Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Recipe Box Conclusion

Carrie crossed the hall and opened the far door. Still occasionally muttering to herself, she pottered around, filling the kettle and placing it on the hob before taking time to study the surroundings. They'd changed little, other than in colour scheme. The same honey coloured pine wood dresser stood against one wall, but a scarlet box file on one of its shelves arrested her attention. 'That's something new', said Carrie under her breath. The bright colour stood out like holly berries in the snow, standing as it did among the pastel tones of this white and eau-de-nil room.

She sat down at the kitchen table and placed the box before her. The spine bore the label 'Recipes', and it became increasingly obvious how great her Aunt's enthusiasm had been, as Carrie leafed through them. There were pages torn from magazines, pieces of paper with scribbled pencil notes and some sheets of paper with typed recipes that her Aunt had copied out from some long forgotten source.

After several minutes spent delving into them, Carrie promised herself an even closer study one day soon. Eventually, she came to the last card in the box. It was a proper, printed post card with a snapshot of her Aunt's house on the left and an inset picture of her little sitting room table, laid for tea, at the bottom right hand corner. Two delicate, china place settings stood on either side of an ornate cake stand, on which a delicious looking cake had already been sliced ready to serve.
On the reverse, in her Aunt's spidery handwriting, was written 'My Dorset Apple Cake', with a tight packed list of ingredients. Carrie smiled. Now she knew exactly which cake she would bake for Bill and Ted.
The End

Now the explanation, folks, as to how this tale came to be. I'd signed up for a short, creative writing course in our local library, and for our first week's homework the lecturer had passed round a postcard - yes, the one described - and packed us off to write a short story of no more than 2000 words by the following Saturday. I'd been hoping the course would cover something on the poetic front, but I was out of luck. The rest of the class were were avid novelists or short story buffs, and my interest in poetry stuck out like a sore thumb. 'Poetry isn't my thing', said our very nice, but somewhat un-inspiring tutor, as she managed to pretty well quash me from the start.

There was much talk of writing for magazines, and of 'showing' not 'telling' a story. That just about wiped me off the map all together, as I guess I identify with being a story teller, after years of doing just that for my kids! So, I'm totally clueless on the short story front, and can only apologise if you thought this Recipe Box was going to turn out to be a chef's Table d'Hote instead of a plain old Soup du Jour.
(If I could have got ^ this over the top of the o in Hote, I would!)


  1. "Clueless?" I think not! (Although I wouldn't mind seeing these characters again, whether the story was a continuation, or a 'prequel'... Just sayin'.)

  2. Well I thought it was a great little short story. I could imagine the charcters and the cottage, and the dresser down to the red file. The the smile on Carrie's face as she saw the final postcard for Dorset Cake. Lovely.

  3. You sent me on a mission. You can get a symbol like that by typing "ampersand#244;" (but type the actual &) which gives you ô

    The easiest way, which is not easy is to go to your character map: start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Character Map. When yo find the symbol you want select it, copy it, and paste it into your program.

    I know; it's too much trouble, and I usually don't bother. I know the symbol for a long dash is ampersand+mdash; and I use that a lot, but it's really the only one I bother with and then not usually in comments where I just do a double dash -- instead, but I can do the proper symbol. See —

    Anyway, to the point. I liked your story. You don't need to apologize for it. Not in the least.

  4. &#244 ? Thanks AC - not sure when the magical symbol is supposed to appear, though... You'd think with the EU, and England and France being so close, not to mention Germany, that keyboards would be fully equipped with accents. I do know about the character map, but it is a kefuffle for one tiny ^ !

  5. Oh, but Jinksy...this was an absolutely lovely story!!!! I loved it!You are so versatile. Just fabulous! And I could squash that tutor of yours!!!! Poetry not his thing, INDEED!!!!!~Janine XO

  6. I liked your story very much Jinksy. I wouldn't be too bothered that your tutor isn't into poetry, not for now anyway. Just think about it that you are learning more and more about our English language and the way to use words. It can only help you with your poetry writing in the long run. If you really want to advance your poetry writing, I would join and enter some works on there. You will get critiques and critics (ha ha) from all walks of life, some helpful. You will get to read and review a lot of other people's works and join in competitions etc.
    Bless you, Star

  7. Jinksy - do NOT get a complex about your poetry and forget all that writing for magazines - I love your writing and there is nothing at all wrong with your lovely, poetic interpretation of that post card. I get the same sort of reaction when I try to do a course - I am afraid we shall just have to paddle our own canoes.

  8. I enjoyed the little tale and truly belive you have misjudged your own showing of the story in your telling! It was a visual treat from start to end :).

  9. Very nice story. I was expecting a little different ending, perhaps she would meet an exciting young man, or find out her Aunt didn't bake the cakes after all but purchased them in another town where the people didn't really know her. But you did a wonder job in writing the short story.

  10. It was a lovely tale. Writing Group tutors can be out of touch sometimes but with your talents you can show them a thing or two.

  11. I'm laughing. At you. At me. At that little hat with no wearer.

    I love the story, Jinksy. I do. One thing I was thinking though as she held that card is that the photo would reveal something uncharacteristic of her Aunt. I was hoping that her Aunt had more to her than her neice knew, that that card would be just the first clue in the unravelling of a life that everyone thought they knew. Is that exciting, or what? (Oh, I'm all about what's hidden, I suppose. I should just relax. I do like what you did.)

  12. if you ask computer dictionary, it will give you
    table d'hôte with the ^ above the o. Copy and paste into your script. I have done it in a post, don't know whether comments will let me, but here goes with a try.
    Love Granny

  13. I truly loved the story Jinksy. Poets and poetry is one thing but to assemble a beautiful story with such fine detail is a talent many aspire to and few attain. But you did yourself a pretty darned good one, my dear.

    Only more of the story would be asked. :)

  14. Dear Heart! I love "The Recipe Box!" It's perfect.. and perfect for the beginning of a full-blown novel! Might this be something you would want to pursue?


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