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A Recipe for Friendship
JPL: Cadet Rel and Chef/Waitress Delia with Boothby
At the appointed time the Vulcanoid was patiently waiting outside the Facility Mess. Within a short distance there was a bench under a tree. Given Delia had been on her feet all day he planned to have his brief conversation with here there. He also noted Boothby was tending some flowers within earshot of that location which should help to put the waitress at ease.
While Rel was looking at Boothby, Delia slipped into the spot beside him on the bench.
âHow old do you think he is?â She asked watching Boothby. âSome people think heâs an android or maybe an El-Aurian. Heâs been around what seems like forever.â
âThe later is more probable.â the Vulcanoid replied. âEl-Aurians like my Vulcan side tend not to let anyone know our age. It would be most impolite to guestimate but if he is El-Aurian he could be more long lived than my people.â
âA long time ago on Earth, it was considered rude to ask a woman her age.â She shrugged. âIâve never found age to be very useful as long as weâre not speaking of children, whiskey or a good steakâ The wind blew a few strands of her hair into her eyes and she fixed them. âIf someone wants me to know their age, I figure theyâll tell me.â She looked over at Boothby. âEl-Aurian.â She nodded. âThey are supposed to be a species of listeners, and he is known for being excellent at listening.â
âTruth be told, Iâve heard he is such a good listener that he even communes with the plants.â the Trill half managed a smile. âSo some of my classmates have told me.â
âClassmates?â She looked confused for a second or two. âNow look whoâs making silly assumptions. For some reason, I thought you were a professor here. That when I was just claiming not to judge people by their presumed age. Sorry.â Delia looked slightly irked, but with herself. Her voice stayed even and soft. âYou wanted to talk about recipes.â
âNo need to apologize. You assumption was based on my apparent age. We have to approximate it ourselves because I have only been a combined species for a little over a year.â
He continued. âWhen I was with the Vulcan Science Academy I did teach, When I was Trill I served on several different starships as a non-com. You judged more correctly than most on campus have. It is nothing to be ashamed of.â
He paused to let those words find their mark.
He spoke softly. âThe inquiry into the less spicy human delicacies is to broaden my options especially if I were to have guests. Items would be palatable by them as well as the host.â
âBelieve me, I get it. Itâs quite a challenge preparing a range of dishes that appeal to so many species, dietary preferences and restrictions. And a lot of the faculty donât even eat at the mess. They just replicate something or go off campus. I always appreciate new recipes and like getting feedback. But since I do everything from scratch, fresh ingredients, there are limits.â She smiled. âI did comm the chef at Siskoâs and convey your observations. She wasnât as receptive as I had hoped because that gumbo is an âold family recipeâ.â Delia giggled. âIs it the family or the recipe thatâs so âoldâ?â
âUsually both. Old families like those on Vulcan would claim the older the recipe the closer you are to the pure intention of the original chef meant to convey with his or her dish. Usually the simplest forms are the oldest.â the Vulcanoid remarked.
âFascinating. Iâve been in food services for most of my life and Iâve never heard it put that way, but it makes perfect sense. A lot of people think chefs are elitist when we say we only work with fresh ingredients, but I can see it stemming from the same source. Fresh food is the closest to the Earth, the source. I may just owe Francie at Siskoâs an apology. Iâll probably just fix her and her wife a meal next time theyâre in the Bay area.â Delia looked off into the distance and waved. âUh-oh, it looks like my twins are out of class early.â
Identical girls of about sixteen were rapidly approaching.
âPlease, stop by the kitchen when you have a spare period. I really didnât get the chance to pick your brain about those delicacies. But I did learn a lot.â She stood up. âBut I enjoyed chatting with you.â
Instead of rushing to meet the girls, she stopped and watched. Boothby had intercepted the pair and was piling their arms full of flowers, eliciting squeals of delight.
âOh great, I can totally see our cat eating those...and the results will not be pretty...colorful maybe, but not pretty.â
Barak muffled a laugh. âWhat would you recommend I try tonightâ¦ my roommate is the Klingon turned cat you may have heard of. We both are discovering new tastes.â he managed to ask before she stepped away from the bench.
âYour life sure isnât lacking in drama. Letâs see, it has to be fresh, easy to prepare and adaptable to two unique sets of taste budsâ¦...PIZZA! You can stop at the commissary and get everything you need. Since pizza can be topped with just about anything, you can pick a few items that are traditional and others which are more experimental. Make several smaller pizza crust instead of a large one so that you can mix and match. And share the results. That way the two of you can experience the other'sâ favorites! Have a good evening. I best go intercept my children.â She smiled. âI hope to get a chance to discuss food with you soon.â
Barak nodded. âThank you. May you and your family live long and prosper.â He watched as mother and daughters reunited. He waved to the trio then proceeded to meander over to Boothby.
âSir, I would like to invite you to be my guest for dinner if you have no other plans. Itâs pizza night and I know Kobor would love to meet you.â
The older man smiled and thrust a bundle of bright green leaves at the Vulcanoid, followed by a bunch of variegated flowers. âBasil is a traditional pizza topping, nasturtiums are much more experimental. Add the flowers after youâve baked the pizza. And just what makes you think that I would love to meet this Kobor fellow.â
âHe is studying botany, sir.â The Vulcanoid replied. âMaybe it was a bit presumptuous but I thought the two of you might get along well with you apparent love of the Earth and its abundant vegetation. We both would enjoy your wisdom.â
âI see.â Boothby replied. âWell, I happen to love a good pizza.â