RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Summary: Fred and George are seeking a special book to help them in their creation of a new Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes treat. Madam Irma Pince, the Hogwarts Librarian, thwarts them at every turn.
Author's Note: This story came to me as I was fantasizing about being the librarian at Hogwarts. I certainly wouldn't be like Madam Pince, refusing to allow anyone access to knowledge. But one does have to admire her dogged determination as self-appointed guardian of the library's collection, especially when facing the creative chaos that is the Weasley twins.
CHAPTER 1: THE DIRECT APPROACH
"You want WHICH book?" hissed the indignant librarian, her whisper barely audible as she gritted her teeth. Madam Pince glared at the twins and said, "That book is in the Restricted Section, for good reason!" Fred and George Weasley both took an involuntary step backward.
"We will be very careful with it! We just want to take a quick peek," exclaimed Fred. George chimed in, "You know, for research purposes!"
At those words, Madam Pince's thin frame unfolded upwards and her nostrils flared. With a quick flick of her wrist, her wand appeared in her hand and she leveled it at the nearest twin. Her menacing whisper seared the twins' eardrums as she stated, "'All students seeking access to Restricted Section books must have a signed note from a teacher. No exceptions.' Get out! NOW!"
Fred narrowly avoided the hex that Madam Pince aimed in his direction and ran for the library exit, George hot on his heels. "Nice going, George," snickered Fred as he dodged a small group of confused first years.
George huffed as he sprinted past his brother, "Hey, you'd think a librarian would want to help a student further his quest for knowledge!"
"We should have known she wouldn't fall for it. We've not done real 'research' in our seven years at Hogwarts. Why would we start now?" Fred muttered, glancing back over his shoulder to see the livid librarian raising her wand again, scowling after the retreating twins. He yelped and dived out the doors after his brother, finally out of range of Madam Pince's wrath.
The Weasley twins looked at each other. Bent over and panting for breath, as one they burst into laughter. Slinging their arms around each other's shoulders, Fred and George waved cheerily through the doorway at the sour-faced librarian and made their way back to Gryffindor Tower to continue to scheme.
Fred and George didn't admit defeat. They simply acknowledged that some situations were more challenging than others. This made victory all the sweeter. The twins flopped down on their dorm beds and began to mull over their options to get past Madam Pince's formidable defenses.
"Okay," began George, his head dangling upside-down over the edge of his mattress. "Plan A: The Direct Approach – crash and burn on that one, Fred."
Fred walked his feet up the wall at the head of his bed as he replied, "Yeah. Not surprisingly, that plan didn't work out so well." He tried to perform a headstand but fell over face-first into his pillows. He rolled to his side and said, waving a finger in the air, "Now for Plan B: Beg for the Good Graces of Granger." George, red-faced, nodded his head.
Fred started to speak but George held up a hand in warning. The brothers pricked their ears as running footsteps sounded on the stairs. They grew louder and louder until the door opened to reveal Lee Jordan, who threw his books down on the floor by his trunk. "Fred, George! What in Merlin's name happened at the library?" He sprawled across his bed. "I was in there chatting up some fifth year Hufflepuff girls – and doing quite well I might add! - when you two arrived and all hell broke loose! Pince practically burned a hole in the door with her last hex. She was incensed! She threw everyone out and locked down the library for the rest of the day." Lee's easygoing face split into a grin. "Hermione's having a royal fit! She's almost as angry as Pince! Just what did you do to tie Pince's bun in a knot?"
Fred sat up. "Sodding hell. An angry Hermione doesn't exactly help us with Plan B!" He shared a calculating look with George, who was now puce in color and was struggling upright. "I think we need to bring in reinforcements."
George nodded, rubbed his face, and looked gravely at their friend. "Lee, do you solemnly swear that we are up to no good?"
Lee rubbed his hands together and sat cross-legged on his bed, rapt with attention, and replied, "I swear! Lay it on me!"
"Fred? Would you care to explain?" asked George, with a tilt of his head.
Fred smirked and said, "Certainly, dear brother." He turned to Lee. "Lee, our exalted friend, we are seeking the crown jewel for our Wizard Wheezes kingdom!"
Lee looked from Fred to George and back again, non-comprehension clouding his features. "Come again?"
"Here's the thing, Lee," explained Fred, counting items off on his fingers as he recited them. "We know our Skiving Snackboxes are a success with the kids, yeah? Puking Pastilles and Nosebleed Nougat are best-sellers. Fainting Fancies and Fever Fudge pleased all our taste testers."
"And," continued George, holding up two more fingers, "Ton-Tongue Toffees and Canary Creams are a special hit with homework procrastinators."
"Plus, our love potions are going to be a big seller with the ladies, and our Guaranteed Ten-Second Pimple Vanisher will go over a treat with all teenagers," Fred added gleefully.
At this Lee wryly observed, "Yeah, now that the pimples vanish in 10 seconds, instead of vanishing for only 10 seconds."
George waved his hand dismissively. "Pish, a small detail. All part of the adventure of invention," he said. "Besides, we tested it on ourselves, and pimples just look like more freckles for us! Anyway, all in all, things look ready for our business to boom, right?"
Lee nodded in vigorous agreement. The twins shook their heads in reply.
"Wrong!" the twins declared in unison. "We need something more!"
Lee cocked a quizzical eyebrow at his friends. "More? More what?"
"We want to provide our fellow young wizards and witches with something to boost their self-confidence levels," replied Fred charitably. "You know, help them feel good about themselves in their awkward teenage years."
"Right, and make scads of Galleons in the process." remarked George. The twins shared identical broad grins.
George continued, "While we ourselves don't suffer from a lack of self-confidence," (at this Lee rolled his eyes and snorted) "We know that plenty of people have self-esteem issues. So, what better way to give them an ego boost than to increase their attractiveness to others?"
Lee raised his eyebrows. "So how would you do that then? Glamour-charmed jewelry of some sort?"
"Nice idea, Lee, and we considered it, but it would be expensive to produce," said George, "Plus wearing jewelry could be problematic. Not everyone wants to saunter down the hallways with people panting after them," his voice trailed off and a thoughtful expression flitted across his face for a moment. "Well, okay, maybe they do, come to think of it, but it isn't always appropriate. You'd end up putting on the jewelry and taking it off again constantly. Bound to lose it. No, we want to make something that can be activated on the fly, like our Toffees and Creams."
Fred was nodding. "Right. Something portable and palatable. We want something small, tasty and chewy that will enhance the appeal of our customer when they eat it, for some given length of time at any rate. Everyone around the chewer will gaze hungrily at him-"
"- with admiration and lust! Voilà, instant ego boost," Fred went on. "And thanks to our dogged diligence, we've discovered the existence of the perfect recipe. We just need to acquire it."
Lee, intrigued, rolled to the side of his bed and grabbed three bags of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans from his nightstand. He tossed one to each twin and opened his own. "So, what is this 'perfect recipe'? How can you have discovered it, but not have it?" he asked, munching on a grass-flavoured bean.
Fred popped a likely-looking dark blue bean into his mouth. He made a face. "How dull, blueberry!" he said. He swallowed. "To answer your first question, the captivating confections we crave to create are going to be called," and here George chimed in with his brother,
Fred tossed a dark reddish-brown bean into his mouth next and chewed speculatively. "Ah, that's more like it: scab-flavour!"
"Ogle Fruits... ha, that's wicked!" approved Lee. He tried a creamy white bean, thinking it might be coconut. "Eeyuck," he groaned, smacking his lips and tongue in distaste. "Elbow grease!"
"To be honest, we can't actually take credit for the name, it comes with the recipe," George shrugged. He was closely inspecting a greyish, yellowy-green bean. He smelled it, then set it aside. "I'm sure that's bogey-flavoured; I've had one before. Good stuff, nice and salty. I'll save it for Ron." He looked up at Lee. "To answer your second question, we stumbled onto this Ogle Fruit recipe by accident."
As they chewed their beans, the twins told Lee how they'd spent most of summer scouring old potion texts and cookbooks for possible recipes they might convert to their use. Fred bemoaned the fact that: "Mum's cookbook collection was pretty useless - they all focus mostly on hearty family meals, puddings and pastries and the like."
"Good food, but not much for sex appeal," noted George.
"So, we decided to check out the old cookbooks in the kitchen at 12 Grimmauld Place, since we were there a lot and bored out of our skulls otherwise." Fred said.
"Yeah, there is only so much Apparating up- and downstairs one can do, after all!" George remarked a bit glumly.
"I was paging through an old World War II-era wizarding cookbook," Fred continued, "The recipes were meant to help lonely witches secure a husband in those hard times, but they all sounded dead awful." He looked thoughtful for a moment. "I'm glad we don't have rationing now like they did then; the things they tried to make with almost nothing were pitiful! The wizarding world didn't have it any better than the muggles did, apparently." The twin shook his head. "Horrible stuff. I mean, 'Chocolate Lover's Lovers' Fudge' made from carrots? Yuck! But, I found what we were looking for scribbled right there in the margin next to that fudge recipe." Fred beamed and George high-fived him.
Lee waited expectantly. And waited. And waited some more. When the twins didn't seem to be forthcoming with any more information, he burst out, "Well? What did this scribble say?"
The twins stood up and with hands over their hearts, recited from memory with one voice, "This 'lovers' fudge' is rubbish for increasing attraction. Found much more effective pheromone-enhancing sweets recipe called 'Ogle Fruits' in The Joye of Snacks, by Nanny Ogg; book banned by Ministry. Most copies lost or destroyed."
The brothers sat down again, grinning from ear to ear.
Lee was nonplussed. "Ooookay, so the unknown scribbler mentions 'Ogle Fruits' as a possibly appealing recipe, to be found in a banned book that probably doesn't exist any more? This makes you happy, how?"
"Oh ye of little faith, my friend!" chortled George. "It only said 'most copies', not 'all'. That tells us there is at least one still out there!"
"Right," said Fred, oozing exuberant joy. "All we need to do is track one down."
"Mum was starting dinner, so we asked her if she'd ever heard of The Joye of Snacks. She went pale and smacked us both on the bum with her wooden spoon, telling us to get out of the kitchen."
"That means she has heard of it, and she wasn't happy we knew about it." the twins smiled knowingly.
The brothers began pacing the length of the room, passing each other in front of Lee.
George wagged a finger in the air as he said, "So. The question is: how are we going to find a copy of a banned -"
"- if not extinct -"
"- cookbook? The only clues to which are a handwritten note -"
"- from the margin of another cookbook written in the early 1940s -"
"- and the fact that our mother doesn't want to admit to knowing about said book?" finished George. The twins paused, breathlessly. Lee's face brightened as realization dawned.
"Hermione!" the three boys shouted together.
Lee laughed. "If the Gryffindor bookworm can't help you find a book, she'd throw herself off the Astronomy Tower."
Fred and George nodded happily. "That's what we thought. She'd been staying with us at Grimmauld Place. So after finding the mention of the recipe, we went looking for her -"
"- found her in the library of course -"
"- and asked her if she'd ever heard of the book. You should have seen her eyes light up," George shook his head. "It is a bit unnerving, really."
"She had heard the title, and thought she'd even seen it before." Fred said. "She did a little digging through her old textbooks and found The Joye of Snacks mentioned in a chapter of one of Lockhart's books, if you can believe it. He apparently set great store by it for the romantic dinners that he supposedly cooked for dozens of witches. Gushed on and on about how he'd satisfied many a witch with the recipes in The Joye of Snacks."
Lee snorted. "Yeah, sure he did. What I can't believe is Hermione's still got those useless pieces of rot Lockhart called books! Lucky for you two, eh?"
George waggled his eyebrows. "Hey, the chapter was really racy! Hermione was blushing horribly once she found that section of his book. The pages were creased and worn too. She'd obviously read it a fair few times!"
"And," Fred chuckled, "Mum's also read that book of Lockhart's over and over. She's always fancied him, even though he's become a complete ignoramus now. So, she already knew what The Joye of Snacks could lead to when we asked. We think that's why Mum went spare!" He and George rolled their eyes at the memory and shook their heads at each other.
"Anyway, Hermione, bless her big brain, told us that after Lockhart took that one-way trip down Memory Lane, all of his books and papers and such-like that had been left behind in his office were put in the library collection at Hogwarts," finished George. "Hermione – her memory really is scary, you know? - actually remembered seeing the book sitting on Lockhart's desk in the DADA classroom. She said she, Ron and Harry went to see him about getting a signed note to borrow a Restricted Section book and there was The Joye of Snacks, sitting alongside all of his other useless stuff."
"How in the name of Merlin did he get a copy?" Lee wondered.
"Probably the same way he got material for his books - stole it from someone, most likely." said Fred, matter-of-factly. "But who cares? The important thing is: it's here, in the Hogwarts Library. We just have to convince Pince to give it to us!"
"Madam Pince's in a right state now," Lee reminded the twins. "She was muttering about '...those rufous-headed reprobates' while she was shooing all of us out of the library. You two aren't going to get anywhere with her." He quirked a grin at his friends.
"We may not, dear Lee," drawled George, "but Hermione gave us an idea when she told us about her signed permission note from Lockhart. We just need her to ask for the book for us! We'll simply get-"
"- a signed note from a teacher and have Hermione work her wiles on Pince!"
Fred sighed happily. "It's a cunning plan -"
"- with no obvious drawbacks!" George agreed.
Lee coughed gently. "Um, there is one small problem." The twins looked at him in surprise.
"What's that?" they chorused.
"You've forgotten that Hermione's infuriated with you two for causing the library to get shut down. She won't be interested in helping you out now!" answered Lee.
The twins looked at each other. "Bugger."
The name "Ogle Fruits" is a parody of "Opal Fruits", which is what Starburst(tm) candies are called in England. Fruity, chewy, and oh-so-yummy!
A nod and a big thank you to Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, for the name of the cookbook that the twins covet: The Joye of Snacks, by Nanny Ogg. This cookbook was indeed banned on Pratchett's Discworld for what its recipes were capable of doing. Nanny Ogg is truly a lusty old witch. Just ask her about hedgehogs.