PARIS and THOMAS
Written by: Deniz Sezgün
A sweet and Savory Story dedicated to my son…
Two pans, one love
Countless recipes, one passion
All they have is steel and teflon.
Spice, taste, flame and steam! Meat, veggie, sauce and cream!
One true story, one true aim.
To unite one day on one single flame…
It was a hot day in June by the seaside when Thomas was finally socializing around. He was chilling on an old, rotten table, with admiration and bright joy in his eyes, gazing at the wild bushes wrapping the roots of pine and oak trees. He was lightly shaken by the gentle cutting and chopping right next to him. He could feel the essence of green paprika each time the breeze blew away the strong sweat from the onion which was chopped only a few minutes ago. For the moment he was resting by the midday sun which was washing his teflon coated chest. He was enjoying the real sea salt falling on his body from the waves that hit the rocks down the cliff. “Finally”, he said, “I am where i belong.”
Indeed. Now the wooden table was full of freshly cut wild rosemary leaves, fresh minced meat and tomatoes, all queued to be chopped soon. An unpacked rice was standing just by the straw box of spice packs. Thomas was trying to extricate the mixed flavor in the air, of dried thyme, mint, pimento and pepper. Cumin however, to which Thomas could never resist, was the sharpest among all.
It was going to be a delicious late lunch in the woods with high quality ingredients. He found the fire which was started just two meters away appealing. Now his steel body was yearning to get laid on the flames. His dry chest and belly would soon get oiled before he cuddled the stuffed paprika. Yes he wasn’t built for such dishes but he proved many times how dedicated he could be.
“Hey Thomas! Different eh? I knew you’d like it here. C’mon boy, get up and show us your best today. Don’t forget to keep the food juicy.”
This was D. with a sharp razor knife in her hand, whispering to Thomas while peeling the last tomato. The dusty sea salt was coming off her skin each time she waved her suntanned arms while talking.
“Mmmm, stuffed paprika.” said E. approaching to the table. “They look really alive and skinny. You know, I can’t find garden type ones in Gangsterdam. We have those big, thick skinned ones. And they lack of this fresh scent.” Now E. was standing behind D., cuddling her while watching in admiration the way she was dealing with the vegetables.
“We cook stuffed paprika too. But without minced meat. Only rice and the rest of what is necessary next to that. But yours look already delicious my darling. So, in which order does it go?”
“Well, first go the onions, tomatoes, spice, salt and rice to the bowl. You knead them till you make sure they all gain an unconditional embrace. Then you add the minced meat and knead again. Once done, you start filling the paprikas. After piling the paprikas in the pan, you must add some olive oil on top of each paprika – but only a couple of drops- and add water only half the pan. But… you know, this is not the proper way of cooking this, we normally use steel pots with lids but we’re in the wild and we had limited space for such equipment. But don’t worry. Thomas is quite talented. I think he’ll manage.”
“Thomas?” asked E. in astonishment.
“Yes my love, Thomas. My pan. Actually my favorite pan.”
Thomas was a privileged pan. He was used to being gently rubbed in foam and given a massage in bubbles, mostly without a washing sponge. Although he loved the superior satisfaction of invading the largest space inside the dishwasher with his cool and bossy look among the glass and plastic kitchenware, he was desperately addicted to being privately hand- treated. He was a first class pan as nobody could ever dare to call him a cooking pan or a frying pan. He was capable of doing all the job himself once given the right density of fire at his steel back. He was round. Quite heavy and charming. The fact he had an anti-aging gene inside his steel elements, made him turn into an indispensable kitchenware in D.’s life. After all, Thomas was the only pan that was given the opportunity to travel.
Although he found a part of his life quite embarrassing, he was now proud of his recent quarters.
He was born into a Ferman factory, the Rosenthal Group, from where he was immediately shipped to a kitchenware store in one of the busiest streets of Gangsterdam. Before ending up in this Maditapanian city of Petrium, he had enough time in the city stores, to get to know the expats from the same class which were residents of the same stores then. Together with his young fellows, he was placed on a wooden shelf, next to old fashion designed pans which clouded him from being noticed and purchased. He was a nomad type and he found being stored for long time quite heart breaking. He wasn’t cheap though. People fell in love with him at first sight, grabbed him ambitiously and laid down in despair and disappointment after seeing the high price on that goddamn label.
On quiet days, they were mostly talking about their young days in the factories, and on the other part, the girls loved gossiping about the other pans who, due to a defect or manufacture fault, failed to be shipped to a store. But the real tussle was during the time of sale! Being exposed to an off-sale was a matter of prestige and value while it was socially damaging and polarizing when it was more than % 20. The pans with %50 off label were quickly insulted and alienated. It was easier to handle this vulgarity and harshness during Christmas sales because the ones with sale labels were sold fast and they had the chance to save themselves from such an alienation uprising within the store. Of course everybody knew that they were all going to end up in a jam packed cupboard where they would helplessly have to share the shelves with ordinary pots and lids. The worst was the plastic bowls and tupperware. Yet, nobody liked talking about this obvious upcoming nightmare.
Thomas was one of those lucky ones who had never been labeled for sale all his life. He had a strong belief that he was going to be purchased by that one person who really wanted him no matter how much he cost. This was how he gained his fame, strength and domination in the store.
For others it wasn’t easy to say which was worse. Not leaving the store even after wearing a % 50 off label? It was common among the old fashion pans. Thomas couldn’t help feeling sympathy for their old look and poor design. He was trying to be the kind brother, a consoling body to keep the store life in peace.
Paris was one of them. She was and odd one. With her squarish look and plastic laminated handle, she sat mostly in silence staring out from the window. But her beautifully striped teflon coat and her steel back had an appealing charm. She was the same size of Thomas so she was placed just by the next shelf but she was one of the set pans. She had a two size smaller pan on her laps ever since she had been brought to the store. They were labelled together. She looked quite busy babysitting all day. Although she wore various sale labels, she remained in the store more than 4 years by then. However, she had a cool look and impression that nothing was her concern except her little boy in that colorless store life.
Although Thomas found her pretty interesting, being a first class pan with the most updated design and features kept him distant from her. Paris, together with her son was a Hutch make. She was the top quality pan of her manufacture year. She had a distinctive elegance on her fine cut edges. Not to mention her aristocratic roots which obviously gave her an attitude, she seemed to distinguish herself from this. Thomas and Paris rarely exchanged words about their backgrounds at first but had been involved in relatively common topics about their future kitchen life. Thomas didn’t fancy deep engagements as he thought he was going to be remote all his life. That made him distant all the time. Paris had vague feelings for him. She liked the Christmas chaos hanging over them where both had miraculously been able to isolate themselves from that high tension and had a specific comfort while sharing their experiences. In years, Paris found herself getting healed in Thomas’ rational optimism. No, he wasn’t a dreamer at all, but he had dreams. His plans for future were inspiring. Paris had looked for every opportunity that was leading to a conversation with him. Other than those times, she was silent and calm, busy with her sweet panson.
Thomas was mostly welcoming. He felt a special pleasure talking to her. She sounded very wise and kitchellectual. There were numerous times he found himself dreaming of her getting hot on the stove together, helping the oil release the steam just before the onion has roasted on her appealing body. At such moments he was begging for a customer to grab him and quickly lay him back after getting shocked at his price, but a bit closer to Paris this time, where at least their arms would contact till the store workers came and re-positioned him properly in his correct place. If only a bit closer!
Paris rather chose to hide her black plastic arm as she was embarrassed of her rough skin. Compared to Thomas’ smooth steel arm, her handle looked way too uneven. And her son gave her a kind of dependent look although she felt so much free. Would it be any different if she had her old fashion arm replaced by a silver coated steel? What if she wasn’t a motherpan? Would it change things for Thomas in a way?
On a calm September morning, Thomas looked quite occupied and excited. He was curiously looking around as if he was waiting for something. The impatience gave him a different light that day. Following the early hours, he couldn’t any longer delay whispering these to Paris.
“Hey, ladypan, do you have some time for me today?”
“Hi Thomas, tell me!” She was hardly disguising her excitement.
“You know I always wanted to free myself from this place. I mean I’ve been burning for shiny eggplants, leeks and cauliflowers.”
“Yea, but who didn’t anyway?”
“Yes, yes, but today is different. I think I’m leaving and it’s only you I wanted to tell this. All of these guys here, although they looked mostly kind and friendly will seem to be supportive to my face today but oh, I know them so well after all the ups and downs here. I can assure you that they will be madly jealous for the adventure I’m about to take soon. But you… You are different my lady. It’s only you that can understand my sincere feelings and joy for leaving.”
“Never mind the rest Thomas. All of us are craving for an adventure in a way. And it’s hard to understand why many of us get crazy about somepan’s improvement. I’d rather admire the ones who are able to make it to a kitchen outside. Don’t worry, I’m not one of the jealous ones.”
“I know, I know it by heart. That’s why I love talking to you. Well this was supposed to be a goodbye but I somehow feel closer to you now. I mean, maybe we won’t be able to meet again but there is a kind of connection between us. Today I feel the most of it. And I can imagine you, too, warming up on the fire one day, with well marinated fish or meat on your dark skin, spreading that beautiful spicy smell around and wake the appetite monster up. No matter where but I’m sure we’ll be serving in a way which will keep us always together in taste.”
“Oh Thomas, it’s so encouraging to hear this. I feel proud of getting to know a pan like you. And yes… ehmm, we had a sort of attachment I think. Your good-bye tastes more like a welcome today and I appreciate being invited to that very special world of yours.”
“I can’t really say I know much about you but I’m sure about everything inside you. I feel your support even stronger now. And Paris, you should know…trust me, whatever happens to us, I’ll never forget you. I’ll find you in every delicious taste I come across. Nothing can change this. Because I always admired you, the way you stood straight and free at all times, the way you handled things in here and your braveness as well as the way you take care of your sonpan. I admit that I have been always impressed by your fabulous soul and your powerful mind.”
“Thank you so much dear! Feel my steel whenever you are in need of strength. And the most important is, make it become a fun for you out there. I’d do the same, believe me. But I wanted this little boy. I chose him. I wanted to raise a panny hoping he could bring a better quality taste, smell and consistency to cuisine. Yet, I feel free with him. Because I love adopting his creativity and joy. He wakes the revolutionary part of me up. He improves me and my ability of understanding the world. So you, you never miss a chance of happiness out there. Get steamed in your adventure but don’t get disappeared while cooking. I’m so happy on behalf of you. You’re not a pan to fail at all.”
“Oh, wow! You’re a beautiful ladypan Paris. I really do hope to meet again and have longer talks about what we’ve roasted during all that time away from each other. Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for honoring me by sharing your opinions and feelings. I’m proud to be the friend of such an admiring lady.”
“We’ll find a way to keep in touch Thomas. It’s all about how much we want this. And… Thank you too, for the comfortable and free chats we’ve had all these years. Good luck my friend! I wish you the best dishes with the freshest stuff. You deserve it.”
Now it was Paris who was occupied. Staring at the place emptied from Thomas, she was already lost in the magnificent thought of wandering from one country to the other feeling the fresh smell of various spices, getting laid on flames, grilling, roasting, marinating with the best odor and taste. She couldn’t stop her tears falling on his son who was peacefully taking his afternoon nap. “What for the tears now Paris?” she shook herself. “You feel happy for having his hand on your shoulder now. What are the tears for?” Yet, the tears could not cloud her wide smile.
Thomas was now packed. He was hearing the store manager dictating to one of the workers the address which a group of pans were about to be shipped.
“… Wilgos Supermarket, Petrium, Purkey…”
“Whaaaaat? Oh my! Oh my! The sun, the Maditapanian sun! The light, the natural salt. Woooo maaan! You’re such a lucky bastard Thomas! Go man! Just like Paris said, don’t ever miss a chance of happiness out there! Yeahhheaaaaa!”
Suddenly he felt a slight bitterness in his heart.
“Paris…The most acknowledged and skilled lady of Gangsterdam. The single motherpan, that brave girl. It’s so unfortunate we don’t make it together. I hope you get out of that place soon and find what you’re craving for. I’ll have you at the bottom of my heart, salted and secured.”
Packed in a box, he let the charming smile of Paris enlighten the darkness surrounding him now. He regretted first time in his life for not having shared more than he could have done in that boring store. He wished he had talked to her earlier. And suddenly he heard Paris’ calm voice from the bottom of his heart telling him not to feel regret for anything, that each thing had its own timing, that he had better thanked to the years spent next to each other. “Yes” he thought. “She is right. We are not binned or forgotten. We are at the top of our capabilities and power. We’re hungry for better. There are kitchens to walk through. Recipes to go through. Roast with me Paris… Grill and fry with me.”
Washed and clean, Thomas was now resting, his back and arm leaned on a pine tree to let his body dry. It was a calm evening, far from the city lights and crowd of neighbors. The breeze was turning into a wind now and he wasn’t sure if he could hold on standing on his edges if it turned stronger.
“She’s a real hottie and I didn’t know about it all this time” said he with a sneaky smile. He was watching D. and E. enjoying their liqueur on that natural terrace-like opening at the edge of the cliff. D.’s laugh was tickling his steel back. He could feel the vibration of her joyful voice penetrating every inch of his steel…
Waves were smacking the sand and rocks just below. The food – as usual – was great and Thomas didn’t miss how much satisfied and happy E. looked, at each piece of small paprika passing from his fork to his mouth. At the end of the lunch, E. turned to D., saying,
“You were right about him. He is an exclusive pan. I don’t think we’ll ever need another pot or pan during this trip. He’s quite enough for two.”
“And the best thing is, Thomas does not burn anything my love. He is not destructive like others. And he can stay and keep things hot – not warm I say- but hot, even long after the fire is off. He’ll wait for you patiently to take your last portion from his chest and once he’s convinced you’re done, he’ll start cooling. Isn’t it just so brilliant?”
“I love the way you bring your environment into life my love. Yes, I think Thomas deserves more credit and respect and I like getting to know him. Now let me get closer and kiss your cherry lips. I want each star to witness this moment now. You see how they are closing up? They do so, because they have never seen a love like this before.”
Days counted fast. Holiday was over. The couple was back home, one in Gangsterdam, other in Petrium. There was still a long autumn to go. Earthquakes were shaking the seabed in the South. And thunderstorms were not less annoying in the North.
E. entered his kitchen and took out his phone from his pocket. He took the photo of his brand new pans. Now texting.
“Hi my love! Look what I’ve got here. ‘Paris’. Isn’t it nice? I needed something good like Thomas for a better cooking.”
Without waiting for a reply from D., E. left his phone on the kitchen top. It was just then when Paris took a look at the screen and recognized her own photo being sent with a text…. She gave out a little scream! Oh! Why does he send his pans’ photo to someone..? Suddenly she saw the reply just dropped under a photo of another pan. She gave a closer look to understand what the hell was going on. Her eyes grew wider. And there she gave out a louder scream this time.
“Oh! Thomas!!!!” She was now trembling on the kitchen top, her son also shaken on her laps. This made the halfling giggle and chuckle.
“Wow, looks like a great pan my love!” D. typed. “But, don’t you think they must come together soon? I’m sure my lonely Thomas would appreciate this cutie’s company in our kitchen.”
After seeing the photo of Thomas who was captured on a clean and shiny stove, Paris could think of nothing but him that night. Thomas’ departure followed by her transfer to another store of strangers had recently moved her so much that the following months she could hardly wake up to the new days and take care of her look. Two years on the shelves, the best solution she had found then was to focus on her son and the customers’ attention to free herself as soon as possible. But that partly cloudy February afternoon, when E. came to the store, she felt very lazy to show off. She was thinking she had already had enough of getting lost in hopes at each customer exploring around and then her, hitting the ground back again when not selected. But there was E. that day, grabbing her arm, looking directly in the eye, carefully examining every detail of her steel skin and her little son. He was just about to store her back on the shelf when he noticed the swinging label of % 50 off. So he once again grabbed her and walked straight to the cashiers without hesitation to sign her freedom declaration..
“Good day sir, I’d like to buy these pans, please.”
Her heart was beating like a drum when she realized she was finally outside the store. There was a beautiful wind, or maybe circulated wind by each bicycle passing close. She could smell the burnt oil and overused spice scent from the restaurants they passed by. It was only then she got herself together and announced her freedom in a more conscious way. Fire, she thought, I finally meet the fire. Oh Thomas, I hope you’re okay. If only I could let you know that I’ve finally made it out, too.
E. walked back into the kitchen and saw D.’s reply on the screen. His handsome smile covered almost half of his face while texting her back.
“Soon my love, I promise, very soon. I won’t let these hotties live apart from each other. And they deserve your rich recipes.”
A kissing smiley followed this.
“Ssshhh! Hey! Thomas? This is Paris from the store in Gangsterdam.”
“Paris? Oh, is it really you sweetheart? Oh I can’t believe this. You look gorgeous.”
“Dear, I’ve got a lot to tell you.”
“Oh, tell me about it. I’ve got too! But wait, how did you find me?
“I was purchased just today my dear, I mean, with my halfling of course. I had that funny half price label on me when this E. stepped in. I had almost lost all my hopes to get freed from the store shelves until when he grabbed my arm and gave a lift to the cashier’s desk. I feel so excited Thomas. I’ve finally made it!”
“Wow, so you had to wait almost two more years after I had left the store?”
“Well, a couple of months later, they sent me to a bigger store where all the ugly ducklings like me were displayed.”
“Oh c’mon Paris. You’ve been always that elegant pan, the classical type that would never become out of fashion. You always had that unique fineness in each milimetre of your cut.”
“Hey, now you’re spoiling me, but thanks for the compliment. It feels homey and sweet. How about you dear? Where have you been?”
“Well, it’s a long story and I’m dying to tell you if you won’t be bored. I’ve had good and bad times together. They’d shipped me to a Maditapanian city called Petrium. Such a warm and sunny place Paris. All the ingredients are freshly collected from the local village gardens.”
“Wow, tastes delicious!”
“More than delicious, girl. You’d like it a lot in here. Almost nothing frozen. The fish comes fresh from the sea, warm and with the natural sea salt in it. Wild mushrooms, little tiny peppers in various colors, amazing stuff here. I thought I was purchased you know? But no! First they brought me to the second floor of a supermarket. I really enjoyed the days on the shelf, making new friends who really are Maditapanian. I felt like home my lady.”
“Oh, so inspiring Thomas. Are you still there? Coz…I think I just saw you resting on a shiny stove in that photo??? Looked more like a kitchen.”
“Well, one day the supermarket guy came up and took me downstairs without even giving me the chance to say good bye to those fellows. He rushed down the stairs to one of the cashiers’ and talked to an elderly lady. ‘Although a bit more expensive, better you buy this one madam, he’s a Ferman make, top quality among all and has life-long guarantee.’ he said.”
“Oh, so proud! And?”
Thomas suddenly felt guilty for his lie. What the hell was wrong with him? It was only the coupons after all. And not only a handful of them. That lady had to do zillion times of shopping from the same store to collect those goddamn coupons. What was the difference anyway? What was that cheaply made-up story for? Why was he trying to impress her? Paris wasn’t the type who would change her mind after having known him so well by heart. He felt embarrassed but couldn’t fix it back.
“Thomas, are you there dear? Tell me, what happened then?”
“So, the lady packed me in a shiny gift bag and brought to her daughter.”
“You mean D.? The one texting to E.?”
“Oh yes! D.. She’s wonderful. I wish you were here. I mean, she is a bit lonely but a very lively and creative woman.”
“Wow, great. I’m sure you’re showing all your talent now.”
“Ehmm, kind of. I mean, she likes fresh stuff and doesn’t really roast things till they pass away on me, but rather keep them in life and in the ideal taste. She hates cooking but hey! Hear this! She talks to me!”
“What???? Really? How?”
“Well she comes home really tired, plays with her son- oh, by the way, I’m so sorry for not having asked before. How’s your son?”
“He’s doing great. He’s observing this new environment. I’m glad that E. decided to keep us together. But hey, tell me more Thomas.”
“So, yes… She plays with her son for a while and then walks towards me and stares around with her typical confused look. Then all of a sudden, she starts talking! ‘Hey Thomas, anything in your mind for dinner? Are you into meat balls, or maybe something easy?’ And such things you know… Then she starts peeling, cutting, chopping, washing… The usual things…”
“How about the other ware in the kitchen? Any charming pan around? I mean, any nice friends?”
“Well the best thing is that D. avoids all types of plastic my dear. So most of the guys here come from the same class. So we really speak the same language here. I’ve learnt a lot from them.”
“Any ladypans too?”
“Err, yea, there are some nice steel pots but I’m not really interested in them. They are pots after all. Not my type.”
“Ok don’t laugh but I don’t fit in her cupboard here so she keeps me all the time on the stove. Actually I like being here next to a red aluminum tea pot called Czajnik. He’s from Goland and he’s an old guy; yet, he looks like he has some kind of importance in D.’s life so she keeps him within her sight. I’m all the time on duty here unless she makes soup or salad.”
“I’m so glad to hear your beautiful story Thomas. Oh, by the way, E. is going out tonight and I’m not sure when he’ll be back online. But we… keep in touch, right?”
“Of course Paris, of course my beauty. I now feel like I came all the way to come across you somewhere again. I’m not going to miss the chance to talk to you. We’ll be in touch sweetheart. And hey, look at them! They seem to be online most of the time, so don’t worry. I’ll come and whisper to you each time they start this ‘oh my love, hey my love’ sweetness.
“Hah! I missed your taste of humor Thomas. So, good bye for now.”
“Good bye my ladypan. And welcome back!”
Thomas took a large breath after hanging off.
“All of our spoken good-byes” he thought, “has turned to be a kind of ‘Hi’. Interesting, eh? Hah! How much I like her.”
Paris was breathless. She didn’t believe in fate at all but on the other hand she had always been attached to Thomas. It always looked beyond the possibilities to meet him again and she hopelessly insisted holding on that impossible thought. Now his sudden appearing was a miracle which stood her up and made her look around herself once again in joy. All the tasteless things suddenly became something in her life. Something worth and something not that ugly at all as she recently thought. Now she was stored in an airless cupboard in E’s kitchen, unfortunately with all the plastic bowls and pots with stains on their skin. The pale silver steel bodies lacked that shine of Thomas. And the narrow cupboard was too small to avoid her plastic arm contact the others’ lids or stinky plastic bodies. She could sell the whole world to be next to Thomas on that shiny stove now. That safe, that peaceful and light feeling of being closer to him. He was always lucky, wasn’t he? And it would be way too selfish to deny his lucky fortune only because that it wasn’t on her favor. He seemed to end up where he always wanted to be and she was wise and generous enough to appreciate this adventure of his, no matter how isolated and alienated it made her feel now. But why was that? Why right after she miraculously found him? Why were those tears again? Oh, there had to be a way out to reach him. But… was he feeling the same way?
Thomas was unusually still and quiet that evening. He realized how much he missed being next to Paris and talking freely, comfortably without the worry of being judged or exaggeratedly flattered. She was the smartest wo-pan he had ever seen in his life. And she always had that attitude which looked mostly relieving if not scary at times. Having admitted his love for her to himself, he was a bit concerned, too. He loved his spot in D.’s place but there was a constant hunger which he couldn’t ever satisfy. Paris looked more steady and calm about cuisine. Yes she was craving for revolutionary recipes but Thomas wasn’t sure if they mined the same meaning from that revolution. He wanted an endless freedom of cooking which has always made him stand distant to possible engagements and mono-tastes. Oh those damn promises. He could grant the heaven on earth if only those pots and pans were not clinging to those monotone tastes. What for he had to promise after all? They were aging, getting stained, food was running and there were only moments of roasting, frying and boiling worth to experience. Or… was he mistaking freedom with irresponsibility? Or was it fear? But no, no, he wasn’t an irresponsible pan-guy. And he had nothing to fear at all. He just wanted his arms untied all his life. And on the other hand, he wished nothing but Paris now. It could be nobody else but her to spend the cuisine-life on the same fire. Heating up side by side in the same kitchen. He could roast the meat while she’s bathing with the milky cream. Oh! And what about the creamy sauce from her sexy body when poured on to the roasted meat on his burning chest. “Wow” he said after a deep breath. “I want her so much…”
The next evening, D. arrived exhausted, and slumped down on the ceramic floor of her living room with shopping bags in both hands. Czajnik, the red tea pot, smiled with a vague sympathy.
“Looks like she’s going to cook tonight.” he poked Thomas.
It was the middle of the week and Thomas was quite mad at D. for the dried bread crusts left all day long on his chest. On most of the weekday mornings, D. was rushing for breakfast and leaving the house without cleaning Thomas. She didn’t like kitchen robots, toasters or kettles since they usually gave a messy and crowded look on the kitchen top. It was always Thomas who had to warm up or toast, or even defrost the stuff. And he found it quite annoying to start with frozen and stone-hard bread slices in the early hours of a day. Couldn’t she be just a little bit sweeter with a soft omelet or a silky piece of pancake? Some olive oil or a small bar of village butter… mmmm… Sooo, yes, those crusts were itching him all day till she came and washed them away.
“Hope she cooks, I really can’t stand the crusts anymore. And if she doesn’t I’ll have to wait, man, till tomorrow morning! This is just so inconsiderate!”
“Tell me about it boy. I already have a thick layer of lime at my bottom since his son uses me to water the plants. That tap water took from inside and outside all of my shiny youth away.”
“Honestly, I’ve never seen you boiling ever since that camping.”
“Look boy, I’m old… alright? And she feels guilty for reluctance to give an intense cleaning. That’s why she keeps me all the time around. ‘Yes I am lazy but not a heartless one’ she tries to say here.”
“At least she confesses this way when it’s about you.”
“No, no, she doesn’t need to. She means that using the young and hi-tech ware now will not change her feelings or my special place in her life. Keeping me here is the way she compensates, not confesses. I mean, she could have binned me, too, but she didn’t.”
“So you’re saying she has never given a proper bath to you?”
“No, no, at first she was doing it properly. You see how narrow my neck is. She can’t insert any sponge or clothe inside. She can’t reach my chest. And she normally throws away every impractical ware. But I’m not only an ordinary pot. I’m the whole thing of scents, sounds, images of the past which she’s proud of.”
“She’s a crazy wonder.”
“So, she used to pour white vinegar once a week. Oh, those were good days, boy. Snow everywhere… I was all the time outdoors. That vinegar was burning my lungs on icy days. Countless drunk nights by the fire… And then being washed by the snow water… I was built for camping, man!”
“Cool. So now you’re on the good spot only for the sake of good old days, eh?”
“I guess so. Honestly, I hope so. I don’t mind the lime anymore. I’m too old to feel it. And I don’t care if I boil again or not… It’s just… I like this landscape, the afternoon light, especially the red sunsets in the kitchen. For a north man like me, this Maditapanian thing tastes like a real butter on bread. I’m not mad at her.”
“Did you know that at first I found her quite obsessed with equipment? I thought she wanted me because I looked good so she could do the show off when her friends came. But she didn’t.”
“Thomas, first of all, she did not want you. It wasn’t a shoot at her will at least. Oh, I don’t mean she doesn’t like you but, all I want to say is that it wasn’t her who chose you. It was her mother. Why do you do this every time, boy?”
“Yea alright, she wasn’t there in the store, I know, but she would recognize me everywhere. I’m the only pan she talks to after all! I mean, look around to all these pots and pans and then look where I am. Doesn’t it make things different?”
“You came here Thomas, because you were too heavy for her mother. Her 60 year old arms simply could not deal with your naked weight, let alone your loaded weight. I appreciate your rightful self-confidence but don’t make this cast doubts on your modesty, eh?”
“I know, I know…”
“You’ll get to know her better, son. She does things in a different way, for different reasons. And she doesn’t like pretending.”
It was D. now, standing by the kitchen top under the spot lights. She was on a video call with E. who was about to cook the “Sultan’s Delight” dish first time in his life. In both kitchens, the drainers were full of washed vegetables.
“My love, are you sure you’re not too tired to do it tonight? We can do it another day, really.” This was E. in his kitchen, trying to arrange the ingredients for Sultan’s Delight while talking. He was going to host his best friends tonight and he wanted to serve something special. He needed her recipe for an impressive dinner. Although he was too, a Maditapanian, the Sultan’s Delight was obviously not a Panapolian dish. However the Posh Island, once being the part of the Moppoman Empire, was just a couple of miles across the city of Petrium and the cuisine culture of both sides were now entwined.
“It’s fine my love, so let’s check if you have all in order there.”
“Yeap. Well we have 3 pieces of eggplants, 1 big size of onion, 2 tomatoes-surely the fake ones-, parsley around a half bunch – or is it too much?”
“Not really, yes, what else?”
“Parmesan, milk, butter, flour, lemon, spice.”
“Oh, that too, eh, too small to notice.”
“Maybe small but makes most of the magic, sweetheart. Well, good, what about the stew lamb?”
“Oh my! I totally forgot about it. I’m afraid I don’t have it here.”
“Whaaat?? Are you kidding? What does a crown mean if there’s no king!”
“Hahah, calm down darling, of course I have it here. Maybe not fresh like the ones there but look.” bringing the meat closer to the camera of his phone, “color is not that bad.”
“Now, great! Let the party begin then!”
Of course it wasn’t only D. and E. on the line. Paris and Thomas, never missing any opportunity, have already been enrolled in a deep conversation by now. The olive oil on her belly was the fresh squeezed one with an acid rate of only 0.03. It was silky with the fresh olive scent. She felt each drop from the bottle spreading and gently covering her teflon skin. It was only her hipped stripes now, seen on the surface of the oil. Seeing this was making Thomas crazy. He found her pretty hot when she started giving out the tiny air bubbles through the heating oil.
“Oh!” He thought. “She’s a magnet!”
“You know Thomas?” began Paris. “I like the way we do things in a uniquely similar way. It makes me feel… kind of… excited. We live in completely different environments and our roots are maybe so much irrelevant; I mean you’re Ferman, I’m Hutch and you’re wearing the most up to date design while I’m a very classical old type but each time we start together, we reach the same taste as if we are one complete teflon and we roast on the same platform.” Paris was already too hot to continue.
Hearing these words, Thomas was quite high now. “Despite the distance in kilometers, I feel exactly the way you feel Paris. I mean, look at this; how many distant pans on earth have the chance to cook with the oil from the same tree? I find everything about us miraculous.”
“I love you Thomas.”
“Oh, I love you so much Paris. I’m very thankful to have you in this life.”
With the fall of the chopped onions, they were both now laid, free and happy. Their horny swizzle in pleasure was priceless. They were more than ready to cuddle the stew lamb now.
“Darling, my onions here look yellowish, but not caramelized yet.” By a wide flat palette E was dodging the onions between the hipped stripes of his pan now.
“No, we won’t caramelize them my love, add the meat now once the juice is out, reduce the fire and make sure you have a spare hot water if needed for later. Lamb will need at least an hour. Eggplants washed?” Looking at the camera now.
“Here they are. Am I peeling?”
“Turn on the biggest burner and lay them on fire without having them peeled. We’re going to do some magic now. Charrrrr themmmm a bit.”
“I could bake them in the oven too.”
“They won’t taste the same darling. They must be charred. Let’s start together. You’ll taste the difference later.”
“I don’t know why you always say you don’t like cooking. You look quite skilled and experienced.”
“In fact, it’s not about the activity itself. Maybe I’ve always put it in wrong words. I don’t like the effort prior to this activity. It’s unfair to say I don’t like cooking”
“I wish it was only that… I don’t like shopping, I find the time, spared to think and decide what to cook, what to buy, where to buy, kind of waste. Cooking is the best part my love. And all the rest before that is just a torture to my brain. Maybe I need an Alfred to prepare my weekly menus and handle the shopping part. Eh?” D. in laugh.
“Not necessarily an Alfred, but maybe E., my love. I’ll always give you a hand when we start together. I like shopping you know. I’ll make it become lighter and funnier for you. Sooner than you think.”
“Thomas, Thomas! Did you hear that darling?” Suddenly giving out a big cloud of steam.
“Yessss! ‘WHEN- WE – START – TOGETHER-‘ Yeahheaaa. I knew it baby! I knew it!”
“Hey, cool down dear, you’ll burn the meat!” giggled Paris.
Paris was happy and loud while Thomas was trying to keep his explosions inside. All the ware in E.’s kitchen were in admiration now. Some in jealousy too. It was not a secret anymore that Paris was in love with the pan she always hoped for. Thomas was really enjoying the moment of cooking with Paris. He found their experience priceless. But he wasn’t that comfortable about announcing it kitchen-wide. Something stopped him from disclosing his affair. Yet, he didn’t want to think about it now as the best part of the dish was just a few minutes ahead.
They were already spiced and salted. It was time to get marinated in the hot tomato sauce for a while. They both looked tired, but satisfied. Stew lamb was roasted and cooked just the perfect way it had to be.
“Now I’ll cream you gently.” said Thomas while emptying the sauced meat into a glass bowl. Take off all on you and get ready for butter my beautiful Paris.”
It wasn’t the first time Thomas was cooking the Sultan’s Delight however he found his steel and teflon elements first time acting in such a peerless harmony and it would be too unfair to say it was only because of the almost-perfect ingredients. The oil was the same oil. The salt, the same salt, meat, spice, onion and everything were the same! “She makes me a better pan!” he smiled. She makes me a dedicated one and inspires me to cook better. I madly love her.” as he started singing the Better Man.
“Mmmmm, it’s so relaxing Thomas. I feel fondled.” muttered Paris.
“Let’s mash the eggplants in another bowl my love. Did your butter melt?” D. was now removing the charred skin of the last eggplant while watching how E. was dealing with them.”
“I liked this smell” said E. “You were right, it wouldn’t give this smell if baked. Butter is going fine. Where’s my fork… good, here we go.”
“Do you already have the lemon juice?”
“Yes, of only 1 lemon you said, right?”
“What is next?” said E. in order to prepare the missing items.
“Finished with mashing? Wow, you’re fast my Poshian Chef! I’m sorry I can’t give you precise quantities like half cup, or 2 tea spoons cos I’ve never cooked like that, but, get some flour from the pack, as much as your palm can take. Use that sweet little wooden spoon I bought you once, to stir butter and flour together.”
“Oh I see, it mustn’t become lumpy.”
“Exactly, it’s the puree after all, we’re making a roux now. Have you warmed the milk a bit?”
“Yes my love, in the pot.”
“Great. You’re doing great so far. Your friends will love it tonight. Now gently pour some milk but let me see while doing. I’ll tell you to stop. 1 cup is mostly too much while half cup is too little.”
“No measures, no quantities. I know!” said E. wearing his bright smile again. “You’re kind of crafty. Is it maybe because you don’t want anyone else learn your tricks and perfection?”
“Oh c’mon E., I’ve never copied from a recipe book in my life. I do what I’ve seen from my mother. Her palms and spoons were the only tools to measure.”
“I love this in you. Alright, are you looking here? I pour very slowly.”
“A bit more, more… enough my love. Now don’t stop mixing. It will become lightly intense in 4-5 minutes on slow fire.”
“And how do we use this rocky nutmeg? I spent two hours today looking for this small fellow. Finally, a Gundian cashier in the supermarket told me to go to a Gundian store to find it.”
“I appreciate your efforts. One average size of nutmeg is more than too much to use. It has got a very strong taste. Taking into account that it’s an intense spice, you need to grate it into a powder form of only a half tea spoon.”
“What a recipe! Huh!”
“Done with the roux?”
“Yes my love.”
“Good, now add a palm-full of grated parmesan, grounded black pepper, salt, and nutmeg powder, mix them all and add your mashed eggplants with lemon juice into that.”
“Is that all?”
“Simmer them only 2-3 minutes altogether and taste it my love.”
Hand in hand, Paris and Thomas looked deeply charmed while enjoying the creamy love for each other. They were never going to have enough of cooking together.
“Paris, my love, no tears alright? I’ll be back sooner than you think. Now I really need to get washed and take a siesta. It was a beautiful evening with you. Stay with me, please, alright?” said Thomas with an assuring tone.
While emptying her eggplant puree to the ivory color plates, she gave a sad look at the camera, with a half-baked smile, pretending she was fine. “I’m fine my love. I think I need to rest too. I need to take my halfling to sleep first.”
“I kiss you both. Have a great evening my love. Don’t forget how much I love you. Now please smile.”
Paris smiled wider, more from the heart now.
These departures were a bit destructive for Paris. Looking at the food, she was sure that all this miracle was real. But departures were, too. She was looking for some equality but Thomas looked not all the time devoted as much as she was. She was always ready to cook, fry or roast at the other end of the line while Thomas looked more occupied by other stuff. Paris has trusted him though, from the first day they’d met in that store. She never doubted his love and interest in her. Not even a day. And there wasn’t any reason for Thomas to look devoted rather than be so. None of both were forced or expecting this engagement to become a solid wire surrounding them. They have always been free, even more when together. Moreover, she was very happy to see him enjoying his life there. At least one of them was in the right spot which has for long time been sought. Yet, there was a little crack from where her worries and fear were leaking. Every return of Thomas has looked quite like a life-long patch to this crack as every cooking together was convincing that there would be no more leakages, but the strike of his departures over and over again were just too severe for her to keep the patch on. On the other hand, she was and she wanted to keep alive. Not only for her halfling, but also for the sake of her previous efforts and struggling from one store to the other when Thomas was not to become a part of her life yet. She took a deep breath remembering how she always stood straight if not strong at times. So now, she tried to focus more on how proud she was for her patience and his love.
“I like her so much, boy”. It was Czajnik who was just restored on the stove, next to Thomas. “I wouldn’t miss such a wise pan, a beautiful wo-pan if I were young.” said he while patting Thomas’ silver steel arm.
“And I won’t, too!” said Thomas with a thoughtful voice. “I cannot imagine a future without her next to me.”
“Then what is making you look hesitated tonight?”
“I’m not hesitated at all. I know what I feel for her. And I knew what I wanted long before I ended up here.” Now with a noticeable up-tightness.
“Interesting, tell me more about it.”
“I told her years ago, just before leaving the store in Gangsterdam, that the invisible ties between us then were to take me to her someday no matter what and how we went through recipes.”
“And now it happened to be exactly the way you once had wished, right?” said Czajnik with a suspicious irony.
“No, no old chap, you don’t get it.” Thomas was annoyed now. But the deep respect he felt for this old Golish suddenly changed his attitude. “Whatever you’ve seen in her and even much more is already what I’m aware of. She bears even more of that taste, believe me. A pan like me who has discarded every possessive attempt in this life, even doesn’t get bothered at all with her intense attachment to me now. Unlikely, I feel honored. But this is not the case. Every night I close my eyes, I find her by my side. Everything I do here moves me one step closer to our future together and I like it.”
“What’s it then?”
“I… maybe it’s too fast, or no. Well, maybe a bit too devoted… I’m not sure. Well let me try to explain this to you. She’s the most wonderful fruit on this dinner table, alright? And once I make a move towards her, I know that nothing else but only she will taste to me. The rest of the fresh and tasty fruits on the table, I’ll be discarding without hesitation, because my hunger will address only her afterwards. But for now, she’s not within my reach. Some others are closer. Keeping her there, distant, or better say not making a faster move towards her is to me, a kind of precaution. I’m trying to make sure about the bridge between us. I’m trying to make sure that the rest is watery but she’s the queen, the ripe, shiny, vitamin-rich cherry queen.”
“And while slowly walking the bridge, you enjoy the other fruits whenever you’re hungry, because you find it meaningless to be starving on all the way leading to her.”
“Hey, do you really have to put it like this?”
“No, no, I respect and I cannot say it’s wrong; I wouldn’t do the same though… But remember, her silence and understanding doesn’t mean she approves it or at least feels comfortable with it. Her eyes might not be wet because of distance, but more because a part of you is in disguise. And I know you don’t need anypan’s approval at all. Not even hers. Yet, I see that an approval to your hidden privacy would also relieve you a lot. On the other hand, I don’t think she’s unaware about the context of your walk.”
“Do you mind if I get my siesta? Cos my chest is really burning…”
“Sure, boy. Sleep tight.”
Thomas was an honest pan. It would be too unfair to say he was hiding things. Especially when he was next to Paris. He found their connection above of every other cuisine thing. Cooking with other pans, or enjoying the foam parties in the dishwasher might be making most of his routine but they were too far from being replaced by the moments with Paris. She was the queen of all. And Thomas was enjoying the privilege of being invited to her kingdom to share the crown. The reason he wasn’t that open was that he simply didn’t want some facts to be outspoken. Once spoken loud, they were going to become unnecessarily solid enough to attract the useless shadows over both. And nobody needed them. Instead, they could grow stronger day by day and end up finding all of these details which didn’t ever have the wind to change things, worthless to become an issue between. It wasn’t easy. Cooking without her felt like roasting every time without oil or butter. Each food left the same bitterness after emptied to plates. Paris knew it too. And it had to be, for her, convincing enough to trust him. Nothing ever could change the importance and value of Paris.
D. was chopping in rush when her phone at the edge of the kitchen top rang. Her eyes were wet by the onion spirit. Her left hand holding the knife, she accepted the call dragging the green arrow on the touchscreen using her naked elbow of her right arm.
“Hey sweetie! Oh, are you crying?” E. was looking very handsome with his new haircut.
“Hi my love. Of course not. It’s the onion. Are you going somewhere? You look good in that suit. Also your new hair…”
“Yeah, we’re going to the Rye to see a film tonight. What are you cooking?”
“Steak. I like that shirt. It was a good idea to rip the buttons off and sew again with a better color thread.”
“Thank you for being so kind spending two hours on it last time. I like it more now.”
“My dear Paris, how are you?” Thomas was worried as Paris has been a bit silent recently.
“Oh Thomas! Hi sweetheart. I’m fine. Just a bit down of being among the stinky ware here. I feel a bit lonely I guess. But never mind, how’re you doing today?” trying not to drown Thomas as he looked obviously very happy and lively on the stove with strong fire on his back.
“I’m doing really great today. Look at me baby. Already oiled. C’mon join me and let’s cook the steak together, eh?” He was trying to cheer her up.
“E. is leaving for Rye, you heard. I’m not cooking tonight.” bowing her head.
“Hey you perfectly know what I mean. We don’t need any D.’s or E.’s around to cook, right? C’mon my ladypan. Be with me now, just close your eyes and let’s do it together. Please. I love you. I miss you so much.”
“Mmmm, alright you naughty.” her smile was back.
“Well, enjoy the film my love and don’t forget to recommend if it’s interesting. I’ll be with my boy and read a little bit before sleep. Will you be able to catch me?”
“Always! Have a great night my love. I love you.”
“Thank you, I love you too.”
It was right. They have never needed anybody to bring them together. They were distant but never distant. They were the professional simulators of all they wanted in life. They did not need to see or hear each other. Wishing to cook together was enough to make it happen. Thomas or Paris, no matter which one doing what, they always made the other get involved in cooking only by thinking about it. So was it regarding the painful moments. Or was it really?
Thomas tonight was breaking free on the fire. Next to him was a smaller pan on a smaller burner right side, not a new one though. She was waiting to cook the spicy sauce while making jokes with her flirtatious voice. Thomas was excited for her sauce as it was going to come on his chest when the steaks were ready. Although she preferred being alone with Thomas, there was the small steel pot just behind, with her lid on top. Thomas liked those lids as he could see what was under, but he didn’t want to look rakish. They were all on fire tonight. The small teflon pan was waiting for the night when they all got in the dishwasher. She liked her place on Thomas’ laps especially when the washer was fully full. She wished Thomas not be hand-washed tonight.
Paris was staring at the kettle standing next to her. It was silent in the house tonight. All looked in good order and clean. Such a man was E. Always proper and well organized. She was thinking of Thomas.
“He must be having fun tonight” she thought. “Considering D.’s steaks which always need a damn spicy tomato sauce-oh, is it really necessary to pour a tomato sauce on steak? Why doesn’t she simply grill it? Thomas would manage!” Suddenly she found her words too selfish and wiped her tears. Jealousy never fit in her. What was she asking for? How could she dare to design one’s taste? Yes, true, the silence around was too heavy to bear but she had to learn coping with it.
“I wish I was there.” she said. Then corrected:
“I – AM – RIGHT – THERE! Let’s do it. Grill them Thomas. Don’t rush as I’ll need to bring the sauce to the right consistency my love. How much cumin today to two spoons of tomato paste? Alright my love! Here comes half tea spoon of your favorite spice. Aaaaand some salt. Yes!!! Pepper too! Definitely chili to that! You’ll love floating in my sauce baby! Let me surprise you with a good house wine tonight. Half cup will blow your mind up. More??? Oh, you’re crazy. Well! Thomas wants more! Make it two cups. Spice, taste, flame and steam! Meat, veggie, sauce and cream!”
“My love?” E. was on the line this time. “I’m back home sweetheart. I just called to blow your good-night kisses. Did I wake you up?”
“Welcome back my dear. How was your night?” asked D., her voice was sleepwalking towards E.
“The film was great. I text you the link. After the film we went for beer. Also nice.”
“Oh, I’m glad you had a good time.”
“Thomas?” Paris was looking for Thomas but couldn’t see him on his usual spot. The burner was empty and Czajnik was deeply sleeping on the next burner under the pale light from the aspirator. “I think you fell asleep my love. Anyway, I just wanted to say I love you so much. Sweet dreams my dear.”
Paris closed her eyes and told her heart to stop hurting. It was middle of the night and Thomas had most probably fallen asleep while drying on the kitchen top. It was one of his days in action. “I’m with you, please stay with me.” she whispered just before falling asleep in the cupboard.
“Do you mind giving one of your sexy wake-up call services tomorrow morning? I need to be up by seven my time.”
“Of course my love. Now free your right arm and let me fall asleep on your chest. I’ll cuddle you in the morning.”
“Mmmmm, yes please. Good night my beauty. I love you.” said E. also sleepy.
“Good night E. the wonderful!”
It was a sunny afternoon by late November. Paris loved the idea of Ravioli. E. was going to try it first time and he was discussing about the various types of cooking it while D. was patiently instructing from the other side of the camera. They positioned their phones once again, allowing Thomas and Paris see each other, even a bit closer this time.
Thomas was going to cook the home-made version but he knew they didn’t have that in Gangsterdam so he didn’t mention about the origins of his Ravioli. A big bar of village butter on Thomas’ chest and another bar – difficult to say whether butter or margarine – on Paris’ belly were gently melting now. They both looked hot and inspired.
“I thought it was going to be a meatball night.” said Paris. She had a slight discomfort of trying something new.
“Yeah, but I just cooked last night a full pan of them my love. I wasn’t really into it today. But you’ll love the ravioli once they start slipping off from your one hip to the next. Trust me sweetheart.” said Thomas in a horny tone. How much he loved watching Paris dealing with butter and soft pieces of dough.
“Here we go then!” Paris was curiously watching the ravioli pieces sliding from a floured tray onto her body. She gave a loud laugh, “it tickles! Oh it tickles badly.”
“I told you baby. Now move your sexy hips gently and let them slide on your buttered stripes. I love seeing you doing that.” Now it was Thomas who was cuddling the soft balls and shaking his body right and left to avoid the dough stick on his body. “Faster my beauty, faster! Let them ski freely on your curves just like this.”
“Mmmmm, this is so crazy. And you look damn sexy doing it. Now I know why you were into ravioli tonight. Better than- hey, Thomas!”
Paris suddenly stopped shaking and fixed her eyes on the small burner next to Thomas. She could see an arm, possibly of another pan unless a new design of an armed pot.
“I thought we were alone tonight.” Her voice now was coming from 7 layers beneath the corn field.
“Oh, she-she’s just a saucepan my love. For the sauce.” Thomas wasn’t expecting such a reaction. He wasn’t prepared to explain something because he didn’t think Paris would pay attention to the young ladypan or even notice her. Before Paris’ joining the cooking, they were vaguely flirting though.
“I know that a saucepan is for a sauce. And not for a soup. But we were supposed to make it a private cooking tonight. I mean, what is she for? Or better ask, why am i not told about her today?” Paris wanted to go further and ask even more but simultaneously she was questioning herself whether she was doing the right thing by cornering him. Because he knew Thomas well enough to mine that if he didn’t talk about things, it wasn’t because he ignored or found them worthless to mention but because he found them risky to bring to surface. For Paris it was very disappointing sometimes that he could still hesitate to be open and share such simple things which would not blur their comfort and joy at all. Why was Thomas doing that? Didn’t he already know what Paris could handle and what not? Their magic after all, was the truth whatever it cost.
“Paris, cool down please. Will you let me talk?” Thomas was reading her steam drop by drop now. He was willing to open his mind but he wasn’t sure what was coming next. The only thing he wanted now was to say something to relieve Paris before she blew the whole kitchen up. Because her steel back was slightly darkening by the flames from the burner.
“Just don’t say a word now Thomas. Only for a while. Give me my time to cook and finish this damn ravioli. They weren’t homemade anyway. Fucking, fake pieces of ravioli.” No she wasn’t cooking at all. She was obviously burning both the butter and dough pieces.
“No, no, no my love. Listen to me. You’re seriously harming yourself now. And believe me, when you once listen to me, you’ll understand.” Thomas was afraid now. He didn’t give a shit to cooking or explaining why the saucepan was there, but he wanted to stop Paris and calm her down before she got herself burnt. “My love, if you don’t cool down soon, you’ll have both of us binned because I cannot cool down without knowing you’re fine. Please darling, nothing is worth being binned today.”
“Give me some time!” screamed Paris in tears. The steam was turning to a thick smoke now.
“What took you so long my love, your ravioli is burnt. Turn off the burner immediately!” said D. looking at the smoky kitchen.
“Oh fuck! I had to open the door to the guy who came to replace my modem. He wanted me to show the cables, the panel… and I completely forgot about the ravioli my love.” E. was so much pissed off for having his dinner ruined. He quickly grabbed a wooden palette, scraped the dough off the pan and poured it with cold water to the top. “Please give a minute my love, but don’t hang off please, I’ll just go to the living room to guide the technician. Okay?”
“Sure, I ship to you half portion of mine then.” Giggled D.
Thomas remained silent while waiting for Paris to steam away her frustration. She looked better but Thomas was having great difficulty revealing what was happening inside her. Everything looked too broken to start fixing. He didn’t know from where to start. It was the first moment of uncertainty between both. He was worried, sad, scared. He was trying to justify his feeling of guilt by telling himself that he didn’t do anything to hurt anybody. But obviously, he knew he played a role leading to loss of trust and comfort. “She didn’t deserve it.” He thought. “I don’t know exactly where I was wrong but she did not deserve whatever came out of this.”
Couple of minutes later, Paris got her familiar look back. This was now at least something Thomas could rely on. He couldn’t bear witnessing Paris become completely a stranger.
“Can I talk now?” asked Thomas softly. “Or do you want me to say a few words at all?” in hesitation.
“No Thomas. Actually, I’m afraid whatever you will bring now will be destructive and all I want is first to understand, and then to digest, and to fix things if we ever can. It’s not only you I’m trying to understand but also myself and why I can’t handle it.”
She was trembling and it could be seen from her attitude that she was trying to choose the best words to be constructive. Thomas once again admired her effort and love. Her rational calmness made him feel the guilt even stronger now. She could have simply ignored or told him to walk off of her. “Thankfully, she’s not going to have us binned or burnt.” he said, finally a bit more relaxed.
“Thomas… Let me put this first thing… that I do trust you and I know you’d never do anything to hurt me on purpose. Not only because I’m your ladypan but also because you’ve always respected me ever since we’ve met. So I’m not really blaming you now. As I said, help me understand…” Her eyes were now begging him to be just honest and clear. “I don’t want to know who she is because she herself is not our case here. She is not even a part of my pain now. This is all about you and me. I want to understand the reason why you said we were alone tonight while there was this saucepan and her arm stretched to yours. What’s the point of hiding such simple things from each other? Or do I really look that selfish and possessive causing you cloud the truth?”
“I know how you feel my love, but no, her arm was really coincidentally there, and she is a kid after all, a small, simple saucepan who has long time been depressed of being-”
“Thomas! I told you that she is not my concern at all. I don’t care why her arm was by your arm, or why she was there… I just can’t find a reason for a pan like you to hide things from a pan like me. We are free, aren’t we? We are free to do things but it doesn’t mean you can freely fool me. Or freely lie about anything. I’m Paris Thomas. Not only a lover, did you forget my love? When I’m each time told about the attendance of Mr. Czajnik but each time skipped about the others attendance, I start asking what the hell is going on. I mean, I’m Paris my love, I’m the one who you felt the most comfortable with. Just don’t pretend. Be what you are but don’t show another face to me. When did it ever matter to me you hanging out with other ware in the dishwasher having foam parties? I mean, don’t you think I’m all aware of this? Or… did you really think of fooling me?”
Comfort was back. Indeed it was. But he wasn’t sure which answer would keep it stay. It was now clear that Paris wasn’t going to give up cooking with him easily. She wasn’t kicking their future plans away. Unlikely, she was doing her best now to protect their ideal taste. Thomas wanted to thank her but it wasn’t the right time. Neither a sorry nor excuses would help him. He looked into her eyes, and trying to be careful with his words, “I never turned away from you, and I didn’t hide anything on purpose or fool you. I’d never do. And I’m glad we’re able to talk and calmly go through this without damaging each other. I understand the pain I caused and I feel already too guilty-yes not because of her, but because of the stupid mystery I created by mentioning only guys but not the girls. But I know we can fix this.” he said.
For Paris, everything could be solved and fixed except being fooled. She could deal with every fact as long as she knew the reasons while she could be quite self-destructive when exposed to lies. Although they restored their usual taste back, they remained rather silent and cooked only basic stuff the following days.
“Good morning darling.” It was one of the routine Sunday calls. D. was trying to wake E. up. It was their tradition to have their coffees simultaneously in their DE cups. “So, pancakes today?”
“Oh, good morning my love, do you mind if I sleep a bit more?” said E., yawning and stretching in his warm bed. “But don’t hang off please. I’ll join you in a while.”
Thomas, itching by the crusts and Czajnik trying to distract him from his daily complaints were already awake and chatting. “It’s Sunday, boy,” said Czajnik. “My old friend Alfonso should be here soon.”
“Oh, Mr. Bialetti you mean!” suddenly forgetting about the bread crusts. “I like his Verbanian accent. And all that story about aluminum, flowing from under his charismatic mustache, like an espresso river.”
Mr. Bialetti was the most sophisticated visitor of the kitchen. Having seen almost every cuisine type, he was quite cultivated. Thomas enjoyed getting lost in his stories. When D placed him on the smallest burner in the front, Czajnik welcomed him with his usual warmth.
“Alfonso! My oldie pilgrim.” hugging him.
“Good morning boys, oh, thank god it’s Sunday today! We won’t gather otherwise. I’ve got good news by the way but let me quickly brew her mocha first. Needless to remind you they’d called me the ‘Moka Express’ in those crazy 1930’s, eh?”
“Go, you express. Go!” said Czajnik patting his now old and tapering arm. “We have a long day to shoot the breeze.”
“Thomas? Oh, good morning Mr. Czajnik.” This was Paris on the video call as D. was closing up to the stove for helping old Alfonso complete his preparation.
“But this woman really knows what I like, you see? Bring my golden Vergnano darling.” sucking the rich flavor of coffee down to his drain holes.”
For reply, Thomas and Czajnik waited for D. to finish with Alfonso.
“Good morning my love” said Thomas with a proud voice. “You’re on time. Mr. Bialetti has just arrived and we can’t wait for his brew.”
“Oh, welcome back Mr. Bialetti. You look very good, like always.” She and Thomas quickly caught each other’s eyes with the same thought. “He looked tired and older.”
Alfonso’s visits were always fascinating. The steam and scent he gave away had the strong power to turn the kitchen’s usual atmosphere into a royal ambiance. Paris found their Sundays magical. Almost all of the ware in the kitchen were lost in his warm, misty and funny adventures. He was very proud of his genius son and it always drifted the listeners into a good laugh when he started the touching story of his mustache. “Renato”, he was saying with his strong Verbanian accent, “had always insisted that I had to wear a mustache which I still feel a strong resistance to adopt this funny thing. It wasn’t difficult to understand that he was embarrassed with my weak, thin and fragile aluminum hull and he thought a mustache would give his dear father a powerful and bossy look. Oooooo, but you had to see him, how he was proudly brewing next to me when I finally had the mustache. He never wanted to accept but I think my mustache was the only reason I had turned to a single pilgrim.” He graciously laughed. “Because neither the traditional lady coffee pots nor those young espresso pots have found it nice.” Then he loved ending his story with a proud and contented tone, “Oh Renato, my dear son. I’m glad he married that Mokona. She brought elegance and fineness to our big family.”
“I’m ready my love.” said Paris with her soft and appealing voice. “Let this silky morning begin.” She was warming up on the largest burner now. Pancakes were like light and soft coverlets of a midsummer.
E. was now whisking the pancake sauce using his boisterous mixer. D. was too lazy to set up hers so she took one of the metal hand whiskers from her drawer and that was not less noisy at all. Paris and Thomas were gently buttered, already sizzling.
When the first ladle of pancake poured onto Paris, Thomas wailed in pleasure. The saucy liquid was now gently flowing to fill and cover her smooth skin reaching her fine cut corners. Holding his breath tight, “Oh, every inch of her…” said Thomas when a larger ladle poured the sauce on his chest in flames.
Paris was pushing the first pancake layer upwards as if she was taking off her silk coverlet on this midsummer morning. Now the hot air was circulating between her hips giving the pancake a puffy look on surface.
“I can cook like this day and night, my Paris.” said Thomas. “Forever.” His voice was hot and steamy.
“I love your passion, it’s blowing my mind.”
They were still hungry to continue making another ten pancakes. Yet, D. and E. were even hungrier after their appetizing coffees. They didn’t seem to have patience at all for more pancakes.
“I’ve got a flat tire my love and I think I forgot how to replace the inner tube. Do you mind helping me fix it after breakfast? I want to go riding Mr. Plispit until we meet back for cooking the lunch.”
“Oh…” said E. with a disappointing tone. “I forgot to tell you that I won’t be able to make it today. You know it’s very rare we have our off days all at the same time here so I’ll join the guys today. But sure, let’s check Plispit first.”
“Nice.” D. replied. Pass my greetings to all there.”
“Paris?” Thomas whispered tired and doubtfully. All their Sunday enthusiasm now was ruined. Looked like he was going to party himself.
“Yes I’ve heard it. It’s okay my love, I’ll be resting then. I wish you a good fun for lunch.” Paris was trying to hide her disappointment.
“Huh! It’s not a fun without you. You know, this usual pan and pot thing here. Lacks taste without you. I also feel tired after our intense breakfast cooking.” Thomas was tending to look unwilling for a lunch party.
“Thomas, please stop designing my feelings, my love. Just do the things you enjoy and don’t pretend they are boring or tiring or whatever because I know you enjoy every drop of food and I’m sincerely glad you do so.” She was smiling while trying to encourage him to be more open.
“I didn’t want to sound like an over spiced dish my love, it’s just not that fun without you.”
“You should stop thinking that it makes me feel bad when you have fun. I’m not the type who extracts special pleasures out of somepan’s boredom or bad dish. I want to see and know you’re happy. How can your happiness make me feel bad? So please, do not try to design on behalf of me a taste by artificial ingredients. Because it kills the consistency.”
“Oh I love you so much Paris. I’m the luckiest pan in entire cuisine. Now hold my hand and cook with me all day long. I’m not letting go of you.”
“Don’t worry sweetheart. I’m always burning right next to you. Now have fun and get washed before your delicious party. We talk later, alright?”
While D. and E. were dealing with the tire, Paris took the pleasure to join the beautiful morning talk of Alfonso, Czajnik and Thomas. She was once again glad to see Thomas surrounded by gentleware.
“… so, boy, that’s how our Verbanians advocated us cuisine-wide. By refusing this take-away thing, all of the traditional mocha pots won the case against the coffee machines and remained in our traditional places. I and my contemporaries including the oldies of Bialetti family might look a bit trash and antique by now, but Verbanians will never give up raising next generations who adopt their traditions as well as the taste. – Oh, look at my friend. He’s already asleep.” Alfonso gave a heartily looking to his old friend. “Czajnik was too a legend once.”
Heaving a sigh, back to Thomas again, “Well, enough of same old stories now, what about you, son? I admit that I was eavesdropping on you and Paris this morning.”
“It’s fine Mr. Bialetti.” said Thomas with a light tone. “I don’t hesitate at all to be witnessed. Not anymore. I’m unlikely proud of her deep understanding which frees me further at each conversation. I admit that she has majorly changed my life. Recently I’ve discovered that we both are not only couple-pans cooking together. But we are whatever is necessary to cook the best food cuisine-wide. If it’s only salt, she becomes salt, if cumin, then cumin. When her fire is insufficient, I blow mine. When she dries, I butter and oil. I’ve never seen such a complete way of cooking. There’s a taste we dream of catching together. I cannot define what it is made of but I know we’re closing up. We discover and learn together, we grow mature together. Surely there are bitter times when we char and burn stuff but there lies the limit of our strength, patience and capability together. I’m not worried anymore if we ever over-roast or turn the perfect roux to a lumpy one. Because we’ve already experienced how dedicated we can be to fix a taste. And I think, it’s her I want to enter the world of antiquity with when the day comes. When our steels decay and teflons rotten, her plastic laminated arm which she is too embarrassed for now, will be our buttress. We’ll always give the unique taste which was barely found in years of roasting, frying, grilling, and defrosting together. And the secret is that we made things always together. Not even a day we thought about leaving our burners.”
“Son, this is so inspiring. I’m moved.” said Alfonso with an approving tone. He drained his tears downwards his throat not to cloud this happy man. It was time for a day nap.
After a lively dinner in D’s house, Mr. Bialetti brewed the last coffee of this peaceful Sunday. All of them washed and dried already, were enjoying the late night talk on the shiny kitchen top.
“Good morning challenger!” said Thomas from his cold burner. He was alone on the sunlit stove.
“What is that?” giggled Paris. “A Sunday Sautery?”
“Hah, well why not? D. fell asleep in the middle of a film last night. But old Golish and I continued to the end.”
“It was interesting then?”
“It brought my beautiful lady.”
Paris was more interested now. Curiously;
“What was it about?” she asked.
“It was a biography… of an author. Every second of the film made me think of you. I feel enlightened.”
“Good or bad?” Paris couldn’t avoid her stressful tone. Thomas was extraordinarily calm this morning.
“I think I have a clearer image of your ways and attitudes.” he said aware of the impression from his words and tone which were triggering Paris’ worries now. Ending the stress, he continued,
“By pretending, I thought I would be able to compensate my absence in your life. I don’t know why I took having fun without you as an unfair activity. Cos you have always encouraged me to be more social, to make my experience become a fun, to get more acknowledged while making better friends… But then… you had your downs which I felt responsible for. So it brought the urge and need to pretend that I found my routine here hardly exciting or interesting. After this film last night, it makes more sense… that trying to design somepan’s feelings, perception or opinion by fake images of reality was the worst unfair taste no matter how good one’s intentions were. As you put it once… that all of us, one by one and individually must learn at least one of the proper recipes to cope with a possible bad taste regardless of what other ingredients the pack may contain. If kitchens were populated of more pans like you, it could save every ware a lot of time to figure out where and how to cook with less effort as well as the less need for intention-reading. It would avoid most of the fooling, lying, miscooking and disappointment. Before me, you were the Paris with her own ways and methods of successfully handling every spice or sauce. So what made me think you were vulnerable? I can’t say. Because you weren’t.” Thomas took a deep breath and waited for Paris to react. They were about to take a corner.
Paris was moved and impressed. She didn’t have much to say though.
“Thank you Thomas, for your willingness and effort to understand me.” Now free of her stress and worry.
“I thank you for your patience and trust. Now I know even better whose arm I hold on to.”
“I love you. And I feel gifted with you.”
“We’ll always be cooking side by side Paris, I promise.”
It wasn’t only Thomas who was astonished by the promise, but also Paris, as they have never given their words before.
It was a late summer morning when Thomas opened his eyes to a shocking landscape. The kitchen top was full of other ware, cupboards emptied and stood a dozen of boxes on the ceramic floor. “What the hell is going on here?” he groaned.
From glass bowls to porcelain plates, from saucepans to glass lid-pots every ware was scattered on the top. He could read the fear on their arms and lids. All of them looked confused, sad and worried about the crazy morning rush. And where was this D.? What was happening?
“Oh Paris! Oh my beauty! Where is she? Where’s D.?” he moaned. He thought he was losing his mind. What if he was binned or sent away in one of those boxes? What if he had no chance to tell Paris where he was going? “Old chap, hey Golish, Hey!!! Czajnik! Alfonso!! Alfonsoooo! Where are you?”
The noisy crowd on the kitchen top was as annoying now as the uncertainty grew bigger. His steel back pushing his teflon chest up made the crusts shake and dodge between his stripes. Just then D. has entered the living room and walked towards the kitchen top. The noisy crowd of ware were now stoned in silence. With a sharp and rushing move, D. grabbed a group of cups and piled them in the first box on the floor. “Mom, I pack these too! I wasn’t using them anyway” she said. Her mother now entered with few more boxes and shopping bags in hands. It was only the cutlery in the kitchen who were comfortably staring out from their drawer. Because it was usual that same kind always remained together. Nobody would think of taking their baby spoons or husband knives away from them.
“Oh I’m so tired mom, shall we give a coffee break?”
Thomas’ eyes grew wider wishfully. “Oh, yes finally! Mr. Bialetti will definitely know what this mess is for.”
Having his bottom unscrewed, Alfonso was also in shock now. But he always preferred standing like a calm light house, observing, before a panic. “Is she moving away, son?”
“Oh Mr. Bialetti, I have no idea what the hell is going on here today. But I swear I saw her packing the white cups. And look above! All the cupboards are emptied.” Thomas was breathless. His disappointment grew even further when he realized that Alfonso had also had no idea. “It’s just a nightmare” he thought to himself. “We’ve been the hearts of this kitchen, the golden ware of D.’s life. She cannot bin us.”
“Calm down, son.” said Alfonso in a relatively calm voice. Although he wasn’t sure about their fortune now, he tried to remain cool and consoling. This was what Thomas needed now. “Have you talked to Paris?” trying to change the subject.
“No, no, oh this is madness, I haven’t heard of her since yesterday morning. We made omelets together but she…. don’t know, she was different. She was rushing. She said E. didn’t have much time and then hang off. Oh my, I even couldn’t tell her how differently beautiful she was!”
“Ok, Thomas just calm down now. Where’s my old friend by the way?” his eyes looking for the old red teapot. “You won’t tell me he’s packed too, will you?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him since I woke up. Maybe in the balcony by the flower pots…”
“Let’s hope so then, son.” His bottom screwed back and placed on the small burner warming up.
Until late afternoon Thomas and Alfonso remained side by side, watching carefully the packed items. Alfonso was trying not to miss Czajnik in this mess. Thomas was thanking to the dried crusts as they were the only proof that he wasn’t leaving the kitchen. Who would pack a dirty pan after all? Yet, he couldn’t find any relief also. D. was emptying one of the bookshelves now. It was becoming destructive.
Just then a knock was heard. D. rushed to the door and gave out a ringing scream. A stranger walked in and 4 big suitcases followed him. None of the wares had seen that face before. D. was hugging and kissing this man in the middle of the kitchen. D.’s mother welcomed him and prepared to leave the house saying with a fine laugh, “Don’t forget to unpack the luggage, kids, if there’re things to keep refrigerated.”
Following her departure, the stranger and D. took the mother’s advice and started with unpacking. D. was now storing the vacuumed bags in the fridge. The stranger was passing one by one paper wrapped cups and D. was carefully unpacking them. A DE cup with almond blossom, another DE cup with lilies, then with wild leaves, and one more with daffodil ornaments. They were all piled on the upper tray of the dishwasher now. From the bottom of a suitcase, the man took out a big gift box. The kitchen top was too messy and crowded to allow the box so they put it on the stove.
D. looked very excited, “Thank you my love, but what is inside this huge box?”
“My dear D.” said the stranger now standing by the kitchen top, holding D.’s hands, I gave you one promise in this life that I was not going to let those hotties live apart from each other.”
*** THE END ***