Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Chef's Surprise

Author: annmarwalk
Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2009 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Minas Tirith

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: An inexperienced young kitchen maid is given an opportunity to shine.


Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 6

I've read this story several times, and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face. While I'm a klutz in the kitchen myself, some of my best memories involve savory smells and delicious meals on rough days (and of course the disasters, which are almost as much fun in retrospect). Any foodie will appreciate the savory nature of this story. So, too, will fans of Mag, though for them it is savory for a different reason. Longtime readers of annmarwalk's stories will recognize this original character, of course; here is a wonderful glimpse of her just finding her feet. She is suitably nervous as we would expect a young kitchen helper to be in this situation, but she is also 100% Mag; you can easily see her growing into the unmovable object who is such an anchor in Boromir's and Faramir's life. (At least in my version of Gondor!)

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 5

While I'm not familiar with Annmarwalk's other stories featuring Mag the Cook, this one was a real treat. The character shines, and this has just the amount of humor and background to make me hungry for more, pun completely intended. I'm so glad I decided to click the link, and can't wait to find out what else Mag gets up to -- reading about strong OCs always is particularly impressive and refreshing if they work behind the scenes for the mighty and are able to offer their very own insights. Thanks for sharing this. (And I'd definitely not say no to a bit of her chicken soup now!)

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

Mag the Cook is one of my favorite of Ann's original characters, and with good reason, as we see her love for the Steward's family grow and her influence help temper the attitudes of all. This look at her first foray into cooking independently is marvelous as she determines to add originality to the menu as well as some true flavor! And here both her common sense and her creativity and skills come to the fore! A lovely look at how she came to be Cook for the Citadel!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

Engaging look at the goings-on "downstairs". The main character has a fresh, strong voice, and quickly establishes a firm background for herself. The pacing is brisk, but not too fast, with little details tucked in to paint a full picture of the world in the Steward's kitchen (I *loved* the line about the Second Cook and her reason for being absent - so totally dead-pan!). And now I'm totally hungry for nice hot bowl of chicken soup...

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 4

I think part of what adds to the story's humor is the fact that the narrative is so straight-faced about it all. There's a matter-of-fact tone as the story details exactly what happened to both the Cook and the Second Cook. The details of the latter's absence were particularly clever in their writing, and I smiled as the secret between Mag and the Chamberlain remained a secret. Poor Second Cook. To say anything would mean revealing her whereabouts, and so she's left to hope that nothing else went on in her absence.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

The young Mag shows her pluck and her resourcefulness in this delightfully seasoned vignette of life Downstairs in the Citadel. The culinary details add to the credibility of the story. We see why Mag is eventually going to end up as mistress of the Steward's kitchens...

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 2

Never fails that the rightful person doesn't get the credit she deserves until well past the time of earning. Great slice of life tale. Well done.