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Culinary explorations

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This story is No. 5 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: THe Sunnydale teens meet proper cooking

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > General(Current Donor)vidiconFR711,123193,83810 Jun 1110 Jun 11Yes
A set of short stories and ficlets to do with food set in the Waifs and Strays universe. Considering the lives led by Willow and Xander in my AU (and I suppose many peoples’AU’s…) I came to the conclusion that neither of them would have much experience with food.


Putting them in the main narrative would be cute…but it would always take much more time to lead into them and out of them.  Hence these ficlets


 At a later time I will post Willow’s attempts to get cheese…




Culinary explorations



Joyce walked into the kitchen to find her oldest daughter staring at the bottle rack in the fridge.




“Yes dear?”


“What’s all this?”


“Stocking up on my children’s‘  favourites dear.”


“Sprite and Farm fresh apple juice?”


“That is what Xander and Willow like dear…I’ll see if I can get them to drink more milk.”


“I love you mom…”   





Joyce was cutting peppers, Willow the onions, Buffy the chicken, Xander was pounding the chillies and Dawn was playing with a wooden spoon.


“Now Xander, the chillies have to be very fine, they’re sweet chillies and we don’t want this too sharp. After you’re done with that, would you mind cutting the fresh tomatoes? Remove the pips with a spoon, and put it in a separate bowl we’ll use that in the sauce.”

Willow was crying. “Why do I have to cut the onions?” She whined through her tears.


“Because you drew the short straw dear…” Joyce gave her a sympathetic look and, finished with the peppers, went on to cut the dried tomatoes. “Buffy, remember, thin strips of chicken.”

Buffy hummed and nodded. “ ‘Kay mom…Mom? Are you gonna make the real stuff?” She looked hopefully at her mother, as did Dawn.


Xander and Willow exchanged looks. “Real stuff?” Willow snuffled.


“Pesto…real home made pesto.” Buffy looked ready to beg and Joyce chuckled.


“Oh very well…Dawn, get…”


“Going!” Dawn was back in minutes with the food processor from the basement.


Joyce grinned at the enthusiasm and dug out the ingredients she’d bought earlier. Dawn and Buffy exchanged indignant glances.


“You were planning this all along!” Buffy huffed.


“Of course. Now we put oil, garlic, pine nuts, and plenty of basil in there…and then we whizz…”


Gran’s pasta became a firm favourite.




Xander stood looking at the brown yellow thing with trepidation, swinging the large knife. “I don’t know how to do this!”


Willow grinned. “It’s a knife Xand…you cut with it…All the way round?” She looked her confusion at Joyce as she saw what Xander was supposed to cut.


Joyce smiled indulgently. “It’s a pineapple Xander…not a ticking timebomb. Here, you cut of the top, the leaves and then you take the borer and twist it down…like this.”


Xander and WIllow looked as the slim woman bored the plastic pineapple borer down, humming a jaunty little tune.


“And then you pull…” Joyce pulled, slight strain on her face. The flesh of the pineapple appeared over the edge, leaving the heart and the rind behind. Xander sniffed. Willow smiled broadly


“Smells wonderful…”


“It tastes much better than the canned variety too…here...have a bit.”


Joyce learned to buy plenty of pineapple.




Joyce Summers was keeping an eye on the three teens at the Island and the ten year old trying to sneak bits of cake dough from her mixing bowl.


She sighed and lightly tapped Xander’s hand with her wooden spoon, reached for the bowl of mixed forest fruits that was to be the pie’s filling and gave the four a glare.


“I realize that you like dough…I realize you like the fruit…but could you please restrain yourself from eating it until the thing is baked?”


Buffy whined. “But we won’t know if it’s as good baked as it is now!”


Joyce gave her a look. Willow and Xander edged away slightly from Buffy. Buffy wriggled uncomfortably. “Sorry mom…it’s just…”


Joyce sniffed. “Out of my kitchen, the lot of you! Go do homework, or something!”


General consensus was that the pie was even better baked. Complaints that it was too small were met with derisive laughter from the cook…




Simon was emptying some grocery bags he’d stood on the island in the kitchen and Dawn, Buffy, Willow and Xander were watching.


“What’s that?”




“Ham? Ham comes sliced…and square. Not…covered in brown…stuff.”


Simon winced at Xander’s remark. “That’s not ham…that’s reconstituted scrapings…It’s got nothing to recommend it whatsoever.”


“It’s got salt.” Xander grinned.


Simon sighed and took a knife from a large canvas housewife he’d brought with him from his apartment and cut a slice of ham, that he divided into four parts, handing a bit to each spectator.


“Savour that. Put it on your tongue and taste it. Let it melt.”


The four shrugged and picked up the ham bits, placing them on their tongues. Silence reigned.


Xander raised a hand. “Ummm…”


Simon cut off another slice of ham, divided it into four equal parts and smiled.





Willow jauntily entered the kitchen and swung her bookbag against the island. “Good afternoon Ms. Summers. What’s that?”


“Simon was complaining about the quality of my cheese…he bought some European varieties.” She huffed.


Willow made a face. “I don’t like cheese all that much.”


Joyce smiled. ‘I always put it to a side when ever I make anything cheese related…then again, so does Simon…”


“So what’s the difference between this cheese and that cheese?”


Joyce gave the pale yellow block a look, then eyed the wax covered globe, the slice of deep yellow and the orange covered ball. “Simon says the difference is remarkable…he was…a touch disappointed I didn’t know more about cheese I think.”  


“A touch disappointed?”


“He called me a Californian murderer of taste buds…told me that no one who’d spent six months in France ought to believe American cheese was edible…” She gave Willow a worried look. “I assume he was joking…”


Willow smiled impishly. “Well it doesn’t sound too bad as insults go…let’s both have a taste and see.”


Joyce cut a small bit of each cheese for both of them and they cautiously tasted. Willow’s face lit up a bit more at each bite…”Oh…wow…I think I like cheese…”



Edit: the ham Simon is feeding the kids is Cecina de Leon, and is wind dried beef, not pork, a fac I should have made clear in the story..


The End

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