3 Ingredients Serial: Episode 3
Welcome back to this 1920s culinary mystery. If you've been here before, then you know that every last thing about this story -- the plot, the characters, all of it -- is spontaneously driven by "ingredients" that readers of Teagan's Books left in comments. Be sure to watch for fun and educational links along the way.
I hope you'll enjoy what I'm re-posting here from my WordPress blog. Feel free to visit -- there are lots more stories there. So here's the third episode of Three Ingredients, Cookbook 1: Murder at the Bijou.
Original Introduction & Featured Blogger
Every time I see the photos on Maureen’s blog, kiwissoar, I am completely charmed. So when she sent three ingredients, I just had to find some kind of video that related an ingredient to New Zealand. Luck was with me and not only did I find a video about New Zealand and blueberries, but it is partly about an American woman as well. Now how’s that for pulling things together? It’s at the end of this post. Thank you Maureen for the ingredients !
And now, episode three with ingredients from New Zealand. Bon appétit!
Episode 3: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Blueberries
As I stood up, I wiped chocolate from my mouth — I wasn’t so startled that I couldn’t appreciate that last bite of fudge! I opened the kitchen door, and darn if Granny (mandolin blade still held threateningly) didn’t get over the threshold ahead of me. A glance at that blade reminded me to stay on her good side.
The cottage had a wraparound porch that made the little house look a bit larger than it actually was. I followed Granny out onto the porch. Beside the kitchen door were two rocking chairs, a small table, and a tall metal cabinet. Atop the cabinet were several potted herbs. The rocker nearest the cabinet was overturned. Underneath the other rocker I saw a set of reddish, furry hindquarters.
"Cinnamon Bun! What have I told you about those herbs?” Granny Fanny admonished, shaking a finger at the fuzzy posterior as it backed out from under the chair.
“Holy Hannah!” I cried. I had been expecting a dog, but this was a rabbit . It was as big as a dog; it had to be 30 inches long! “What… Where did you get that thing?”
Granny chuckled and hugged the oversized bunny, putting her face against its obviously soft fur. “You naughty old bun,” she scolded the rabbit. “The veterinarian gave him to me. Doc Vale found him one day. Called him a Flemish Giant Rabbit. He said he never found out who owned the poor thing. So Doc fixed him so he wouldn’t go around doing what rabbits do best, you know, making more rabbits.”
“And the vet ‘fixed’ it so he couldn’t…? Applesauce, that sounds horribly painful,” I said.
“Doc says it wasn’t. Doc Vale has all sorts of unusual training. Things you don’t hear much about, like chiropractic — what he calls ‘noninvasive techniques.’ And he knowsacupuncture. He says sometimes he can use acupuncture instead of using dangerous things to make the patient sleep. He said the ole bun didn’t have anything hurt but his pride.”
She fussed at the rabbit some more. “Naughty bun. I was afraid I’d never see you again.” Then she looked over at me and added, “He got out of the fence and I couldn’t find him last night.”
I bent down to peer at the giant rabbit. He had a bit of green stuck in his whiskers and I cautiously removed it. “It looks like he’s gotten into your herbs,” I said. I stood and looked up at the pots on top of the cabinet. None of them contained what I had plucked from the rabbit — cilantro. “Granny do you grow cilantro?”
“Not this year,” she answered, and then continued her story without missing a beat. “I was so taken with Cinnamon Bun that I took him in. He’s a sweet ole thing, and usually no trouble. But he’s always trying to get to my herbs. Thank goodness he hasn’t figured out how to get into the greenhouse.”
“And that’s what you named him? Cinnamon Bun?” I pondered. “Okay, I guess his fur is about the color of cinnamon and ‘bun’ because he’s a bunny.”
A man called out to us as he walked around the corner of the cottage. He wore a badge pinned to his lapel. “Are you ladies okay?” he asked. “I heard a commotion as I was coming toward the front door, so I headed on back here. Oh, I see. Cinnamon at it again? I thought I got that fence fixed for you so he couldn’t get loose.”
“Oh you can’t keep a rabbit in a fence if he really decides to get out,” Granny said. “It’s awful kind of you to help me with that sort of thing, Dabney. Don’t think it’s not appreciated,” she said, but seemed to realize it was not a social call. “What brings you, Detective Daniels? Won’t you come inside?” Granny asked.
A moment later the three of us were sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea. Granny set a large portion of fudge in front of the detective. I looked at it mournfully as the copper popped a scrumptious square into his mouth.
The detective had been making a list of everyone who was at the Bijou when the man died. I thought the guy had been bumped off, but nobody had used the word “murder” yet. The police were investigating because no one seemed to know who the man was. Granny asked if it had been a heart attack, since his death was sudden.
“The medical examiner said he choked. They took a couple of blueberries from his windpipe,” Daniels said, but he sounded doubtful.
“Dabney,” Granny began in an apologetic tone. “I don’t think he would have died from choking on a blueberry.”
“Miss Fanny, to be honest I don’t think so either,” the detective said as he took a sip of tea. He made an appreciative sound as he set the cup of Darjeeling on the table. “But they can’t find anything wrong with him. Except of course for being dead.”
I kept thinking about the cilantro on the man’s shoes. It still made me feel foolish, but there was just something hinky about it. Since I already felt like a sap for wondering, I asked in a roundabout way. “Was there anything… strange about him? I mean odd things on his body or in his pockets, or maybe his shoes?”
Dabney Daniels, Savannah Police detective, had the nerve to laugh at me! I glared at him. “Well, was there?” I demanded, my cheeks heating.
He chuckled again and looked at Granny. “She’s definitely your granddaughter.” Then he turned to me and apologized. “No ma’am. I wasn’t at the scene, but I haven’t been told of any odd circumstances.”
I was silent for a moment, trying to decide whether or not he was being condescending. He eyed me closely and then looked down at a list on a sheet of paper. “You were there, weren’t you, young lady? I gather you saw something that didn’t seem right to you.”
He was going to think I was silly, I knew. With a sigh I placed the cilantro I took from Cinnamon Bun’s whiskers on the table and pointed.
“There were bits of cilantro all over his shoes. He must have been some place where somebody was using a lot of cilantro right before he came to the theatre. Right before he died.”
I got the patronizing reaction I expected…
Blueberry farming video
Recipe from a 1920 edition of the Swayzee (Indiana) Press, advertising Royal Baking Powder.
Fanny’s Royal Cinnamon Buns
2 ¼ cup flour
4 t Royal Baking Powder
1 t salt
2 T shortening
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 T cinnamon
4 T seeded raisins
Sift 2 tablespoons of measured sugar with flour, salt, and baking powder. Rub shortening in lightly. Add beaten egg to water and add slowly. Roll out 1/3 rd inch thick on floured board. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Roll as for jelly roll; cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Place with cut edges up on well greased pan. Sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon Bake in moderate oven 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from pan at once.
Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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