A Pinch of Salt, A Dash of Magic

Premise: 'Food has a magical quality of its own' so Harry thought. So what might happen when he finds out that magic is real and that hearts and minds can be adjusted by serving the perfect dish?

[A/N: So this is the last of the stories under the Crafting Magic umbrella. All the recipes referenced in this story are real and can be found on Google, Yummly, Pinterest or your favorite recipe site. The campground is fictional because 'why not?']

Chapter 1: Catch of the Day

4 Privet Drive, Surrey, England; absurdly early in the morning June 1989

"Harry," nudge "Harry, wake up. It's time to get going."

"Ugh…" Harry Potter age 9; cracked his eyes open and blearily glared at his uncle who loomed over him.

"I know but if we're going to get a good camping spot, I want to get going early," Vernon said and clapped his hands before heading out of the room. He grinned evilly and flicked on the lights and chuckled at the growling sound emanating from his wife's nephew.

Harry finally grumbled once more and flipped the covers off and dragged himself into the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash his face. Once that was done, he got dressed in the clothes his aunt put out for him the night before.

Vernon Dursley got the rest of his herd loaded into the car and started driving down the street. It was still dark out so the lights of the car stabbed outwards like glowing swords. They drove onto the M3 towards the Cornwall coastline. Traffic was light, especially this early in the morning and eventually they switched over to the A303. Dudley started whining about being hungry and Aunt Petunia was starting to murmur about needing a cup of tea.

"Harry, where'd you put the hamper?" Petunia asked.

Harry craned his neck around to check in the boot and spotted the hamper of food that he'd made beforehand and tried to reach for it.

"It's stuck in the boot next to Dudley's sleeping bag. I can't reach it from here."

"I'll be pulling over to a rest stop shortly, you can get it out then," Vernon informed them.

They pulled into a bus stop near the junction of the A303 and M5 in Exeter to allow everyone to stretch their legs and visit the loo. By the time Petunia came back escorting Dudley, Harry had the hamper unloaded and set up for a quick meal. He opened up a package of leftover fried chicken that they'd had the night before. He sliced it up and put it aside as he removed a small tub of yogurt, a small lime and clove of garlic and some salt and pepper.

"A bit more of salt, a bit of pepper now that I think about it. Where'd I put my mint leaves?" He dug around the bottom and found the baggie with the mint leaves. Vernon was busy looking over the map while Dudley and Petunia watched Harry slice, dice and grind the ingredients together in a small mortar and pestle that was a previous birthday gift from his cousin. He added the yogurt and tasted it, nodding his acceptance.

Next up was four flatbreads he'd baked earlier in the week. A slathering of the lime crème yogurt sauce, a couple of fried chicken strips and a small handful of chopped romaine lettuce leaves finished off their breakfasts. They each took a napkin and chowed down, the sounds of pleasure evident from the grunting noise that Dudley was making.

"Shame that I didn't think to bring the cherry tomatoes, they would've made a nice burst." Harry commented idly as he chewed.

"It's just fine for the short time we're here. I am curious as to why you didn't make the sauce beforehand as well?" Petunia reassured him.

Harry shrugged and muttered something about forgetting to do so during the madness to pack the night before. They threw away their trash and repacked the boot before continuing their journey.

Wolf's Bay Campground

After another couple of hours, the tired travelers arrived at the coast and their campground. Vernon admonished the boys not to wander too far then began getting the trailer unhooked and set up. He and Petunia would be sleeping in there while the boys would be sharing a tent. Petunia went in search of the reception center to see about sightseeing opportunities. Dudley grabbed the tent and his sleeping bag so he could at least help out his dad. Harry went foraging around the campsite, he wouldn't be taking anything but it was still interesting to look at.

"Harry! Harry, I need your help to set up the tent!" Dudley yelled out not five minutes later. After a few false starts, the two boys managed to get the poles assembled and fed through the nylon guides attached to the tent material. Vernon watched on in pride at how well they were working together, offering advice only when asked.

Once the tent was up and their bags were inside, Dudley went in search of his pride and joy: an acoustic guitar, a gift from his Aunt Marge (whom for reasons no one could figure out, had a strange animosity towards Harry so he never received a gift for any of his birthdays or Christmas). He set up his guitar case and repair kit just under the tent awning and began lovingly examining it for any damage incurred in transit.

Petunia came walking up then with a couple of brochures in hand, "Harry? Dudley? The campground desk clerk said that there's some wonderful foraging and fishing here. Do you want to take a look?"

Harry nodded quickly and hurried off to find his 'Junior Chef Travel Book' on local fish and shellfish, a tape measure, a bucket and a hook. Dudley carefully put away his guitar and grabbed their Wellies and another bucket and hook. At the last moment, Petunia retrieved her disposable camera and a set of rubber gloves.

On the beach…

There were so many crevices, nooks and crannies and rocks to overturn in search of anything edible and cool to look at. While Harry spent most of his time evaluating the various crabs and seaweeds to see if they were good enough to harvest, Dudley found all sorts of weird sea creatures like starfish (the largest one he found was as big as a dinner plate, not including the arms!) He held up each and every find (or tried to) for his mum to take a photo of with him proudly holding (and making faces at.)

"Aunt Petunia! You gotta see this!" Harry yelled out a moment later after Dudley safely put a sea urchin back where he'd found it.

Gingerly picking her way across the rocks, Petunia spotted her nephew holding up a positively huge lobster! It was a size that would've only been found in the swankiest fine dining restaurant.

"Wow, Harry! Where'd you find that?" She exclaimed as she pulled out her camera again and snapped off a couple of pictures.

Pointing to the rock cave, Harry explained how he discovered the lobster and the steps it took him to fish it out.

"Whoa! Pretty blue color, Harry. It's a shame that it'll just turn bright red when cooked," Dudley commented.

Harry pulled out the tape measure and with his aunt's help, determined it to be 51 centimeters.

Three hours later…

"Wow, Harry! That's one heck of a haul. What did you find?" Vernon complimented the tired but eminently happy boy.

"Thanks, Uncle Vernon. I found a huge blue lobster, a handful of gaper clams, a few mussels and some edible seaweed for flavoring. Now comes the hard part. Cleaning…" He rolled his eyes and dragged the bucket over to the spigot. He jogged back and grabbed another bowl to hold the cleaned shellfish and crabs.

"What did you find, Dudley?"

"I found some crabs, and a huge starfish and…" Dudley began his rambling description of his own search, gesturing widely as Petunia looked on, smiling proudly at her son.

Harry made short work of the dirt and grit that had accumulated on the shells; he emptied about a cup of salt into a bowl of water and dropped in the clams. This would cause them to filter themselves of any grit inside so he didn't have to do it. Harry instructed Dudley to get a pot of water started to boil before performing a final rinse. He asked Vernon to humanely dispatch the crabs and lobster since it was too tough for his small hands to grip the knife and the shells securely. Once Vernon completed his task, Harry scrubbed them down one last time before adding them to the pot. Once they were cooked and a glowing red, Harry poured off the water into the bushes and dumped them into a bucket full of cold water and a chunk of ice from the cooler to stop the cooking process. Next, he began assembling his spices and the corn on the cob he'd planned for this meal. He handed off a couple of sirloin steaks to his uncle for him to cook as he saw fit.

Preparing the corn on the cob was easy. He cut off the tassels from the top and shucked back the leaves part way. Next, he smeared on a tab of softened butter and dusted the corn with chili powder, salt and a bit of black pepper then he wrapped each of them up in tinfoil and placed them in the coals of the fire. He dusted his hands off and looked up, "Dinner should be ready in just a few minutes."

Petunia nodded and mentioned that the table was set up and ready. She turned and spotted her son digging around the firepit, "Dudley? Go wash up and get the drinks."

Dinner that evening was relaxed and pleasant. Vernon had commented wistfully that it was a shame that they didn't live closer to the beach if this was the kind of food they could be eating. The sounds of the ocean's waves crashing on the beach in the background were a perfect counterpoint to the laughter and jokes that were being passed around. A campfire had been set up and lit to provide warmth in the rapidly cooling night air. Petunia sat back and reveled in this picture-perfect moment of family bliss. It was just heart-wrenching that her sister and husband couldn't be there to share in it with them. Lily and James would've been so proud of their son; if it weren't for that blasted terrorist…

Nearly twenty years ago or so, some sadistic arse had risen up and gathered a bunch of like-minded crazed followers and sycophants. They rampaged up and down the island killing people indiscriminately, including James and Lily Potter. What made it worse (in Petunia's mind) was that this terrorist group had an ability that neither she nor her husband had. They could perform magic and they used that magic to cause panic, death and chaos wherever they went. It wasn't until Halloween 1981 that the leader of that group had been stopped. The surprising thing was that the person who stopped him was supposedly her nephew, Harry.

Well, that's what the letter she received said. Petunia didn't believe it; it just wasn't possible for a fifteen month toddler to perform such miracles. No, she believed that it had to have been something her sister did. At any rate, she and Vernon had discovered the morning of November 1st that their family had grown by one when she'd gone out to the porch and discovered Harry sleeping in a basket with a wicked looking scar on his forehead, covered by a thin blanket and clutching a letter.

The letter was condescending and weirdly written; suggestions that they were expected to raise the boy as they saw fit but that punishments were encouraged, no one would make contact with them until it was time to send him back to the magical world and signed by the self-aggrandized leader of the vigilante group fighting the evil wizards, headmaster of the only magical school in Britain and chief whatchamacallit in their government: Albus Dumbledore. There had been a brief argument between Vernon and herself about what to do with Harry, which she'd won. There was no way in Hell that she'd ever treat her nephew as some kind of slave or dump him in an orphanage! Lily's son would be raised as their own and with as much care and love that they'd bestow on their own son.

Dudley picked up his guitar and began strumming a soothing, wordless song sort of in tune with the crackling fire. Petunia smirked to herself as she sipped her evening cup of tea at the thought that Dumbledore's plans for a meek and pliable boy had been derailed. Harry was raised to think and question things that didn't make sense. He respected authority but at the same time knew that same respect had to be earned. It also made her grin wickedly that the supposed 'everyone knows' idea that she and her sister hated each other was complete bunk. They did have their spats, especially in the beginning but they worked through the emotions and solved their problems.

No, Petunia knew of the magical world. The problem was, after that day when she'd discovered Harry on their porch, she couldn't remember how to access it.

Their second and third day of camping was filled with sightseeing, fishing and foraging. They toured some ancient castles and some hidden coves. Both Dudley and Harry made some really cool finds in terms of weird looking sea life hidden amongst the tide pools. The water was too cold for snorkeling despite Dudley's whining that he wanted to try it anyways. Vernon got tired of the whining and hauled him away for a 'private chat.' When they returned, Dudley was sniffling, quiet and would gingerly shift every time he wanted to sit down. Petunia looked worried but Vernon reassured her that it wasn't swats but their son tripping over a rock and landing hard.

"I would never hit my son no matter how much he deserved it. I just growled at him a bit about how bratty he was in front of others. He turned away and tripped over the rock."

Harry meanwhile, had discovered a crab attacking a starfish and called the others over. They watched in morbid fascination as the starfish let the crab yank off an arm with nary a reaction before making its agonizingly slow escape. There was a sandy section of the beach where the two boys spent some time making a lop-sided sand castle that immediately fell apart at the slightest touch of an incoming wave much to their laughing and groaning.

It wasn't until the second to last day there that something happened…

Harry was scouting along the base of a cliff in search of some really cool rocks and maybe even a fossil or two. He had just paused to take a sip of water from his canteen when he heard a sharp crack and a rumbling noise coming from above. His head snapped up and his eyes nearly bugged out of his head as a gigantic boulder appeared to be falling down on top of him. He distantly heard his name being screamed before there was a louder crack, feeling someone grab him, sudden darkness and an overwhelming crushing sensation then suddenly he was looking up at a man who was frantically checking Harry's face looking for injuries.

Harry's eyes and head were spinning and the last thought he had before passing out was wondering why a woman was asking if the man's name was 'Moony.'

"Moony? Er… Remus, right?"

The man's head snapped up and his mouth dropped open, "Pet…Petunia? Petunia Evans?" he stammered in surprise.

Petunia smiled shyly and gestured to her shell-shocked husband, "Petunia Dursley now. Wow Remus Lupin, I haven't seen you in ages. I think the last time was at my sister's wedding. Is Harry okay?" Her smile faded and her fears returned full force.

Remus pulled what looked like an ordinary stick from his pocket and murmured something which caused Harry to glow blue for a moment. Whatever the glow indicated caused Remus to look relieved and his shoulders slumped. He nodded his response and shook out the tremors from his hands, "Yes, he's fine and should be waking up soon. He most likely just passed out from the shock of it all."

Vernon, a surprised look on his face when Remus performed… something, cleared his throat and declared that he'd be the one to take Harry back to their campsite as he bent down to pick up the boy. Petunia stayed back a bit to walk with Remus as Dudley gathered up their stuff without being asked. After they got back to the campsite and put Harry in the tent to wake up on his own, the adults gathered around the picnic table where Petunia began the questions.

After getting settled and accepting a beer from Vernon, Remus began his explanation as to how he came to be at the campground.

"Well, to answer your question as to the reason why I'm here; I own the campground and the farm. I had been thinking rather hard near the end of my school years about what sort of career I wanted to have only for the disheartening reality that the magical world is just too prejudiced against people like me."

"People…like you? What do you mean?" Vernon interrupted; suddenly nervous that maybe they were sitting with a pedophile.

Remus hesitated before admitting that he's a werewolf. Vernon looked puzzled, "So once a month you turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast?" Remus nodded once and Vernon snorted derisively and slyly glanced over at his wife who caught the look, squealed indignantly and shoved his shoulder.

"Anyway, to continue, an acquaintance of mine mentioned that there were plenty of opportunities in the muggle world as long as I got creative. After a bit of digging around, I discovered this campground and the adjacent farm had gone up for sale. I paid the fees, got the place cleaned up and started advertising."

Petunia laughed lightly, "I think it's perfect. You get to have fresh air, a veritable bounty from the sea, friendly and temporary neighbors, and huge amounts of land to roam around on."

Remus cocked his finger at her, "Exactly. Plus when it's time for my transformation, I can just squirrel myself away in a protected and warded cove nearby."

The adults talked long into the afternoon when Harry finally woke up and joined them. He studied Remus' face for a moment, "I could swear that I should remember you. That you and I had met before."

Remus slowly tilted his head, "That we did though I'd be surprised that you actually remember me. You were only about eight months when you and your parents went into hiding. Then after that Halloween, I tried to find you but Albus said that you'd been hidden away for your safety and the public would've screamed bloody murder if someone like me had found you." He then explained briefly about his condition to Harry who shrugged it off.

"So how were you able to rescue me so quickly? It was almost like magic but that can't be because magic isn't real," Harry asked him.

Remus smirked knowingly, "Ah, young Harry. That is where you are wrong. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, if you would permit me?" Both adult Dursleys nodded or gestured so Remus leant in and filled both boys in on the knowledge that magic was indeed real.

That night…

As a treat, Remus offered to take them on an adventure to the beach later that evening. The Dursleys and Harry arrived right on time just as Remus came shuffling up carrying some torches with a purple lens on them.

"These are ultraviolet torches that will cause some of the sea creatures to glow."

Dudley and Harry's eyes bugged out and their mouths dropped open, "Cool!" Their attention was now captured.

Remus led the group along the shoreline and rocks pointing out and describing how to find the anemones and the shells that would glow the best. He explained the biology behind the glow and what the creatures used it for. Harry had brought along his foraging gear and was fortunate to land a couple of crabs.

"Just remember that you can't keep everything you catch. There are no official limits but you don't want to deplete the resources here. You're allowed to take lobsters as long as they're a minimum of ninety millimeters from the just behind the eyestalks to the top of the tail where it connects into the back shell and you're allowed any of the crabs as long as it's 115 millimeters across the carapace," Remus reminded them.

When they took a break to give Vernon and Petunia a chance to catch their breath, Remus asked Harry what he'd been looking for earlier along the base of the cliff.

"I was looking for fossils," Harry sheepishly explained, "I thought it'd be cool to get back to school in September and show off my really cool find."

"So you didn't see the sign that cautioned people against the possibility of falling rocks?" Remus asked puzzled. Harry shook his head at the question.

"I didn't see any signs."

"Hmmm… I'll need to install some then."

The last day of camping…

Harry and Dudley were allowed to range up and down the Cornwall coast as long as they kept the campground and the trailer in sight. The hills were lush with green wild grasses and flowers; Harry was having a great time trying to identify all the edible ones. Dudley was on the hunt for lizards and snakes. He caught a small snake and shoved it into Harry's face.

"Be careful you annoying two legger! Put me down!" The snake hissed angrily.

Harry pulled up short and cocked his head curiously, "Hello, Did my cousin hurt you?"

If it were possible for a snake to bug out its eyes and become dumbfounded, this one managed to pull it off, "A Sp...A Speaker?! Great Fields Above! It's true! I'd heard stories of Speakers but I never thought I'd meet one." The snake babbled.

Dudley tilted his head in surprise, "Harry? Are you two actually speaking to each other?"

Harry shook his head and peered disapprovingly at the surprised look on his cousin's face, "Yeah, well you were the one who pulled this snake from its hiding spot and tried shoving it in my face. It's only polite to offer an apology for your blunder."

Dudley looked appropriately chastised as he put the snake back on the ground, "Sorry, Mr. Snake." Harry translated and the snake gave one bob of its head before slithering off into the bush.

When they got back to the campsite, Dudley immediately went to go tell his mum and dad what happened. Harry poked around in the cooler for something to make for lunch, eventually deciding on making some simple minute steak sandwiches. He stoked the campfire coals and loaded in some new sticks of wood before getting the meat out and rubbing it down with some salt, pepper and a cut clove of garlic. He pulled out some fresh rosemary and pulled the leaves off. Next, he dropped about a tablespoon of butter into the skillet and put it over the fire to heat up. When the pan started sizzling, he laid in the steaks and let that start cooking; scooping up the melted butter with a brush made out of the leftover rosemary bundle and brushing it on top of the steaks.

After the meat reached a good medium rare temp, Harry pulled the steaks off and let them rest for a moment while he prepared the bread. A smearing of homemade horseradish mayonnaise and a healthy amount of bean sprouts went on the tops of the sliced wheat bread. He turned back to the steaks and using a knife, carefully sliced each one thinly and divided it amongst the four sandwiches. Once that was done, he laid the top slice of bread on top and called to the others that lunch was being served.

Petunia kept glancing over at her nephew as they all ate the sandwiches; she was worried about this newfound ability Harry had displayed with the snake. Clearing her throat, "Harry?"

He looked up, cheeks puffed up with sandwich, "Hmmph?"

"Dudley told us about the incident with the snake. Umm, have you ever spoken to a snake before?" Harry shook his head negatively as he swallowed what was in his mouth.

"No, I haven't. I was surprised too; do you think Mr. Lupin would know anything about it?"

"That's a good idea, Harry. We'll go ask him after lunch." Vernon mumbled as he took a swig of tea.

They found Remus later, tending to an Alpaca on his farm. He waved them over and introduced them all to the animal named 'Woolsey.'

"So what brings you by?"

Waving her hand in Harry's direction, Petunia explained that the two boys had gone exploring when Dudley had apparently found a snake and shoved it into Harry's face to get some sort of reaction only to get the shock that Harry was able to speak with said snake. Remus' face was a picture of stunned silence.

"Harry? You're a Parselmouth?"

"A what?" All four exclaimed.

Remus motioned for them all to follow him inside his house. Once settled on the couches and chairs, Remus explained the history and general knowledge of what a Parselmouth was and their uses in the wider magical world.

"Now to be honest, the bulk of magical Britain is absolutely terrified of anyone who can speak to snakes because of the past troubles had from the likes of You-Know-Who and Salazar Slytherin but in my opinion, it's no different than being able to speak Spanish, French or any other language plus, you have the unique ability to converse with an animal whose venom is used in many healing potions. I know that Saint Mungo's is always on the lookout for a Parselmouth for their Creature Bite Ward, as snake bites are the most common ailment there and Gringott's, the Goblin run bank in London will pay a Parselmouth's weight in gold to work with their dragon handlers as well as a cursebreaker."

"What's a cursebreaker?" Dudley asked.

Remus thought for a moment, "Think of a magical Indiana Jones though with a wand instead of a bullwhip."

Dudley moaned, "That is so cool! Harry'd be able to do that?"

Remus shrugged, "If he wanted to when he gets older and got the training necessary. It takes a lot of studying and work to become one."

Harry shook his head, "I want to become a chef when I grow up. Poking around dusty tombs and stuff sounds awesome but I'd rather have a nice, clean kitchen."

Perplexed, Remus looked up at Petunia and Vernon who merely looked smug, "He cooks?"

Vernon laughed, "Harry doesn't cook. What he does do transcends description. It's almost like an art form when he makes food. Harry, why don't you tell Remus here the sort of things you've made?"

Harry sniffed and scratched his head, "Well, I've made a bunch of things," he thought really hard, "I've made steak sandwiches, I made a seafood boil just a couple of days ago, I made fried chicken, I make my own sauces, breads, blend my own spices…"

Remus' mouth kept dropping lower and lower.


Vernon and the boys finished packing up the trailer and the car in preparation to start their return trip home. Harry kept glancing back towards the farmhouse where Remus lived and looked a bit sad to be leaving the man behind. He felt Petunia wrap her arms around his shoulders and give him a bracing hug.

"Don't worry, Harry. He'll come for a visit soon, especially now that he's been informed of where we live. It's not forever and just think of all the fun things you'll have to talk about when you see him next!"

Harry put on a brave face but his heart just wasn't in it. 'I did regain an uncle I never knew about and who knew my parents while they were in that magical school I'll someday go to so this weekend was a success, I guess. I did have fun and I still can't believe that I caught those lobsters and crabs! I'll never have to wish I could buy lobster again since I know how easy it is to catch them.'

Vernon wrangled the boys into the car and watched them put their seatbelts on before glancing over the trailer hitch one last time. Harry noticed Remus standing on the path next to the driveway and rolled down the window to yell out his goodbyes. Vernon started up the engine and with a toot of the horn, pulled out of the drive way.

[A/N2: So there's Chapter 1 of my new story. I hope you all like it and drop a review. I have to say that I've never liked the way that Remus has always been portrayed as a down-on-his-luck drifter moving from one temporary job to the next with an inferiority complex as big as Britain itself. It always struck me that if he had to occasionally strike out to the muggle world to find work, he could've just as easily explored his options more clearly. In this story, while he's not wealthy; he does have a nice stable job tending to the land and his small farm and therefore is content with his life, such as it is. Anyone from the surrounding towns that saw his scars would just assume that because he's an owner of a campground and farm, he'd naturally acquire various scars and wounds from the job.


Fried chicken wraps with lime creme sauce

Seafood boil and grilled steaks

Grilled corn on the cob

Minor edit: 10/9/2020; 10/10/2020