Jacinda’s got a lot going on. New town, new school, new friends: one of the plain old girl variety, one of the not-so-plain (and not-so-strictly-friend-zoned) boy variety. Everything in her life is different now…except her mom’s five-cheese macaroni with unique blend of herbs.
Of course, this particular dish is made especially delicious because Mom is a Verda draki – the kind that know everything there is to know about herbs, specifically how to optimize them into food and medicines. In other words, the exact type of dragon descendant you want your mom to be.
Maybe I should back up.
Jacinda’s unique family tree boasts glorious traditional dragons of yore, as well as the evolved creatures of more recent generations like herself who have the ability to shift to human form. But even though Jacinda can attend a normal high school and live a regular teen existence, she wants to live in the fog-cloaked mountains, manifesting into her dragon form at will and feeling the wind caress her gossamer wings.
So the above-mentioned comfort food is Mom’s attempt to make a home where it is not – not just because the new home is a moldy pool house in the back yard of a snoopy old lady (a pool house to a pool that she won’t even let them use), but because the dry desert town is the complete opposite of the lush, protected land she had to leave behind.
It’s all part of Mom’s plan to kill Jacinda. Yes, really. Okay, not to make her dead dead, but to destroy the draki part of her so that the family can in every way move on from the past. The past that includes both the old home and the rest of the draki tribe…and also that tribe’s plan to breed Jacinda because of her generations-unique fire-breathing ability.
Mom knows they can’t go back (and at some level Jacinda does, too) to their old lives (and selves), so busting out the special macaroni is her only move. All she can do is nourish Jacinda’s body, while continuing to starve Jacinda’s soul. Supposedly for her own good. But it sure doesn’t feel that way to Jacinda every time she chokes on the dry desert air that burns her draki lungs…