Posts Tagged ‘chapter 2

05
Jun
08

foodie, chapter 2

written by Kristen

The room filled with the shuffling of feet and muted chatter as students greeted one another, chose partners and made their way to the front of the class toward the kitchen stations. Malorie scanned the room, hoping to catch someone’s eye, but most of the students had already paired off. She seemed to be the only one who didn’t already know someone else.

The instructor, Professor Talbot, walked briskly to the front of the stations and began writing furiously on a dry erase board mounted to the wall. “We are trying something entirely new this semester. I need to see what you are each capable of right out of the gate. This classroom has been designed specifically for that purpose.”

Students stopped whatever they were doing and began opening notebooks and Malorie clutched the yellow legal pad she had remembered at the last second this morning. She rummaged through the side pocket of her large, black bag for a pen. She felt a paper clip, a frayed hair elastic, and an unwrapped piece of chewing gum. No pen. Oh, don’t tell me I didn’t bring one. I picked a crappy week to clean out my purse.

With his back still to the class, the professor held up his hand, punctuating the air with his marker. “You can all put your little books away, people. When you are famous chefs you can write your memoirs. First, you need to learn how to cook.” He turned on his heel, smiled tersely and tossed the marker onto the stainless steel counter in front of him. “Let’s keep it simple, shall we? You’ll find everything you need at your stations.” He pursed his lips and squinted at his wristwatch. “You have twenty minutes.”

Malorie approached an unoccupied station and blinked at the board as he stepped away. In red marker was scrawled: Poached Eggs with Duck Confit and Arugula, followed by a list of ingredients.

You have got to be kidding me. She peered around the room as the other students began conferring with their partners and sorting through their cooking utensils and containers of ingredients. She stared down at her own station, which included a small prep sink and gas range. The counter was lined with small bowls containing various fresh herbs, some of which she recognized, others she wasn’t so sure of. She spotted the eggs and what looked like the duck. Well at least I don’t have to make it from scratch.

She felt her head swim suddenly and she grabbed the edge of the counter. In an instant she was brought back to her first day of kindergarten. All of her old fears and anxiety welled up at once and she wanted nothing more than to disappear. It’s not too late to leave. Hell, I don’t even have a partner yet. I could just slip out the door, no one would even notice. She looked up and saw the couples all had some sort of prep already underway. She slipped the pad of paper into her bag, set it down on the floor and breathed deeply. Come on Mal, you’ve been doing this your whole life. This is nothing. If he goes all Gordon Ramsay and calls you a “stupid donkey” then you can leave. You can DO this. Well, you can poach the eggs at least.

Malorie raised her hand to ask professor Talbot if she should team up with another couple when the classroom door swung open. A tall, young man with dark hair clumsily burst into the room and leaned against the door for support. He recovered himself and nodded toward the professor, a flush growing up his cheeks. “Pardon me, sir. I couldn’t find a parking space.” He adjusted his backpack over his shoulder and stepped into the room, letting the door close behind him. The room was silent as everyone looked at the student, then shifted their focus expectantly toward the professor who was leaning against his desk, arms crossed.

“So nice of you to join us, Mr….?”

“Uh, Randall. Evan Randall.” He smiled crookedly. Malorie noted it was a nice smile. Full lips. She realized she still had her hand raised and pulled it down, smoothing a stray curl back into place as she did.

“Yes, well, Evan Randall, please do come in. I hope you have come prepared to cook.”

“Yes sir.” He nodded again, a bit self-consciously and looked down at his feet. “Where would you like me?”

Professor Talbot scanned the room and shook his head. “Well, unless someone still needs a…”

“Partner,” Malorie interrupted abruptly. Her voice seemed to ricochet across the room. A pot rattled on a counter and everyone turned to look at her, including Evan, who smiled gratefully, his dark eyes whispering “thank you”. She cleared her throat and added quietly, “Yes, sir. I still need someone.”

“Well there you go,” the professor said, gesturing toward Malorie. “I guess it’s your lucky day, Mr. Randall.”




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