The Recipe of Love
1 The Clam
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The Recipe of Love
Author :JoanB
© Read Light Novel

1 The Clam

Asha couldn't forget the last letter his father left before he was hanged.


I will die soon but I don't want you to think you're alone. Get my secret recipe book within the mangrove tree near our house. You'll find a hole near its biggest root. Inside, you can find the book and some cash I stash away as your university fund. Since I won't see you longer, use that money and start a new life. Believe in yourself, you're a good cook and better than me. With my recipe book, I'm with you always.

Loving you always,


. . . . .

She was now soaking wet from her toes to her chest. The chilly air in the early morning of December combined with the freezing water made her look like a walking robot as her steps were stiff. She wished to step out from the river but she needed a clam living under the mangrove which only came out when the sun was still down.

"I must find it. This is my only chance to make them see that my father was innocent. Oh, Baba and Ma, guide me."

She walked from one mangrove tree to the next. Her clothes were muddy. Her palms and feet were pale. Her body shaking due to the ten degrees Celsius winter weather. Unexpectedly, she stepped on a hole and her whole body submerged. She held her breath underwater as she tried to find her footing. Suddenly, her feet felt a rough surface on the muddy riverbed.

She slowly felt it with her hand and pulled the thing before it started digging under. She stood right away feeling victorious.

"Alas, the clam. Hahaha, thank you, Baba and Ma for your guidance." Asha lifted the thing high on her head and saw the pinkish white shell. She cleansed the palm size object on the muddy water and covered it with a cloth then placed it in her bosom for safety.

It took for shivering Asha ten minutes to cross five meters before she was on dry land. She went straight to a little eatery owned by a friend who lent her the bathroom.

She took a hot bath, thanks to her friend, Jibon, who prepared the hot water for her. A hearty breakfast of Chapati and chili egg waited at the table when she came out. Jibon offered to hang her wet clothes. She didn't hesitate and sat to eat.

"Asha, are you sure you can redeem your father's name after this trouble or you're just looking for problems?" Jibon sat opposite her at the table.

She shoveled food to her mouth fast enough that her face was bulging and she couldn't say a word. She drank water and swallowed all the food in one gulped.

"I have to try. This is my only chance. I must do it." She stood up and covered her small head and waist length hair with her shawl. Her small face was hidden well as the custom required.

"Thanks for the food. I'll pay you with my own recipe when I win." She waved her hand as she heads out.

"Just cook for me later. I'll be glad to eat your delicious food and make me a new one." He added as he watched her back. He sighed and whispered. "I hope you'll be fine."

Asha walked to her hanging clothes on the tree branch and tried to reach them. A man came near, who was a foot and a half taller than her and pulled the clothes.

Asha shied for her four feet and a half height. "Thank you, kind Sir."

"Little girl, you should eat more so that you'll grow taller."

Jibon laughed when he heard the man's statement.

"Hmph, I'm not a small girl, just petite. I'm a woman of 18 years." She walked fast hugging her clothes. She couldn't be more insulted.

"Ah, oh my, sorry miss. Didn't know." The man felt reprimanded when the men near the eatery laughed hard. "I don't mean to be rude, your petiteness." The man shouted at her back, laughing.

She continued to walk annoyed. "I don't care if I'm short but I hate people calling me little girl."

As she reached her twenty square-feet little house, she went straight to the kitchen and placed the clam in a bowl of water. "This will keep you safe until tomorrow."

She drank a glass of hot milk to warm her body from the cold winter air. "Ma always said that I must drink milk to get tall, but why I'm still short. Ma must be lying just to make me drink."

She washed her wet clothes and left it to dry in her makeshift clothesline made of braided strips of cloth.

Asha opened his father's recipe book then read the recipe she chose for tomorrow's competition. The same recipe that made her father won as the best chef in their village. Unfortunately, the same dish accused him of food poisoning the magistrate. Somehow, for her father's sake, she would compete tomorrow's village cooking festival competition.

She needed a fish, turmeric, dried chili, fresh cilantro, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, onion, lemon grass, and the hard one to find, the clam.

She looked at her cash for her university. Just enough to keep her alive for a year and it's up to her how to continue living. "Oh, Baba, what must I do? I still need to go to university but people are bad mouthing you. I must join the competition tomorrow. Sorry, and please, help me."

Her heart was heavy as she reminisced those days when her father was alive. "God, why did you took my father away? Why bad people are still alive?" More tears gushed out. She cried for minutes longing for her father's presence.

She breathed deep, need to move on, she thought and wiped her face.

She put the cash back to the bamboo box and hid it in a small hole she dug on the dirt ground under her bed then covered it with a large rug. A big chest of clothes was pulled and settled on top of it.

"I can't spend much. I better ask my neighbors for the lacking spices." She planned to get up early tomorrow to buy the fish from the fishermen. She looked up with her wet eyes. "Baba, help me to win tomorrow." A tear fell unhindered. She wiped it right away. "No time for crying more. Better head to work or else Mukti will get angry at me.

She took a bag with her school uniform inside and left in a dash forgetting to cover the bowl having the clam.
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    《The Recipe of Love》