Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Halloween

Starting today, Friday, October 25th, in honor of Halloween, I will be posting a few fabulous recipes from the “lost” recipe collection of the famous French witch, Wilhelmine.

Don't know who Wilhelmine was? Well, let me tell you a little about her:


According to a magazine article I read soon after the death of the Baron FrouFrou de Chouxfleur, well known lecher, libertine, and all around pervert, a letter had been found in the Baron’s library of strange and erotic reading material to the effect that the legendary private recipe collection of the Witch Wilhelmine did indeed exist. It was last seen in the Palace of Versailles around the time of the French Revolution, but its current whereabouts are unknown.

For those who’ve never heard of Wilhelmine, she was a beautiful woman who lived several hundred years ago, and aspired to be the darling of kings, emperors and anyone else who had sufficient power, riches, and the sexual expertise to lure her into their beds. Due to of her ability to bring the most rambunctious man to heel and have him purring like a kitten, she was eventually accused of witchery, brought before the Spanish Inquisition, brutally tortured, and then burned at the stake.

Wilhelmine’s real claim to fame was her ability to prepare fabulous dishes guaranteed to loosen tongues, topple crowns, win wars, make and lose fortunes, seduce man or beast, and generally accomplish whatever small task her legions of lovers and clients either desired or demanded she do on their behalf.

            The article cited a few examples where her powers supposedly prevailed, but I won’t go into them because really, who would believe such rubbish? You can’t achieve the impossible with a bowl of stew or a slice of cake. Or can you? It all sounded to me like some old guy’s fishing story. The more times the story is told, the bigger the fish, and, in Wilhelmine’s case, the more magical and superhuman her powers.

            But then, a few weeks after reading the article, I was in Paris on business. I was on my way back to the hotel late one afternoon when I happened to notice a tiny secondhand junk store in a narrow back street. It had started to rain, so I figured I’d go in and look around until the weather cleared. The shop was dark, dirty, and full of the most amazing items from real stuffed black cats and bats, cobweb-covered broomsticks, genuine shrunken heads, very real skulls, arm bones, leg bones, bottles and packages of lotions, potions, mixtures, and ingredients of every kind and description, bearing faded labels that had to be seen to be believed. Talk about eye of newt and all that stuff, there was that and more. I’d somehow managed to stumble on what I knew must be Central Supply for witches and wizards. I became so entranced with the myriad of items on display, for the next hour or more time simply ceased to exist.

            But then, beneath a few dusty tomes on ancient curses and the fragments of a shattered crystal ball, I found it! I couldn’t believe my luck, and for a moment, I simply stood and stared. The spine of the book was broken and the leather cover cracked with age, but with the help of my reading glasses and the light coming in through the grimy window, I was able to pick out the title: Les Recettes Privées de Wilhelmine. I could not believe my eyes or my luck! For a moment I thought I was dreaming.

            My heart was beating like a drum and my breath had become labored and uneven. But somehow I managed to transport my precious treasure to the gum-chewing, black-haired, white-faced, Goth-attired teenager behind the counter. I then paid her the ridiculously low price indicated on the sticker, grabbed the plastic bag she proffered to protect the book from the rain, and hurried back to my hotel as if the hounds of hell were in hot pursuit.

            After returning home, I examined Wilhemine’s book very carefully. Sadly, , most of the ingredients called for in the recipes are either unknown or unavailable in today’s world, but with a little time, effort, testing and substitution, I’ve managed to come up with a seven-course Halloween banquet I’m sure even Wilhelmine would enjoy.

            Starting today, October 25, 2013, check for one of Wilhelmine’s recipes here at my blog each and every day up to and including October 31, 2013. 

Christiane France

Cool mysteries and hot romance -

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