Our First Feast

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“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

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A Particularly Ill-Tempered Ghost

“I remember my last Thanksgiving. I was dead a week later.”

I looked up from my work at Nigel the Ghost. He’d materialized in the chair across from me in the breakfast nook. Today his black hair was in kind of a side bang across his blue eyes making him look like he was getting ready to sling his guitar over his shoulder and go play in a Punk Pop band somewhere. He was wearing a white shirt with a black vest, and black tie looking rather somber.

When someone tells you something like that words often are difficult to find, especially if it is a particularly ill-tempered ghost.

So I asked the first question that came to mind. “Did you ever figure out who killed you?”

“No. Not a clue. It still pisses me off. I was in the shower and then nothing. Blood running down the drain and the side of my skull was bashed in.”

“How long has it been?”

“Thirty years.”

There was a pause. We looked at each other but nobody said a world. I could hear the clock ticking, and the dog no doubt doing bad things in the back yard like digging a hole the size of Lake Tahoe.

“I hate the holidays. And you’re a Vampire, here forever, and you don’t even eat Turkey.”

“Turkey isn’t really a Vampire kind of thing Nigel.”

“So what do you eat? Small babies? Unsuspecting travelers from other states?”

“Were you this rude when you were alive?”

“No, but I’m doing my best to haunt you with my rudeness since I know I can’t frighten you with loud noises and flying furniture.”

I got up and went to the kitchen for more coffee. I’d made a note to my self to go to Dave’s Bottle Shop later because they are having a huge sale of Poet’s Blood and Philosopher Plasma. I can get 20% off of case price. That also includes wine. In the meantime I had a ghost to deal with, or not. I didn’t have to deal with him.

For as long as I’ve known him I’ve come to expect him to be especially assholish around November and December.

“We could visit your grave if you like. Do you want to watch a movie? I could check Netflix.” I said.

The room grew cold. He brushed his hair out of his face and glared at me.

“What do you want from me Nigel? You know I’m a Vampire. You know I don’t particularly like Ghosts.”

I got half and half out of the refrigerator, and poured it in my coffee.  Nigel followed me. He leaned on the kitchen counter.

“I can see right through you,” I said.

He slammed his fist on the counter, making the entire house shake. “Oh, now you think you know my motivation. Just because you’re a Vampire…”

“No, I can see right through you. You’re transparent. I can see the dog looking through the sliding glass door.”

He lifted his hand and the door opened letting a muddy dog inside. She went to her dog bed and curled up.

I looked at the mud on the carpet.

Nigel ignored the mud. “May I please have a cup of coffee? It would calm my nerves.”

The Ghost sat down at the table with me and held his hands around the hot mug. He took in the smell of the coffee he couldn’t drink. “Thank you. I feel better now.”

He didn’t apologize for his rudeness or the mud. That was fine with me. I don’t expect much from any Ghost, especially Nigel.

He looked up at me and gave me a half smile. “So are you going to blog about how diverse the paranormal community is, and how we all get along, and how everybody should be like us?”

“Nobody reads my blog or listens to me Nigel,” I said.

“It was a stupid idea anyway. Mind if Mary and I come hang out with you on Thursday?”

“Sure, that would be nice. Everybody likes Mary,” I told him.

“Thanks,” he said. “Please note Juliette that I did thank you. This is for Mary as much as it is for me. She likes you.”

Mary is Nigel’s Ghost girlfriend. Long story short, she was murdered in 1701 or sometime around then. They’re a good match. He is sweet when she is around. Love will do that, even to a surly perpetually pissed off ghost.

My family is used to Ghosts. We don’t always like them, but we accept them, as long as they don’t throw furniture around.

I’m never sure what the head count will be for Thanksgiving. All are welcome, even if we aren’t all exactly the same. And even if we are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Vampire Thanksgiving

Spice and caramel scented candles

Fresh flowers

A nice bit of Bourbon

Cranberries

Zinfandel and Cabernet

Roasted hazelnuts and cashews

Strong cheese

A turkey in the smoker outside

Mixed blood of musicians and free thinkers

Pumpkin and butternut squash soup

Swiss chard with bacon

An caramelized onion tart with a ground walnut crust

Tart apples and pomegranates.

And a table set with old silver and old friends.

 

Our feast will be simple this year but the main courses will be good conversation and the joy of being together for no reason other than to enjoy each the company of those we love. Be it two or twenty – the goal is the same.

As a rule we don’t have our guests for dinner. It isn’t the way of our Vampire culture, so feel free to drop by (it will be safe.)

Garrett is bringing a few friends home from college to join us – a brother and sister who grew up in boarding schools and have no family near.  Of course all of my brothers, my parents, and quite a few friends are coming. There will be many stories to tell and many more to hear.

I’ll try to cover the entire holiday season starting right now. So more to come… there will be a few glitches but you know how it is being a busy Vampire mom.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Modern Vampire Thanksgiving Wishes

My teens and their friends are all off to the movies to see either Frozen or Enders Game. We all saw Catching Fire last weekend (thumbs up all around – and yes, we read all of the books and love them.)

Movies are a great opportunity for young Vampires to get out and have fun, socialize, see a movie and well, of course, do their Vampire thing. We’ve always trusted our children out after dark, because after all, we are nocturnal creatures.

Teddy and I are going to be homebodies tonight before the big day tomorrow. I have almost everything done and now I just relax. Tomorrow morning we throw the turkey in the smoker, a few things in the oven and we’re done. Macy’s Day parade, a nap, then get up to watch football and a 6:00 Thanksgiving Dinner (always better at night after the sun goes down.)

This year it will be a few family members but mostly friends and a lot of teens. It will be a party.

While I was cleaning stains out of the carpet today I turned on “Almost Human.” I’d never seen it before so I thought I’d check it out. It takes place in the future (about 40 years from now). It is about a damaged cop and his partner, an android who has feelings (and is absolutely darling but in a good non annoying way.) They’re both, cop and android, sort of lost souls and different from others, or at least they feel that way. I can relate.

I think most of my friends can relate too.

But that’s ok. It is ok to be different. That is one of the things I’m most Thankful for is that we ARE all so different.

It is those little personality quirks that make us unique and interesting. Granted sometime annoying, but if we can look past some of the annoying habits, it can be charming.

My friend Matthew and his son Josh and Matthew’s sister Katrina are coming. Josh is a typical 16 year old. Matthew and Katrina are positively Gothic Vampires. And I don’t mean modern cool and lovely Gothic. I mean, “living in a crypt” sort of Gothic. This will be their first modern Thanksgiving  with Modern Vampires. They’re learning a new culture and we embrace them. Sure they’ll be weird in their “I live in a dank, dark Castle with rabid bats and sleep on beds made of cobwebs” sort of way, but after a few glasses of blood, maybe some wine and some spinach dip they’ll be fine.

My husband Teddy even promised to explain all the jokes to them.

So anyway, my goal is for fun and drama free. No discussions on politics or religion or old sour issues that don’t even matter anymore. We are gathering in love and fun to celebrate what we’re Thankful for.

I wish all of you the same. A relaxing day with people you love, good food and brilliant and witty conversations, and football. Maybe even a movie.

To all of my readers – I am so thankful for all of you. I really am. I feel blessed to have you following my tall tales of Vampire teens, friends and family and my musings on life and love.

And to those I follow – YOU ROCK. You know who you are and you’ve opened my mind and entertained me like there is no tomorrow. Thank you.

So gobble gobble and cheers.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Shopping List for a Vampire Thanksgiving

Cheese of all kinds

New candle tapers

Cinnamon

And Poet’s Blood

Cloves

And Onions

Marrow Bones

And nice red wine

California Zinfandels plus Chardonnay

Swiss Chard and Dark Green Kale

Deep red apples

Winter squash

Blood Oranges

And a Turkey for our Werewolf friends.

A good port

A nice Bourbon

And mulled blood cider

With the warm scent of fresh baked bread and pie for the ghost

And blessings on all for friendship and love

And joy that we can all sit together

In peace and good company.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Swiss Chard Recipe for Thanksgiving (and my Vampire Brother)

Before you (yes, you) go anywhere and brush this off as a “weird Vampire story” full of blood…DON’T. No blood or gore. Just good food and a  little romance and family adventure AND a recipe that EVERYONE (except maybe Werewolves) can and WILL enjoy! Even kids like it. Yes KIDS!

But before we get to food…a little adventure and romance.

Explaining to your kids the dangers of the world is already confusing and difficult – especially when you have a family member on the front lines.

My eldest brother works in the intelligence field and he is a Vampire. As always secrecy is the law.

I am the youngest of five Vampire children, the only daughter with four older brothers.

Maxwell, Aaron, Andrew, Valentine and Juliette.

For the first time in years we’ll all be together for the week of Thanksgiving.

I frequently see Andrew and Val. Andy lives in London but visits several times a year. Max loves us but sees us when he can due to his somewhat dangerous profession.

You see, Maxwell is in the Vampire intelligence and enforcement business working for the Circle.

Max is the classic brooding dark alpha Vampire, the avenging angel so to speak. He is the guy in the black leather that sleeps during the day and hunts at night. He is the one who reeks of testosterone and speaks in hushed whispers. He gets that from our mother (the fearless part, not the testosterone). Maxwell’s job, which is more of a calling, is to keep all of Vampire society safe from rogue Vampires and even more importantly, safe from Vampire Hunters. He is a hunter, then again so are we all, he just does it for a higher purpose.

For a short while, before I was involved with him, my husband worked with Max. They hunted the rogue Vampires who turned Teddy from a regular human into a Vampire. After that they went after nasty posse of Vampire hunters. All in a day’s work. The kids love to hear these stories, not in glee but in awe. They know it isn’t easy. War stories.

Over the years Max, Teddy, our mother and other vampires have been involved in this field. For Max it is a calling and he is one of the best.

As children, Max and my husband Teddy were best friends. When Max found out who’d turned Teddy into a Vampire he hunted them down. Max was a Vampire but he knew it was not a choice Teddy would have taken. He avenged his friend, loyal and true to the end.

Max called me a few days ago. “May I bring a guest? A woman.” He asked.

“Of course.” I said wondering if it was a wise thing to agree to.  A guest? He had his affairs and had no trouble attracting women, but he never brought them home to the family.

“Remember Roxanna Jones?” His tone of voice was deep and quiet.

Of course I remembered her. They met on the Titanic – the only two Vampires on the ship.  For my eldest brother, the result of the ill fated voyage, other than the ship sinking, was a short lived but passionate and fiery affair.  They parted as friends (other places to go, things to do) and went on with their lives.

Max continued to do his never ending job saving our kind and others. He had many affairs with others, Vampire and otherwise but more or less stayed alone. He was considered a catch with his sexy brooding manner, tall, dark haired, handsome, but Roxanna spent 40 years with Alex Price (a well known Vampire historian) who was killed by Vampire hunters.

I have to admit Max has had some unfortunate choices in girlfriends. This includes the woman who brought a basket of kittens for dessert to one dinner party (we don’t do that anymore).  Needless to say, when he says he is going to bring someone to meet the family, a rare event in itself that is something to look forward too.

I know by her reputation that Roxanna, a vampire born in the 1840’s in Italy to American parents, is a lovely Vampire. Sort of reserved for Max, but then again, I’ve never met the woman and I don’t know about their “private” life.

Then he asked “Juliette, are you going to make Uncle Reggie’s Swiss chard”.

I told him “No, I’m going to make MY Swiss Chard for Thanksgiving.”

Juliette’s Swiss chard

  • 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 ¾ cup) or Balsamaic Vinegar
  • 1-4 table spoons fresh garlic chopped – to your own taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One onion – chopped and caramelized
  • 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, my mom does). 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. Toss it 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. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then drizzle with the lemon juice or vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Top with walnuts. Taste as you go to make it just how you like it. Simple and easy. That’s all.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving,

And ALWAYS KISS THE COOK!

~Juliette