‘Beats me why people’d fall over themselves to read a cookery book, though,’ she added. ‘I mean, it’s not the sort of thing that—’
The room fell silent. Nanny Ogg shuffled her boots.
Granny said, in a voice laden with a suspicion that was all the worse because it wasn’t yet quite sure what it was suspicious of:
‘It is a cookery book, isn’t it?’
‘Oh, yes,’ said Nanny hurriedly, avoiding Granny’s gaze. ‘Yes. Recipes and that. Yes.’ Granny glared at her. ‘Just recipes?’
‘Yes. Oh, yes. Yes. And some … cookery anecdotes, yes.’
Granny went on glaring.
Nanny gave in. ‘Er … look under Famous Carrot and Oyster Pie,’ she said. ‘Page 25.’ Granny turned the pages. Her lips moved silently.
Then: ‘I see. Anything else?’
‘Er … Cinnamon and Marshmallow Fingers … page 17 …’
Granny looked it up. ‘And?’
‘Er … Celery Astonishment … page 10.’
Granny looked that up, too. ‘Can’t say it astonished me,’ she said. ‘And …?’
‘Er … well, more or less all of Humorous Puddings and Cake Decoration. That’s all of Chapter Six. I done illustrations for that.’
Granny turned to Chapter Six. She had to turn the book around a couple of times.
‘What one you looking at?’ said Nanny Ogg, because an author is always keen to get feedback.
‘Strawberry Wobbler,’ said Granny.
‘Ah. That one always gets a laugh.’
It did not appear to be obtaining one from Granny. She carefully closed the book.
‘Gytha,’ she said, ‘this is me askin’ you this. Is there any page in this book, is there any single recipe, which does not in some way relate to … goings-on?’
Nanny Ogg, her face red as her apples, seemed to give this some lengthy consideration. ‘Porridge,’ she said, eventually.
‘Yes. Er. No, I tell a lie, it’s got my special honey mixture in it.’
Granny turned a page.
‘What about this one? Maids of Honour?’
‘Weeelll, they starts out as Maids of Honour,’ said Nanny, fidgeting with her feet, ‘but they ends up Tarts.’
Granny looked at the front cover again. The Joye of Snacks.