Thursday, March 19, 2009

Peking Duck


Friday Fiction is hosted this week by

Dee at My Heart's Dee-Light
Spring over there for more seasonal fiction.

Peking Duck
By Beth LaBuff – March 2009
Topic: Asia

In an undisclosed location
Somewhere in China’s wall,
A most uncommon baker
Cooked from dawn to post nightfall.

This surreptitious baker
Used fortune and good luck
To craft world-famous dishes,
His name was Peking Duck.

So skilled in Asian cooking
This waterfowl’d become.
The multi-tasking Peking Duck
Could wok while chewing gum.

His specialty was cookies,
Though he stressed over the crumbs,
Which led to frequent meltdowns –
The China chef Syndrome.

To some he was a legend,
A mystic cooking fable.
He sold his fortune cookies
With the Great Wall Cookie label.

His ancient oven used by those
Within his family tree,
Before this duck was Egg Foo Young,
Before Ming’s Dynasty.

His copy of the recipe
Recorded in his scrawl
Was written down graffiti-style—
Handwriting on the wall.

No need to keep this recipe
Secured behind a lock,
The secret won’t be advertised
Because the “walls don’t talk”.

His prized obscure ingredient,
Stored in a flour sack,
And stirred in with a chopstick
Was the semi-precious “quack”.

A special tool, to seal the edge,
Chef Peking Duck devised.
He’d step down squarely on the dough
His webbed foot utilized.

He’d puzzled o’er the crescent shape,
Persistence would prevail,
He took the flattened cookie
To mold it ‘round his tail.

When family honor—saving face
Had caused blood-ties to thicken,
His second cousin, twice removed,
The noble Kung Pao Chicken…

The chicken wrote a letter—
Requisitioned the republic
And petitioned that the new year
Be “the year of Peking duck”.

***

Somewhere … inside a restaurant
Were signs “No MSG,”
And “Specials of the Evening” were
“Lo Mein and Chop Suey.”

The music’s plinky melody
In pentatonic scale,
Where chairs and tables artfully staged
With strict feng shui detail,

And waitresses and waiters with
Their hair in braided queues,
Served egg rolls to the patrons
And distributed menus.

Each meal would not be complete
Without dessert’s addition.
Each patron got a cookie
That was fashioned per tradition.

A Great Wall Cookie cookie
That compelled a smile to crack
‘Cause when they broke it open
It exhaled a little “quack.”


written for a FaithWriters.com writing challenge
© Beth LaBuff -- March 2009

Inspiration from:
Daniel 5:5 NIV
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared
and wrote on the plaster of the wall,

Proverbs 31:15, 18 NIV
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family ...
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

9 comments:

Teresa Lee Rainey . . . said...

LOL!!! That was sooo much fun! Thanks for a smile today!

Joanne Sher said...

Incredibly fun and masterful, as usual. Love the little prologue too. It quacked me up! :D

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Brilliant! I saw this on the EC list, but haven't been reading or writing many Faithwriters entries this quarter. Congratulations and excellent work!

Dee Yoder said...

Brilliant, Beth! Love this one and it is so funny. ( :

Shelley Ledfors said...

How utterly charming and fun! Loved it all, but I have to admit my favorite line was how he could "wok while chewing gum"! Well done!

Carly said...

I agree with Shelley :) that's a good line!

I also confess that this is probably the cutest origin story for the fortune cookie that I have heard to date.

Hoomi said...

Such a wonderful, poetic duck-tale. It brought a smile and a laugh.

Patty Wysong said...

OH BEFFERS! I adore this one. I laughed, out loud, the whole time I read it! I was soooooo happy to see it EC!!

Betsy Markman said...

This is the kind of thing only you can write, Beth! Love it!