Fiction Friday

Every Friday, I will be sharing one of my old stories.
I’m starting out with one I wrote back in the eighties.
I re-wrote it in script form, and it was published in the
May, 1982 issue of “Plays, The Drama Magazine For
Young People”.
I posted the story on an old website of mine (now defunct), and now I’m sharing it here.

The Best Recipe For Rice Pudding

Nobody, but nobody, could cook and bake like Miss Custard. Homemade noodles, soups made from scratch, Hungarian goulash, strawberry shortcake, Belgian waffles, and countless other flavorsome foods. You could have all but one of her recipes for the asking. The one recipe Miss Custard would not share was her prize-winning recipe for rice pudding.

Now, among Miss Custard’s neighbors was a woman known to all as Scrubwoman Katie, for she earned her living by scrubbing floors. One day, late in the afternoon, Katie came to Miss Custard’s house.

“I’m sorry, Katie,” Miss Custard said, “but I don’t need my floors scrubbed today.”

“I’m not here to scrub your floors,” Katie replied.

Miss Custard was puzzled. “Then why are you here?”

“I’m here to talk about rice pudding,” Katie said.

“But you know I never give that recipe to anybody.”

“Oh, I’m not here to get your recipe,” Katie said with a laugh.

“You’re not?”

“Of course not,” Katie replied. “I’ve come to give you my recipe for rice pudding.”

Your recipe for rice pudding?” Miss Custard repeated.

“Yes indeed,” said Katie, “my recipe for rice pudding. I’ll have you know that I have the world’s best recipe for rice pudding.”

“That’s preposterous,” scoffed Miss Custard. “Everyone knows that I have the best recipe for rice pudding.”

“Everyone thinks you do,” Katie said, “but the truth of the matter is that I have the best recipe for rice pudding.”

“Nonsense,” said Miss Custard.

“I can prove it, if you’ll supply the ingredients.”

“Very well,” Miss Custard said, ushering Katie into her kitchen.

In a very short time, Katie had a pot of rice cooking on the stove. Before Miss Custard could say a word, Katie opened the refrigerator, took out some mixed vegetables, and threw them into the pot.

“What in the world are you doing?” Miss Custard gasped. “Whoever heard of vegetables in rice pudding?”

“Oh, dear,” Katie said, “I got mixed up for a minute. I thought I was making soup. Oh, well, I’ll get it right this time. I really do have the best recipe for rice pudding.”

“I seriously doubt that, but you may try again.”

Before long, Katie had a second pot of rice on the stove. She opened a can of tuna fish and stirred it into the rice.

Now what are you doing?” Miss Custard demanded.

“Oh, dear. I was making rice pudding, wasn’t I? For a minute, I thought I was making a tuna casserole. I’ll tell you what. This time, I’ll stir up the pudding part first, so I won’t get mixed up again.”

Katie prepared the pudding without any mistakes.

“That does smell good,” Miss Custard admitted.

“Of course it does. Don’t forget, I have the best recipe for rice pudding,” Katie said, taking some of the uncooked rice, and pouring it into the pudding.

“Katie, are you out of your mind? You’re supposed to cook the rice first!”

“Dear me, I am forgetful today,” Katie said, “but if you’ll let me try again, you’ll see that I really do have the best recipe for rice pudding.”

“No,” said Miss Custard, “I don’t believe you know the first thing about making rice pudding. I will make it. And you may as well stay for supper,” she added.

And so, Katie and Miss Custard ate supper together that evening. They had the soup and the tuna casserole Katie had made, and for dessert, of course, they had rice pudding, Miss Custard’s raisin-stuffed, cinnamon-sprinkled rice pudding.

“Well, what do you think of my rice pudding?” Miss Custard asked.

“Delicious,” Katie replied. “It’s the best rice pudding I’ve ever tasted.”

Miss Custard was triumphant. “You see? And you said that you had the best recipe for rice pudding!”

“Oh,” Katie said, “but I do have it… now!”

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