collapse

Welcome to the Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

Welcome to Rhemuth Castle!

KK Chat is at 7pm Eastern on Sundays, except on the first Sunday of the month, when it is at 5pm Eastern to accommodate fans in the UK and Europe.

Come join us in chat! And Happy reading!

Pin yourself on the member map.

Author Topic: Three French hens  (Read 2192 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Demercia

  • Knight/Dame
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: 2
  • Gender: Female
Three French hens
« on: December 28, 2015, 05:11:55 pm »
Following on from revanne's challenge, and from the sublime of her post yesterday to the ridiculous.  I have cheated by equating French with Bremagni.   Those of you who know the works of PG Wodehouse may detect the debt of inspiration I owe to Aunt Dahlia's temperamental chef Anatole.

The story is told in a series of letters; it is set at Jehana's first Christmas in Gwynedd.

The queen's grace to his majesty's chamberlain:
My Lord Chamberlain, greetings.  In this my first year as my dear lord's queen, and desiring that all should be most excellent, it is my wish that you instruct the head steward to spare no effort in ensuring that the fare served at his table on the feast of the nativity be the best according to tradition.

The Lord Chamberlain to the head steward:
Greetings. I am confident that all the preparations for twelfth night court are well in hand according to her majesty's wishes; in addition her majesty desires me to communicate her wish that special care is also taken to present the best of traditional fare at his majesty's table on the feast of the nativity.

The head steward to the steward of the royal grange:
Greetings.  Our new queen, who has brought much joy to jaded Rhemuth, but also much labour, is particularly anxious to impress her lord at table for the festive season; both for twelfth night court and for his domestic table at the feast of the nativity itself.  Pray therefore, take pains that the best of the herd be selected and prepare at Martinmas, that the suckling pig we present, for such is the traditional fare, may be unsurpassed.

The Queen to her sisters:
Greetings.  I surely am most blessed in my husband, he takes such delight in my position here within his court, and his mother has been most gracious in giving over to me the responsibilities which were once hers and now are my privilege to fulfil. My time is much occupied with preparing for the twelfth night court, but I have not neglected the feast of the nativity itself, nor forgotten that the centrepiece for that feast must be pheasant prepared in the traditional manner.

The Lady Alazais to the Lady Zoe.
My darling Zoe. 
I pray that all is well it's Jovett and with your children.  Our daughter grows fast, you will tell me that such is the way of babies, and bids fair to be the most doted upon child in the kingdom.  Her father will, I fear, spoil her most dreadfully, but then so Papa did us, and do you recall his remark that it didn't seem to have done us much harm!

You will, I know, be aware of the difficulties we have faced these past months, so I will not write more of that here.  And in despite of them there has been much to enjoy, our new queen has brought a vibrancy and a delight to court.  Though sometimes not quite as she intended.  The following, my dear Zoe, is for your enjoyment only, for the secret must be kept.

Our festivities this year have indeed been splendid, and that is due in no small measure to the queen's diligence and effort; all are most admiring of how so young a girl has shown such management, though I fear that the Lord Chamberlain must on occasion have come to dread her missives.  The tactful and gracious hand of the Queen Mother has been much in evidence, in that she has not made her contribution evident.  But the credit for averting a disaster must go,  as so often, to my dear Llion.

In brief, and let me again swear you to secrecy, the story is thus.  On the eve of the nativity Llion was returning from some errand, I know not what, which chanced to lead him across the kitchen yard, when he became aware of a tremendous commotion from the kitchens.  Fearing some terrible calamity he hastened there to confronted by the sight of her majesty's Bremagni chef, screeching as though, quoth Llion, the foremost of the demons of hell had him by the craw.  Or perhaps rather that he had turned into one of the foremost demons, for he was waving a meat cleaver in the most alarming fashion, screaming out Bremagni curses, none of which Llion was willing to repeat to me, the while the steward of his majesty's grange cowered in the corner, his face the colour of ash.  The scullery maid had thrown her apron over her head and was occupying herself drumming her heels on the floor in a fit of strong hysterics, as indeed who could blame her.  At the sight of Llion the chef threw himself on his knees, calling upon his creator, imploring Llion to witness the insult to which he, a man of such skill, had been subjected, and lamenting the day which had seen him arrive in this benighted land. 
The cause of all these histrionics, so it  transpired, when at length the man was calm enough to speak, and had been persuaded to lose his hold on the cleaver!, was the suckling pig, brought with such pride from the grange and sitting in all his festive glory on the pantry table.  The centrepiece of every Christmas table, as you and I have known from childhood.  But not so, it appears, in Bremagne; when Jehana bid them prepare the traditional fare she had in mind the plump pheasant served at her father's board.  I suppose I can scarcely blame the chef, preparing to pluck and marinate three tender birds, confronted by the glassy eye of a boar, with an apple in his mouth.

What happened to the pig I cannot tell, though I suspect there were some full and happy hounds that night.  The steward, assured that he was in no wise to blame, was persuaded to a flagon, or two, of ale and thus returned content to the grange, with a full purse too, in recompense for the good story he promised to forbear to tell.  The scullery maid went home for the night to her mother, she too sworn to silence, and with a good pie or two carried in her apron. 

And what of the high table on Christmas Day?  My Llion once again showed himself a man of parts.  No well hung pheasant was, of course, to be had at such notice, but every kitchen yard boasts its flock of hens, of which that of Rhemuth Castle now lacks three.  I think Llion enjoyed becoming a boy again, dispatching and plucking them, and then stewing them in wine according to an old receipt of his mother's, who by necessity had learned how to present country food in a way fit for the table of a lord.  A word in Brion's ear and all was well; Jehana understood herself to be eating pheasant cooked in the Gwynedd fashion, a dish known henceforth to but a few of us as "three Bremagni hens"

Then chef is reputed to be on his way to take service with the Hort of Orsal, whom he avows understands the art of gracious living and treats culinary genius with due respect. 
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline Jerusha

  • Donor
  • Duke/Duchess
  • ****
  • Posts: 512
  • Karma: 17
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 06:44:12 pm »
Magnificent!  And so glad to see that Llion had a part to play. 

We will have to re-write the twelve days of Christmas indeed to three Bremangi hens!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

  • Administrator
  • Prince/Princess
  • *****
  • Posts: 1958
  • Karma: 28
  • Gender: Female
  • Sister Evie--Servant of Saint Camber
    • The Mini-Deryni Chronicles
  • Favorite Book: High Deryni or The King's Justice (can't decide)
  • Favorite Character: President of the Duncan McLain Fanbabe Society
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 06:57:00 pm »
LOL! A fun story! I wonder how many Christmases passed before Jehana finally discovered the truth? ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Online DesertRose

  • Administrator
  • Duke/Duchess
  • *****
  • Posts: 664
  • Karma: 19
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Book: Deryni Magic
  • Favorite Character: Rhys Thuryn *sob*
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 07:01:53 pm »
LOL, that's great, Demercia!  What a fun story!
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline Elkhound

  • Prince/Princess
  • **
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 8
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Book: The King's Justice
  • Favorite Character: Denis Arilan
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2015, 08:53:15 pm »
Coq au vin? 

Offline Laurna

  • Donor
  • Duke/Duchess
  • ****
  • Posts: 583
  • Karma: 11
  • Gender: Female
  • Favorite Character: Alaric Morgan & Rhys Thuryn-May they be Family.
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 09:31:26 pm »
Great to see Llion save the feast. 

We had Cornish game hens for Christmas eve, they are not as easy to cook right as one would think.

Offline Elkhound

  • Prince/Princess
  • **
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 8
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Book: The King's Justice
  • Favorite Character: Denis Arilan
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2015, 08:12:57 am »
This reminds me of a story from my childhood of the Pheasant Who Came for Dinner.

We were living in Connecticut then, in a house my parents had built in the woods.   The house had a floor-to-ceiling glass panel on each side of the front door.  One afternoon we heard the huge crash, and all came running to find on the front deck a male pheasant, dead with a broken neck.  He had probably seen his own reflection and thought it was another male with whom he wanted to fight. 

My father, having grown up on a farm, knew exactly how to pluck and dress a foul, and he did so.  The cat got the liver (meeerr--OW!).  Mother baked it.  It was tasty, but tough.  She said that if she had to do it again, she'd stew it.  But it never happened again.  We always talked about it, though.

Offline Demercia

  • Knight/Dame
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: 2
  • Gender: Female
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2015, 08:34:25 am »
That's a great story Elkhound.
The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Offline Elkhound

  • Prince/Princess
  • **
  • Posts: 1077
  • Karma: 8
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Book: The King's Justice
  • Favorite Character: Denis Arilan
Re: Three French hens
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2015, 10:55:48 am »
That's a great story Elkhound.

If anyone would like to Gwynnedize it, go ahead.

 

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Recent Posts

Re: Happy Birthday, tenworld! by DesertRose
[Today at 08:44:04 am]


Re: Happy Birthday, tenworld! by MidnightBlue
[Today at 07:50:23 am]


Re: The rest of the world by DesertRose
[Today at 02:57:49 am]


Re: Happy birthday, Laurna! by revanne
[Today at 12:58:38 am]


Re: The rest of the world by Evie
[November 19, 2017, 07:27:21 pm]

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 68
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 2
  • Dot Users Online:

* Top Poster

Evie Evie
1958 Posts
Elkhound
1077 Posts
Alkari
696 Posts
DesertRose DesertRose
664 Posts
Laurna Laurna
583 Posts

* Most Karma

Evie Evie
Karma: 28
DesertRose DesertRose
Karma: 19
Jerusha Jerusha
Karma: 17
revanne revanne
Karma: 12
Laurna Laurna
Karma: 11

* Online Time

TheDeryni TheDeryni
115d 20h 24m
Evie Evie
105d 11h 46m
DesertRose DesertRose
93d 19h 17m
AnnieUK AnnieUK
53d 22h 35m
Alkari
32d 18h 16m

* Forum Staff

Bynw admin Bynw
Administrator
TheDeryni admin TheDeryni
Administrator
DesertRose admin DesertRose
Administrator
Evie admin Evie
Administrator
Shiral gmod Shiral
Zipper Sister
Unicorn636 gmod Unicorn636
Zipper Sister
Laurna gmod Laurna
Donor
EvilEd gmod EvilEd
Global Moderator
revanne gmod revanne
Donor
KK gmod KK
Our Queen
gmod Alkari
Donor
AnnieUK gmod AnnieUK
Donor
Jerusha gmod Jerusha
Donor

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 620
  • stats Total Posts: 16655
  • stats Total Topics: 1917
  • stats Total Categories: 12
  • stats Total Boards: 126
  • stats Most Online: 181

* Calendar

November 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 [20] 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

No calendar events were found.