Welcome to Culinary Goodness!

The Savorys were founded by Almond, the man who moved away from his life in Riverview and bought a plot of land in Sunset Valley. Will he and his legacy make it through fifteen generations, with fifteen simmers telling their story?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chapter 19

I guess I won't be winning any "sister of the year" awards seeing as the night I agreed to go out with Johnny - and found out about the mysterious boy - was Parsley's fourteenth birthday. Seeing as I rarely tell anyone of my plans, no one thought to stop me as I headed outside, thinking I was going to putter around the garden for a while before the great blowing of the candles on the cake. But nope. I missed it. It was worth it, though.

In honor of starting high school, Parsley adopted a sort of 'punk' look, letting his bangs grow out and wearing more black than usual. I don't know what mom and dad think about it, but I think he's turning into some sort of emo-kid. Parsley says it's just so that he doesn't look like the 'gentle poet' that he 'truly is'. Whatever. It's just him being his usual weird and dramatic self, I think.

Parsley didn't complain about my missing out on his birthday 'party' if it could be called that, though. I think he's actually relieved that I wasn't there to shove his face into the cake as is my tradition.

Anyway, I set out for the Espinoza household during the early hours of the afternoon. Johnny and I hadn't really worked out a specific time, so I'm hoping that I'm at least expected. I know I'll strangle him if he hasn't even told anyone that I'm coming.

I was surprised at the size of Johnny's house. He's never given me a reason to think of him as poor, but I wasn't anticipating seeing such a pretty and large house. It's nothing like the Savory property but somehow just as nice.

I stood, staring at the stained glass for a few minutes before I managed to work up the courage to knock. Johnny's never been over to my house and it feels weird knowing I'm about to enter his. Especially because I'll finally be put in contact with the mystery boy. What if he doesn't live up to my expectations? Have I built him up so much in my mind that I'll be completely and utterly disappointed when I finally meet him? Or worse still, what if I don't meet his? Johnny said he'd been intrigued by me and that's why he wanted to meet me. What if this "Max" doesn't think I'm worth his attention?

All my worries set my stomach churning and I thought about turning around and heading straight back home right then and there. But I'm no coward and I won't ever find rest if I don't get this stupid boy out of my head. Little did I know that the mystery boy would never get out of my head.

Johnny met me at the front door with the usual smile plastered on his face. "He's shy," Johnny warned, "But willing to meet you. I'll be upstairs if you need anything." And with an impish grin, my 'friend' ran off, leaving me alone at the threshold of the house.

I wandered inside cautiously, my mind throwing up a thousand different ways to murder Johnny for having left me in such a situation. I heard the gentle strumming of a guitar coming from my left, though, so I followed it hoping I might find someone who might be friendly.

Then I saw him. He was just as beautiful and mysterious as the first time I'd accidentally seen him during my very first drive. Johnny wasn't lying when he'd said that Max was shy. His hand gently squeezed my own, his touch feather-light, and his voice barely rose above a whisper as he introduced himself as "Maxwell Vermont" but could I "please call him Max?".

When I told him my name was Chocolate, a slow smile spread across Max's face.

I know it sounds corny to say it, but the very moment I looked into his light green eyes and saw that gentle smile, I knew I was a goner. Before this moment, I didn't believe in all that love at first sight crap, but apparently it's true. It really does happen! And it was easy enough to believe that Max felt the exact same way as me even though neither of us said it aloud.

For the first time in my life, I smiled for no reason and didn't care who was watching... except that I knew I wanted Max's eyes on me.

We stood in his living room and slowly, I worked on breaking Max out of his quiet shell, an endeavor that would have bored me within minutes if it were anyone else. But I persevered and got him talking, sharing interests with me. Max is a great listener though and it felt like we really connected. Although I'd wanted to murder Johnny for ditching me, now I could only think of gratuitous thoughts about his vanishing act. Maybe he wasn't trying to be mean. Maybe Johnny was just trying to make meeting his adoptive brother easier on the both of us. Whatever his reasons, I'm thankful for them. I doubt Max and I would've clicked quite so easily if he'd been present.

I'm not going to lie and say that I got Max talking and opening up to me within that one day. It took weeks before he started speaking in a voice other than the gentle whispers I'd come to associate with him. Slowly, I started to unravel the mysterious Maxwell Vermont. I learned that he'd been placed for adoption at the tender age of two when his parents, both drug sellers, had been killed during a gang fight. It wasn't a past to be proud of, but I felt nothing but joy when he told me. Up until that point, Max had never shared anything quite so personal with me and it made me feel that much closer to him.

Eventually, I became such a regular fixture at the Espinoza house that I wound up meeting Johnny's parents. I don't remember their names, but I am grateful that they took Max in. If they hadn't adopted him... if they hadn't moved to Sunset Valley, I would never have met my other half.

Max and I did everything together - often at his house given that Johnny was busy hanging out with Cinnamon at mine. Though I hadn't worked enough magic to make Max start attending the public school, I did manage to coax him out of the house every now and again. It was almost always after the hustle and bustle of the city was drawing to a close, but it was progress. Max has opened up to me and by extension, his own family, far more than anyone ever thought he would.

I would know. I received proof of that on one fateful Saturday afternoon. Max and I had been sitting in front of the fireplace, talking about nothing in particular, when I felt the itch to try something I'd never done before. Not knowing how to go about this sort of thing nor how Max might react, I moved slowly and carefully, cautioning him with my eyes.

Fortunately, I was well met and damn, what a kisser that boy is. Journal, I think I'm in love...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chapter 18

My first time driving would have been fairly uneventful if it hadn't been for him.

I'd been cruising along the neighborhoods closest to the city, getting a feel for the streets when I first caught a glimpse of him. He was standing around outside in what I guess was his front yard, just staring up at the stars. His head whipped around when he saw my headlights and the focus of his eyes shifted from the night sky to me.

How do I know he was looking at me? Easy. When the glare of my lights illuminated his face, I saw that his strangely beautiful, clear green eyes were staring at me. I don't know what to make of this stranger. I've never seen him before, not in school or around town.

I went home thinking about that mysterious stranger. He appeared to be around my age. Maybe I'll see him in school sometime. I hope I do. He's the first person to ever intrigue me this way.

I drove Cinnamon and me to school the next morning. She wanted a turn, but I told her that since I'd already driven this part of town, it'd be better for me to do it. Really, I just wanted to control the speed so I could keep an eye out for the mystery boy from last night.

Unfortunately I didn't see him anywhere and I couldn't just go looking for him. Not when Cinn will follow me around, telling me I shouldn't be skipping. Not when I know that Cinn will go tattle to a teacher, swearing she's got my best interests at heart, the very second I ditch anyway. So I headed over to the Student Parking Lot - right across the park in front of the school - and got my stuff. Maybe I'd see him inside? He has to go to school, right?

Cinn took note of my distracted mood and headed off to school before I did, grumbling about it being her turn to drive when we go home. I ignored her. As if I'll let her drive! Anyway, I took my time gathering the books I wouldn't read and stuffing them into the backpack that I'd ditch in my locker. When I'd finally made it to the park, there were only ten minutes left until the first bell rang. I'd have made it in plenty of time if I hadn't been interrupted by a boy stepping in front of me so fast I nearly crashed right into him.

I studied the boy's face. Definitely not my mystery boy from last night. This one had a cute baby face with green eyes that didn't resemble the other boy's in any way. He had wild brown hair that I'm assuming he carefully styled to look messy given the amount of gel in it.

"Hi. I'm Johnny Espinoza." The boy said, talking too fast as if he were afraid I wouldn't hear him if he wasn't quick.

I stared at him. For a second, I contemplated just side-stepping around him and going on my merry way. But... I'd never seen this Johnny kid before, just like I'd never seen the other boy either. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to get to know him. So I introduced myself. "Chocolate Savory." I glowered at him, daring him to make fun of my name.

"Wow, that's an interesting name. Anyway, um, well, my family and I just moved in last night and... I was hoping someone might be able to show me around town. I do a lot of the errands for my family and it'd be nice if I could do them all without getting lost." Johnny grinned sheepishly. I couldn't help rolling my eyes. What a dorky kid.

When I only stared at him, Johnny pressed onward. "Will you help me out, Chocolate? Please? I noticed you have a car. I'll pay for gas and everything if you'll help me out."

He looked up at me with those puppy dog eyes. I sighed. Shaking his kid would be hard. So I shrugged my shoulders and nodded. "Sure. I'll take you around. And if I show you good places to eat, you're paying for that too."

Johnny's whole face lit up like a little kid. "Thanks so much!"

"Yeah, whatever. If you're enrolled for school, you'd better get your butt moving. We're gonna be late."

That's how life changed for me. Most days, we'd go straight to the stores after school. I'd show Johnny Espinoza around and then we'd go back a few days later to make sure he understood where everything was and whatever other odd tidbits of trivia I'd told him. I'm actually pretty impressed. That guy has an amazing memory and usually remembers things that even I don't remember saying.

Sometimes, we just hung out for the sake of hanging out. Mom and dad realized I was spending an awful lot of time with Johnny though and insisted I invite Cinnamon too. They swear that they just want Cinn to get out more often, but I know the real reason they made her tag along. Cinn is like the perfect spy. They wanna know who Johnny is and why I'm spending time with him.

I'm happy to report that Johnny doesn't like Cinn all that much. Apparently she'd been crushing on him for a while and when she tried hugging him, he freaked out. I found hanging out with the two of them most amusing. So spy away, mom and dad. It's all a huge entertainment factor for me!

But still. This whole idea of Cinn liking Johnny did bother me a little bit. She's my twin after all. I'm not totally heartless as to keep hanging out with the boy she likes. Especially not when it's starting to feel like he likes me.

Johnny invited me to the Bistro one night. We'd been hanging out for around two weeks. I still hadn't figured out how to bring up the mysterious boy and Johnny isn't spilling any family secrets either. I agreed to the outing for only two reasons.

1. I really wanted to know how Johnny feels about me. I can't let this hanging out crap continue if the boy likes me. I won't do that to Cinn.

2. I need to know if he knows about that mysterious boy! In all these two weeks of Johnny being in school, I have yet to see that boy again. Did I imagine him? No, I don't think I did and I have a suspicion that Johnny knows about this boy.

So I agreed to meet with him. The first half of the evening actually went really well, I think. We talked and joked around like usual while enjoying a really tasty dinner. The food wasn't anywhere near as good as I know my dad can make, but they get an A for effort.

But after a while, I just couldn't hold my questions in. I put my fork down gingerly on the plate and looked Johnny in the eyes. "Listen Johnny. I'll be honest with you. It's been fun hanging out for the past two weeks, but I just don't know what you want from me. You know my twin, Cinnamon, really likes you, right? I can't keep coming out with you if you like me or anything."

Johnny put his fork down too and looked at me. His green eyes seemed sad. To avoid looking at him and getting involved with the emotionally charged atmosphere, I picked up my fork and shoveled a little more food into my mouth.

"It's been really fun, Chocolate." Johnny agreed. "And I know Cinnamon likes me. I just couldn't focus on building a relationship with her. Not when I had something more important to do."

My eyebrow arched questioningly. "What could be more important than getting to know my sister?"

Johnny fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. "You're gonna think it's weird, but I may as well tell you the truth now. To answer one of your questions, I really do like your sister and I'm not after you as a boyfriend or anything. We're friends and nothing more, I promise."

Well that was a relief. I'll be able to tell Cinnamon not to give up on the guy when I get home tonight.

"The reason I'm hanging out with you so much is because... well... I've never told you this, but I have a brother, Max. He's adopted and painfully shy so he's home schooled. He saw you once, though, when you were driving at night. He asked me to get to know you. He wants to meet you himself, actually. So I promised him I'd take you out tonight and see how you felt about coming over tomorrow."

Johnny looked at his plate, his cheeks turning red with embarrassment. I, on the other hand, was elated. The mystery guy! I'd found him! Stupid Johnny did know him. Part of me wanted to kill him for not telling me, but the rational side of me understands that Johnny couldn't possibly know that I'd been searching for the mystery boy.

"Well. Thanks for dinner, Johnny. See you tomorrow. And tell Max I'll be seeing him tomorrow too." I stood up then and walked to my car, fighting the smile that was plastered all over my face.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chapter 17

High school isn't all that different when you compare it to middle and elementary school. The only difference? You can get away with a lot more. There was this kid, Jared Fletcher I think, who everyone thinks is a total monster. I don't know why and I've never bothered to find out. All I know is that he made prime pickings for the mean streak I try to avoid showing off at home. The year came and went quickly and before I knew it, it was summer vacation. A lot changed in the hot months.

For starters, Parsley turned eight. He's starting elementary school now.

I'd like to say my relationship with the kid has improved considerably since his baby days, but I'd be lying. We don't get along, especially not since his newest hobby includes... you guessed it! The computer! Parsley seems to have picked up mom's love for writing because that's all the boy does. He just sits in front of the blinding computer screen, clacking away at the keyboard for hours on end. I don't know what kind of stories an eight-year-old boy can come up with, but our parents - mom in particular - really encourage this new hobby of his.

Parsley isn't the only one picking up new hobbies though. For once in her life, Cinnamon is doing something that I wholeheartedly approve of. I don't really care much for astrology, but she's finally left the wretched computer in favor of spending her nights outside, staring into the starry sky of Sunset Valley. In fact, she only ever comes inside to use the computer whenever she thinks she's come across a constellation that she doesn't recognize.

But stargazing isn't the only thing Cinn's picked up. As a gift for having excellent grades, mom and dad bought her a brand new guitar. They would've bought me one, too, but I'd declined their offer. I don't need a guitar. Sure, I love music like any other normal teenager, but it's Cinn who has the patience to actually try learning how to play. I have to admit, she's not half bad. You can hear her twanging away all day long and, although she was pretty awful at first, she's gotten the hang of it. She can actually play a few simple melodies now. I'm hoping she improves faster though seeing as there's only so many times you can hear the same rhythm over and over again.

As for me? I've started my own number of hobbies and interests. For starters, I don't wanna be idle. Sure, my parents work and all and they get their fair share of running around, but aside from the occasional hobby that has them on their feet, all they do is laze around. I'm not criticizing them - not too badly - but I think that they'll regret being so out of shape when they get older. So I've started working out. Most days, I visit the gym or jog around the city but when it's just too hot to even set foot outside, I figured it's okay to tolerate the stereo. I just turn it onto an upbeat station and spend at least two hours a day stretching and toning my body.

Apart from looking frickin' hot, I think this will benefit me in the future.

But much as I love working out, I don't have the stamina or the will to devote more time to it. So in my cooling periods, I read a lot. Mom might encourage me to read more if I were actually reading things that interest her such as news stories or maybe even fantasy books like the ones that Parsley seems so intent on writing. But I don't care for those kinds of things. I'm a no-nonsense kind of girl.

So I spend my nights (and occasionally my mornings) reading a lot of how-to books. So far, it's dad who really supports my preferred genres. I think though that it has to do with what I said last time. About being one of the only kids who has shown a real interest in cooking. I'm picking up a lot of tips on dishes and I've been itching to try them out.

Thankfully, dad's a really good teacher. More and more kids seem intent on hurting themselves skateboarding - resulting in broken bones that sometimes require surgery to set right - or fishing, in which too many youngsters come in with hooks piercing their skin, which tires my dad out. He comes home late sometimes and is almost always on call. Still, despite all that, he's patient and spends a great deal of time with me in the kitchen.

Dad has looked over my culinary books and started with the basics of cooking, teaching me how to dice fruits and vegetables and stuff like that. He'll cook an entire dish with me watching like a hawk. Afterward, it's my turn to replicate his moves and although my food doesn't always turn out as delicious as his does, I'm starting to get a hang of things.

The majority of fruits and vegetables I practice on come from the garden. Sometimes, when I don't have the patience to wait for dad to come home and pick the fruits, I've taken to going outside and observing the plants myself. In the solitary hours of staring and analyzing and then slowly just enjoying being outside, I seem to have cultivated an interest in gardening. There's something soothing about having my feet sink into the rich soil, being surrounded by luscious green plants and succulent fruits and vegetables, just begging to be plucked from their corresponding vines or branches. A good deal of my how-to books switched from work-out routines and favorable exercises to gardening books. I slowly learned to recognize the subtle differences between a perfect fruit and an acceptable fruit, which at first had all looked the same to me.

One would think that my mother, always busy on the telephone or typing away at the computer upstairs or even spending so many hours at work, would not notice the changes in my day-to-day routine. Surprisingly enough though, she did.

As she received phone calls ranging from asking opinions on the latest articles her firm had yet to publish or made calls to the maid services in order to request a maid for our own home, she would watch me toiling out in the garden through the window.

Even as she wrote her articles or revised her employee's words, she would grow distracted.

One night, as I took up the rusty watering can which had been in my family for several generations, I was surprised to hear soft footsteps padding lightly against the soil followed by the sound of water trickling onto the leaves of a tomato plant.

"Mom?" I asked, surprised. I rarely saw her outside anymore, not since she'd been promoted at work, even though it had been her idea to revive the old garden.

She looked up from the plant. "I figured you might want some company out here. It's good of you to have kept up the gardening when I forgot to."

I said nothing. It was the first time I'd been complimented by my mom. Usually she complained about my lack of shared interests with her. She never called me a bad kid or anything, but it still didn't improve our relationship. At her words though, I merely shrugged. "I like gardening."

"I do too." Mom replied, moving onto the next plant. She fingered the leaves tenderly. In that moment, I learned that my mom could be another teacher to me. Just as dad taught me about cooking, mom could teach me far more about gardening than the books I was reading could. "If you want, you can leave the rest to me, Chocolate. I imagine you might be a little busy in a few minutes."

Puzzled, I looked up at her. Mom had a big smile on her face as she gestured toward the front yard. I put the watering can down and peeked around the corner of the house. There, on the lawn, was a car. A car that neither of my parents drove. A car I'd never seen before. I looked at her incredulously.

"It's for you and Cinnamon, but I figure you might wanna take it for a test drive first." With a wink, mom dug into her pockets and fished out a pair of keys. She tossed them lightly toward me. I was so surprised, it was only my finely tuned reflexes that enabled me to catch them. "Go on." Mom urged.

"Thanks!" I managed before running toward the car. I slid into the leather seat, inhaling the new car smell. Then I inserted the key into the ignition and turned it, reveling in the sound of the engine's purr. I carefully reversed out into the street and grinned. Oh the possibilities were endless. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going, but I'm definitely taking advantage of this.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chapter 16

Dear Diary,

My name is Chocolate Savory and I am--. Okay, no. This sounds really cheesy, like some sort of stupid tween-romance novel.

Let’s try again.

See that girl in the picture? That’s me, Chocolate Savory. I know, my name’s weird, but apparently everyone in this family is named after a spice, food, or beverage. It doesn’t bother me though. I secretly really love eating chocolate. Wait. Does that count as cannibalism? I dunno. Anyway!

I’m a twin. My sister’s name is Cinnamon. That’s her, photographed below.

Technically, Cinn’s older but it’s only by one teensy minute. I really don’t even understand how we can be considered twins. After all, we’re totally different, and not just in looks. She's a blonde, I'm a brunette. How much more different can we get? Lemme tell you. Pretty darn different.

Well, we do have a few things in common. Very, very few. Both of us enjoy a good game of chess and that's where the similarities end. I enjoy the traditional game. You know. The one where you actually sit down at a real chess board with real chess pieces.

But not Cinn. Oh sure, she'll try her hand every now and then at the real thing, but she prefers the virtual version of chess. She can spend an entire afternoon staring at the stupid computer screen, playing with her stupid online nerd friends.

I don't get it. I really don't. What's the appeal? What's the fun in clicking a mouse to decide where your pawn will go? It's not just virtual chess that I don't understand. It's electronics in general. I hate computers and tv. Whoever invented them should rot in hell.

I mean really. What happened to losing yourself in the pages of a good book? Nooo. Now they have all these e-books where you can read online. You can do just about anything online these days. Which I hate. Stupid electronics. Our house is full of them. You can't enter a room without there being some sort of technological thing.

The only exception to that rule is my room. The one I share with Cinn. Oh I know she wishes we had a computer of our own and I know she's been begging mom for the past year to get her one for our bedroom. Thankfully, mom isn't that lenient, insisting that she'll have to make do with using the family computers upstairs. Good. I would loathe having one of those demonic devices in our bedroom. The closest thing to an electronic in our room is the toy oven.

I don't mind that one so much though. I'm the only one that uses it. I'll have to admit, my muffins aren't the greatest, but dad eats them just the same. I think he's trying to encourage me to learn how to cook seeing as I'm the only one that's shown interest in that. According to dad, our family is full of amazing cooks. I wouldn't know seeing as my grandparents are dead, so I obviously can't ask them. Speaking of family though...

This little rugrat photographed above is my younger brother, Parsley. He's a lot younger than Cinn and I, given that he was born a couple of years after we were, but he's alright. He gets along with Cinn better than me. I think, though, that it's because whenever mom buys us candy from the convenience store, I usually steal his share.

And this guy? That's dad, Curry Savory. He's currently a resident at the hospital, but he swears he's on the verge of a promotion. I always wondered why he went into medicine when he said our family was made up of cooks. Shouldn't he be a chef at some fancy restaurant? Not that he doesn't know how. Dad makes a mean spaghetti and I always look forward to eating dinner every night. When I asked him about that, he said that a good cook doesn't always have to stick to just one thing.

"It's good to be well practiced in lots of things, Chocolate." Dad told me that one evening. "Why become a chef? I love to cook, yes, but I also love helping people. That's why I started the path of a doctor. I can cook the foods I love for my family and friends, and I can also help others when they most need me. Does that make sense, my little Chocolate?"

I still don't get it. I told him I did, though, just to shut him up.

Enough about dad. This lady here is my mom, Selena Savory. Mom's not the type to cook. She prefers the stuff before cooking, aka gardening. In fact, mom's reviving the garden outside is the reason we hardly ever go without fresh fruits and vegetables during meals. I love my mom, really I do, but apart from an interest in gardening, we don't really share much in common. I don't get to see her as often as I see dad. You'd think it'd be the other way around, but nope. Mom's either at the office, editing the articles for the newspaper, or at home, busy, clacking away to finish her novel. See? Evil technology strikes again! At least dad always has time for a game of chess with me. I can't wait until I'm older. Then I'll rid the house of all these stupid computers.

Lucky for me, getting older isn't going to take too long. It's me and Cinn's fourteenth birthdays today. None of our relatives could make it, so we had a private, quiet party at home.

Cinn, my poor, unfortunate sister. She's been working hard on growing her hair throughout our youth, but being the klutz that she is... well... let's just say she had a little accident. She tripped at school the day after our birthday and wound up getting gum that some stupid kid had thrown on the ground tangled up in her hair. There was no helping the beautiful tresses. Nothing could get the sticky mess out. So in the end, Cinn had to cut it.

Cinnamon had hoped that she'd only have to cut off a little bit, but in the end, the damage was so bad, she'd been forced to get a pixie cut just to get rid of the mess. She cried as the hair dresser snipped away those beautiful golden locks. I know it sounds mean, but I just couldn't help sneaking away during the event to sneak a giggle. I mean really. Crying over hair? What a dumb thing to do. In the end, Cinn got used to her hair and actually really likes the style. It compliments her face given that she was also prescribed thick glasses, the result of spending too much time in front of a computer screen.

Why doesn't my family get it? Technology is bad. Mom hardly spends time with any of us kids because of the computer. Cinn needs glasses - and probably tripped because she couldn't see, thus causing the loss of her hair - because of the computer.

But no. My family doesn't understand. I'm the only sane one in this house. I stay away from computers and television and I've wisely kept my hair cropped short to avoid any bubblegum disasters.

My name is Chocolate Savory, and this is my story.


Okay, here are the potential heirs! I had a lovely time with the Savories, and can't wait to see what will happen to them next :)

Chocolate Savory


Traits: Evil, Technophobe, Light Sleeper

Cinnamon Savory


Traits: Genius, Loser, Virtuoso

Parsley Savory


Traits: Athletic, Eccentric

Who will be the heir, and what is in store for the Savories next?