Monday, June 17, 2013

Shirred eggs for five - Gloria thinks quickly

When Gloria experimented with a new recipe, which is to say invented one, she served the result as a sample to customers present.  It was a tactic from the school of maneuvering on two flanks,  market research and good will.  That there had never yet been a dud or anything close to it did not cause Gloria to become over-confident.  Each dish was a voyage into terra incognita, though she could be reasonably sure of the result.  On the morning Mr. Apotienne encountered and pulled up a chair with some women of the Cove, Gloria had been puzzling whether shirred eggs could be prepared with a bit of toasty bread in the ramekin, along with, perhaps, asparagus and an enhancing cheese.  She was ready to pop the whole business in the oven, as Fiona waited tables, when the hubbub began and Nancy extended her invitation to The Reading Man.
Egg







Mollusk






This could be a real crap sandwich, Gloria thought, knowing how capable those four women were of prying information out of a mollusk.  Her heart and spirits sank, thinking of TRM, not exactly running but stepping smartly away from the table, the shop, the town and, mostly, her.  And before they'd even actually gotten acquainted.  Berating herself for not heading all of this off by steering the group to a different table with an explanation she knew would  have caused her to light up like a tilt sign, she realized her only choice was to act as normal as possible, giving no good reason for the drawing of conclusions.

From the corner of her eye, she saw Fiona gather the teapot, cup and saucer for Mr. Apotienne, arranging a most appealing choice of pastry.  Fiona, too, found him rather captivating, wished he would be there reading until she grew old and, generally, liked to put the shop's and her own best feet forward when he was around.  She was never indifferent or, unthinkable, rude to any customer, with generous tips as proof if any were needed, but we all have things or people we like better than others.  Fiona liked the way Mr. Apotienne seemed to make her feel more like Christmas morning than she had in a long time.  Before she returned with his order, Fiona heard Gloria call to her softly.  "Ask them if they want to sample a new recipe in about 15 minutes," she said.  "Shirred eggs.  Just a taste."  Of course no portion at Gloria's was ever "just a taste" but that left less room for refusal.  Who could say no to a wee bit of this or that.  Gloria thought back to a crossroads moment in her younger days.  I could have joined the Coast Guard, she recalled.  Yes, it would have been a terrible choice and not the best use of my gifts but it would have kept this moment from happening.  For a second she forgot how fond good fortune was of clothing itself in elaborate disguises.

6 comments:

Lisa H said...

"I could have joined the Coast Guard..."
It's writing like THIS that yanks me up and away from HERE to the place where I belong.....by the sea, listening to TRM (and visiting the library in Cambria) on a regular basis....

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - I know of some shore-front eateries in Cambria. Maybe one of them would re-locate for a worthy cause. *we all had a good laugh that day* Seriously, there are places, in the heart and in the universe, that we know to be home and we are always, always doing whatever it takes to get there. xo

Erin in Morro Bay said...

Of course, the relocation is not of the eatery but of Lisa herself. We need to get her out here by our ocean. Heck, I'll even make the eggs!
Erin

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Of course, but our own version of Gloria's PLUS Lisa on a stretch of your coast...well, you probably already come close. Yes, now Lisa is the missing factor. xo

onlinephduk said...

The combination of market research and goodwill blend with each other more often than many people might realize. I have often used the tactic of a small portion size in order to entice others into one of my baking adventures. After this, I am motivated to relocate to the ocean.

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Marylinn Kelly said...

onlinephduk - It would be hard to surpass the combination of an enticing sample and the ocean. Pretty much anything and the ocean. And yes, goodwill is always a fine, wise choice. Thank you for commenting. xo