Aunty Annette was well known for her interesting cooking and the incredible range of spices and herbs she used, some with unbelievable effects. Who could forget that day back in March when three of her nieces and nephews were staying with her for the day. That was the day that Jamie didn’t listen to her when she told him not to eat the delicious looking raspberry pie before she said so. He ended up blowing up like a big raspberry, and it wasn’t until Aunty gave him a bowl of her special custard to eat that things went back to normal.
For a special family party Aunty Annette had given one of her special recipes to her cousin Rachel to make a one-pot main course for the whole family. Along with the recipe she had also sent three jars of spices and seasonings with very precise instructions of how much of each to use.
On the morning of the family party Rachel got all the ingredients together in her kitchen, along with Aunty’s recipe and pots of spices. Opening jars and packets she started the preparation.
Unlike Aunty Annette her cousin Rachel wasn’t a careful or experienced cook and only used the recipe she had been sent for guidelines. When it came to the part where the recipe said to season the mix with the pots Aunty had given her and exactly how much of each to use Rachel simply tipped in amounts that she thought were near enough to the measurements described in the recipe.
In the evening as the guests arrived for the party everybody told Rachel how delicious the food smelled, saying that they thought they could even smell it long before they arrived at Rachel’s door. When Aunty Annette arrived, however, she thought that she smelled something completely different. She was sure she could the smell of a recipe mixed wrong.
“You did use the exact measurements as stated in the recipe, didn’t you Rachel, my dear?” aunty Annette asked Rachel when they had a moment alone together.
“Of course. I followed the recipe to the letter, word for word, measurement for measurement.” Rachel lied. She had not heard of what had happened to Jamie that day and thought that Aunty Annette was just a fussy old-fashioned cook.
“That’s good, my dear,” Aunty Annette said to her with a smile on her lips, “For we don’t want things to go terribly wrong do we?”
Aunty Annette went off to get a drink and to talk to some of the other members of the family. Being just a little bit older than most of them and a little more eccentric many of the family thought of her as just a dotty old woman. The children all liked her, and when it came to anyone needing a babysitter, or child-minder for a few hours they all trusted Aunty implicitly, but aside from that they didn’t really understand her special ways.
After a few moments talking to her brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces and so on she took a seat at the far end of the dining table nearest the kitchen to watch the events develop.
At exactly eight thirty Rachel brought out the big pot of food, along with plates of bread and various rices to go with it. “Dinner is served,” She said loudly announcing to everyone that the food was now available.
“Aunty Annette, perhaps you should go first being the Elder of the family,” one of the brothers piped up.
“Don’t you worry about me, Rueben,” Aunty Annette said. “I’m just fine. You just worry about yourselves.”
Aunty Annette’s pronouncement was all that was needed for everyone to get stuck in and help themselves to huge helpings of the food.
As they began to eat, everyone said that it was the best thing that Rachel had ever cooked, and went back for seconds, and then thirds, and fourths. Incredibly the food in the pot just didn’t seem to run out, or even get any lower. Almost as soon as each of the family finished a plateful of the food they went back to the table to help themselves to more. They just couldn’t stop themselves. Even the children were stuffing themselves full of platefuls of the delicious dinner.
Aunty simply sat and watched, smiling slightly. ‘I knew that you hadn’t been careful with those spices’ she thought to herself. Watching her family as they gorged ever more on the food she stood up and went to speak to Rachel.
“Season with care. I think the recipe said,” Aunty Annette told Rachel as she sat there eating her fourth huge plateful of the food.
“That’s what I did,” Rachel lied once more.
“If you had seasoned with care this wouldn’t be happening.” Aunty Annette reprimanded her as she pointed around the room.
One by one the family were slowly turning into hogs. Their faces were growing bristles and their noses were pushing out to become snouts whilst at the same time their ears grew and grew.
Rachel was horrified at what she saw, and even more scared when she realised the same was happening to her. “Oh no, Aunty, What should I do” she grunted through her newly formed hog-like mouth.
“You , my dear, have already done too much. The seasons I gave you make the food taste delicious and even plentiful, but use too much and the food becomes so delicious that people can’t stop eating and in the worst case scenarios turn into hogs, literally.” Aunty said.
Rachel now found that she couldn’t talk at all and simply grunted sadly at Aunty. “I know my dear, you have made foolish gluttons of our family. But don’t worry when I have had enough of watching you all make hogs of yourselves I have the antidote here in my bag. All I’ll have to do is add it to water and give you all a good drink and within twenty four hours you will be returned to normal, or as normal as you have all ever been. In future my dear perhaps you will listen to my instructions more carefully.”
Standing up Aunty patted Rachel on her bristly head and went through to the kitchen to find herself something less delicious to eat.