the Edgelin Edition
Neighbor to Neighbor
Interviewer: Barth Gramson
This week’s neighbor: Hanklin Spence
B- Today we’re here with Hanklin Spence. Many of you know him as the cheerful purchaser of all of your fresh edible products, but what lies beyond those boisterous quips and – perhaps a bit – pretentious – cooking tips? Let’s find out. Hello Hanklin how are you today?
H- Pretentious eh? I’d like to call it…well-informed. Knowledgeable? Experienced? Do you know how long I’ve been cooking Bartho?
B- Well, no I don’t. Although I do recall seeing you around the market frequently as a kid, buying produce and such.
H- Thirty years Bartho! Thir. Tee. And all these vendors here act like I still got no right to critique their produce, or give them advice on the best way to sear scallops or bake tomatoes!
B- I see. That is a long time Hanklin. How did you first get into cooking?
H- Well my dad started to take me hunting when I was around 10. And, I dunno. After all that waiting and hard work skinning, it was just a shame to sit down to dinner and taste just a bland, charred hunk of meat.
B- Who was cooking this meat?
H- My dad. My mom passed before I was born, so all the cooking was up to him. But it didn’t take long for me to start volunteering to do it! After getting some real expert cooking suggestions from Tevvellia that is.
B- Ah yes. Tevvellia. We all still miss her so much. It was wonderful of you to take on cooking for Braumlin and Kevley since she passed. What first connected you and Tevvellia?
H- When my dad hurt his back for a time back when I was around…11, and he wasn’t able to do his wood cuttin work, so I came to the market that weekend asking around if anyone needed any jobs done. Most of the vendors were all staffed up, but Tevvellia overheard me asking old Pooth to help sell his mushrooms – he still can’t tell the difference between White Penesians and Verdigans – and when he just huffed at me Tevvellia took me aside and asked if I’d do her shopping for her on Saturdays. She was pretty far along with Kevley you know.
B- Mother of the legend himself. Ah yes. So you started doing her market shopping for her?
H- Yep. Showed up early on Saturdays for the list. Bought the stuff. Had it back to her before the sun was high in the sky. She often would write something at the bottom of the note that was just for me, and would give me that “surprise” at the end of the day.
B- At the bottom of her grocery list? Like what?
H- Well…just random things at first. Like berries. Or an apple. But the more time I spent with her she picked up on what I liked most and…
B- Take your time.
H- I’m sorry. I just miss her still. She was like the mother I never had. Even when Kevley came she still treated me like part of the family. ….anyways. Sometimes she’d add like a…pack of caramels to her list. Or even a new kitchen smock- once I started to help her cook you know. She never told me straight out it was for me. But I always knew whatever the last item on the list was…that’s what I’d walk away with at the end of the day. I’d usually wait til I was halfway down the path to market before peaking at it. The best gift ever was a magnificent kitchen knife! Evidently she’d spotted it before at the knife vendor and remembered it. I don’t know how she got word to him, but when I arrived he knew just the one. It had blade that could slice through a beatroot like it was butter, and the handle was beautifully carved with the head of a roaring lion.
B- That sounds like an extraordinary gift. So Tevvellia was who taught you to cook?
H- Yes. yep. After a few weeks I’d linger in their kitchenhouse and watch her stirring, chopping…adding spices. Then when she’d give me tastes, hooo! I remember one afternoon after I tried a slice of the Venison she’d marinated for Braumlin’s dinner, I nearly fainted. And right then and there I swore dad was never doing our cooking again! Haha! I started spending the whole afternoon with Tevvellia learning her cooking methods, and then even her gardening secrets. She was a prankster though! There was this one time…haha! She put an empty pie in front of Braumlin- all steaming and spelling of cinnamon- just to see his shocked face when he stabbed into it only to watch it deflate! Hahaha..
B- Ha! I can just imagine Braumlin’s surprise!
H- Yeah, he got a kick out of all that though. It’d take a good 20min just for him to stifle his laughter enough to enjoy the real pie she’d prepared for him. Of course.
B- Of course. So we know about your love for cooking, and your chef mentor, and gardening, and hunting. But most people know that round these parts- though these have been some wonderful peaks into how it all began- tell me something not many people do know about you. What’s a secret hobby you have?
H- Hmm. That’s a good question. I’m not really the type to hide things- I’m pretty much an open book. But let me see… hehehe…
B- Sounds like you’ve thought of something.
H- Well…yes. But it’s not anything too intrigueing. Downright silly if you ask. Though…I tend to enjoy the silly things in life more than most, I guess. I work really hard, and find letting myself enjoy the silly things helps me stay balanced. Maybe I got that from Tevvellia too.
B- I see. So. What is this silly hobby of yours?
H- Well..you know in the summer evenings… when all those termites show up floating around aimlessly in the northern fields?
B- Yes. Pesky things. Good thing it’s only for a couple months.
H- Well…at dusk, I like to light up my pipe, pick out a whopper of a stick, and spend about an hour just running around and smackin them right out of the sky!
B- Ha. My my. That must release a lot of stress.
H- Well I don’t generally feel too stressed. No. But it does help me stop my brain long enough to enjoy the moment for myself. And feel like a kid again. Me n Kevley used to do that together…before. Well before his Journey you know.
B- Yes he has seemed much more, subdued, since then.
H- Aw well. Everyone needs some time to recover after their Journey. I’m sure he’ll be back smackin termites with me again soon! Though of course he’d have his cigar rather than a pipe. haha.
B- True. I have heard of the father-son cigar ritual he and Braumlin have. Okay, we’re almost done. Thank you so much for your time Hanklin-
H- Of course of course! You know, your newstand is one of my favorite stops every market day! And I always leave wishing I could do that little, hair.. swoop with my hair like you do..
B- Oh yes- uh! No need to touch, I’d be happy to show you some time.
H- Nah. My hair’d never do it.
B- Well, um. Last question Hanklin. What’s your biggest..uh, dream? What do you feel your Journey prepared you for?
H- Ah yes. Ah yes. Well Bartho-
H- Barth…O’Gramson. You know those families in the east forests of Edgelin?
B- Yes. Where many of the widows from the wars or -Vantik aductions- live?
H- Yes. My dream is to be able to build a shared garden and cookhouse right there in the middle of that little community, where I could teach gardening and trapping to those women who were used to having their husbands do much of it. And cooking classes for their kids, so they can help their mothers out. Of course my hope is that many of their husbands will be rescued soon…but in the meantime…I’d like to help how I can. And you know I love having people around when I cook!
B- Fascinating. I have heard you might have your eye on one of those widows in particular-
H- Well this was a great interview!! Thanks for having me Bartho! Gotta get back to my market list you know, or Ol Braumlin wont get his favorite pot-pie tonight!
B- Wait, I forgot to ask you about the fish-town girl who’s rumored to be coming to live with guys soon-
H- Next time next time! Keep your swoop in shape, it’s a humid day out you know! Ta ta!
B- Well readers, there he goes. With those two massive leather bags across each shoulder that we all know so well. It’s a wonder that all his purchases make it all the way back to Braumlin’s kitchen with all the…prancing about and jabbering he does at our market, but he’s got a talent for it. Yes sir. And a good heart, despite all his silly jokes and loud guffaws. Until next time, I’m Bartho- er- Barth Gramson. Bringing you another neighbor-to-neighbor interview in this week’s Edgelin Edition! Get your FRESH-pressed copy at my stand EVery Saturday- with a special HALF-price deal at six oclock AM-
H- Aint nobody ever here that early ‘cept Ol Jardy!
B- I thought you had to finish you’re shopping!
H- Sure do. I just like to stop by every now and then all subtle like, cuz I know how you like to read your articles aloud as you write sometimes. Hahahah!
B- Darnit Hanklin! This is serious work!
H- Hahahaha…Hip haps to ya! Ta-ta!
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