The recipe holds clues. (Home Economics for girls only). Measure flour to sift
into powdered clouds. Measure butter for rubbing in. Double-boiler fits
one into another. Keep certain items at room temperature. “Let’s pre-heat
the oven, ladies.” Mrs D yells over the din. I like to taste success; I hate
to clean up after failure. (Boys do metalwork.) The only pills
I took then were for colds and fevers. I examine the words, spill
a little batter on the page. Mrs D tuts, and sees to it I take my seat,
after wiping my bench clean. At a finishing school, we’d’ve learned about teas,
no doubt, but a southern state in a southern land? No room for that. No dice
with cucumbers, no crusts for sandwiches. Only tips and tricks for iced
perfect biscuits. Idling forbidden. Follow the numbers from step
one to ten. Wrap one’s spoils in a cloth of linen. Mrs D pets
each and every loaf with some affection, stores the knives in the teachers’ den
once goodbyes are waved, and lights flicked off, at lesson’s end.



Filipino idiom meaning studied carefully (lit. passed through the sieve)