She found her voice and her confidence through speech therapy
Saucy Duck’s beak always seemed to be a problem. Pronouncing words took so much effort, and many of the other ducks couldn’t understand what she was trying so hard to say. Her mama and papa duck could usually make it out, but others in the flock seemed to think it was gibberish. She dreamed of an effortless transformation into something or someone else, like how the Ugly Duckling in the old story turned out to be a swan. Instead, Saucy continued to struggle.
Still, Saucy found joy in the kitchen! She loved to read cookbooks and try new recipes. When holding a wooden spoon, her mouth didn’t seem like a problem, but an asset! She could taste the smallest dash of saffron, detect a smidgen of cinnamon, or a hint of curry. Saucy loved to combine a little of this and a little of that until it tasted just right.
One of her favorite inventions was pumpernickel toast smeared with ricotta cheese and sliced pear, topped with pistachio dust and a honey drizzle. She called it “Saucy’s Five Cent Pear Toast,” playing off the nickel part of the toast. Everyone went wild for it on Saturday brunch!
Despite her culinary success, Saucy was often frustrated, and sometimes even angry, that her thoughts weren’t well understood when she tried to put them into words. One day, her parents found a speech therapist to help her strengthen up her quacker. The exercises they did were like a palate, tongue, beak, and face-muscle workout every single day! Therapy was a lot of work, but little by little, Saucy Duck started to see results. More ducks could understand her, and she was less tired from putting forth so much effort to communicate.
Each day, before her therapy exercises, Saucy would practice cooking new types of omelettes and pouring fancy coffee bubble art. After her therapy exercises, Saucy would practice cutting pretty criss-cross lunch wraps and stacking colorful salads. Later, when her tongue got tired, she would work on lateralization and elevation while she marinated, steamed, fried, blackened, baked, and sauteed. The harder she worked and the stronger her beak became, the more people could understand her explanations of the creative genius in her food.
“Tell us more about the ingredients, Saucy,” they would say. Or, “How did you get that dressing so creamy?” Saucy was always delighted to share, and even though she spoke with conscious effort, she was so pleased to share her love of cooking with others.
Before too long, Saucy was running a food truck, then another, and another. A fleet of food trucks launched a boutique restaurant where ducks booked tables weeks in advance to have Saucy herself perform a short presentation describing the ingredients, cooking techniques, and food styling.
As the rave reviews poured in, Saucy invited her childhood speech therapist to come for a special dinner one night at her establishment, Duck Soup. As a duckling, her beak muscles would have been so tired by the end of the day, that the thought of speaking publicly would have been terrifying. But since she continued working hard on both uses for her beak–tasting and talking–Saucy had the stamina to explain all about her latest creation: a portobello mushroom stir fry with red bell pepper and brocollini, followed by a crusty, warm raspberry pecan pie.
“This is the best meal I’ve ever had!” exclaimed her old friend. “You’ve always taken to cooking like a duck to water.”
“Thanks,” Saucy Duck replied with a smile. “I didn’t need to transform into a swan like the Ugly Duckling in the story, I just needed help to transform into a stronger, more confident duck.”