Hello foodies! Part 2 of the special treat from the very talented Njeri of The House of Olang’ is here! Another tantalising piece piece for sure. This is part 2, if you haven’t read part 1 start here and if you haven’t visited her blog, please do: Heart of Her Thoughts. Feel free to start here, the first post I read on her site. Enough of my chatter, here’s her post…
It was a majestic place to be at this time, the dust raised by little feet chasing each other in and out the stalls, causing all to sneeze and dust their long dresses, boots stomping with determined focus. Excited chatter of the women over their discoveries this season and comparing the growth of their offspring. Squeals of joy as one announcement followed the other in ease and progressive turn.
Market days were always my favourite time of the season, where the skies were cloudy and blue, the river shimmered in the noon sun casting an orange hue like the new oranges papa just harvested, full and plump. The smell of produce, the burst of colour, the reunification of friendships all came together on this day.
“Come try this Heirloom!” cried little Apricot as she ran towards her mother’s stand picking some kind of fruit and running in the direction of a pathway that Chef Gourmet disappeared towards.
“Apricot! AprrriiiCot!” Came through the loudest of screams I have ever heard from her mother, you see we had followed Miss Old Spice to her “lair” as Pebbles the freckly new girl from the other side of the mountain called it. It was the worst smelling place I had ever come across. With all things hanging and all things smelly.
“I wonder how she sleeps in there” saying to Ryan, but our gorgeous Pebble answered with such tenacity and clarity we could never ever doubt her. “She never sleeps at night, all she does is grind all day, all night, that is why her spices never go bad and everyone keeps coming back to her.”
“My mummy says that she is a lonely old loony woman who needs to stay away from all of us or she will lure papa away with all her spell binding powders.”
“Apriiiiiiicccot! Come here at once!” came the shrill voice of Apricot’s Mum. As we ran towards the market, I could hear Chef Gourmet sneezing and excitedly thanking Ms. Old Spice;
“Magnifico, absolutely magnifico… I vant to try this in my espagetii carbonarrrraa”
I pictured the “espageti cabonarrrraa” and all I could think of was mama’s heirloom tomatoes and basil with a little bit of butter with herbs and garlic on bread. I had to see this dish. What was it? How did it make the tongue feel, would it burn or would it be sweet, would it be spicy hot or spicy delicious, would it bring tears to my eyes too?
What were the fresh herbs in the mix, would I have to plant something new in my tiny garden mama had given me? Would I have to put some limes? I love lime in my food! Fresh peppers or would I have to dry them first, would there be need for colored pepper? What is “Espagetiii” why am I smelling fish, is there fish in this dish, why are my feet wet…
I had walked all the way to the river as I daydreamt about this, “Your curious little nose will drive you into a wall,” mama always said. There they were, the kitchen aids to chef gourmet. All decked out in white jackets and black trousers, hair tied back under a neat fabric looking thing. They smiled at me… they smelt a little funny but not too bad.
“Oy, aren’t you lost” said one of the skinnier aids to me. “errrrmmm, eeeeeehhh, ummmmm…”
“what a little crab cut out your tongue?” the larger one with big hands bellowed and laughed until tears came to his eyes, slapping his knee he kept asking if the others got the joke “crab cut out his tongue” hahahahahhaaha, he kept laughing and almost choked. The lady was also tickled but not as much as the other one.
A little lady came out in a beautiful yellow dress and smelt like the ocean, she spoke so softly and the troupe disappeared.
“Hello little one, are you lost” Chimed this porcelain beauty, so delicate and fragile,
“No ma’am, I was just looking for Chef Gourmet, he bought something from Ms. Ol’ Spice…” I said and before I could finish her eyes lit up and she almost drooled.
“He did, did he now? Oh that genius gourmet, I wonder what he is going to make.”
In a flash, her excitement moved to a mental inventory of her entire Kitchen, I was mesmerized at this effortless and efficient shift..
“He kept saying “espagetiii cabonarrra” I said to the lady, “No, absolutely NOT, he cannot use such science on a small dish, he MUST create a new one!” she said so matter-of-factly, I could not help wonder who she was.
“Ma’am, are you a Chef too?” I whispered so as not to offend or take her out of her meticulous mind.
“I want to be a chef one day too” I said without thinking or knowing what I was saying.
“Gasp!!! You want to be Chef like Gourmet?” she screamed, “Yes, I make you one, let me see your nails, purrfect mon, you start immediately… Chef Tanya, come get this little one we will make him Chef, What is your name little one?”
“Heirloom” I said, “Oh, like the tomatoes? Oh precious, we will make you priceless little asparagus.”
Let us make this little Asparagus our very own chef, let us create a Kitchen Genius, he will be better than gourmet…”
“My name is not Aspa….” I went to correct,
“Its better not to correct her, My name is Nyanya, she always calls me Tanya, come with me”
Everything moved so fast and before I knew it I was in a white jacket cleaning fish!
Have you ever cleaned fish? I remember watching my mother do it when I was about 6 or 7. I thought removing scales looked like fun. I never got to learn how from her but about 3 years ago I got first hand experience while I was in Mombasa. Gutting and everything!! I liked it!
I like how this story is developing, it’s like its been marinating and we’re about to start cooking! I smell a part 3! Stay tuned, coming soon!