Surrounded by waterfalls, love blossoms
by Susu, Iella, Rosie
Anakin Skywalker immersed himself in the difficulties of lugging the heavy picnic basket without using the Force to help him. For one thing, his master Obiwan Kenobi was constantly admonishing for using the Force for trivial things; better the Padawan use his given human strength, so he would understand of what mere mortals are capable. For another, it focussed his attention away from the woman before him: she was climbing hills and stepping over streams, stretching and moving provocatively ...
Anakin Skywalker was in love. It thrilled him and scared him to know this. He knew he loved and missed his mother, but the love he was feeling now was so different and so painful, nothing like the dull ache of missing his mother ... nothing like anything he'd felt before. It was even different from the love and admiration he had for Qui-Gon Jinn, the man who gambled on Anakin's life, ten years ago. For that entire decade, he had dreamed only of Padmé; around her, his mind was not his own, his actions were restrained, and he was uncomfortable in more ways than one!
He was officially designated by the Jedi Council as the protector of this woman, and was ordered to preserve her life, at whatever cost. Thus, he found himself on Naboo, possibly the most beautiful planet in all the galaxy, forcing himself to remember his duty. He welcomed the opportunity to be outside, where Padmé's essence might be somewhat diluted. He hoped to be able to breathe again.
Teckla and Nandi, the young servants at Varykino, where Senator Amidala had chosen to hide from assassins, flirted becomingly with the handsome young Jedi, but he felt nothing for them. In comparison to their mistress, their lights were dim and uninteresting, and Anakin could barely conceal his impatience to get away from them when he picked up the picnic basket from the kitchen.
He wondered why he felt so fondly of this small woman; true, she had helped release him from slavery, and was somewhat responsible for his current status as Jedi Padawan. But she was much more than this -- in his visions of her, she was something he dared not contemplate. In his dreams, she was his wife, the mother of his children, and protector of all that was good and kind in him. Yet as a Jedi Knight, he was sworn to the Code -- attachment and possessions are forbidden; a Jedi shall know no hate, no fear ... and no romantic love.
Then, how could he be a Jedi, when Padmé so obviously belonged to him?
Padmé, unaware of her protector's torment, unpacked the picnic hamper, telling Anakin stories about each item, about how much she enjoyed it, how much she missed and loved these things when she was on Coruscant. They discussed many things: their lives, former loves, politics, current events, just about everything and anything. He forced himself to listen to her words, to try and concentrate away from the woman who was speaking them. Thus, the way she said things was burned into his brain; thus, he was jolted into remembering this woman every time he heard someone say anything in a similar manner. It was something he'd fight to keep from remembering for many years after.
Then there was the day he ran into a prisoner, the Princess of Alderaan, daughter of Bail Organa. By then he had been successful in leaving his past buried, believing it to be dead. As he tortured her, she suddenly and calmly said, "You're making fun of me!" and he was immediately snapped back into the meadow on Naboo, picnicking with Padmé Amidala. The man who was formerly known as Anakin Skywalker was forced to leave the prisoner's cell, blinking back tears, disturbed at how easily the old vision was invoked. For the first time in many years, he wanted to taste the citrus fudge, the hand pies and savouries, and sip on the ginger tea that lay nestled in that heavy picnic basket. Of course, as Darth Vader, he was very much a machine, and what was left of him that was flesh and blood was fed nutrients as a 'droid is fed lubricants. Food, as humans experience it, had not passed his lips in decades.
Anakin Skywalker was killed by Darth Vader. That's what Obiwan told Luke, and in fact, Vader believed it, too. That Anakin was alive was cause for great and terrible concern ....
Padmé told Anakin about how she learned to eat flaky puff pastry neatly by hiding under furniture during a party her parents had given, and stealing these off the tray on the table above her. To avoid making a mess, and thus being detected, she learned how to eat this frangible treat without shattering it -- a very useful social skill, despite its illicit raison d'être!
Iced Double Ginger Infusion
Anakin had learned to make this "tea" from Jira, the old woman who sold fruits and vegetables in the Mos Espa marketplace on Tatooine. She grew all manner of juicy, plump fruit in the cool, moist caves of Beggar's Canyon, including ginger. She sold this spicy, refreshing, thirst-quenching drink for a high price, but always gave young Anakin any unsold infusion for free, to take home to his mother. He described this drink to Padmé, who really wanted to try it -- if it was thirst-quenching on Tatooine, imagine how effective it would be on Naboo!
Note on sweetening: If you want to use straight sugar to sweeten this infusion, add it to taste when you turn off the heat. If you are using artificial sweetener, add that when the infusion is cooled to room temperature. Or, use the ginger syrup recipe, below:
Instant Fizzy Lemonade
Naboo's groundwater levels were generally quite close to the surface, so there were fresh water springs all over the planet. Some of the waters were forced through limestone rocks that dissolved as the water passed through it, picking up carbonate, which de-gassed on the surface, resulting in a fizzy, carbonated mineral water. To save on weight, Nandi had packed sweetener and lemon juice in the picnic basket, instructing Anakin how to locate the bubbly springs and how to make this sparking lemonade in situ. The gassy water caused Anakin to burp, but instead of being embarassed by it, he sang to Padmé, charmingly belching out the rhythm (if you can imagine such a thing)! Despite herself, the former Queen of the Naboo found herself giggling along.
Note: The sweetener can be saccharine, aspartame, sugar, other sugar substitutes, or the ginger syrup in the recipe above.
Naboo Native Hand Pies
In many cultures, there are variations on meat pies, and Naboo is no exception. Their version is meant to toted along by workers for the midday meal, or on picnics during outdoor events. Naboo is the source of many animals throughout the GFFA, including the ubiquitous noona (which Jabba the Hutt used as lap counters during the Boonta Festival Podrace in Episode 1). As Naboo is now so crowded, they are forced to import noonas back to Naboo for food! However, once a year, hunting the chicken-sized critters is allowed, and the freezers at Varykino are full of the hunter's bounty. Padmé pointed out that these hand-pies are very special, since they are made with native noona, rather than imported ones. Anakin showed his appreciation by eating all of them, including her leftovers! (Of course, an empty basket meant it was much lighter to bring back!)
Makes 2 huge "hand pies"
Heat the oven to 425°F/200°C.
Divide the pastry in half (or into as many pasties as you wish to make). Roll out into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick (5 mm). Don't overwork the dough, or it will get tough!
Place vegetables on half the pastry round. Layer meat over. Seal by wetting the edges of the pastry, and folding the "unfilled" half over the filling. Crimp with a fork or fold over decoratively, sealing tightly to prevent leaking of the filling.
Place foil on a baking sheet and place the hand-pies on it. Make a small slit in the very top of the half-dome to vent steam (but not allow the filling to spill out). Brush with milk, or an egg wash -- beat an egg with a little water. Cook for 30 minutes, till golden brown and cooked through. Actual cooking time varies with how small your hand-pies are.
Lovers' Delight Citrus "Fudge"
Teckla, one of the girls who served the Naberries at Varykino, noticed immediately the electricity crackling between her mistress and the Jedi protector. When Padmé ordered a picnic basket be packed, the very romantic Teckla included this luscious citrus "fudge" -- sticky and a little drippy, to encourage licking ... fingers ...
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