#9 The Spoken Isle
Cook Conomos

Opa! Yamas! Whooppeee! Finally we land on the Spoken Isle! I thought we would NEVER get here especially after that land of sci-fi horror that we just experienced… the SLOP that we had to force down our throats – colourless, odourless, textureless and tasteless! Ugh! My ancestors would have turned in their graves.

Speaking of ancestors – this is the land of our ancestors. The land of our past where the greatest stories, myths and legends were born and told around camp fires and inspired future generations for ever after. Look at the rolling hills, the palaces, the sunny sky and the sparkling seas. Ah, yes I’m home. This is the­­­­­­­­­­­­ land where I will find the juiciest, tastiest, most magical and enchanted ingredients for our collection and for my recipe book. I intend to cook up a feast for the crew to boost morale after that grey gruel we all had to endure.

Cook Conomos Shopping List from The Spoken Isle

  1. Apples

Snow White’s Apple (Note to self: careful with the poisoned half!)

  1. Peas and Beans

Pea from Princess and the Pea

Beans from Jack’s Beanstalk

  1. Cheese

The Crow’s cheese from Aesop’s Fox and the Crow

  1. Gingerbread

Hansel and Gretel’s Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread Man

  1. Wine and Mead

Cyclops’ Wine

Red and White Dragons’ Mead – from the Mabinogion Story (Warning: Too much can bring on severe day-time drowsiness. Perfect just before a siesta!)

Captain Jones has given us some time to roam about and explore. ‘Now remember, you’re not to look Medusa in the eyes and you’re not to fall asleep for 100 years and NO ONE under ANY circumstances is to venture into the Underworld. I want you back by sunset sharp!’ she warns.

‘Well Captain, I am not babysitting the bandicoot or I’ll never get all my ingredients in time!’ I retort. But the Captain doesn’t hear me. She is too busy reminding Satnav Steve to go straight to the moral fables and learn some important lessons about time-keeping and navigational skills.

The others are all talking at the same time, Copy Kat is desperate to catch a glimpse of Robin Hood and bring back a portrait of Maid Marian, Lookout Kate wants to try her hand at pulling out the sword in the stone and In-The-Know Joe wants to take some samples from the Tree of Life, so I quickly slip away with my checklist and shopping bag.

  1. Apples

Apples are a good place to start.

I’ll go straight to Snow White’s Palace. It will be easy enough to ask for her apple as everyone knows how kind and generous she is and she will have no objection to giving her step-mother’s apple to such a worthy cause.

But what do I discover on arrival? Snow White turns white and starts apologising profusely.

‘Sorry, sorry, she just came a moment ago and wanted it so I gave it to her, I’m so sorry, please accept my apologies, she was so cute and bristly, she had these little feet and…’

‘Grrr!!!! That pig-footed, devious, infuriating bandicoot! Never mind, Snow White, it’s a long story. Say hi to Grumpy for me,’ I mutter.

‘Why don’t you ask Hercules to give you the magical Hesperides apples belonging to the goddess Hera? Those are even better than mine as they grant immortality. Hercules came past here just a moment ago. If you’re quick ­­­­­­­­­­you might catch him before he heads to Hades for his final labour.’

I run as fast as I can and catch a glimpse of him flexing his muscles just before he disappears into a dark cave. Oh no! Too late!! No Underworld for me – orders are orders.

I could try to find King Midas’ golden apples but they will not satisfy the hungry bellies of the crew and may result in a few broken teeth! The only one who eats golden apples is the Firebird and I can’t very well bring that back with me.

  1. Apples

2. Peas and Beans

Right, these should be easier, they are lightweight, less valuable, no trouble at all…

I am taken to a dark room with an enormous stack of 20 mattresses and 20 quilts. ‘The pea is between one of these mattresses’, I’m told. Ooof! This will be hot work. I should have brought Lookout Kate for help, she’s fast and strong, and she’d also be good at climbing up the beanstalk which is next on my to do list!

I start unstacking the mattresses. Dripping with sweat I feel around for the pea between each layer. Yes! I’ve found it! Small and round. Oh and I’ve found another! And a few more! Aha! So all these years we thought there was only one! Fantastic! I fill my hands with the peas and run out into the light with delight. Why are they brown? I sniff them… oh no! Not peas but POO! WHO left their POO?!? Ugh!! Who else but that troublesome twisted bandicoot! Right that’s put me off peas for life. And beans for that matter.

  1. Peas and Beans

Enough of all things round, I’ll look for something completely different…

3. Cheese

I find the crow perched on a branch with the cheese in its beak. The cheese looks soft and white. Perhaps it is brie or feta! Whatever it is it looks delicious. The fox is standing just beneath the branch and is about to speak. I run over and interrupt the scene.

‘Crow! Do not listen to this fox he only wants your cheese,’ I cry out, ‘I am from the future. If you give me your cheese I can re-shape your destiny!’

‘I’m listening…’

‘The Norse god Odin needs two trusty crows to fly around the world and bring him information. You could go down in history as god Odin’s crow as opposed to the crow that was outsmarted by the fox.’

At th  at moment I see a tail and hear a rustle in the bushes… if that’s Twist I’LL THROW SOMETHING AT HER!!!##@@

Whatever it is, it has disappeared. I turn back to the crow and to my dismay I see him sobbing on his branch.

The fox is smiling at me widely, his teeth full of feta! The truth is I don’t feel safe in his company.

I must have some cheese, otherwise we won’t have any protein on the Story Craft! I know where a good cheddar can be found but am I brave enough to venture into the enchanted woods? I suppose I will have to be…

There is a strange atmosphere as I make my way through the enchanted woods towards Circe’s mansion. What was I thinking taking this on by myself? I long for the support of my crew now more than ever. Odysseus never went anywhere without his crew. No wonder Captain Jones keeps talking about the importance of team work. But really, what sort of a team-player has that bandicoot been? She’s just a nuisance! I’ll feed her Circe’s cheese and turn our pig-footed bandicoot into a pig and then she can join the three little pigs and stay in the Story Isle and out of the way! Ugh!

I walk through a garden full of the most delicious looking fruit. It’s so enticing, dripping with juice, so fragrant. I’ll just take a short break, I could do with something sweet…

Arrrrgghhhhh! Something BIT me on my LEG!! I drop the fruit, and then realise to my horror that it is LOTUS FRUIT, I remember the story now – this is the dreaded fruit of forgetfulness! One taste of it and I could have forgotten everyone and everything just like the members of Odysseus’ crew that forgot their homeland! (Should I take some back for In-The-Know Joe? He would love to discover the unique properties that bring on forgetfulness. But no, no I won’t, in a fit of hunger one of us might be tempted to eat it and then we will forget our way back home!)

Home… I want to go home and home is where my friends are…

My tummy is rumbling with hunger, my leg hurts, my checklist has disappeared and all I have in the world is a handful of bandicoot poo. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I smell it. I taste it and then put the whole lot into my mouth. Mmmm… spicy! Who would have thought? A great Story Craft snack: compact, nutritious and DELICIOUS. This will keep me going until I reach the Story Craft!

I arrive back before anyone else, the Ever After is empty. I sigh and walk sadly into my empty kitchen… and what do I see before me???

An apple! A Pea! Beans! Cheddar Cheese! Gingerbread (a little nibbled)! Wine! Mead! Even some Golden Eggs! Impossible! Who did this for me? There’s a crumpled checklist next to the food with a little tick scratched into the box next to each ingredient. I recognise those scratch marks. I look down at my bitten leg. Yes, it’s a bandicoot bite!

‘Twist, I misjudged you, I’m SO sorry!’ I cry out, with tears in my eyes. Twist appears from behind a cupboard and looks at me, her ears twitching. ‘You are full of surprises,’ I say, giving her bristles a stroke for the first time, ‘first your tasty poo, then all this! Thanks to you, we will have a feast after all!’

MENU

Aperitif

Eye-deally aged, rustic and robust Cyclops’ wine with complex aromas of sweet plum, cherry and currant.

Starter

Stewed Snow White apple with a drop of mead. Perfect accompanied by the kiss of a loved one.

Note to crew: Overconsumption can cause drowsiness!

Main

Golden-yolk cheesy omelette with mushy pea and beans.

Dessert

Spicy home-made gingerbread.

Choose from a range of hand cut gingerbread shapes: man, princess, crow, witch, bandicoot.

Eyes, nose, mouth and button decoration- fresh Bandicoot Poo!

 

Cook Conomos

Cook Conomos

Keeping us fuelled with ship’s biscuits and stifado is Anna, the Greek in the galley, known as Cook Conomos. She is a passionate person and loves to tell stories, which she will serve up in a rich stew of ingredients from everywhere we roam.

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