It got quiet. Aunt Demi then decided a few comments on Ma’s cooking were necessary. Just to liven things up.
“Netta, I have to say. Food here doesn’t taste the same like food at home. My Mama had a recipe for fenek bit-tewm. Oh, the taste. Ask my brother. Maybe he still remembers how it’s supposed to taste.”
Cut to the quick, Ma ran to fetch her cookbook muttering, “What’re you talking about? I made her fenek bit-tewm last month. You and Liz were here.”
Ma flipped through the battered and stained notebook. Finally she found the recipe and showed it to Aunt Demi.
Aunt Demi scanned the page. “This is her recipe?”
“Sure. Exact.” Aunt Demi examined the ingredients. “You didn’t scrimp? Twelve cloves?”
“I can count.”
Aunt Demi shut the book and set it down. “You made fenek. Fine. But you didn’t put enough garlic in it.”
Liz picked up the cookbook, flipped through it and asked, “Was that the rabbit stew with a lot of garlic?”
Aunt Demi sighed. “Liz, for you, that was a lot of garlic. The recipe is called fenek bit-tewm. BIT-TEWM. With garlic. Hmmph... I couldn’t taste the garlic.”
Ma smiled and said, “Isn’t it funny. I didn’t have any leftovers. Demi, correct me if I’m wrong, but you had three helpings.”
Aunt Demi muttered, “I didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” and went back to her crocheting.
Softly Ma said, “Maybe there’s something wrong with your mouth.”
Aunt Demi heard her. “Hmmph. I taste fine. The fenek didn’t.”