A Kinrowan Estate story: Kitchen Tales

PCome in! Just give me a few minutes to finish the House books for the last year (or three), and I’ll be right with you. So, you’ve applied to work in the Kitchen, eh? Pleased to meet you. Let me tell you a little about what the job entails.

In all the decades that I’ve been on the Estate staff, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t some sort of celebration involving culinary treats and interesting drinkables. Certainly the accounts kept by my predecessors (going back centuries, I should add), show just how expensive their tastes could be. Importing caviar fit for the Winter Court of St. Petersburg could be considered excessive, but, in fact, rates as frugal compared to some of the gastronomic tales that abound here! The wedding feast of Jack and Brigid included wild boar on the menu, but getting the beast here from France involved a certain amount of, ahem, ‘fiscal diplomacy’ in our dealings with the customs men. I suppose that seeing as how the boar was, on arrival, very much alive, very large, very angry, very musky and very incontinent, they had a right to feel a little inconvenienced. Still, once the chef had roasted it slowly over a hickory fire it was simply delicious!

As you might have noticed, we also brew our own drink. Bjorn is the latest of a long line of brewmasters that have carried out their arcane craft here. So what shall we discuss? Oh, you want to know about those raggedy shaggedy bears. The story is that Walter, Brigid’s uncle on the Germanic side of her family, is visiting us right now. He’s a great, shaggy man with a full beard and long, long ponytail who goes waltzing with bears. Really. Truly. Now, Brigid notes that her fiddler of a husband (me) has been known to do some very odd things, so she says that Walter’s not all that odd — everyone likes to dance. He’s also keen on having a long conversation with Bjorn, our brewmaster, as he thinks that Bjorn is a long-lost relative of his . . .

Bjorn showed up here a long time ago in a raggedy long coat with a cask of Applejack on each of his oversized shoulders. He volunteered to make us all the ale and other libations that we lusted after so long as the bears he brought with him could stay in Oberon’s Wood. After some serious discussion, during which one keg got consumed, we agreed, as long as the bears only ate such things as the salmon from the river, berries, morels, and honey! (The latter provided by us as they must not touch Gus’ centuries old bee colonies.) And that’s how the bears came to live in our woods!

Now do I hear the sound of a fiddle playing ‘The Berne Bear Waltz’? Let’s see if the bears and Uncle Walter are at it again . . .

One rather long-lived member of the Neverending Session claims he remembers a Scottish bloke by the name of Burns that dropped in to the Pub one cold day. (Was it Robbie Burns? The teller of the tale won’t say.) The publican that day had a large cauldron of hot spiced Applejack going in the fireplace. This Burns drank some, then drank some more, and started telling tales. Almost caused the musicians of the Neverending Session to stop playing to listen to him. He only stopped (after many hours) to go for a much needed piss…

Another brew exclusive to us is Dragons Breath XXX Stout. Have you ever encountered a Brazilian brew called Xingu? If not, think Guinness on steroids. It’s that thick. But compared to Dragons Breath XXX Stout, Guinness is as weak as one of those American beers that we won’t mention here. One swallow of Dragons Breath will cause . . . oh, just drink it and you’ll will know what I mean. Good, eh? Here’s a health!P

About Diverse Voices

Diverse Voices is our catch-all for writers and other staffers who did but a few reviews or other writings for us. They are credited at the beginning of the actual writing if we know who they are which we don’t always.

It also includes material by writers that first appeared in the Sleeping Hedgehog, our in-house newsletter for staff and readers here. Some material is drawn from Folk Tales, Mostly Folk and Roots & Branches, three other publications we’ve done down the years.

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