Something's Cooking

From the Story Arc: New Years 2007

Previous Story in the Arc: Forecast by Cagey Bee (Thursday, December 28, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Pining Away by Krasniy Zakat (Saturday, December 30, 2006)

(posted Saturday, December 30, 2006)

A New Year’s Party!

Althea Nagy read Sasha’s announcement and smiled for the first time since Comrade Zach’s death. A New Year’s Party! What a bolshoi horosho idea! She had not been to a proper New Year’s party since she had left Moscow.

And this would be a chance to cook a great deal of food for people who would be enjoying it, rather than weeping over it.

It would also, she reflected, be a way to get some of that good food into Commissar Bella. She did not like the way Commissar Bella was looking; her eagle eye detected definite thinning. She remembered how Comrade Sera had been when Johnny Murdock had not been himself, how she had eaten nothing to speak of, and they were alike in grief, these two. Alexie teased her and called her “little mother” whenever she worried over one or another of the comrades, and maybe she was, but someone had to be. She’d done her best for the Commissar without fussing over her; cooked up batches of good soup, frozen it in single-serving portions, and popped it into the HQ freezer. She had made sure that the robot understood that the soup was to be heated and put in front of the Commissar twice a day whether she asked for it or not. And she had verified that at least some of said soup was getting inside the Commissar, instead of those awful meals in a can…but still there was thinning. This was not good.

But a New Year’s party….ah, now, this was a chance to sneak real food into her. There would be heaps of it, the party would go on all of New Year’s eve and New Year’s Day. The Commissar would feel obliged to be there for it. And little tiny plates of tempting things could be left with her. She would nibble at it without really thinking about it. Maybe full meals choked her right now, but little portions, and a lot of them….

I can rely on the robot, and Comrade Sera, and Comrade Vickie, and Comrade Sophia. They will understand.

Thea sat down in the library of HQ and made out her shopping list. A dual list actually. One for the Americans and those like them, one for the Russians. For the latter….there would be a whole, stuffed, baked sturgeon, fish cakes, layered herring salad with potatoes, carrots and mayonnaise, her good borscht with plenty of meat and vegetables….oh and the snacks, since there would be a lot of vodka. Caviar and toast of course. Pickles of all sorts, pickled cucumbers, cabbage, beets, carrots and potatoes. Seledka pod shuboy as well as plain pickled herring. Cold beef tongue sliced thin. She could make most of that in advance here. And oh! The New Year’s cake that her adoptive mother made….only once a year, and so good….there was no equivalent that Thea had ever seen except maybe a trifle or a tiramisu…fourteen eggs it took, and real cocoa, and sugar and butter….to make enough for all of HQ…

It would be a fuss, but worth it. She knew for a fact that there would be nothing left over.

For the Americans, snacks…they seemed to like sausages and cheese a great deal. Crackers, yes. Little quiches, little pizza things, raw vegetables, chips and dips. For the meal, a ham, deviled eggs…ah! Ms. Dales made black eyed peas for luck, those would be good. Sweet potato pie. This should mostly be what Ms. Dales called “finger food” though, for people would wander. Hmm. More raw vegetables then. What else> It would have to be something good cold as well as hot…like…

Suddenly tears splashed down onto the list. Hastily Thea grabbed for a tissue.

Yes. Yes. She would certainly make Zach’s beloved fried chicken.

It was time to go shopping. And cooking. She smiled again. Alexie would be very happy, because some of this would be coming home with her every night.

It would be a very good party.