The young vampire swallowed nervously as she looked at the cake in front of her. She glanced back up at the camera with an unconvincing smile plastered on her face. This was going to be awful. It always was. Why had she decided being the host of a cooking show was a good idea? Why did they make her try the food? Couldn’t there just be like… a panel to taste it for her instead? They kept talking about how they didn’t have the budget, but couldn’t it just be like the producer and stuff?
Blowing out a sigh, she knew she wasn’t getting out of this. “O-okay! It’s time to try this week’s cake! As you can see, our buttercream frosting looks so thick and rich!”
Actually the butter was too cold and she added too much sugar. It was too thick, not that it mattered anyway. It tasted like ash whether or not she’d screwed it up. Sometimes, she hated being a cursed creature of the night with a hobby she could never enjoy. She braced herself and took as dainty a forkful as she could.
Ash. As always. It was so bitter and so dry, but she knew she couldn’t cough on camera, or they’d have to do another take which meant she would have to make the damn thing and eat it AAAaaaaAaalllLL over again.
“Wow! Looks like it turned out great! I-” She barely managed to hold back a cough and kept going. “I wish you were all here to taste this with me! Thanks again to our sponsors this week, and I’ll see you next time on Mirabelle’s Kitchen!”
As soon as the cameras stopped rolling, Mirabelle immediately ran over and spat into the sink. Eugh, god she was fired, wasn’t she? She messed up making the frosting and now this. She turned to the producer teary-eyed. “U-um, sorry I… c-choked. A-and I’m on a diet…”
The producer just smiled, but the new guy on the camera crew looked a little nervous.
“U-um, do you want to try some? It’s pretty good, I promise!” She lied, tears welling up in the corner of her eyes.
He looked around for a few seconds shiftily, looking for a way out. “Uh… nah, I’m, u-uh… no thanks, I’m full.”
Tears welled up in Mirabelle’s eyes again. It was all over. She’d be fired and thrown out and she’d have to explain why her cooking show got cancelled to everyone who recognised her in public for at least forty more years. She briefly considered hiding in a coffin until everyone she knew was dead and then making a new life in another country before she was interrupted by the producer patting her on the back.
“You did great! I think we got some really good footage this week. Maybe you could go get some rest? You look… worn out.”
She blinked in disbelief. Good footage? Good footage!? She spent 20 seconds trying to fish bits of egg shell out of the mixing bowl when she cracked the egg too hard. If they edited it, it would look so obvious! Really, she was beginning to think that she should have let herself cough just so she could have an excuse to try again.
“Uhh… I-If you say so, Mr. Lee. C-could we maybe do at least one more take? At least on the part where I mix the ingredients together…”
She… did she think it actually mattered? She was always a perfectionist to a fault on these dumb little things. Nobody was going to notice her frosting was a bit off.
He put a hand on her shoulder and smiled gently. “No, Mirabelle. You did fine. Go grab a coffee or something at least.”
A week later and Mirabelle returned to the studio for another recording of her show. She was a little early, so she headed into the break room with her notes, determined to get things perfect this time. She’d already tried the recipe at home, and it had turned out… not burnt? It smelled fine, but it wasn’t as though she had anyone to actually taste it for her.
When she entered the break room, the producer and a few of the camera crew were there and went into a small panic trying to turn off the break room TV.
Mirabelle was suspicious. “Um…?”
“S-sorry! We were watching something a little, uh… racy. Didn’t wanna throw you off your game. Ready for today?” The producer said, clearly deflecting.
Whatever. “I-I hope so. I… I think everything should go fine this time…”
“A-and in order to finish off this Béchamel, I’m going to give it just a dash o-”
Mirabelle gasped as the top of the nutmeg shaker popped off, dousing the entire pot with a brown smoke bomb. For a minute, she didn’t even move, unsure on whether to try and salvage, or give up and cry. Eventually, between her insecurities and the nutmeg powder that had gotten in her eyes, she slumped to the floor and started weeping.
Meanwhile, the producer had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. He dashed to the small vampire’s side and rubbed her shoulder. “M-Mirabelle, are you o-”
“I’M NOT CRYING! I-I… I just have… n-nutmeg in my eyes…”
“Oh, well then let’s keep rolling, then. You’re doing great.” He lied.
Mirabelle took a deep breath, blinked back the oncoming tears, then carefully scooped out as much of the nutmeg as she could before continuing with the béchamel.
“Be sure to use cold milk in your hot roux, so that no lumps form. N-nobody likes a chunky béchamel, right? I mean, just look at this beautiful, silky-”
It was so lumpy it resembled pancake batter more than a sauce. Gummy globs of flour and butter clung to the whisk, and this time Mirabelle was having a harder time holding it together. Why? Why was this happening to her? She’d messed up with the nutmeg and cleaning up had taken long enough that the milk had warmed up, and the sauce had set up too much in the intervening time.
Whatever. Who cared? This was the future she chose for herself. She’d wanted just a cute little cooking show she could have fun on and… She blinked away the tears in her eyes a little. She still wanted this, even if it wasn’t easy. Everyone was supporting her and she couldn’t let them down. She straightened her apron a little and stood up taller.
“What’s great about a béchamel is how many places you can take it! Today we’re keeping it basic, but we’ll be doing some more exciting variations really soon!” She chirped in her stage voice.
She managed to bumble through the rest of the recipe, and the fish even ended up being cooked relatively well. Maybe she’d been overreacting earlier! Just baking it all together was as easy as it could get. She beamed, thinking that someone out there might get into cooking better when they saw how easy it could be.
“Okay! And before we dish up for the final tasting, let’s add a little garnish for that final flourish! It’s-” Oh, no. She must have left it in the fridge accidentally. Okay. Don’t panic, just play it off like you meant to do it. Relax. Don’t cry over parsley. Don’t cry over parsley. Don’t cry over parsley. “…right in the fridge! Let’s go grab it.”
Mirabelle twirled around to make her way to the fridge, her apron and skirt fluttering a little in her rush. Practically throwing open the door, she began rooting around in a drawer in a slight panic.
“Mirabelle, you don’t need to rush, we’ll just cut out this part in post-” The producer began.
“Wha-? OW!” Startled, Mirabelle jerked up, hitting her head on a shelf.
Time seemed to move nearly in slow motion as the vampire looked up to see a jar teeter, then fall, smashing open on her head and coating the vampire in a layer of juice and minced garlic.
“…A-are you oka-”
Holding the bundle of parsley away from herself, Mirabelle proceeded to fill the vegetable crisper with a hearty layer of vomit. For a bit longer than Mr. Lee would have liked, Mirabelle stood still and retched wordlessly.
“Uh… maybe we should cut now…”
Before the cameraman had a chance to move, Mirabelle held up a finger to stop him. After another moment, she straightened her back and turned to face the camera, fake smile plastered on her face.
“We had a little mishap at the fridge, but that’s okay! We’re so close it would be a shame to stop now!” She kicked the door of the vomit-filled refrigerator shut and walked back to her cutting board. “Feel free to get creative with your garnish! Personally, I like to use a big sprig of parsley on this kind of dish. It reminds me of a nice, peaceful forest scene.”
Just a little more. Even the crew could tell she was barely holding it together, but she managed to take a big bite of the dish she’d prepared before her smile so much as wavered.
“M-Mmm! I think you and your family are really going to like this one, everyone! I hope you have better luck than me, but until then, thanks for joining me to cook today! I hope I’ll see you next time!”
The moment the cameraman gave the signal that he was no longer recording, Mirabelle conspicuously spat out a mouthful of ash and dropped to her knees before trying to wipe the remains of the garlic off of herself.
It was over. She messed it all up, filled a fridge with vomit, made such a mess of the episode she didn’t know if even the editors could save it, and worst of all, at this point half the crew probably suspected she was a vampire. The show was as good as over, wasn’t it?
Mirabelle came home in a haze and flopped down on her couch with a cold pack of blood, too depressed to even bother warming it up.
She flipped on her small TV to get her mind off her awful day. She didn’t usually bother watching cable, but she didn’t want to think any more. She flipped to some random comedy channel and buried her face in a pillow.
“Tune in to this season’s hottest comedy cooking show!”
The vampire had planned on completely ignoring the commercial until she heard a very familiar-sounding voice.
“Uh… t-thanks for tuning in to Cooking with Mirabelle again this week…”
Her head snapped up. She’d never bothered watching her own show, since she knew it would drive her crazy to see every little mistake, but… did they just say comedy?
“Watch TV’s favourite little vampire do her best every week!”
The commercial cut to a shot of her chopping garlic while holding her face as far away from the cutting board as possible, whining uncomfortably. The next few shots were of her coughing up ash and staring into the camera to unconvincingly say that the food was delicious, to roaring laughter they must have put in afterwards.
H-her acting wasn’t that bad, was it?
Another shot, this time it was during the peppercorn steak episode. She watched in horror as she was reminded of the time she dumped the entire pepper shaker on her finished steak. The worst part of that episode was that it would have tasted the same even if she didn’t mess up.
But… the director said they wouldn’t use that cut!
“Catch the giggles with our creepy cutie, every Wednesday on MBC!”
She wasn’t creepy! What had they been doing behind her back? She hardly even knew how to use that computer she’d bought about ten years back, but she wanted answers.
The first thing she saw was the website for the show, with a few more embarrassing clips she’d told them to cut out. There was even that one last month when she’d yelled that she had to pee and someone needed to watch the oven a little louder than she’d meant to at the time.
The next thing she found was the ‘Mirabelle’s Cooking subbrappit’ and… oh god.
There were dozens of links everywhere. She clicked on one at random and it brought her to a thread of people talking about the show.
>hey, do you think they script the accidents on the show? It’s so cute when her eyes get all teary
>it’s probably all scripted tbh, do you think anyone could be that stupid on purpose?
>the crew fuck things up when she has her back turned I think
>Mirabelle is my waifu don’t bully her >~<
>I got a video from the leaked footage thread about this http://y…[expand]
Clicking on the link, she was brought to a video of the producer and one of the girls from the editing department… wait, was this from today? They were wearing the same clothes…
“Okay, grab the garnish and put it back in the fridge, I’ll get the garlic.”
“Mr. Lee, don’t you think this is kind of… mean?”
“Oh, it’ll just give her a little scare and then she’ll look like she’s been chopping onions for the rest of the episode. It’s gonna be classic!”
Did he actually-?
Mirabelle huffed in anger. This had probably been the worst day of her life and it was his fault?! Why didn’t he tell her what the show was?!
She browsed around a little longer until she got to the leaked footage thread. She found one that had a lot of replies and…
It was literally just camcorder footage of her crying in the bathroom. She heard someone behind the camera that sounded like the producer again.
“Aaah… dunno if we can use this one, it’s kind of echoey…”
Mirabelle squeezed her blood pack hard enough it almost popped. Clearly she’d been missing out on the hilarious jokes everyone else was in on.
Next week, Mirabelle walked into the studio and the producer walked up to her to say good morning.
“Hey! I wasn’t sure you were coming, I haven’t heard from you all week! Is everything okay?”
“Peachy.” Mirabelle said, smiling.
“Oh, good. I was getting kind of worried that- AH!”
The vampire grabbed his arm, easily dragging the man along with her supernatural strength. “Come on, Mr. Lee, it’s time to shoot our cute little comedy show with the creepy vampire girl.”
“O-ow! Wait! Hang on, how did you-!”
“Hey everyone! Welcome back to Cooking with Mirabelle! I’m so glad you could join us again this week, because we’ve got a very special guest! Say hello to our producer Mr. Lee! He’s going to be joining me from now on as my assistant!”
The producer squirmed on the chair he’d been tied to. “U-uh… Mirabelle? Could you at least take the blindfold off?”
A few of the cameramen giggled nervously.
“Oh, no. We can’t have that! The crew and I decided that you’ve had this little debut coming for quite some time, so just get comfy Mr. Lee!” Mirabelle started unfastening the buttons on the producer’s shirt. “Now everyone, this week, we’re going to be doing the first recipe suited for people with dietary restrictions! As you should be seeing on the screen right now, that’s right! We’ll be making a traditional Irish black pudding!”
“Now, you might be wondering what the ingredients are. Well, the most important part of this recipe is blood! Now, depending on your local butcher, you might be able to ask for pigs’ blood, and that’s the most traditional, but…” Mirabelle licked her lips and patted Mr. Lee’s head. “I happen to have a perfectly good source right here! Now, if you’re planning on using human blood, you should take care to secure a nice, high-quality source with no diseases, and preferably with a taste you like! Fortunately, our assistant here had a donor’s card, and he’ll be perfect for today’s recipe.”
The producer groaned. “We didn’t really mean any harm, you know! It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, people love how cute you are! You’re a star!”
“And we won’t be doing any harm either! Fortunately, Mr. Lee here has about 5 litres of blood in his body, so the two cups we’ll be needing for the recipe won’t be doing anything worse than making him a little light-headed! First, as with any fresh ingredients, you should clean it before you draw anything.” Mirabelle wiped his neck with a cloth cold enough that it made him flinch. “And now, let’s get our two cups!”
The vampire bit his neck, filling her cheeks with blood before spitting into a measuring cup.
“You’ll need to draw several times of course and it’ll sting, so if you’re going to get your own from someone, make sure they have a decent pain tolerance or that they deserve it!”
An hour and a half later, Mirabelle proudly showed her creation to the camera. “And here it is! Now remember, some herbs pair better with certain blood types, but feel free to experiment! Today, I paired Mr. Lee’s O positive with a nice oregano and rosemary. You can feel free to add garlic if you want too, but…” Mirabelle giggled. “So, let’s give it a try!”
The vampire took a large forkful of pudding and chewed her portion, beaming. “Wow! I really like that little bit of extra savoury flavour the rhesus factor adds! Now then, let’s have my assistant weigh in!”
“U-uh… I’m good, actu-”
“Nonsense! It came from you, so back in it goes! Open up!”
The producer sighed and opened his mouth, completely defeated. He chewed for a moment before spluttering and coughing out the mouthful of black pudding he’d been given. “W-what did you do to it?”
“That’s what the blindfold was for, silly! As you can see, I’ve prepared my dashing assistant a plate of his own with a special ingredient. Can you guess what it is? That’s right! It’s ash!”
“My, my! It must be terrible to be forced to eat ash on TV! I couldn’t possibly imagine!” Mirabelle turned back to the camera and smiled brightly. “I’m so glad you could join us again this week! I hope your cooking adventures go well, and remember, we’ll be back again in a month for the launch of season two! Until then, ciao!”