Don't forget to visit Knitted By God's Plan where you can read more Character Encounters!
"Do you have any blueberries?"
I tug the freezer open and peer inside. "Yup. Frozen. Will they work?"
The small princess shrugs. "I don't know. This is your recipe."
I groan. "Not my recipe, Beth. This is a recipe my mom found, and I just play with it to suit my taste buds. I don't have recipes. I don't bake."
"And this mug cake?" Bethjasmine looks at me with a smile on her pale face.
"Is not technically baking because we're using the microwave."
"I do not understand your concept of this microwave, but I do think this will be fun."
I tap my fingers expertly on the counter where the containers of flour and sugar sit. Beside them, happily situated in a bunch, are the eggs, milk, and spices.
"What do we do first?" Beth gestures to the empty mugs.
"First, the wet ingredients, then the dry."
"You sound as if you've been through this before."
I grab my favorite mug, the big, dark blue one. "Once or twice."
For the next few minutes I give Bethjasmine my memorized mug cake recipe.The princess's delicate fingers carefully handle the eggs as she cracks one in each mug. I measure out the milk and flour.
"What is this?" Beth holds the small bottle out to me.
"Lemon extract. You want to smell it?"
Bethjasmine twists the top off and takes a deep whiff. "My, Kiri! That's lemon?"
"What is lemon?"
"It's a citrus fruit." I explain, at once feeling guilty. Of course, she wouldn't know what lemon is. "You don't have that in Findenland."
Beth, however, only looks the more interested in this strange fruit. "Where does it grow?"
"Warm places." I rack my brain to pinpoint something she'd understand. "Uh, like Cotedor. They have lemons and oranges and other citrus fruits in Cotedor."
"Cotedor?" Beth's pink lips pull upward in a smile. "I would love to visit there one day, and perhaps see this lemon fruit there."
My eyes twinkle mischievously. "Maybe one day you will."
"I will? When?"
"Uh," I twirl quickly and grab the now-full mugs. "We need to get these in the microwave."
And it's only after I have both cakes cooked that I realize I never explained to my princess how the microwave works. But then, I don't fully understand how it works, so that would be wonderful for me to blunder through any type of explanations and only confuse her the more.
While the cakes cool on the counter, I go after the blueberries in the freezer and plunge into making a syrup to top our mug creations. Beth watches with a fascinated interest.
"And this syrup we just drizzle on and it melts into the cake."
"It sounds delicious, Kiri. Have you done this many times before?"
I grimace. "The mug cake, yes. The syrup, no, not really. I'm just winging it right now."
I'm not sure whether to interpret that single syllable as her distrust in my cooking skills or her puzzlement at my using the term "winging."
The syrup doesn't take long to put together, and soon I happily hand the bowl of purple syrup over to Bethjasmine. "All yours."
She grins shyly, but takes the offered bowl. Gently, she tips it over the cakes and allows a generous portion to slide into each mug.
"And now," I open the silverware drawer with a flourish and pull out two forks, "for the official taste test."
Beth's eyes go wide as she accepts the fork. "You mean we're going to eat them right now?"
I nod. "What did you think we were going to do with them? They'll go bad if we let 'em sit on the counter just for looks!"
"Oh, no, I meant... I mean... what about your family?"
"Look, Beth, I really appreciate your willingness to share, but you don't have to worry about it." I put my hand on her shoulder. "They all had a mug cake after lunch this afternoon, and I waited to make mine with you now."
"Can have the whole thing." I eye her pensively as she slips the fork into her cake. "Doesn't Severamer let you have meals to your lonesome?"
"No, our governess insists we share everything." Beth's gaze is glued to her cake as she answers. "And she never allows us sweets like this."
I laugh. "But you haven't even tasted it yet! How do you know it's sweet?"
"Because you made it for me."
The simplicity in her reply makes me stumble back. "Well... you did help. We made it together." I dig my fork into my cake and pull it out, dripping blueberry syrup. "You ready?"
Together, we take the first bite, and I grin as Beth's face is overwhelmed in complete joy. "This is wonderful! I don't think I've ever had something like this before!"
"No! This is much better than Josette's potatoes!"
"Yes, the ones she used to make for us before the king adopted us. She wasn't a very good cook."
I lift a forkful of lemon mug cake in salute. "Ah, a girl after my own heart."