comes out today with Torquere Press. You can find it here: Sugar Anthology. Let me tempt you with a morsel of my story.
By Cari Z
I don’t actually cook for myself all that much.
I know, it’s a weird thing for a professional chef to be admitting. I love cooking. I love making delicious, savory things that will be enjoyed by the people who come to the restaurant I work at. I love cooking for my friends and family. For myself though, I’m just as happy eating soup out of a can as anything I’ve made. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my residual skinflint talking. It helps keeps me thin, anyway.
James makes sure I eat when he’s here. We have dinner together every night, and we eat breakfast together every morning. Our tastes vary wildly. James likes small portions of heavier foods, things made with butter and cream and red meat. If I didn’t put gorgonzola or goat cheese on our salads he probably wouldn’t enjoy them. He eats everything I make because he loves me, and I tend to make what he likes because I love him. If I skip the steak one evening or have rhubarb pie for breakfast, he doesn’t say anything. He’s good that way.
James is good in a lot of ways. But right now James Fitzgerald, lawyer and eco-crusader extraordinaire, is in Indonesia. Jakarta, specifically. He has been for the past two and a half weeks. This is the longest we’ve been apart since we started living together a little over a year ago. Three days to go, and I’m doing my best not to go insane with impatience. I work, and when I’m not working, I cook. Then I give everything I make away.
Last weekend I baked over a dozen pies, just for the hell of it. Rhubarb, cherry, apple, lemon meringue, key lime, and three of James’ favorites, chocolate pecan. I gave them to various neighbors (I think Mrs. Klein wants to hire me permanently for her bridge group), took a few to the restaurant for my coworkers to snack on and brought one over to the house of my former roommate, Johnny. He opened the door, took one look at the pie and snapped, “You hate me.”
“Well, you love me.”
“Do you know how much time I had to spend in the gym when we were living together, Alex? How I am only now successfully weaning myself off of my addiction to your damn crack food? You hate me.”
I sighed. Johnny lives in a world where the only life worth living is a dramatic one. “I’m not going to force pie on you. I can just take it home—”
“What kind is it?” he demanded.
“God damn you to hell,” he said cheerfully, pulling me and my pie into his foyer. He took the pie out of my hands and looked me over. “James is away, huh?”
“Yeah, I can always tell. You get this tight look around the corners of your eyes and you make sticky-sweet things he wouldn’t eat in a million years. Come on. Time for pie, coffee and talk therapy.” He led me into his kitchen and I spent almost four hours not spending every minute thinking of James.
Recognize the guys? I couldn't resist playing with them again, they were too yummy last time. This is my second and final new release for January, along with Surviving The Change. Speaking of that, if you're having trouble buying it, please send me a line and I'll try to talk to the publisher. Doing that already, but the more the merrier. Except not. Or something.
Now to work on Pandora.