In February of this year a special friend died, a lady that I first met back in the mid–1960s after her husband was assigned to my office at Kelley Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. A Great Britain transplant and the mother of five children, her first words to me were—and I kid you not: “So you’re the guy that wants to f-word me.”
Her memorable greeting was prompted by the fact that, although the family’s recently acquired phone number was unlisted, she was receiving frequent obscene phone calls directed specifically to her. Because regulations required that the number be on file at her husband’s duty station and available to all assigned personnel, she believed that someone in his office was making the calls.
She hoped to startle me into an admission of guilt, a plan that she shared with her husband and one to which he had agreed. Believe me, I was really startled, but not enough to cause me to admit to making the calls, especially since I was not the culprit. Had I been guilty I probably would have been startled into a confession. I will reserve a detailed explanation of that situation for a future posting aptly entitled Obscene phone calls. Stay tuned!
Yesterday in a family fit of spring cleaning in the middle of summer, a copy of an e-mail I sent to my friend was rescued from a catch–all box in a closet. The e-mail, dated August 17, 1999 was my response to my friend’s request for my wife’s King Ranch Casserole recipe. That e-mail is reproduced here exactly as transmitted and received. Sadly, it does not include the recipe—a separate and later e-mail served that purpose, and did not survive the passage of time, electronically or otherwise—at least not in my household, but perhaps in hers.
The complete e-mail follows:
Re: Your request for the King Ranch Casserole recipe:
Thank you for your e-mail dated August 16, 1999 subject: Something for Janie to read. We are always pleased to receive praise concerning the gustatory delights of Janie Mae’s culinary combinations, and we also appreciate your request for the King Ranch Casserole recipe. Before we give you a definitive answer to that request, we feel the need to apprise you of the nature of the aforementioned recipe, to wit:
In the entire world there remain only four recipes that have been handed down through generations and remain unknown to the general public. The ingredients of all four recipes are still jealously guarded by the descendants of the originators. Three involve products that are very familiar to everyone—Coca Cola, Colonel Sander’s Kentucky Fried Chicken and Louisiana’s Tabasco Sauce.
The fourth recipe is slightly less well known, but just as jealously guarded by its owner. I refer, of course, to Janie Mae’s King Ranch Casserole. To give you some idea of its importance and its history, I will tell you that the name is derived from a combination of two family names.
The first name, King, refers to one of Janie’s many royal ancestors, namely Edward, Prince of Wales who, as you will remember from your school days, abdicated the throne of England in favor of marrying a widow—which proves that even kings aren’t always first!
The second name, Ranch, was derived from my own ancestral lineage. Ranch was originally spelled Raunchy, but the name was corrupted by several generations of goodie-goodies besmirching our family reputation by insisting on being—well, they insisted on being goodie-goodies! They felt that the name Raunchy evoked visions of emotions and activities they felt were unbecoming to the family name, and for that reason the U and the Y were deleted—the second word of the recipe thus changed from King Raunchy to King Ranch.
The third name, Casserole, is also derived directly from my ancestral lineage and was also spelled differently in the beginning. In the modern version, as you know it, letters have been both added and deleted. To recreate the original word, delete the C, the first E and change the R to an H and the word becomes Asshole. The name of the recipe was thus corrupted—it was changed from King Raunchy Asshole to King Ranch Casserole.
I have striven mightily to restore the proper spelling and title to the recipe, but with very limited success, and I’m at a loss to understand why so many insist on the new spelling rather than retaining the original words—after all, as Shakespeare would say, that which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. One can readily see why that phrase would apply to the name of a recipe, especially for a recipe such as this one.
Having briefed you on the history of the recipe I will now apprise la cocinera Juanita—Janie, the cook— of your request. You may be assured that she will give the proper orders and provide the supervision necessary for me to be able to convey the recipe to you in the manner in which you requested it be conveyed. Please note that I have adopted the historical name of the recipe, the original name minus the King part, as my official signature.
Yr. Obedient and Loyal Servant,
Postcript: Being the highly principled blogger that I am, I was somewhat wary of using the a-word. However, I used the Search Word Press.com Blogs feature and got 98, 936 hits—with that in mind, I am far less wary of using it.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
July 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm
Now I know where WapWap gets her story-flourishing skills! 😉
Whaaaa???? No actual recipe? You know your readers will be sorely disappointed.
Funny, imaginative post. Yet. Someone. Has. Too. Much. Time. On. His. Hands. 😉
You have writing assignments you haven’t completed, you know. 😉
July 27, 2010 at 6:22 am
Actually, as Macie would say, I have no indication that anyone other than you has seen this posting. If others have been here they left no tracks—no comments or votes, either positive or negative.
Oh, well—perhaps I am one of the many gifted writers that across the centuries have achieved recognition posthumously. Should that be the case, I may be able to obtain copies of articles published in praise of my literary efforts, and perhaps one or more of the plethora of biographies that will be compiled by the nation’s historians.
The possibility exists, of course, that I would need to read them quickly before the heat causes spontaneous combustion.
As for uncompleted writing assignments, I’m working on them—cut me a little slack, okay? Apparently you forget that I’m a hunt-and-peck typist. The fingertips of both my index fingers are heavily wrapped to control the bleeding, and that slows me down even more.
And just one more thought (I’m trying to keep this reply to your comment as brief as possible!):
Your mom’s King Ranch Casserole is one of only three recipes that repose in the United States Bullion Depository located near Fort Knox, Kentucky. The other recipes are Tobasco Sauce and Kentucky Fried Chicken. To cheapen her recipe by including it in the 105 King Ranch Casserole recipes already online would constitute blasphemy—Google it here if you don’t believe me!