General Science Fiction posted October 3, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
An 'Earthling' participates in an intergalactic food show

Tastes from around the galaxy

by oliver818

"Good evening everyone, I'm Lifto Kang and welcome back to 'Let's eat our way around the galaxy'. Next up we have a totally different kind of dish all the way from the tiny planet Earth. Let's have a round of tentacle slaps for Mrs. Tina Lindham!"

Big smile on her face, Tina made her way out onto the stage. The large tentacle that reached out to her felt soft and a little sticky as she shook it.

"So, Mrs. Lindham, you're a school teacher from Little Willow in Ohio, United States, Planet Earth. Tell me, how does it feel to represent your planet on 'Let's eat our way around the galaxy?' What's that? Oh, just speak into the microphone, the translation is automatic."

"Well, Mr. Kang, to be honest it feels great. When I first signed up for this competition, I had no idea I would actually get on here. But I'm really glad I get to share my traditional family brownie recipe with all the aliens from around the galaxy."

A gasp of horror rang out through the crowded room.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Lindham, I'm afraid you can't use the word 'Alien' here, it's highly offensive."

"Oh my goodness, I had no idea, I'm so sorry. I really didn't mean to offend anyone."

"Forget it, we can edit it out before it's aired, let's just keep going. So, you're going to make a brownie for us tonight."

'Yes, yes, I am. Can I get started straight away?"

"Please do, Mrs. Lindham."

"So, first, I'm going to put the butter and chocolate together in a pan and heat them up. Sorry, how do I turn this stove on, it's totally alien to me."

A second, angry gasp shook the audience. Angry words were exchanged. 'Excuse me' was heard as several members of the audience pushed their way out of the row on their long tendrils and left the room in disgust.

"Miss Lindham, I've already warned you once. That word is totally unacceptable here."

"But I only used it as a adjective! How can anyone be offended by a simple adjective?"

"Verb, noun, adjective, I don't care, just don't say 'Alien'. Will someone please show her how to use the stove?"

The room filled with awkward conversation as a technician scuttled in and tinkered a little with the stove. A bright red glow appeared under the pan, and the chocolate and butter began to melt together nicely.

A smile spread across her face as Tina began to stir the thick, chocolatey mixture.

"That's better. Now, once these two ingredients have been mixed together, we pour in the sugar and break two eggs, oh my goodness."

A large mass of sticky, yellow, translucent goo floated away from the bowl towards the panel of judges seated opposite.

"Oh no, Mrs. Lindham, you seem to have forgotten that this is a planet with a much lower force of gravity than her own planet. What a mess, someone stop that before it hits the judges will you? Really, Mrs. Lindham, you were warned about this before hand. All liquid ingredients need to be poured extremely carefully. Will someone bring more eggs? And please try to hurry up, Mrs. Lindham, you aren't the only contestant tonight."

"Sorry again, everyone. I forgot because these heavy boots are holding me to the ground."

"Just keep going please."

"So next, I break the eggs very carefully into the bowl. I stir in the sugar and beat it well. Over here, in a separate bowl, I mix together the flour and salt. Then I slowly stir the whole lot into the chocolate mix. Finally, I spread this wonderful gooey, sticky mess over this pan, and cook it at one hundred and forty five degrees for forty five minutes."

"Forty five minutes? Are you insane, Miss Lindham? You have five at the most, and that's being generous."

"How can I possibly cook them in five minutes? Well, luckily I brought some slices that I cooked earlier. May I give them to the judges to try?"

"I guess so."

The five judges each reached out with a twirling tentacle and helped themselves to a brownie from the tray. They sniffed them, felt them, squished them a little, and one even slipped a little into his mouth, before spitting it out loudly into a bin next to his seat. He sat up again, and coughed once. His eyes glared straight at Mrs. Lindham.

"Well, Mrs. Lindham, as the principal judge, I will give you my opinion. I'm afraid it's awful. I've never had such a terrible tasting thing in my life. What's more, I'm highly trained in human physiology and this is a terribly dangerous recipe. Chocolate by itself is acceptable in small doses, but the amount of sugar in this recipe is terrifying. Eaten just a few times, such a dish could lead to high blood sugar, high blood pressure, not to mention diabetes and a whole host of other health complications. And finally, as you really should know, for many other races in the galaxies, sugar is absolutely toxic. I cannot possibly condone such a monstrosity."

The other judges also frowned, holding up large, paper zeros. A murmur of approval crossed the crowd.

"Well, Mrs. Lindham, it seems your traditional Earth cuisine has not been a success. Too bad. And next up, we have the Wokwoks from the planet Pinhungkoo with an exciting new variation on baked Jappaboog. I'm looking forward to that I can tell you. We'll be back after a short message from our sponsors."

The container of brownies clutched tightly to her chest, Mrs. Lindham left the stage. The lid of the box slipped off, and her fingers pulled out a squishy slice of brownie. A large chunk disappeared into her mouth, her tongue wiping tiny crumbs from her lips. Something buzzed in her pocket.

"Hello?... Oh it's you dear. No, no it didn't go well at all I'm afraid... You're right, at least I tried. And anyway, the grandchildren like them, so what do I care what a bunch of silly aliens think?"

Anybody Hungry? contest entry

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Artwork by avmurray at

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