Miss Deschamps was always a bit of a sassy girl. She’d hang upside down on the monkey bars so that her shirt would fall a little on its own revealing a young girl’s blossoming chest or shirts a bit too racy for school. But she was a kind heart and good to her momma and poppa even though they got tired pretty quick with her little romantic antics with the boys and with the phone calls from school and even with the occasional call from the sheriff. When Dixie wasn’t getting in to trouble, she’d spend some of her time in the kitchen making some mean baked goods. And there was also the other things she’d do upstairs in her room with a candle and some herbs she’d gathered from the next door farmer’s field. But, to be honest, no one knew about those things. A few years ago, Dixie baked a particularly delicious cake for the county fair which stirred a bit of a ruckus. Anyone who ate even the smallest bite of the cake later felt flushed, woozy and a-bit-more-than-usual amoureux. You can better believe she swore all up, down and to the left and right that there was absolutely nothing unusual about her cake. It was made with old fashioned love and local ingredients, yessirree! But, again, there could have been a little something said over the oven when she was baking it and maybe a little something said over the pan before putting it in the oven and maybe a little something rubbed on the pan before pouring the cake batter in it. Of course, she would have never done anything harmful to the townsfolk. Only maybe a little something to loosen up their tight belts. And just because her initials were D-E-A-D, well, that didn’t mean anything. Some of the finest, ripest strawberries, the fluffiest and sweetest angel cake, the creamiest butter cream frosting and some davana to make the experience unique.
In a former life as a Zen monk some good 528 years ago or more, I lived in a very, very small region of China. It was a very lush and peaceful place that had a very, very dainty Empress to govern the land, which as I mentioned was very, very small and did not extend beyond the two mountains that cradled the valley of the region. Empress Ming Li Zho was an only child and her parents passed away when she was very young. Although she was raised by kind hearted people of the court, Empress Ming Li Zho missed her parents dearly and named a pair of red pandas after them. As she grew up, but not very much since she was very, very dainty and hence quite petite in size, she paid particular attention to other children who had also lost their parents (or other beloved things) and were having a difficult time smiling or knowing joy. She inquired with some local healers who sent her to the nearly coo-coo old man who did not live in a cave, but in a hole in the ground, who then sent her to talk to the yellow birds in the blue trees who, in turn, chirped a little song about happiness. The Empress translated a recipe from this song. It was the Sparkling Infusion for Happy Brightness. She shared it freely with all and sometimes used it herself on days when she felt she could use a little cheering up: a blend of two gingers, a few pressed leaves of mint and a very, very small piece of crushed lemongrass.
Yes, it is true that Frau Von Schtinklestein never finished completing this recipe due to her unexpected passing with a bout of scurvy that her husband brought home with him after his long trip on the cold dark Arctic waters searching for the elusive Long-Haired Snowy Whale. In fact, she was creating this Love Essence as a means to keep him closer to home, instead of on the high seas that would hold on to him and his ship for months, sometimes years, at a time. While she did very much enjoy having the stone manor for herself, she found she would also be fraught with anxiety on odd numbered days with no one to tell her jokes to. Her three Guernsey cows never said much, but to chew their cud and the daisies in the garden. A young niece came across Mrs. Von Schtinklestein’s notes and decided to make this oil available anyway. Even if it worked halfway, it was better than not at all! A dessert lovingly made for two: pears poached in vanilla and then caramelized in brown sugar.
Passed on to me by my great, great grandmother whom I have never met, Madame Soupiron, this recipe was perfected by the grand Madame Pompidou* in 1762. Although believed by the world and French men to be only available to very high class French ladies, in fact all French women have been using this not so secret (to French women, that is) elixir for ages, even prior to the perfected formulation by Mme. Pompidou. This oil is used for any sort of woes of the heart or spirit such as results from tripping in public places, bouchers who sell you the wrong cut of meat, mail that is damaged by the mice in your courier box, any day that ends by being qualifiably described as en merdant, being jilted by a so-called friend or lover or simply getting a hole in one’s stockings or breaking the laces in your corset. Chocolate, mousse au chocolat, various friandises au chocolat and any singular or mix of cordials or liquers remaining in the cabinet in the pantry that you have not already finished off. This fabuleux cure-all will brush all your malaises and crises away!*Not to be confused with Madame de Pompadour as well you know.