‘I think chicken broth is tastier than vegetable broth,’ she said with conviction chopping the cucumber and cabbage on the wooden board. ‘Really, I want to taste it. Would you make it for me?’ he asked coaxing her to cook for him. He loved her recipes and rarely had such a golden opportunity to have a meal with her. He couldn’t forget the coconut and mango smoothie he had had last time. ‘Ok, it’s Pasta then, for dinner,’ she smiled chopping the tomato and onion now. She too liked a lot to display her skills and gain appreciation. Soon they started talking about other relatives in foreign lands who are reluctant to return, their marriages, divorces, affairs and babies.
John had come to Jenna’s town to visit her. He was a great fan of hers and immensely admired her. Their grandparents had been close; they were the founders of a company that Jenna’s parents now take care of. Soon John will do the same, but Jenna made her choice not to get stuck in this heirloom. She broke free from the emotional blackmails of her father and chose to be a chef instead, taking culinary courses along with her business administration classes. She was brave, independent, challenging and daring- something that John couldn’t be. At first he envied her freedom but then he understood the risks she had taken, and the stakes of her decision; he thought she was bold.
‘There’s a competition going on for getting accepted to the food labs. Aren’t you participating?’ he asked munching the Chinese salad. It was delicious- the crunchy fried noodles and some sweet sauce were surprising his palate. ‘Yes, I have applied for it but they have not yet responded,’ Jenna replied. She had been preparing hard for the competition. It was her only chance to get some exposure and rise higher than what she was- a chef in a decent family restaurant. ‘Aren’t you going to sit for a while? There’s three more hours for dinner. You needn’t worry from now. Keep that knife aside,’ he was being sulky. She laughed at his childish tone and came to sit with him. And just then the door bell rang, interrupting them from another long conversation.
It was a package. Jenna opened it eagerly and the contents made her squeal with joy. She held the acceptance letter for the competition in one hand and hugged John. It lingered a few seconds more than it comfortably should. ‘See.. I am so lucky for you,’ John said to lighten the awkwardness that followed. Jenna laughed.