Thursday, November 13, 2008

Squirrrel stew and Maxellendis's bones

Daisy still has mange. But it must be improving, as in, the mites must be dying off because she is more herself. Her personality is returning to its alpha-ness. Daisy showed up with a dead squirrel dangling from her jaws this morning. Sometimes she gnaws on squirrels, sometimes she shares them with Bruno and sometimes she delivers them to me, as tribute.
And what do I do with a dead squirrel?
Little did I know. Until last week’s crossword puzzle when the clue was: Ingredient in Brunswick Stew. The answer? Squirrel. To make a batch of Brunswick Stew to feed a crowd, you will need 70 squirrels, cut up. You must also remove their furry tails, as these would cause gastric disturbances if ingested. You will also need lima beans and salt pork, two other ingredients I rarely cook with.

Given the average Dark Ages cuisine, Saint Maxellendis would presumably not have turned up her nose at squirrel stew. Au contraire.
Poor Maxellendis. There seems to be no end to the indignities she suffers. Back in the seventh century she strongly objected to her parents’ choice of a husband, one Harduin. She ran away and hid in a clothes chest. But, sadly, Harduin found her hiding place and killed her with his sword. At the moment of impact, he was struck blind. Maxellendis was duly buried in a nearby church “where she was the occasion of many marvels”. Meanwhile, Harduin repented his wickedness and when he fell to his knees before her coffin his sight was restored.
Since that time, Maxellendis’s relics – her skull and many bones – have been treasured and encased in reliquaries of gold and encrusted with gemstones, and duly displayed in the churches lucky enough to have such relics. Until about ten years ago when a gang of Romanian thieves broke into the Church of St. Martin in Le Cateau, Nord, France and stole a bejeweled monstrance in which Saint Maxellendis’s finger bone rested on a red silken pillow. It took two years for the crime to be solved, and it was in a Newark, NJ courtroom where the relic of Maxellendis was returned to its rightful owner. If there is such a thing.

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