Emma was too angry to settle. Although she’d spent a great deal of time in Nathan’s home recently, it wasn’t her home and she felt a little uneasy on a level she wasn’t willing to question. After wandering through the garden for over an hour, she tired of looking at gardens.
Inside she entered the kitchen. A few staff members were on hand and she introduced herself. “I’m not the greatest cook in the world. I was hoping to cook something special for dinner tonight. I was hoping that you might assist me in preparing something simple but edible.”
“I am Francisco.” A younger of two men spoke up. “I can assist you.”
“Ok, thank you. I was thinking of chicken pot pie, a salad and some sort of light dessert. Would those ingredients be on hand?”
“Certainly. We can get started straight away.” He smiled broadly while handing her an apron.
“Ok, so what do we do first? I’ve made pot pie before when I was living at home, but it’s been forever. The ingredients we used then were chicken, potato, peas, shredded carrots and a rue.”
He snapped his fingers at another man who hopped to attention and hurried to the fridge to obtain the ingredients she’d outlined.
“I’m not great at pie crust. Do you have any hints that might help?”
“Indeed, I am a pastry chef and I will gladly show you.”
“Wonderful.” Emma smiled broadly, pleased at their immediate desire to help.
Francisco collected the pastry, butter and took them over to a cupboard containing a mixer which slid out of the wall. Outlining the quantity of each ingredient, he allowed Emma to dump them into the mixer and begin the process. “Would you roll the dough out, that’s the part I have difficulty with, mine always becomes tough, not fluffy.”
He immediately showed her the proper way to roll dough and offered her the rolling pin so she could take a stab at it. “Wow, this is working well.”
The next stage was cooking the chicken. In this case, there was a whole chicken previously cooked ostensibly for sandwiches which they cut into cubes. Francisco was a great help, very patient explaining each stage and it’s importance to the outcome of a properly prepared pie.
The entire staff having heard she was in the kitchen, peered in from time to time smiling at her attempts but full of encouragement. Before long music was playing gently in the background and Emma was swaying her hips in time to the music as she grated chopped and prepared vegetables.
Instead of dessert, she prepared a family favourite, a gelatin salad with pineapple and carrots. She then made a caesar salad from scratch, impressing Francisco with her know how in that her salad was made from scratch in a wooden bowl in which garlic had been rubbed. When he dipped his finger into the sauce to taste, he nodded his approval. “Fantastic, Mademoiselle. Indeed! I need to ask you for the recipe. It’s piquant, tart, but not heavy.”
She was popping the pot pie into the oven when Nathan returned and he was completely amused as he watched her bopping around the kitchen, swinging her arms and foxtrotting to the music playing in the background. “Is this a private party, or can anyone join?”
The staff straightened looking chagrined and uncertain. “As you were. You all seemed to be having a great time. I’m only sorry I missed the action.”
When Emma neared him, wrapped her around snugly about his neck, he wiped a dusting of flour from the end of her nose and she danced him around the kitchen, hitting him in the back of the head with a wooden spoon as she flailed her arms about behind him. He laughed and slid his hand along her arm to her wrist and took the offending spoon to lay it on a counter. They continued dancing. The staff was undecided whether they should go or stay. “I think we should dance our way into the other room. The staff is looking decidedly uncomfortable,” Nathan whispered in her ear.
Emma had been so comfortable she never once gave the staff’s feelings a second thought. She figured they were as comfortable with the status quo as she was. “Um, thank you one and all for assisting me with dinner. It was great fun. I haven’t had the pleasure of cooking in ages. ”
They nodded one by one as Nathan danced her out of the room and down the hallway toward their private living room. “You were having fun.”
“Indeed I was! You have a great staff, very helpful and lots of fun.”