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THE IRON BAY CHEF: A letter to Junie Ginsburg

Dear Miss Ginsburg,

 First, and for the record, I want to state categorically: I do not cook.

Second, I have recently converted to veganism. I am hard core, so even if I did cook I would not eat fish, squid or the big, black worm. They were never to my taste anyway.

Having said that, it should be clear that what follows is not a recipe and I am not entering this contest. I do not feel comfortable putting you, Miss Ginsburg, in a position to judge me in a field of rivals. You know very well I would kill the competition – metaphorically.

Rather than a recipe, what I am sharing is a family memory. I read it in a copy of the Olde Farmer’s Almanac I found while idly passing time at the train station last Sunday.

The story was one of those feel good pieces readers send in because they think others care about their lives. Usually they are mundane little ho-hums but this one was different. An old lady was recalling her childhood in New Babbage and how she and her mother used to pick fresh cinderberries from hedges that grew wild along the edge of Coronet Gardens.

The dear mother would then take those bruise-coloured berries and inspect each one. You can’t have overripe berries going into anything children might ingest. Each berry, she said, should be a blending of pale gray and deep plum and it should be firm enough that the skin splits to the press of a thumbnail.

The mother put about a gallon of berries in a large pot with some apple cider, lemon juice, cloves, cane sugar and diced pears. She’d simmer them covered and on a very low heat until the whole house was redolent with the heady scent and the berries all popped. The pot of berry sauce would then be cooled and served as a condiment – ideally with poultry or mutton.

Miss Ginsburg, as I said, I do not cook – but for you I would cook the finest meal and serve it with this cinderberry sauce. Just send word via urchin to the train station. I am spending my time there for a few weeks because my apartment is being renovated.

If you would rather not sample my sauce then feel free to append this recipe (but not a real recipe) to the entry from that illiterate hillbilly from Dairy. I noticed he forgot to add cinderberries to his Wiggs Dinner.

Sincerely, your humble servant,


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  1. Cleetus O'Reatus Cleetus O'Reatus September 15, 2013

    Dammit! This here contest be rigged. Cinderberries only grow around New Babbage. How the hell am I supposed ta reliably get me hands on cinderberries when my only source from the city be that chronic silver-hair and his skinny squire side-kick?

  2. Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg September 15, 2013

    Mr. Petharic, I’m sure you would prepare the best vegan meal an assassin is capable of preparing, and perhaps I would join you if it weren’t for the fact that you’ve been attempting to kill Emerson for so many years. That does put a bit of a crimp in our relationship.

    Even though this isn’t a real entry for an entree I will still give it a try. It’s too bad you’re a vegan now…I’ll bet a bit of this sauce on bread would be well complemented by a tall, frosty glass of fresh buttermilk with a dollop of sweet clover honey…



  3. Mumsy Abigail Mumsy Abigail September 18, 2013

    Hah! You don’t cook and you’ve decided to become a vegan?  You’re going to starve if you stay in this city.

    *breaks into a smile*

    And now that I think about it, that is the best news I’ve heard for months.

    • Petharic Petharic September 18, 2013

      Where others starve I thrive, Ms. Sharp, my body is a temple and I am the high priest.

      • Mumsy Abigail Mumsy Abigail September 19, 2013

        Well…you’re high, anyway.

        You’ve been after Lighthouse for too long.

        • Petharic Petharic September 20, 2013

          You are starting to irritate me.

          • Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger September 20, 2013

            Starting?  Good to see you’re out of that coma…

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