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The shaking of his hand was amplified in the piece of paper he was holding, blurring the words written on it. With a groan he put the paper back onto the table, pressing it down with his fists. His head sank towards his chest as he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. His overly tense muscles relaxed a bit.
The man opened his eyes and grabbed a pen lying on the kitchen table between the ingredients. Bit by bit he went through the list on the paper, ticking off everything he saw, until he was sure that nothing was missing.
"Fine," he said, his voice rasping a little. "What do I do now?" His index finger followed the next few lines as he read the instructions aloud. "Melt honey with margarine and allow to cool. Whip eggs with sugar and rum until frothy. Mix wheat flour with oatmeal, gingerbread spice, baking powder and the honey mixture. Stir  in the eggs. Mix grated apples, almonds, raisins and sugar.
Put half the dough into a spring form and scatter apple mix on top of it. Add the other half of the dough. Bake and allow to cool. Cover with couverture and decorate with almonds.
"
With slow and deliberate motions, the man sat to work, his eyes flickering back to the recipe every few minutes. His hands had stopped shaking; only a fierce line across his mouth betrayed his nervousness now. From time to time, the tip of his tongue would peek from a corner of his mouth while he concentrated on more difficult tasks, like separating eggs from eggshells or mixing everything thoroughly.
Finally he was done. The cake sat in his oven and he sat down on a kitchen chair and watched it, exhaling the air he had been holding all the while with a sigh. For the next forty minutes the man busied himself with cleaning the kitchen, risking a glance into the oven from time to time. Then he sat down again and stared at his masterpiece cooling down on the kitchen table. His eyelids dropped.
"The couverture!" he exclaimed and jumped to the stove to melt the chocolate.

She sat curled up in a nook of her red sofa, reading a book. Her flat was filled with silence, only broken from time to time by the sighs she gave when her unfocused eyes returned to the story she was reading. The corners of her mouth were slightly pointing downwards.
Suddenly the doorbell rang and the woman jumped. Frowning she put down her book and went to the door, looking through the spyhole. There was nobody there. An angry reddening was creeping up her neck to her cheeks. She opened the door and made to follow whoever had rang the bell when she stopped dead. She wasn't wearing any shoes.
Looking down at her feet her expression changed from angry to amazed to happy. There was a cake waiting on her doorstep. It was covered in dark chocolate and decorated with white almonds. In the middle sat a red heart made of sugar, which said "Be My Valentine".
Smiling in wonder, the woman knelt down to examine the present when the door to the next flat opened. Looking up she saw her neighbour watching her with a glowing face and hesitant smile.
For #PremiumMembers and their Randomtastic Trivia Contest.
A short story about a filled gingerbread cake with honey and almonds, presented with a red sugar heart to the neighbour he loves on Valentine's Day. :D

Happy Valentine's Day to all those who like that day!
Happy Single Appreciation Day to Aimee and me! :heart:

:icondalinksystem:
Another written contest entry (and the sequel to mine?):
He licks the honey from her fingers, laughing. "You're such a clutz."   
She huffs, but it's just an act. She picks up an almond destined for the sweet recipe and pops it in his mouth.   
The yellow honey, orange ceramic dish, and red cook book are soon forgotten.



Second Place! :dance:
I changed the recipe now, following =PaperDart's advice. :)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconkaraohki:
I really appreciate the way you go into such detail to make us understand that baking a cake, and following a recipe, is something foreign to this man. I could feel his nervousness and tension - very well done. He was making a huge effort to do something he'd never done before, obviously for someone very special.

Imagine my surprise to discover that the recipient of the gift is not a wife or a girlfriend. She's the girl next door, and he wants her attention. I do believe he's got it. I'm the kind of person who always wants to know what happens next - but you're leaving it to our imagination.

Lovely, lovely tale.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
2 out of 2 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconpoeticdeatheyes:
Critique by PoeticDeathEyes Feb 27, 2010, 7:22:21 AM
i liked this story. Though i must admit i skipped past the cake instructions. It seemed a little longer then necessary and almost deterred me from continuing the story.

Overall, i can feel the tension in your story. Its not the work that worries him its the outcome. Taking risks. Going beyond your talents to make an effort to reach out & make yourself vulnerable to the world, to another.
Risks are worth taking even if the end result is as minute as a smile. You can never see the world if you keep your eyes covered.

The story is concise and vivid.
This piece will stick with me.
Thank you.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
2 out of 3 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconlightanddarklove:
lightanddarklove Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice work on this, I really like the pacing and the sub;te detail. This definitely deserved its place near (if not as) the top of the premium members contest :+fav:
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. :hug:
Reply
:iconlightanddarklove:
lightanddarklove Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you're quite welcome :D
Reply
:iconirrevocablefate:
IrrevocableFate Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2010   Writer
Aww, this was so sweet! :heart: Nice job dear! <3





Thanks so much for sharing this piece with our group, #dALinkSystem! :la:
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. :hug:

And you're welcome of course.
Reply
:iconirrevocablefate:
IrrevocableFate Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2010   Writer
:heart: Of course hun!


:glomp:
Reply
:iconratcabob:
ratcabob Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Professional General Artist
Congrats on your win! Very nice work. ^_^
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconratcabob:
ratcabob Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Professional General Artist
You are welcome ^__^
Reply
:iconmalditanganghel:
malditanganghel Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
sweet :happycry:
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
:hug:
Reply
:iconsobii:
Sobii Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
An absolutely delightful read. Congratulations!
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconleah-the-red:
Leah-the-Red Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Holy carp, my prequel won! XD :highfive:
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
:highfive:
Reply
:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2010   Writer
That's a very sweet story!

I like the way it begins so intensely, but turns into something quite different.

Crit: 'unto' in the first sentence should be 'onto', I think. The recipe's not written in the style I"m used to, but I daresay there's more than one way of writing a recipe. :D

Good luck in the contest!
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I never find my way around "unto" and "onto". *sigh* Thank you for the correction. :)

Yeah, well... I found the recipe online and tried to translate it, but I don't know how it should sound. ;) I matched it with the style of English lab protocolls I know. :D

Thank you!
Reply
:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2010   Writer
Recipes are usually more - concise, I suppose. I can show you what I mean if you like, but I don't think it's a big deal. :)
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I'd like to get a better explanation, if you have one. :)
Reply
:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2010   Writer
Okay, I'll do a copy edit thing. :)

Melt honey with margarine and let it cool down. Recipes usually say 'allow to cool'. I've no idea why! Whip eggs [frothy] with sugar and rum 'until frothy'. - that's a general grammar/syntax thing. Mix wheat flour with oatmeal, gingerbread spice, baking powder and the honey mixture.Is gingerbread spice the same as ginger? I'd think so, but I'm not sure. I'm used to cake flour vs. bread flour being specified, but an online recipe might not, I s'pose. Stir [it] in the eggs. Mix grated apples, almonds, raisins and sugar.
[Now give]
Put [one] half [of] the dough into a spring form tin and scatter the apple mix on top of it. Add the other half of the dough. Bake [the cake]at 180oC and let it cool down.(allow to cool, again) Cover with couverture and decorate with almonds. I've never heard of couverture. It's the correct term, Google tells me, but I wonder if the hero would understand it.

It's not wildly wrong - I doubt most high school English students could find fault with it - but the register doesn't instantly indicate that it's a recipe.

Hope that helps. :)
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the help!
I wasn't even sure whether "frothy" was the right term. :D
And gingerbread spice was what the dictionary said. It's a very literal translation from the German recipe and I'm not an expert in cooking and baking, but I think there is a difference. And we Germans have very different types of flour than other people have, I already learned that.
By the way, the recipe didn't mention the teperature for baking the cake just then, that's why I skipped it, too. It wasn't a very good recipe.
The poor guy probably wouldn't understand couverture, but I guess he looked it up on wikipedia before starting to bake. ;)

I think I'll rework the recipe with your tips when the contest is over. :) I just don't like correcting stories that are being judged at the time.
Reply
:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010   Writer
I'm glad I helped some - I think at some point it just becomes nitpicking about realism vs. idealism in writing, and you're not far off from it. :)

'grats on placing in the contest! :party:
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :)
Reply
:icondinshino:
dinshino Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010
The recipe sounds delicious! You wouldn't happen to be able to note me the full recipe, would you?



BTW: I have a few recipes posted in my gallery. Just search "recipe".
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I'll have to translate it completely, but I think I could do that tomorrow and note you then. :)
Reply
:icondinshino:
dinshino Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2010
Sounds good.

I recommend the Lemon-Dipped Mangoes for a quick treat.
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Sounds interesting. :)
Reply
:icondinshino:
dinshino Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2010
They're delicious. The recipe is one of two in my gallery. I have a few more that I need to post.
Reply
:iconfirsher:
Firsher Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Naaawwwwww! That's such a cute story!
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:icontmulcahy:
tmulcahy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Great story, nicely paced, dramatic.
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconleah-the-red:
Leah-the-Red Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
That's so weird, it is like a sequel! XD
Reply
:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, it was a funny coincidence. I swear I didn't read your piece before!
Reply
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