It was just like him, she thought. Just like him to leave her alone in the heat of the night. But she knew it was no good to pout -- he'd show up, sooner or later, hungry for her kugel, for the creamy noodle pudding she, and she alone, dished up. A wry smile played furtively on her lips. He'd be there, eventually. Nothing could satisfy him like her kugel.
She started to remember the last time, how it had been for her, and the images came flooding back into her mind. She had taken half a pound of wide egg noodles and cooked them according to package directions.
When it got results, she was willing to follow orders. Besides, there was so much you could do while your noodles cooked. Things like softening up an eight-ounce package of cream cheese, a half cup of butter, at room temperature. Sometimes she used margarine, and kept him guessing. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
A lock of hair brushed her flushed brow, and she pushed it away, remembering how she had drained the cooked noodles, rinsed them in warm water, and abandoned them! Left them to their own devices while she poured two cups of creamy white milk into a saucepan. And turned up the heat.
The milk, she recalled, had looked cool and silky, like her throat in the moonlight. The heat was palpable, but she never lost control. Never let things get to a boil.
She had paused to drench herself in a lingering perfume -- the kind he melted for, and by then, the milk was heated. Slowly, deliberately, oh, so thoroughly, she added the cream cheese and butter to the milk. Then four eggs, beaten until all their resistance was gone.
She cascaded the noodles into the liquid mixture. They poured in eagerly, in a hungry rush, eager to give themselves to the milk and butter and cream cheese and eggs.
Was there just the slightest tremble in her fingers, betraying an emotion even she dared not admit to? Just the tiniest shiver as she added a quarter cup of sugar, one tsp. salt, to the mix? Then added raisins, too, half a cup. The re was nothing stopping her from adding three quarters of a cup, if she really wanted to. She knew they would be plump and juicy.
The mixture was watery, like her will before him. She didn't care. It would firm in the cooking. It had always done so before. She poured the mix into a baking pan, 9x13x2, then stopped. What was it he had urged her to do before? The oven was preheating at 375 degrees; its heat brought a glistening to her skin.
She wet her lips; it was hard to think. Oh! Yes! A topping! He had wanted a topping! Two cups of crushed cornflakes, ground with a firm and relentless grinding, and sprinkled on top. Then a mix of one-quarter cup sugar, one tsp. cinnamon on top of that.
She dotted the crust with butter. It taxed her calmness to the limits. But it would be done, soon. Forty-five minutes, to be exact. It would serve 10-12 people, or one very hungry man.
She sat down to wait. He'd be coming soon. She knew it. Hadn't she always proved to him in the past that she had what it took to please a man?
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