Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Solace, Hope, and a Tasty Snack"

This poem is spillover from the May 4, 2021 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "inclusivity" square in my 5-1-21 card for the Leaky Pipeline Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by a pool with [personal profile] ng_moonmoth and [personal profile] fuzzyred.  It belongs to the Aquariana and Kraken threads of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Solace, Hope, and a Tasty Snack"

[Saturday, April 4, 2015]

Genna felt grateful that she had
clothes suited to tropical weather,
because April in the Indian Ocean
meant a downright steamy day.

She wore a loose white caftan
over a navy keyhole top and
her rainbow dragonfly skirt.
A blue-and-white scarf kept
her hair contained in the wind,
and bangles chimed at her wrists.

Her outfit fluttered around her as
she walked to Hatter's new office on
the floating neighborhood platform,
content to use a landing pad
rather than barge in on him.

One arm curled around the tin
of Salted Caramel Powerballs
that she had brought for Hatter,
while the other hand held a bag
of ingredients for another batch.

The teleporter, still young enough
to trip over his own too-big feet,
clutched his tin with eager fingers.

Genna handed off a baggie with
a few more powerballs to security,
who waved her into Hatter's office.

He looked up as the door opened.
"What brings you here?" he said.

"Everyone I know is looking for
solace, hope, and a tasty snack,"
Genna said with a smile as
she passed him the tin.

"You bring all three, I see,"
Hatter said, opening the tin.
"Powerballs? They're not sticky?"

"They aren't sticky," Genna said.

"And they won't ... shed?"
Hatter said, frowning a little.

"They won't shed either,"
Genna assured him. "You roll
the balls while they're warm and
tacky, pressing firmly so that
the coconut forms a secure coat."

"They seem better than most of
what I've seen," Hatter said.

"I made this recipe especially
for you," Genna explained.
"They taste like caramel, which
you like in brownies. They have
mineral salt for extra electrolytes.
Each one has 210 calories."

Curious, Hatter poked them
with a finger. "Hm, interesting,"
he said, and took a tentative bite.

Then he shoved the rest in his mouth.

"I'm glad you like them," Genna said.
"I'm trying to develop more recipes
for high-burn appetites. Powerballs
are convenient for quick, healthy energy.
These are also very easy to make."

"Well, that's good," said Hatter.
"I wouldn't want you to spend
too much time spoiling me. I
demand enough of you already."

"I thought we might try making
a batch together," she said.

Hatter froze in the act of reaching
for another powerball. "What? Why?"

"Because making food is a thing that
most people do," Genna said. "If you
know how to make things you like,
then you're less dependent on others."

"I don't know if I can," Hatter admitted.

"Well, nobody does until they try,"
Genna said. "I've taught my children
and my students. I can teach you too."

Hatter stuffed the powerball in his mouth
to hide the fact that he was dithering.

"Just think about it," Genna coaxed.
"Inclusivity is very important for soups.
They need to know how to take good care
of themselves and each other. You could
set a good example by participating --
or nobody has to know about it, whatever
makes you feel more comfortable."

"Maybe ... see how it goes,
then decide?" Hatter said.

Genna lifted the bag of supplies.
"I brought ingredients to make
a batch, if you have a kitchen."

"There is one, I've just never
been in it," Hatter admitted.

"Just make sure we won't get
in anyone's way, and I'll show
you what to do," Genna said.

It turned out than in addition to
a cafeteria kitchen, the neighborhood
had a smaller one for cooking lessons.

"I think you'll enjoy this," Genna said.
"All it really takes is pouring things into
a food processor, then rolling out the dough."

"If you say so," Hatter said dubiously.

"First we lay everything out," Genna said.
"That avoids missing an ingredient."

"Oh, like assembling circuits,"
Hatter said, perking up.

"Next we wash our hands,"
Genna said. "If you have
anything that needs to be
covered, just wear gloves."

Hatter froze again, then
shook himself loose and
ruffled a hand through his hair,
revealing a network of tiny scars.

"That's um, that's ..." he muttered.

"It's okay," Genna said. "Some people
have prosthetic equipment, others have
fur. Someone might have a blister, or
just not enjoy handling sticky stuff.
Gloves solve all those problems."

"Inclusivity," Hatter said. "I guess
you've thought of everything."

"Well, I try," Genna said,
then walked him through
the basic setup again.

Hatter was actually good
at measuring things, and
he didn't try to rush ahead
and skip steps the way that
her children sometimes did.

They put the dates, flax seeds,
chia seeds, cashew butter, and
vanilla extract in the food processor.

Hatter looked at the list. "I thought
these were supposed to be caramel?
But there's no sugar and no cooking?"

"Caramel is a cooked sugar, but
so is maple syrup," Genna said,
pointing to the menu. "This also
uses maca powder for nutrients,
which has kind of a caramel flavor.
Then the pink salt adds minerals."

"Ah," Hatter said, enlightened.
"I burn through some minerals
faster than usual. So do a lot
of cyborgs and technopaths."

Genna nodded. "I've been
reading up on The Care and
Feeding of Supervillains."


Nobody knew everything
about the dietary needs of
soups, but people had learned
some things, and she wanted
to learn everything she could.

If she was going to be tipping
teleporters in snacks, the least
she could do was feed them right.

It seemed to be working, because
whenever she visited Hatter, they
followed her around like cats
hoping for tuna to appear.

When Genna turned on
the food processor, Hatter
was fascinated by how
the ingredients first turned
into a loose crumble, then
suddenly balled into dough.

She turned out the dough
onto the countertop and said,
"Now we roll this into a rope
and cut bite-sized pieces."

"Like balls?" Hatter said,
staring at his hands where she
was showing him how to roll
the dough long and round.

"Balls or logs," Genna said.
"A ball is 210 calories. A log
would be 420, like a meal bar."

"We could make some of each?"
Hatter said, looking at the dough.

"Sure," said Genna. "I usually
don't eat more than one powerball
at a time, because I'm not high-burn,
but the teleporter batch is made in logs."

"That makes sense," Hatter said. "I'm
not really high-burn, but sometimes
I need more fuel than usual, especially
if I'm working hard or I forgot to eat."

Genna showed him how to use
the dough cutter to make neat balls
or logs, then roll them in a bowl
of desiccated coconut so they
wouldn't feel sticky to touch.

"You need to press firmly,"
Genna said. "Unlike shreds,
the desiccated coconut has
small crumbs that will sink
right into the surface, making
the powerball smooth and dry."

"Your grasp of kitchen chemistry
and physics is impressive," he said.

Chuckling, Genna said, "I've just
watched my toddlers peel off
coconut shreds and drop them."

"A practical lesson in kitchen physics,"
Hatter admitted. "I like the results."

"Now we just pop these in the fridge
to set," said Genna. "Most recipes
for powerballs say to keep them cold,
but I've found that the drier versions
keep fine on a countertop -- for
the very short amount of time
they last before disappearing."

"I'm fairly sure that nobody
would snitch mine, as long as
I keep the lid on," said Hatter.

"Then you're one up on me,"
Genna said. "I'm lucky if I can
keep people from devouring
ingredients needed for a recipe."

More than once she had opened
a cabinet to find an empty can of nuts
or a bag with three chocolate chips in it.

"Thank you for teaching me how
to make these," Hatter said as
they put the powerballs in a tub.

"You're welcome," Genna said. "Now
you know what to do when you need
solace, hope, and a tasty snack."

* * *

Notes:

"Everyone I know is looking for solace, hope and a tasty snack."
-- Maira Kalman

Sierpinski City has a modular, fractal structure. A neighborhood is a floating triangle of 2 hectares. A basic design calls for housing 300 people in 6 hexagonal buildings, although multiple variations exist. Typically most of the surface is deck with some gardens. The center and one point have large domed gardens. Another point has swimming pools or other activity space. One point is a dock for water travel.

March is the hottest month in Maldives with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F) and the coldest is January at 27°C (81°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 10 in February. The wettest month is September with an average of 243mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in April when the average sea temperature is 30°C (86°F).

Genna's tropical clothes were introduced in "Nothing Is More Comforting" and "Serenity, Hope, Balance."

This set was a gift from Hafsa Latheef.
Navy Keyhole Top and Twist Skirt
Crochet Trim White Caftan
Black Gold Coast Fringe Convertible Dress / Skirt
Seychelles Black-and-White Print 2-piece Romper
Navy-and-white Ikat Tie-Dye 2-piece Maxi Dress
Navy, Turquoise, and White Ikat Print Bag
White Top
White Jeans

She has a black scarf and a navy scarf, each with white butterflies. This is Genna's rainbow dragonfly crinkle skirt.

Genna makes her Salted Caramel Powerballs with maple syrup, cashew butter, and desiccated coconut. Maple syrup is a cooked sugar, and along with the maca powder, it creates the caramel flavor. Cashew butter has a mild flavor so it doesn't overwhelm the caramel notes. Coconut comes in many forms; the desiccated version makes a very secure coating for sticky balls that is less prone to shedding than larger shreds.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, food, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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