls. “That you’re becoming as Bulgarian as me. You’re learning the language, your love our food—”
“Love certain girls from there.” He hugged her tight and kissed her.
Annie chuckled. “You most certainly do.” She slipped out of his grasp. “Come, my love—” She pulled him towards the Rotunda. “Breakfast awaits.”
Yes, the way to a boy’s heart–if you haven’t already gotten it–is to feed him Bulgarian cuisine. It’s a good thing Annie’s Bulgarian, huh? And what are these dishes?
First mekitsa. It’s like Annie said: it’s deep fried dough made with eggs, flour, and yogurt. You put a rising agent in the dough, and as it rises you pluck off balls of it, flatten, and throw it in a fryer. Then you serve it with jam or feta cheese, and you can even use a little powdered sugar on them as well.
Ayran is also like Annie said: a cold yogurt drink made by mixing it with water. Some say it’s really nothing more than diluted yogurt, but it’s supposed to be cooling and refreshing. It’s hugely popular in Turkey, but you can find it in Bulgaria as well.
This last dish mentioned, teleshko vareno. It’s a beef soup that’s done up either in a pressure cooker or cooked slow for a long time, because the meat used is usually a shank, and you have to cook the hell out of it to get it nice and tender. By cooking it for hours in a large pot you get all the right spices into the meat and the good smells throughout the house, and it’ll be nice and flavorful, just like with ox tail soup, which I’ve had and love.
One could say that the reason Annie’s getting Kerry accustomed to all this Bulgarian cuisine is because it’s what she knows, and what she’ll probably cook. And if she’s going to cook this for him, it means Annie’s thinking long range–
Like, oh, a hundred years down the road.
But there’s gotta be more to this scene than Bulgarian delicacies, yeah? Well, of course there is–
And it’s about to change tonight.