It had been left to collect dust in the attic since 1977, when Grandma Hortense passed away at age 98.6 from hyper-acute acne. And it probably would have remained there had not a family of rodents set up housekeeping in the old box next to it and began carrying out commando raids on the kitchen cupboard.
In desperation, we had initially brought in some help in the form of a gang of feral, mercenary felines. But they were every bit as thieving as the rats and twice as hard to get rid of.
By the time the Orkin Man finally arrived, we were down to a single can of tuna and a box of cheap macaroni & cheese. The 'cleansing' as he called it, would require us to vacate the premises for 48 hours whilst he conducted the exorcism.
It was only upon our return that we learned that one of the ferals had managed to avoid detection and had conducted an open and merciless guerrilla warfare against the poor guy for two days straight.
Anyway, fully restocked and now with that old cookbook in hand, we decided to test out one of her dishes, called 'Creamed Rhapsody Over Pig Fried Steak'.
Quoting Granny Hortense's own words:
- Lay three parboiled egg whites over a batter-dipped hamburger patty, deep fry for 5 minutes (or until the blood stops leaking into the grease).
- Scatter a cup of flour over a clean counter and then coat the egg white and burger well. Fry for another 2 minutes.
- Sift grease for anything floating and mix with a half-cup of sweet milk. Heat until hot.
- Serve on plate with hot milk & grease-dripping mixture over the top.
We all sat at the table, looking at granny's long-lost recipe and wondering whether we should try eating it or... feeding it to those stray cats that were just outside and yowling worrisome threats at us.
We finally decided to be brave and eat it.
Two days latter, my wife broke out in a greenish rash and my 15-year-old daughter had to be admitted to the hospital for a baseball-sized zit that had developed on her forehead. The state family and children services then came and I was charged with domestic violence and child cruelty.
On the upside, my wife threw my bail, my daughter says she still loves me and we sold granny's recipe book on Ebay for $138 to help pay down the hospital and legal expenses.