[Short Story] Salt and sugar

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Wanda graduated from cooking school and got a job in the kitchen of a new café in her town. She was very happy. She has been working in the café for 6 weeks. She likes her job. The café is new and very small. The café belongs to Gregor. He makes coffee and looks after the customers. Wanda does all the cooking.

Wanda thinks Gregor is very nice, but he is also a tough boss. He wants everything to be perfect.

Today Wanda is having a very bad day. She has been in the kitchen since 6am. Last night, she broke up with her boyfriend. She was very sad so she went to visit her friend Janet. They drank a lot of wine.

Today she feels very ill. Why did I drink so much? I feel terrible, my head hurts and I went to bed so late! I am so tired!

Today Gregor is very excited. “Wanda, we must try very hard today. Look at the man sitting by the window. Do you know who that is?”

Wanda looks at the man. “No. I don’t know him. Who is he?”

“His name is Anton Wesley-Brown. He writes about food and restaurants for the newspaper! If he likes the food here, he will write a good report about this café!”

Wanda understands. Gregor wants the café to be a success.

But why today? Why did this restaurant critic come today?

Gregor goes out of the kitchen to talk to the customers. It is only 11:15 so there are not many people in the café. Most people are drinking coffee and eating muffins and cakes.

Wanda is busy making salads. Today’s special is very simple – a grilled pork chop, with cream and mustard sauce and salad.

I could have cooked something wonderful if I had known that man was coming. No, maybe not. Not today. I am too ill to cook.

Gregor comes back into the kitchen. “Mr Wesley-Brown wants the pork chop!”

“OK,” says Wanda. She takes a pork chop from the refrigerator. She reaches up to the shelf and takes down the seasonings. She sprinkles salt and pepper on the chop and puts it under the grill. She makes the sauce and puts salad on the plate.

When the meal is ready she puts it out near the door of the kitchen. Gregor hurries over and takes the meal to Mr Wesley-Brown.

Wanda turns back to the kitchen. She stares at the counter. Why is there brown sugar on the counter? I used salt, pepper, mustard. I didn’t use brown sugar. There is the pepper and the mustard. Where is the salt? Oh, no! I put brown sugar on the pork chop! Mr Wesley-Brown will hate it! Gregor will be very angry! I will lose my job!

Wanda doesn’t know what to do, so she keeps on working. She finishes all the food preparation. It is almost noon and many customers are coming in for lunch. It will be a busy day.

Gregor comes into the kitchen. “Wanda! Mr Wesley-Brown wants to talk to you.”

The restaurant critic comes into the kitchen. “This is Wanda. She does all the cooking,” says Gregor.

“I know you are very busy,” says Mr Wesley-Brown. “But I just have one question. Did you put brown sugar on my chop?”

Wanda looks at the floor. This is it, she thinks. I am going to lose my job. Gregor will fire me.

“Ur, yes,” she says.

I will have to explain, she thinks. But Mr Wesley-Brown is speaking.

It is a very good idea. The chop was very tasty. I like the way the sugar turned to caramel under the grill. Keep up the good cooking.”

He smiles and goes out. Gregor looks very happy.

Wanda smiles too and goes back to work.

I will have to have a hangover more often, she thinks.