The Y-files [GL]
A godfather and godmother are chosen at birth. These people vow to help with the philosophical development of the child and vow to take care of the child if something would happen to the parents. In practice it usually means more Christmas and birthday presents for the child.
Traditionally everyone was given a second and third name, being the root name of the godfather’s and godmother’s first name. My second and third names are Jozef and Machteld for instance. So both a male and female name. Not everyone does that, but it is a tradition as the godchildren are officially named during the baptism sacrament of the child which is the official naming ceremony for the (catholic) church. This naming ritual links all of their fates together.
Vol au vent bouchée à la reine
'Vol au vent bouchée à la reine' or 'Koninginnehapje' in Dutch, is a dish that can be found in almost every tavern or brasserie in Belgium.
They are puff pastry trays filled with chicken, meatballs, mushrooms and a white sauce. They are served as an entrée, or as a main dish with french fries or mashed potatoes.
In reality every family adds its own little twist to it. I remember for instance my grandmother used to make a meaty version with smoked beef tongue.
Let me know in the comments if you guys would be interested in recipes? There will be a lot of cooking in this story. So if there is some interest I might at one point do something with it in a little bonus chapter...
Belgian cooking regulations for bars and taverns.
Belgian Taverns or brasseries that don't have Vol au vent bouchée à la reine most likely don't have a real certified cook, because you need a certified cook to be allowed to serve dishes accompanied with potatoes. That is why in Belgium you can find cafes and bars where they only sell sandwiches, croque monsieur and spaghetti. This comes from a time where a full meal was considered meat or fish, potatoes and vegetables of some kind. Insurance goes down when you do not use a deep fryer and mandatory kitchen requirements are lower if you aren't serving potatoes.
Chapter 4 Femme Fatale
I entered the Femme Fatale, the brasserie my mother owned and ran.
It was located in a historic building. The name Femme Fatale was embedded in the stones on the forefront from the time it was a well known brothel in the 19th century. The building was classified as a historic building so we were not allowed to change its outward appearance.
Because of that my parents decided back in the day to keep the name as the locals would keep calling it Femme Fatale whatever fancy name we gave the brasserie anyway.
We lived in the apartment above. My mother inherited the building from my late father.
I do not really remember my father. He died in a car crash when I was still a baby. But I heard stories that he was a great cook and used his cooking to steal my mother's heart.
I would cringe at such a story, but it is basically the only thing I know about my father so it has got a special place in my heart.
When I was in kindergarten I remember getting a speech from a distant relative that told me and my brother that we had to do our best and live for him too and protect our mother. I think it was then that I decided to be the best professional chef that I could become.
If I had to describe my mother, I would describe her as an angel. She is beautiful, with the same fiery hair as me, and her radiating demeanor brings a smile on everyone she passes. When we are seen together everyone always says how much I look like her. She was a little more voluminous in the chest area though. Not that I was jealous of that. Large breasts would be a nuisance in the kitchen after all.
Every fiber in my being wanted to protect this precious lady and I felt bad that the school had contacted her. I caused her worry and I did not like that. As a single mother running a business she had other stuff to worry about then silly old me.
When my mother saw me she immediately rushed toward me, her face filled with worry.
“Honey, why did you not tell us you were in a relationship with that poor girl, I know I work a lot but you can talk to me you know. I would never have judged you. Now I understand why she came to visit me but was so shy. I hope you are not hurt too much. Don't you ever think of doing the same thing.” I was being pressed against my mother's chest while she tried to comfort me for all the wrong reasons. I had the feeling Ms Lyst was to blame for this misunderstanding . But being in my mother's embrace, suddenly I burst out crying.
All the emotions I experienced during the day, the feeling of powerlessness I felt, the unfairness of it all, it became too much for me, and my mother's embrace was a good place to let it out. But due to that I was a sobbing mess, not able to speak and I was sure my mother was now convinced that I was a lesbian. Were in reality I had never given such matters much thought.
My older brother, Frank, who was the cook running the kitchen of the brasserie, entered the room and said “You should have told me sooner, I would not have bothered trying to hook you up with one of my friends. You should put a little more trust in your family.”
Even though he always tried to set me up with the weirdest types of guys, which I of course always refused, at heart my brother was a good guy. He was nice to his colleagues and his friends liked him, but he was really bad with romance.
Every single one of them always resulted in a mess not alone for them but also for the people surrounding them. You had to give it to him; each one resulted in a unique mess that we had never witnessed before. One threw paint over the windows of the brasserie, there was one that stalked me after they separated. I do not understand why she did not just stalk the person she wanted to be with... There was even one that tried to get him fired. She ended in a flaming argument with my mother (She had not realized we ran a family business) just to name a few of these mishaps.
He was only 22 but he already had a daughter, my sweet godchild Emma, age 3, that lived with us one week out of 2. She was not here this week. His now ex-girlfriend Elizabeth had gotten pregnant right after they left school and their relationship had started to sink even before dear Emma was born.
But my brother did the right thing and still recognized Emma as his daughter and played the part of a loving father. Although Frank and Elizabeth were separated they still often quarreled about Emma.
He worked hard, but in terms of cooking, I was his superior but then again he could deal with 40 customers alone at rush hour without making anyone wait longer than 10 minutes after ordering. That alone would be impossible for me. He specialized in the efficient and fast Brasserie cuisine, I specialized in the elite art of haute cuisine.
When we go out together nobody ever believes he is my brother. We did not share the same hair color, his was light blond and mine was fiery red and on top of that he was obese. At 1m84 he weighed around 150 kg (it was probably more, 150 is what he admitted). Where I was toned with a perfect BMI of 19.
“But mom you don't understand I'm not a lesbi..” I tried explaining when my sobs started to quiet down.
My mom got angry at that point.
“Listen young lady, I will not have you denying yourself, I heard from Ms Lyst that people die from yurilessness and we love you very much. Your brother, myself, and your father, God rest his soul, love you for who you are. No matter who you might like. You are not even giving us a chance and that is unfair of you!” My mom shouted and pressed me against her warm and soft chest once more trying to let me feel that I was loved.
That confirmed it Ms Lyst even controlled the ideology in my home with one phone call. She was a woman to be feared. I couldn't get a word in between and I knew better than to try explaining again. I would only be scolded harder.
My eyes burned with rage. I needed to release some anger. I went to the kitchen and picked out a poultry knife. Nothing more satisfying to release your anger than preparing a large batch of Vol au Vent.
I took out a few chickens and carefully removed the fillets because they were used in other dishes in the brasserie and then I started boning the chickens. The more I thought about today, the angrier I got and the faster my blade went. My brother stared in awe at my knife skills but knew better than to say a word when I was in this state.It was better to leave me be, and he would no longer have to prepare Vol au Vent for the rest of the week.
A few hours later I was fine tuning the seasoning with some red wine, after the alcohol got boiled out I started portioning. Our family and customers that came this evening would get it fresh, but the portions for starting the day after tomorrow would be frozen. We were just a simple brasserie after all nobody expected food that was made from scratch.
After I saw the perfect filled puff pastry trays on 2 plates, I added a salad and some mashed potatoes and brought my mother and brother their plates. We did not eat together when the brasserie was open to customers.
It was already late so not much attention was needed at the tables so it was acceptable for them to eat. If anything happened I would fill in. I would prepare my own plate as soon as mom and my brother had eaten.
In the meantime I started reading one of the more wholesome looking yuri novels Ms Lyst had given me. I did not dare take out any of the others where customers could see them.
The book was about girls in a catholic high school having platonic relationships with a senpai calling them onee-sama. I spotted some hints here and there between the lines that these relationships were not always so wholesome as they were being portrayed, and the second I started picturing in my head what that would entail between two girls my head flushed red immediately.
I closed the book and looked around to see if anyone was watching me. Not that anyone could possibly know what I was thinking. But what was up with that reaction? I am not like that. I do not care about these kinds of things. I must not let Ms Lyst get to me. I must be tired. All the emotions of the day must be getting to me.
After I ate I decided to take a bath. After that I did my math homework and went to bed. Tomorrow would be a long day of damage control to try and reverse the damage that was done to my image today.