The Magic Ingredient is Love

Submitted into Contest #100 in response to: Write a story that involves a secret or magic ingredient.... view prompt

27 comments

Happy

I'm standing in my kitchen, looking at a recipe for my youngest daughter Annabelles' birthday dinner. I'm making her favourite Indian curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, and strawberry ice-cream for dessert. 

It's no easy task, but since that's what she asked for, I'm going to deliver this to her. She's so sweet and kind, there's no way I could've said no when she asked me to make this dinner for her special day. She's turning four, which is apparently a big deal in preschool because it means you're starting kindergarten soon.


If she wasn't my daughter, I'd probably have fallen out of my chair after hearing that this only-just-four-year-old's favourite meal is a killer spicy curry, but she is my daughter, so it's not surprising to me. I've been feeding all three of my daughters spicy curries since before they could chew. I'd grind them up in the blender and serve them to my kids so as to not waste money on baby food. 


However, it might still shock you to hear that we have no culture making us want to do this. Me and my husband are both Icelandic, but no culture has been passed on through the family, and spicy curries wouldn't have been in it anyway. 


I walk over to the cupboard and gather the spices needed for this curry. Then, I check the recipe again to make sure I have them all. Yes, my memory is being agreeable today, it let me remember them all. Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Cumin, Paprika, and Cayenne Pepper. 


I get out the ingredients, (Which I won't describe the painfully long process of dropping the chicken on the floor, remembering the five-second rule doesn't work on chicken, going to get new chicken from the store, and FINALLY, getting out the rest of the ingredients) make the marinade for the chicken, put the chicken in the bowl, and leave it in the fridge for an hour.


As I start on the dessert to pass the time, my oldest daughter, Claire, comes into the kitchen.


She's only twelve years old, but already very pretty. Her long, blond hair is pulled back into two tight french braids, my handiwork, and she's wearing a pretty blue dress that matches her gorgeous ocean blue eyes. 


"What are you making, mom?" She asks.

"Chicken Tikka Masala for Annabelle's birthday. I could use some help!" 

"Sweet!" She says. "And of course I'll help you!" 


She grabs an apron from the cupboard and puts it on. While we make the ice cream together, we chat.


"How was your day at school?" I ask.

"Good. We didn't do much, only completed some math sheets."


As Anabelle's birthday is September 6th, Claire has only just started school. So luckily, she's not getting too much work yet.


"That's good." I say. We cook in silence for a while then put the ice-cream in the freezer. Then, when the chicken in the fridge is done, we make the meal and we're all ready for dinner. It's great to have Claire as a helper because she can cook the rice while I make the curry. 


"Thanks for helping, Claire." I tell her as I chop the cilantro to go on top. I feel like I need to pay her somehow, so I grab a bag of chocolate chips from the cupboard and hand it to her. 


She laughs, but happily takes the bag and munches on some. 


"When are you picking Annabelle up from preschool?" She asks, her mouth full of chocolate. I check my watch. 


"Actually, I'd better go now, thanks for reminding me. Are you coming or not?"

"Sure, I'll come."


A couple minutes later we're at the preschool to pick Annabelle up. She runs up to us and I hug her. 


"Happy birthday, Anna!" I say. I squeeze her tightly before I let go. I had to go to work early this morning, so I didn't get to see her after she woke up. 


"Thanks, mommy." She says goodbye to all her friends then we get back in the car.


"I've made your birthday dinner!" I tell her as we get back in the car. "I even added a special magic ingredient to make it taste better!"


"Yes! A magic ingredient!" Her small teal eyes light up. I'm sure she still believes in fantasy stuff, so I continue. 


"I know Anna! Just for you!"


She smiles. "But what is it mommy? What's the magic ingredient?"


"It's love, Anna," I tell her. "The magic ingredient is love."

"Is that a spice?" She asks, confused.

"No, It's the love that Claire and I put into making this. It'll make it taste better."

"Cool!" She says. And then we're pulling into our driveway. 


My other daughter, Sophie, is now here and so is my husband. I set the table while everyone washes their hands then we sit down to eat. 


"Guess what, daddy?" Annabelle says.

"What?"

"Claire and mommy put a magic ingredient into this, love!"

"Is that a spice?" 


I sigh. Nick doesn't know anything about cooking either.


"No! Mommy says it's the love they put into this."


Nick smiles. "Okay, Anna." He says. "Now eat your meal, then we'll sing Happy Birthday."


She eats and loves it. We all do, but she does especially.


Then I bring in the ice-cream. Claire stuck candles in it so she can make a wish so I light those first. 


Now we all sing. 


"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Anna, happy birthday to you!"


She smiles and blows out the candles, then we all dig in. The strawberries make it taste extra delicious, and I can't help but quickly take another spoonful. 


Annabelle smiles at the taste, and I know she loves it. 


I smile too, because I've made her happy. Well, it's her birthday, so she should be.

June 28, 2021 15:54

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27 comments

15:55 Jun 28, 2021

Please take the time to comment!

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Graham Kinross
01:45 Feb 17, 2022

This was very sweet. Are you a big curry fan? The description of the process was very precise.

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15:12 Feb 17, 2022

Thank you so much! Yes, I love curry a lot, and I realize now that the recipe instructions might not have been really needed in the story. I appreciate you commenting!

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Graham Kinross
15:46 Feb 17, 2022

Perhaps not necessary but it didn’t hurt to get the recipe. I got told off by the editor working on the book I wrote for describing reattachment surgery in too much detail because I thought it was needed to show the surgeon knew her stuff but the editor said it was too much. Fair enough, it’s a weird thing to Google. Writers have to research all sorts of stuff which seems dodgy, a curry is nothing. It sounded delicious.

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Elise Aries
01:06 Jan 22, 2022

Well done! You obviously put a lot of thought into developing your characters and plot! P.S. I love your profile pic (;

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12:01 Jan 22, 2022

Thank you so much! Do you like Keeper of the Lost Cities?

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Elise Aries
17:49 Jan 22, 2022

I've read all the Keeper of the Lost Cities books! Who's your favorite character in the series?

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21:53 Jan 22, 2022

I like Linh the most. That's why I chose this picture! Who's your favourite character?

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Elise Aries
16:44 Jan 23, 2022

Nice! I like Keefe and Dex (:

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21:08 Nov 08, 2021

Hey, Kate!

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13:52 Nov 15, 2021

Hi! Sorry I didn't see this until now, I've been busy.

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19:32 Nov 15, 2021

Haha, np. I've been too. How are you?

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22:36 Nov 18, 2021

I'm good. You?

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Maraika!!! 😎
05:57 Aug 10, 2021

Omg I don't know if you remeber but I commented on your story a REALLY long time ago and was just checking out your account again and saw that you where from canada. Guess what? ME TOO!!!!! Glad to meet a fellow Cancuk, eh? What part of canada are you from? (If you don't mind me asking)

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19:12 Sep 13, 2021

Ontario. Sorry, I can't say much more than that.

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Maraika!!! 😎
04:56 Sep 16, 2021

Oh that's fine. I don't want your adress or anything. I'm from B.C, but I was born in Ontario.

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18:23 Sep 16, 2021

Cool!

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Ramona Taylor
21:18 Jul 12, 2021

Charming story. I found amusement in the chicken dropped on the floor 😄

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19:13 Sep 13, 2021

IKR? I purposely included it to show that not everyone is perfect.

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Esther :)
18:09 Jul 02, 2021

I love CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This story was very well written and heartwarming! Great Job!!!

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19:14 Sep 13, 2021

It's my favourite food! I appreciate you commenting :D

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Esther :)
03:22 Sep 15, 2021

I love your profile pic. I like Linh, she’s so sweet!

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18:32 Sep 15, 2021

Thanks! She's my favourite character.

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Simran Hirani
14:21 Jun 30, 2021

Such a cute story, I guess I may be partial to like your story as I am from India and we love Chicken tikka masala. Its basic meal on every occasion. And loved your story btw :)

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19:14 Sep 13, 2021

Thanks! Chicken tikka masala is my favourite meal!

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22:08 Jun 28, 2021

Great job Kate! I loved this story and found it very entertaining to read. I also love how clueless Nick was XD

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19:12 Sep 13, 2021

Thank you!

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