Food Of Love

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “The Recipe Is ..” …

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“The recipe is -”

“- not going to work,” said Charlotte.

“Yes it will,” said Lydia defensively. “Ancient lore says that the Love Potion really works, and has led to some of the great romances – it’s how Cleopatra attracted Anthony, Aphrodite attracted Adonis and Cathy attracted Heathcliff.”

“Cleopatra got her man because she looked like a Goddess, Aphrodite got hers because she was a Goddess, and Cathy and Heathcliff are two people from a book,” said Charlotte.

Lydia was the chairperson, and indeed sole member, of the Trinity College Wiccan Society (it was not called the Witchcraft Society because she had discovered an old and never-repealed college bye-law which stated that “Wythches shalt be Putteth in stockes in theyre Smallclothes, and Pelted with the Droppings of Horƒes”, and there were still stocks in the main quadrangle of the college). She had founded it because she had believed in the power of Witchcraft ever since she had watched old re-runs of Bewitched when she was a little girl. Indeed, her nose was very slightly out of shape from trying to wiggle it the way Samantha used to do.

At college she made potions from herbs and spices which she claimed eased everything from pre-exam stress to post-exam hangovers, and tried to peddle them to students who simply laughed at her. She didn’t realise that had she called herself a Herbalist instead of a Wiccan she would have fared a lot better.

Charlotte was her room-mate and best friend, who employed a healthy cynicism to keep her as grounded as it was possible for Lydia ever to be.

But now Lydia was in love. She had met a student called Adam from Astrophysics who knew all about the God Particle, the Large Hadron Collider and the existence of worm-holes. What he didn’t seem to know about was the existence of Lydia.

Unrequited love, though, was not to be tolerated by a girl who had once turned a frog into a toad (though she had to admit that she wasn’t totally sure that she’d succeeded, since they pretty much look the same). Plan A, staring lovingly at the back of Adam’s head across the college library, hadn’t worked, so she was going for the love potion.

“Why not forget about him?” asked Charlotte. “Aren’t there any male wiccans?”

“Warlocks,” said Lydia.

“No, I was being serious,” said Charlotte.

Lydia ignored her. She stood in front of her tupperware bowl, or cauldron as she liked to call it. She half-filled it with champagne.  She dropped in some petals of roses of red, and of violets of blue. She added some oysters. She went to the fridge, took out a fruit-of-the forest yogurt, and poured it in (“It was going to be out of date by tomorrow,” she told Charlotte’s raised eyebrows).  She took the CD of Wonderful Tonight and broke it into the bowl.

“Music, it’s the food of love,” she explained.

“Horƒeƒhit,” thought Charlotte.

“Now,” said Lydia, I have to use something of his. I followed him around a golf-course last Saturday (don’t look at me like that) and I found a golf-ball that he hit into a bush.” So saying she took a golf ball and a nutcracker, and crunched the ball up and into the pot.

“That’s your best idea yet,” said Charlotte. “If you want to get a man to take notice, crushing one of his balls will work every time.”

Lydia put the concoction into the microwave (“As done by witches throughout the ages,” as Charlotte said), then after 30 seconds removed it. It smoked in a most satisfactory way. She decanted it into a traditionally love-potion-shaped bottle.

“How are you going to give it to him?” asked Charlotte.

“At the Trinity Ball tonight,” said Lydia. “I’m going to pour it into his Guinness, that’d hide the taste of anything. Now I’ve to go and get myself ready.”

She headed off to her room and emerged twenty minutes later (this is fiction, remember). Charlotte gaped at her friend in admiration. Her raven-black hair had been straightened, and her lipstick was the same scarlet as a dress that had a deep V in the front and a deeper, inverted V up one leg.

“You look stunning,” said Charlotte.

“Well, it’s like any recipe,” said Lydia. “Presentation is everything.”

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