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Characters in Depth:
Heinrich Hintzpeter

First Trilogy
All Manor of Yarns

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 I.

Prussian Yarns

II.

A Stitch in Time

III.

Tinctures & Tantrums

Second Trilogy
The Snow Queen and
The Caterpillar

IV.

There is a Season

V.

 Viennese Yarns

VI.

Orchids

Third Trilogy
Taffeta Tales

VII.

British Yarns

VIII.

Polish Yarns

IX.

Threads of Strife

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Lorraine Stanton
Vicki Wootton
Shalanna Collins
 
Heinrich Hintzpeter was a talented chef who trained at the top cooking schools in Germany and then in France.  He envisioned a career as a chef in the most prestigious places in Germany, perhaps ending up supervising the preparation of dishes for Royalty.

Dapper and elegant, he looked more the part of a dandy than of a cook.  He studied with the greatest chefs in the great establishments in Paris and Vienna, but always seemed to come to grief just before he became famous for his brilliance.  It could only have been because the great chefs were threatened by the presence of greatness in their kitchens.  It could never have had anything to do with Heinrich's attitude that he was too valuable a talent to have to work his way up from the bottom.  Nein, of course not.  His unfortunate penchant for throwing tantrums couldn't have had any effect on his career, either.      

To get his career off on the right foot after leaving Paris, Heinrich accepted the position of assistant cook on one of the great estates in north eastern Prussia.  His intention was to establish himself in a grand mansion where there would be much entertaining of the gentry and minor aristocracy.  Naturally his extraordinary talent would be noted, and he would be sought after.  Heinrich was in no doubt that his talent was extraordinary.  He considered himself a culinary artist.  His plan was to accept only those posts in establishments that were a step above the social standing of whichever establishment he worked in.

Imagine his dismay and disappointment when he discovered that the estate that had hired him, Schönwald, did not host great parties and dances.  All of the accoutrements were there; large kitchens, ball room, reception rooms, banquet room, musician's gallery; but nearly all of the house stood empty, silent, vacant.

The lady of the house kept to her rooms, she did not play hostess to glittering throngs.  There was no substitute hostess.  The lord of the manor, Otto, did what he could to fill in, shockingly even dabbling in women's work.  Otto had business meetings and occasional small family gatherings, but no opulent entertaining.  There was only one child, not yet out in society, and a greatly reduced staff.

The biggest blow to Heinrich's illusions was that his superior was a woman.  Not merely a woman – he could almost have borne that if she'd been a brilliant chef – but an illiterate Hungarian peasant with thickly accented German and no concept of artistry.  Food for Emma was to be substantial and plain.  The ideas of presentation, or sauces, or liaisons between one part of the dish and another was not merely strange to her, they were ludicrous.

As he reeled from the disappointment and tried to come up with a way to get his intended meteoric rise back on track, Heinrich took out his frustrations on Emma and her kitchen staff.  He hadn't intended to defy Emma at first.  His attitude to cooking and his methods were so different from hers that by trying to do his normal work he thwarted her.  He found that it made him feel better to keep Emma in a tizzy, and from then on proceeded to irritate her just for the fun of it.

A short time after Heinrich arrived at Schönwald the household staff put on a surprise birthday party for Otto.  Heinrich put his heart and soul into the preparations for Otto's birthday meal, on the off-chance that one of the guests would have the good taste to realise his talent.

He was gratified to have a lady question him about his proudest creation, biscuits called "Springerle" that had pictures molded into each one from wooden molds that he had carved himself.  When the expected requests to "borrow" his skills from Otto were forthcoming, Heinrich realised that he could use Schönwald as a springboard for his carrier after all.

Gratified, he settled down to enjoy his time at Schönwald because he knew that it was going to be a short time.

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