“Nothing at all,” Grannie Fran’s voice raised an octave. “Tell me darling, how much of my cinnamon did you use?”
“Why?” Dae questioned
Grannie Fran set a teabag in her cup and got out the pure cane sugar jug. “Just curious.”
“I used the recommended amount…”
“Oh good,” Grannie Fran sighed.
“It tasted wonderfully, and I added three more dashes,” Dae finished.
Grannie Fran squeaked and dropped her spoon. “What!”
“Yeah I loved how the cinnamon evened out the curry and the spices with bite,” Dae explained. “It worked everyone loved it.”
“I’m sure they did,” Grannie Fran said weakly. “Oh boy, oh boy, I need to sit down.”
“Do I need to call Dr. Ridgemont?” Dae rushed around the counter and got Grannie to the breakfast nook seat that looked out to the back garden and ocean. She went back and finished her grandmother’s tea before bringing it to the table.
“No, no dear,” Grannie Fran took the tea. “Sir down dear we need to talk.”
“About?” Dae asked warily. “The conversation had taken a turn, to where she was unsure.
“Oh Dae, always follow the recipe,” Grannie Fran bemoaned. ‘I should have had this talk with you sooner, like my mother did with me. But your parents passed, and I was so focused on being both mother and father to you.”
Dae’s heart beat faster. “Okay you are scaring me.”
“Dae, that cookbook is charmed, and that cinnamon is one of my secret love spells,” Grannie Fran said. “I’m a caster, a green witch so to speak, I used herbs and plants, well earth elements for healing and other things.”
Dae stared at her grandmother and then started laughing. It bubbled out of her until she was weeping and wiping the tears of mirth away. Grannie Fran watched her calmly and sipped her tea while Dae tried to stifle her giggles.
“Grannie Fran, you are so strange sometimes,” Dae sighed.
“Dae have you ever read the back of the cookbook?” Gran asked calmly.
“I’ve never really gone through the whole thing, just a few recipes,” She answered.
“Well you really should today, this cookbook came from my great great grandmother,” Grannie Fran explained. ‘That’s why it’s so old, passed down from mother to daughter and now to you. In those days when the slave shacks and plantation houses was our home, there was very little food and the women had to make sure the families was fed. The back of that book is the oldest recipes, and us Renette women had the gifts.”
Grannie Fran took a sip and set her cup gently on the table before meeting Dae’s eyes. “Within us was the power to make that dry soil they gave us to toil for our own families fertile. We made the foods taste so damn good we didn’t have to face the whips. Those of us who could use that magic to be in the owner’s ears and make life easier for all of us who weren’t free men and women. Not everyone could run, so we had to make sure we survived. The old magic was the best way.”
“You are trying to make me believe that your recipes are magical?” Dae asked skeptically. How could she believe this? But Grannie Fran looked dead serious.
“Not the recipes themselves but some of the ingredients,” her grandmother explained. “Like the cinnamon, that’s my own creation for love.”
“And you think that’s why all these guys are chasing me down now,” Dae assumed. Because of Frangelica’s cinnamon.”
Gran sighed and touched her fingers to the soil of the succulent that sat in the middle of the breakfast nook table. As she whispered words that Dae could barely hear, she watched in amazement as the succulent began to bloom.
“Holy shit,” Dae looked from Gran to the plant. “You have magic fingers.”
“While some of my lovers may agree with you,” she laughed. “I am just a conduit, the words, the intent is the power and its within you too.”
“Oh my god, if they are all coming after my honey pot because of that recipe how the hell do I fix it?” Dae got up and started pacing. “And Sean asked me out after eating the braised beef. Grannie Fran that means he really doesn’t want to date me is your damn juju.”
“Oh, I doubt that very much,” she said mildly still sipping her tea. “Sean Kingsley has always had a thing for you since high school. Heard how he used to sniff around you.”
“Gran, I have been back here for four years and he has not made a move in my direction until that cook off,” Dae pointed out. “How can I trust anything about this at all except to think it’s the recipe. And how do we get these guys to go back to normal?”
“Usually I would say it would wear off, but you double dosed the recipe, my love,” Grannie Fran said.
“Ummm,” Dae raised a tentative hand. “I kinda did it three times and just dashed it in there.”
“Dae that is not how you cook!” His grandmother exclaimed.
Dae pointed at her and shook a long finger. “You taught me to cook with heart and you said, trust your instinct when it comes to spices. Let the ancestors whisper to you, is what I was told.”
“I’m sure that the Renette women that have gone by did not say overdose the men in town with charmed cinnamon,” her grandmother stood up. “I’m going to have to create an antidote.”
“How long will that take?” Dae asked.
“About two weeks I can’t harvest the herbs I need until a waning moon so it can take away the effects,” she replied.
“A waning moon?” Dae questioned.
“After the full moon, and its going to the end of its cycle,” Grannie Fran stood and put the cup in the sink. “I’ll go up right now and sort out a recipe for the antidote.”
“How am I supposed to avoid these people for fourteen days?” Dae demanded to know.
Grannie Fran smiled. ‘With finesse my darling.”