Mixes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everything is a mix or a mix up.

Submitted: January 31, 2016

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Submitted: January 31, 2016

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MIXES

Angela opened the bag of fruit drops, and started to work her way through them in a truly methodical manner. Her favourite colours were red, purple, and green. As she scoffed back the sweets, which was an act of comfort and a naughty pleasure, Angela began to relate the colours and flavours to people she’d known. The fruit drops were large, round, and transparent, it didn’t matter where she was, the greatest delight was sucking one, and then removing it from her mouth and holding the sticky object up to the light to peer through it, and at the same time enjoy the flavour lingering in her mouth. Even when she was with her grandmother in the meeting hall, where she was taken two afternoons a week, Angela would still hold the fruit drops to the light. The most popular place for her to do that was in church, holding the sweet against the beam of light from the stained glass windows.

“Angela! Suck those sweets, don’t crunch them. It’s bad for your teeth, and it isn’t nice hearing you doing that,” everyone admonished her.

Angela tried as hard as she could not to crunch the fruit drops, but there were times it proved to be just that little bit too difficult.

 

One day, the school took Angela and her class-mates to a sweet-making factory. From the minute they entered the beginning of the chain of activities that would eventually lead to the finished product, the children were impressed by the system. The aroma of the different flavours and the colours added to the sugar, gave off the effect of penetrating their clothing and the pores of their skin. The whole process was fascinating, how with only a drop of colouring and aroma, pounds of sweets were produced. The most popular colour was red, and the most expensive was violet. Fruit drops were attractive too, in part because they came wrapped in transparent paper the same colour as the sweet. They could be bought by the weight, in plastic bags, or tins. Whatever way they came was OK by Angela.

Another section of the factory was dedicated to the manufacture of fruit gums. They were made of glucose syrup and fruit juices. The effect was also one of colour. Whereas the fruit drops were hard and transparent, the fruit gums were solid and chewable. They also stuck to the teeth and were difficult to get off, which meant a lot of hard work. Angela was rather cautious at first, but when she saw her friends with mouths full of fruit gums, she decided to join in. The feeling and flavours in her mouth took her breath away. The fruit gums didn’t disintegrate when bitten into, as the fruit drops did, and Angela was left trying to remove a fruit gum which was stuck to her back teeth. The presentation was acceptable, the fruit gums came in tubes or boxes. They were easier to eat than the fruit drops, as long as you had a glass of water nearby, to help them go down.

Then came a kind of fruit sweet that was neither hard nor gummy. It was a jelly, that when you bit into it, a thick creamy liquid was released into your mouth. Depending on the fruit used in the juice, the strength could be sweeter or more acid. The most important thing of all with the juicy sweets was, that they had different textures in each one of them. For instance, biting into the crusty sugar exterior, gave way to the fruit juice inside.

Whereas the fruit drops were just that and nothing else, the gums had the chewiness and the flavour for the consumer. In the end, it was all a matter of which one was a best seller. Angela was intrigued by all the things that could be done with the similar products used in the manufacture of sweets. She left the sweet factory with her head full of tastes, smells, and textures.

 

Donna was a big ash-blonde who, like Angela, had always been fascinated with creating sweet things. Whereas with Angela it was fruit drops, fruit gums, and juicy fruit sweets, Donna loved fruit cakes, and there were plenty of recipes to choose from. Donna had always loved watching her mother and grandmother measure out the dried fruits, such as currants, raisins, and cherries, and then mix them in with the flour, butter, sugar, and spices. The result was the most exciting for Donna, as sometimes a true and trusted recipe didn’t work, and a horrid mess came out of the oven, with all the fruit at the bottom of the mould.

Therefore we can safely assume that Donna had been into cakes since forever. The smell of the spices reached her nose, giving her a wonderful magical feeling of being in another place, instead of in her kitchen. Donna’s first success came when she won a cake baking competition at a summer fête. It was about that time, she began being asked to make cakes for tea parties, birthdays, and suppers.

For the next few years, Donna was kept busy mixing the ingredients for all the different cakes she was given orders for. A day didn’t go by, when Donna wasn’t busy weighing and mixing up a batch of cakes.

As the years went by, new electric mixers were invented, and sold to those who wanted to make something that wasn’t out of a packet, or bought ready-made. Donna went about her business with an ever increasing interest in new recipes. She also branched out into producing cakes with the same ingredients as the fruit cakes. Her new cakes were called Donna’s Delights, and were a bun mix with currants, raisins, glacé cherries, and walnuts on top, and with sugar sprinkled all over the lot. They turned out to be a real success, and she couldn’t make enough of them. They were so easy to make, and eat. They became so popular, that different recipes had to be invented to keep up the interest of the general public.

When Donna got tired of making fruit cakes, she turned to making marble cakes, and sponge cakes, with different coloured icings that were then sprinkled with a handful of ‘hundreds-and-thousands’. Donna’s fame spread far and wide, till she was inundated with orders she wouldn’t be able to carry out on her own.

 

A sugar competition was announced in the national papers, and anyone was legible to enter, whether or not they were a professional. Angela read about the competition, and after so many years making all kinds of sweets, she decided to give it a go. She wasn’t a hundred-per-cent sure of what she would make, but knew some idea would present itself to her.

Donna felt the same. Neither of them needed to win the competition, as they already had a loyal following. Angela’s sweet empire covered all kinds of fruit sweets, and every year she invented something new.

 

Anyone who wanted to compete in the Sugar Making Competition, was invited to send in an application form to the head office of the competition organizers, with all their details and a photograph. Those who were selected, would be invited to a meeting and see a video of the previous year’s competition, in order to give them an idea of the standard expected and the entries already exhibited, to avoid repetition. The organizers were very firm about any copies of other winning designs - originality was what they were after, which was a way of promoting all creative sugar artists. Those who worked in the confectionary trade, whether it be sweets or cakes, were keen on entering, but at the same time worried about their own standards. After all, working for a boss and carrying out orders to delight guests at a wedding or a private dinner, was quite a different matter from a high category competition.

There were several areas to choose from the basic ones, being: sweets, cakes, desserts, and sweet sauces to drizzle over the offering on the plate. Some of the products were jellies with fruit, and biscuits, and cakes. There was plenty to choose from.

 

Angela and Donna, who had no knowledge of each other’s existence, went ahead and sent in an application form, more for curiosity than a desire to win. The day of the general meeting of all those who desired to show off their culinary skills with sugar, went off very well. They were all introduced to each other, and then invited to canapés and drinks. Then the video was shown, with all the winning entries from the previous year. Angela, whose knowledge of sugar and what could be done with it was limited, just couldn’t believe her eyes as the creations that they were shown, were far and away nothing like she would have imagined in her wildest dreams. Donna stared at the cakes and wondered how they didn’t fall apart, being stacked so high. The visions were not only well made, but the colours chosen for what they were supposed to represent. Many of those present were astonished at what they had seen on the screen.

At the end of the showing of the video, everyone was given a list of instructions, and the date when their entries were to be taken to the showrooms where they would be displayed. The public would be able to vote, and then the judges would go round, and decide who had won first prize in any particular category.

 

Angela and Donna both made lists of what not to make. They were doing two things: keeping to the rules laid down and original designs - ‘no copies please!’ Famous paintings, portraits were admissible, also photos of famous people.

 

Angela opted to copy a photo of a place she had stayed in on holiday. It was of a palm tree by a turquoise blue sea. The colours were hard to get, and the right texture, but somehow or other, after a lot of nerves and starting from scratch innumerable times, she got it right. She put a frame of sugar round the palm tree, and it looked like the photo Angela had copied it from. It wasn’t the most exciting entry, but she had entered, and that for her was, for the time being, the most important thing.

 

Donna had made a cake based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It had taken her ages to make, because she was also working at her normal job. The different colours for the clothes proved to be tricky, but eventually she got it all finished, and managed to get it to the show-room before closing date for the exhibition.

 

Angela and Donna carried on with their normal work lives. The competition was a source of interest for the general public, but it was nerve-wracking for those whose entries were the focus of many eyes and, of course, criticism.

 

The results were announced on the local television news programme. The winning entry was a red train with passengers sitting in it. The winning cake was a castle with a winding road leading up to it.

 

Angela didn’t mind not winning too much, as she already had a good business and was happy with it.

Donna thought she had wasted her time, but didn’t regret it - even after all the mixing of the ingredients.

 

When asked by a television reporter about how she felt about not winning, Angela had replied, “When you think about it, life’s just one big ‘mix’ anyway.” 


© Copyright 2018 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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