Ron stirs the bubbly mixture, savoring the scents of coffee and chocolate. He grins, imagining the joy on her face. Suzie the pharmacist has told him many times about the mocha balls served at her long-ago wedding. Ron always heard longing and loneliness in her voice, so he experiments until he has the concoction just right.
He’ll let the mixture cool down, form it into balls, wrap each in foil, put them in a lovely blue box, leave it in the drugstore repository. When Suzie comes by to check prescriptions, she’ll find it. She’ll smile, remembering the shy, bumbling accountant who used to come in to get his allergy medicine. Now Ron’s a different person, as symbolized by his calling card, the Little Blue Chef.
The idea of cooking other people’s dreams and memories all started when Ron saw Mrs. Novak next door weeping. She was scared of the virus, she told him through the wooden fence slats. “Gramma could keep it away,” she said, and described the miraculous healing powers of her grandmother’s bone broth soup. Within a few days, there were several big jars of dark liquid on her doorstep, along with Ron’s unique blue card. Mrs. Novak soon felt so much better that she baked him her special cottage cheese bread, handed down from an old Czech recipe, and secretly slipped it onto his front porch, along with her own personalized calling card.
Soon everyone in their neighborhood was exchanging food, sharing their specialties and long-forgotten family favorites, and creating appealing hand-made cards. The idea of cooking to share had inspired them to previously untapped heights of culinary creativity.
Ron loves his life, in spite of lockdown. His parents pushed him to become an accountant, but he always wanted to be a chef. He’s finally following his life’s passion. When the pandemic is over, he may even open his own restaurant! He hums as he places the last mocha ball in the box and grabs a card from his stack. He can almost see the Little Blue Chef winking at him.