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Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop


An introduction to the world of Grandpa Asher along with two delicious winter recipes
Jadis Veal
Grandpa Asher looks over some tasty meal plans

Snow was spread thick across the dark green branches of the spruce trees. Once an array of swaying green spikes, the trees had been pressed down by the heavy white blanket of winter. The sparrows and hawks that had found refuge in the tree’s branches just a month earlier were now hundreds of miles southward, closer to the life-bringing warmth of the sun. 

Above the trees, rising high enough to contrast against the blank whiteness of the mountains, was a stream of puffy smoke. The smoke was a solitary promise of fire in a frosty world, the lone sign of life.

A weary traveler, with boots full of snow and an exceptionally icy head of hair, had his hope cast on this very plume of smoke. For days he had wandered lost, not knowing which direction to travel, until he finally spotted a landmark other than the familiar bitter landscape.

His footsteps crunched in the snow, one after another, crunching, crunching, closer and closer to that steady gray stream. The sky had now grown dark, with what was left of the sun’s light fading behind the mountains.

Even worse than the dark was the steadily plummeting temperature. The air around the Traveler had turned violently still, overpowered by an irresistible cold. Still, he kept crunching, moving his numb feet stubbornly toward his only chance of life. 

At last, just as the cold began to claim the feeling from his body, he arrived at the source of his hope; a tidy, wooden cabin, its windows all aglow with a warm yellow light. He used what little energy he had left to lumber up the steps of the porch and reach his hand to the door. He knocked slowly, three times.

A moment passed and the inside of the cabin rattled around. The rattling stopped and the door was opened slowly to reveal the kind face of a bearded old man. He looked at the Traveler inquisitively.

It seemed in an instant, the man understood what was going on. He noticed the Traveler’s tattered clothes and snow-caked boots, his pink skin and tired look. Before the Traveler could even open his mouth, the man pulled him inside the cabin.

The inside of the cabin was something to behold;  a fireplace emerged from the back wall with a comfortable looking couch in front of it, and a furry brown rug lay draped just below. From the small kitchen against the opposite wall wafted a delicious smell; something appley and nutty. In one of the corners sat a sturdy table with two chairs tucked beneath. The table upheld a piping hot mug of…something. Whatever it was, the Traveler couldn’t tell. 

“Here, sit down by the fire. I’ll grab you something warm to drink.” the man spoke.

The Traveler happily obliged and fell upon the couch.

“You look like you’re in need of one of my favorite recipes. It’ll thaw you out real quick. You see, I’ve already made myself a cup.”  He held up the steaming mug that sat on the table.

The Traveler nodded in approval, too cold to speak. 

After about 10 minutes the man returned from the kitchen. He held in his hands a wide mug that had steam billowing out of it.

“What is it?” the Traveler asked, now feeling slightly more temperate. “Homemade apple cider,” said the man as he handed the drink to the Traveler.

— The Traveler & The Man in the Cabin

The Traveler took a long swig. He felt his throat get hot as he swallowed, an amazing feeling that he could barely remember experiencing after spending so long in the deep snow. The cider warmed his blood and coursed through his body, bringing feeling back into his bones.

“It’s, Spectacular! Tell me, how did you make it?”

The man laughed and said, “Glad you like it. I suppose there’s no harm in telling you my secret; here’s how it’s made…” 


Homemade Apple Cider


Ingredients: 10 apples (any variety), water, ¾ cup of sugar, ½ cup of cinnamon, ¼ cup of allspice


  • Slice all ten apples into quarters
  • Place all the apples into a large pot
  • Fill up the pot to about 2 inches above the apples
  • Add sugar, cinnamon, and spice
  • Bring mixture to a boil and let stew for an hour without a lid on the pot
  • Put the lid on the pot and let boil for another two hours
  • Strain out the juice from the now mushy apples into a separate pot
  • Pour the cider into the same pot

Now pour yourself a cup and enjoy!


“You see?” said the man. “Very simple. I bet you can remember it.”

The Traveler continued to sip away, and as the cider worked its way through his body, his stomach growled loudly. The man noticed and looked over at the grandfather clock sitting by the table.

“Dinnertime. I guess I’ll have to double my recipe.” he said, winking. 

He walked back over to the kitchen and began to take out spices and pans. He produced another apple and spinach from the various cupboards all around. Eventually, after a small hill of ingredients was placed upon the counter tops, he disappeared outside. He returned moments later with some frozen chicken.

“Quite the array you have going on there,” called the Traveler from the couch. “What are you making?”

There were now pleasant sizzling sounds coming from the stove.

“Oh, you’ll just have to wait and see. It’s worth the wait, I promise.”

And so there the Traveler continued to sit, on the plush couch, his toes now tingling back to life. Eventually he rose after feeling thoroughly warmed, and wandered over to the window. It was snowing hard now. It looked as though someone were shaking a giant pillow full of feathers outside, the plumage drifting lazily to the soft ground. He was absolutely positive he could not have survived the night if not for the kind man and his cabin. 

Over the hour it took for the man to construct his meal, an aroma built up; lightly at first, but gradually increasing as the meal pushed onward toward completion. 

The Traveler watched the man for a while. He worked skillfully and silently, with a pleasant aura around him. He knew just how much of everything to throw into his concoctions. 

There was never a need for conversation between the two, no jumble of words to fill the silence of awkwardness that often occurs when strangers meet, just a mutual understanding of the generosity being shown. They were both thankful for each other.

At last, the dinner was ready. The smell had reached its climax, and the Traveler’s mouth began to salivate.

“Grab a plate and dish up! I do hope you like spinach?” said the man.

“I’m not one to complain; this all looks very, very fine to me.” the Traveler said, practically shoveling food onto his plate. 

The two men sat down at the table and said grace before digging in. It was within the first few bites that the Traveler discovered the delicious aroma hadn’t been for nothing. As quickly as the food had been shoveled onto the plate, it was shoved off, into his mouth. 

Halfway through the meal, the Traveler had to stop and ask,

“This is a marvelous meal and I would hate to leave here without being able to share it with someone. If you’re willing, would you care to write down the recipe for me?”

The man responded with a mouth full of food, “I can certainly do that. Here, I’ll do it now.”

He walked over to the counter and opened a drawer that contained a pencil and paper. He went back to the table and wrote for a few minutes. When he was done, he handed the paper to the Traveler. It read…


Apple-Glazed Chicken with Spinach


Ingredients: ¼ cup apple jelly, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp fresh thyme, ½ tsp shredded lemon peel, ½ tsp grated ginger, 2 chicken breast halves, ⅛ teaspoon salt and black pepper, 1 cored and chopped apple, ¼ cup sliced onion, 1 clove of garlic, and 6 cups of spinach

  • To make the glaze, combine jelly, soy sauce, thyme, lemon peel, and ginger into small saucepan and heat on the stove until jelly is melted. Save 2 tbsp of glaze (do not use on the chicken while cooking)
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper, broil (with broiling pan) on the stove for 15 minutes, turning chicken over about halfway through. Add glaze to chicken during last 5 minutes of broiling.
  • Heat a saucepan over medium. When hot, add apple, onion, and garlic. Stir for three minutes. Now add the remaining 2 tbsp of glaze and boil. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Now grab a plate and eat!


“Thank you very much. I’ll make sure to follow this exactly.”

“You’re very welcome. I hope you get some use out of that when you get to wherever you’re headed.”

They finished the meal, cleaned up, and put everything away. 

Now that the hearty dinner was concluded, the man stated, “You look rather tired, so I’ll leave you alone. You can sleep on the couch if you’d like. I’m glad I was able to help you out tonight.”

“That sounds like a splendid idea, and thank you for how kind you’ve been to me. Although, I have one more question. What is your name?”

The man smiled and spoke through his bushy beard, “Call me Grandpa Asher, pleased to meet you.”

And with that, Grandpa Asher vanished into his bedroom.

About the Contributors
Asher Maney, Reporter
Jadis Veal, Illustrator
"Where's everyone going? Bingo?"- Leon Kennedy