Our First Feast

Unknown

 

“I doubt if our parents care what we do, or anything about us at this point,” my brother Val told me. It was November of 1878. I had just turned nineteen and he was twenty. They’d moved to San Francisco, leaving us behind in Sacramento. The house they’d left for us was like a rabbit warren of rooms. Our brother Aaron, aged twenty five, was married and living a mile away in his own brand new Italianate mansion. The eldest two (Max and Andy) had long moved on and were now in San Francisco setting up their glorious careers.

They’d sold the big house we’d grown up in, which burned down as soon as we’d cleared out. I often wondered about that, considering we had been a large family of Vampires and didn’t always do things the same was as everyone else. Our (mine and Val’s) house was built in 1869 with a lot of rooms with no purpose and tall stairs from the sidewalk up to the front door in case it flooded. We had a front porch, a back yard with a few rose bushes, and not much else. It was plain and un-charming.

Val and I were determined to give this house charm. We decorated our modest home with used furnishings and a lot of green and cream colored paint.

After that we decided to do what most young people would do and have a party.

“Should it be all Vampires?” I had to ask.

Val shrugged, “No. We can invite others. We will have to warn our fanged friends to keep to themselves and only drink from bottles we planned to keep well hidden in our kitchen.

I told him not to invite all ladies and he started to argue with me.

“NO,” I said. “You are not going to turn my home into your own personal whore house.”

My brother looked at me as if I’d slapped him in the face. “I would never,” he said. “Never.”

I held my shoulders back and my head high. “Valentine, I will never judge you or be like some warm blooded prude, but I expect a certain amount of modesty and decorum from you.”

“Fine. I will allow you to see my guest list, as I expect you to show me your guest list.”

“Agreed,” I said. “What about food?”

“We need food?”

“Of course we do.”

“We don’t cook. We hardly eat. We don’t have domestics.”

“We could hire a cook,” I said.

“We could.”

“Where would we find one?”

“We could put out a post. Cook wanted for fashionable party. Or we could find Constantine. He knows everyone.”

“And he is always fashionable.”

Constantine was both a Vampire and extremely fashionable but he had just jumped on a train to travel east, then take a boat to Europe to buy art. So we put up our flyer and waited. Soon a small man named Orlando George St. Cloud came to our door. He said he had cooked for the royalty of Europe, the Emperors of China, and the highest of Sacramento high society. We didn’t really believe him but we hired him on the spot.

The night of our party Mr. St. Cloud fixed:

Stewed Eel

Filet of Sturgeon with brown butter and tarragon

Curried Crawdads with spinach

Roasted Capon with creamed trout sauce

Roasted potatoes

Rat tail soup

Onion and walnut tart

Fried chicken feet with olives

Orange milk pudding

Apple pie

Fried frog legs with smoked trout and fiddle head fern sauce.

Roast beef

Head cheese

Blood pudding

Wild lettuce salad

Tomales Bay Oysters on the half shell

Fried eggs with wild mushrooms and boiled wheat berries

Pears poached in wine and honey

Toast points with river clams and fresh butter

Meatballs with wild dill made with ingredients of unknown origin. 

Marrow bones with sage and sherry sauce.

We also managed to acquire copious amounts of alcohol.

Fifty four guests arrived. Nobody went hungry. Twenty were female. Thirty four were male. Twelve, including Val and I were Vampires.

Of course the party was a success. Val did not sleep alone. I watched the sunrise with a dozen people in my garden before going inside, drawing the curtains and sleeping for the next two days. Mr. St. Cloud brought in a crew to clean and lock up.

For the next thirty years Mr. St. Cloud cooked for us when we needed it. He also taught us to cook. He told us, “One day I shall be gone and you will be at a loss.”

I learned to cook everything except the rat tail soup. I never cared for eel. Many of the dishes made me sick but I learned to cook them anyway. Eventually Val also learned to cook, and he even attended classes. We both became experts in cooking for Vampires such as us. We don’t live on blood alone.

From then on Val and I have both welcomed guests of a wide variety to our homes to celebrate friendship and love.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and welcome in the holiday season (which started on Halloween.)

Cheers to all,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Unknown-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vampires, Party Favors, Family, Friends, Thanks, and a Recipe for Swiss Chard.

Vampires, Party Favors, Family, Friends, Thanks, and a Recipe for Swiss Chard.

Back in the 1880’s around the time of Jack the Ripper, my brother Valentine and I spent some time in London. We were in our 20’s out having fun and getting into more trouble than I want to mention tonight. There, in London, we met another young American Vampire, named Pleasant Van Dusen. Pleasant and I became lovers. He was handsome, cultivated, fashionable, sexy, and I hate to admit, but a bit more of an asshole than I needed. But at the time we worked well together, especially with the party scenes of both elegant Vampires and warm blooded folks.

We were young. We were Americans. We were full of too much joy and light for most Vampires we met there. Truly, we were, and of course the others, the English, and European Vampires found us extremely fascinating.

On cold November evening, dressed in our best formal party wear Pleasant and I attended a party that was promised to be spectacular. Upon entering the ball room of the beautiful mansion we were greeted with the sight of a low table about ten feet long, covered with all sorts of food. There were cakes, berries, apples, pastries full of cream and more fruit, chicken pies, tiny roasted potatoes, breads, and muffins of all kinds. Around the table sat at least two dozen small children, dressed in frilly fancy clothing, eating away without any adults saying no.

Of course not. The only adults in the room were Vampires, and the children were very warm blooded.

Pleasant and I looked at each other, then looked again at the children. This was not what we expected. The host and hostess greeted us with a giddy excitement that was unusual for English Vampires of the time. They had obtained two dozen children from different sources. It would be such a rare and wonderful night of feasting after the little darlings were done with their own party.

I have to say that by different sources I mean children of the poor, without parents, or with parents who were more than willing to sell their own children to well dressed, attractive people with a lot of money. These Vampires, I found later, had their sources. There was no shortage of children to be purchased – no questions asked.

Pleasant smiled and introduced me to his friends. They were lavish with their attention on me, especially after they realized that I was one of those rare Vampires who was born a Vampire, not made one after the fact.

To make a long story short, sort of, when the time came to pick a child and feast upon it’s young and delicate blood, I feigned illness. A blood bourne disease, no doubt from an opium user or some other drug, Pleasant explained to them. As we were ready to leave, coats in hand, the host handed us two bundles.

“One of each. A boy and a girl. Consider them party favors,” said our host.

In our carriage on the way home we discovered we had a skinny baby girl of about eight months, and a talkative boy who said he was four years old.

The boy said he lived in a house with his father and five or six women. He didn’t know which one was his mother. He said a pretty woman, with pretty clothes, who smelled like flowers, gave his father real money, then she took him to the party. Before the party a group of maids gave all of the children baths, then put them in clean fancy clothing. It had been great fun with more food than any of them had ever seen.

We arrived back at the house I was sharing with my brother Val.

We told our story to Val, who was both disgusted and amused.

“What are you going to do with the children? You know we can’t keep them,” said Val.

“I don’t know,” I told him.

Then Pleasant, in typical Pleasant fashion, said, “I don’t care what you do with them but you need to get rid of them as soon as possible.”

“Me?” I asked.

“Yes, you Juliette. I have to get something to eat before I starve to death. I’ll be back in a few hours.” And with that Pleasant Van Dusen left into the night in search of fresh blood, but not from children.

Val glared at the door. “Typical Pleasant. Of course he left those children with you.”

“Am I going to live you now? Are you going to be my new parents?” The boy called out.

“I think I know someone who might take them in. She doesn’t have children her own. God knows she and her husband have been trying. This might just be a blessing in disguise,” said Val.

“Are you her Vampire?” I asked my brother.

He smiled. “Yes, I am her Vampire. She owes me.”

Val and I gathered up the children. The boy said he was called Billy. The girl had no name. I held her tight against me. She was so warm, and smelled like a bit of heaven.

We dropped the children off at the home of Val’s friends, a lovely women called Lillian and her husband the Marquis of Lampeaus.

Val spoke to them while I kept the children quiet. He used his powers of persuasion to convince the childless couple  to keep the children as their own.

Like I said, I’m trying to keep this story short.

Right before dawn Pleasant came back into the house. He made love to me in my bed, his hair smelling cigar smoke, his breath of fresh blood. He brought me a bottle of Poet’s blood, the first I’d ever had.

Then he said, “Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We should celebrate, with Val and maybe a few other friends.”

And so we did.

And we continue to, but now I’m married to Teddy, and Pleasant Van Dusen is with someone who fortunately is not me.

Occasionally, like on Thanksgiving, we, Vampires eat things that are not blood, or things that go with blood. One of these is Swiss chard.

Way back in 2012, I shared a recipe for my Thanksgiving Swiss Chard. It is a good source of something green for your belly (and heart.)

Juliette’s Swiss Chard (Originally from Uncle Rico)

  • About a half pound of bacon (or more to taste, use whatever kind you want but a good thick cut pork bacon works best for me)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 cup) or balsamic vinegar (cranberry flavored is nice)
  • 1-4 table spoons fresh garlic chopped – to your own taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One onion – chopped sauted until translucent.
  • Hand full of roasted chopped walnuts.
  • 4 bunches Swiss chard, cut in 1 inch pieces. It is up to you if you include the stems (I don’t, some do). I also add in a hand full of flat leafed kale and sometimes some spinach.

Put some olive oil, a couple of table spoons of the stuff, in a large skillet and heat it up nice and hot. Throw in the garlic and chard and crumbled cooked bacon. Or you can forget crumbling and just cut the bacon into small pieces BEFORE you cook it.

Toss it all around until the chard starts to wilt a little. Throw in about a table spoon of butter, the onion, and a little bit of the bacon fat (optional). Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then drizzle with the lemon juice or vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Some people like to add some Tobasco sauce – that is up to you. Top with walnuts. Taste as you go to make it just how you like it. Simple and easy. That’s all.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And yes, the children lived long happy lives with their new parents. They really did.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman