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I sliced the fresh caribou meat thin with a razor-sharp beaver knife; so thin the meat looked translucent. The recipe for this dish was evolving as I delicately cut the meat into mouth-sized pieces. A little leftover wine and honey-garlic-sauced marinade, the last can of mushrooms, freeze-dried corn, carrots and peas and finally, the brown rice. Real rice, not the five-minute kind, simmered for nearly an hour before I completed my masterpiece of Chinese cooking: the Micks Tap Food was ready. Because it was for a large family, a gargantuan bowl was used to stir everything together.

I thought about how our traditional hunt and harvesting of wild game helps the world keep global warming from becoming worse. Much of the world’s greenhouse effects come from flatulent domesticated animals – sheep, cows and pigs, but not caribou. Sheep, on the other hand, could be kept around because we would need their wool to make sweaters when global warming ceases and the world begins to chill once again.

My caribou dish was saddled with sliced fresh bread, made by the Master himself – me. The butter was lathered over my wonderful creation and the aromas brought back memories of when I was the Grand Master Baker. I had few students, but a special few continued on with life filled with the yeasts and recipes that I passed on to them…

Young Grasshopper looked over his reading glasses at me and said matter-of-factly, “Look, I’m tired of washing your floor and doing your dishes in exchange for room and board. The whole wax-on, wax-off routine is wearing a little thin. I want to learn another move. A move that you have never taught another student. A move that will make me world-famous. A move that will make me Master.”

I was going to snap back with, “No. You are not ready yet!” But young Grasshopper was in his 40s and it was time to pass on my secrets to someone I could trust. “I will teach you one of my world-famous moves. But first, you must wash your hands and clean your fingernails to prepare for the hour-and-a-half endurance ritual called The Fleishmann Manoeuvre. Then I will teach you whatever technique you so wish.”

Young Grasshopper sprung up to the sitting position and solemnly declared, “Master, I wish to learn the Braided Technique. It is the most difficult one and when I learn it from you, I can do anything!”

I was about to shake my head in violent disagreement before I realized that if I taught him this move he would have no reason to hang out in my living room and hog my big-screen satellite TV and expensive internet connection. He will be able to fend for himself. I nodded in agreement. “Yes, young Grasshopper, I will teach you the Braided Technique. You will be able to walk with your head held high and at the same level as other Masterbakers.”

Young Grasshopper got to his feet and entered the hallowed kitchen, where his training for the next three-and-a-half hours would begin and end. I taught him the Warm Water Move, the Rising of the Fleishmann Manoeuvre, the Kneading with the Elbow and Knees, the secrets of Proofing and Shaping and most of all, the Patience Test, where nothing moves or happens for an hour. Young Grasshopper excelled at all, especially the Patience Test, laying inert for a straight hour

until he broke his silence with a feeble attempt at the infamous Pig Fart and poisoned the atmosphere with its rancid odour.

It could have qualified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction if he had tried a little harder. Finally, the fabled Braided Technique was unveiled to him, followed by the Bakers Secrets then another 90 minutes of Patience Tests.

The results were amazing! Young Grasshopper had finally become a Masterbaker and created a delicious and wonderful Braided White Bread. I was so proud that I told him, “Next year, we will make the Chocolate Heart Shaped Cake for your Valentine sweetheart!”

Young Grasshopper was silent for a few minutes as he gorged on his bread, then gave me a thumbs up.

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