This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.
Throughout the land Palmira Zuckerwar was famous for her Pumpkin Soup.
Like all good chefs, she had a secret ingredient.
She was modest, private and famous.
Not famous like those halfwits who appear on television, but famous because she was better at something than almost anyone else.
She had loved to cook ever since she was a little girl.
Her mum used to say that for the females in their family ‘cooking was in the blood’.
Her favourite part of the whole process was the look on people’s faces when they tasted her latest dish.
Her Pumpkin Soup drew the most admirers.
She had received requests from all over the world for her recipes, but a magician does not reveal her secrets.
In the run up to the federal election she received an invitation from the Prime Minister to attend The Lodge for a formal dinner.
For once she did not have to cook.
The Prime Minister’s chef was very nervous.
He had cooked for many heads of State but this was different. She was one of his own kind and as any author knows, a compliment from a fellow author is the most prized of possessions, especially if it comes from someone you admire.
He need not have worried, she loved his food, and because her mum had taught her good manners, she asked to speak to him.
He was honoured and they got on famously.
He thought it was worth a try, so he asked her what her secret ingredient was.
She broke her own rules and decided to tell him.
The look on his face was one of stunned horror.
Palmira always loved the look on their faces.