The Y-files [GL]
Gay marriage has been legal since 2003 in Belgium. In the meantime it has become something fairly regular. Many gay people travel to Belgium to get married here.
Creamy chicory soup. Considered a festive soup. Belgium is known for growing chicory.
Gratin de poisson à l’ostendaise
'Gratin de poisson à l’ostendaise' or 'Oostends vispannetje' in dutch is a fish in the oven dish that originates from Oostende, a coastal town. You will find it on almost every menu of restaurants that offer Belgian cuisine. It consists of a variety of fish, grey shrimp and or mussels grilled in a white sauce, made of fish broth and white wine, au gratin using Gruyere cheese.
Chapter 19: The yuri Jeanne D’Arc
We made our way to the Femme Fatale while fooling around a bit on the way. It was the first time in my life that I was leisurely hanging around with a group of friends and to be honest, I always thought it would be stressful but it actually felt quite good.
Our two couples were walking together hand in hand and Fien was constantly zipping between everyone and asking questions.
Ms Lyst was walking quietly next to me, she was rather preoccupied with her phone. Seemed like something serious, if I could go by the look on her face. But from time to time she looked up and I saw a gentle smile come on her face when she did.
I shook my head at those idle thoughts. I should be busy working out my menu. I had been doubting what to make because I wanted something to fit everyone's tastes and it is hard to accommodate everyone.
We arrived at the brasserie and when we entered I was amazed by the sight. It was a full house. Mom, bro, Mari and Tory were working at full throttle. When I looked closer I did not even recognize any of the regulars. Almost all of our customers were lesbian couples.
Mom ran quickly toward me. “Hi honey, as you can see we are rather busy, but we made sure you guys can have the meeting room downstairs. I also left a cooking station open for you.” She said quickly to me. And then she hugged me “Thank you honey, thanks to you our brasserie has completely revived.”
I was stupefied. I did not understand a thing about what was going on. What did I have to do with it?
Suddenly I heard a scream and a 13 year old girl that I never saw before came running toward me. She wanted my autograph. What the hell. She probably mistook me for someone else. I complied because that would be the fastest way out of it and then she said “You are such an inspiration Claire, my moms and I cried when we saw your video. I hope I can become just like you!” and then she went back to her moms who both gave me a little wave.
This must be the handiwork of... THAT WOMAN! I turned my scornful gaze toward her but to my surprise she seemed just as baffled.
Then I saw that Gazette was beaming. “The collage video I posted yesterday night seems to have gone viral!”
“Our work did what!? Show me !” Elodie shouted. “9 million views in under 24 hours. This is crazy! Claire, look you are referred to as the Yuri Jeanne D'Arc.”
So this was the work of our communications department. I guess I did tell them to start an FBY awareness action. But I did not intend for myself to be put forward as the queen of the yuri revolution.
They had found Ms Lyst's video from yesterday on the cloud together with my cute video of Tory and Mari, and had also found several videos of the cringy speeches I had been giving during the last week. They had made a collage, put some music on it and it had spread like wildfire. I looked around me and everyone seemed to be taking glances and whispering stuff about me.
Anxiety was attacking me. I needed a recharge. “My kitchen.. Where is my kitchen? I need my kitchen!”
Seeing my state and knowing that I wasn't good with too much attention my mom quickly showed our group to the meeting room while I made my way to my kitchen. I was really lucky that my mom knew me so well.
First on the menu would be ' 'crème d’endives'. My personal version brought tears of happiness to anyone who brought a spoon of it to their mouths.
My cleaver flashed and all the ingredients were chopped in an instant. It was fairly quick to make once I had chopped the veggies because we always had fresh broths at the ready. So I could already put it on the stove.
I had finally decided on my main menu. I needed to clear something out of my system and therefore I was going to prepare “Gratin de poisson à l’ostendaise” , a dish that would provide me with plenty of stress relief.
It was Friday, market day, so we would have plenty of fresh fish. I took out a nice piece of salmon, a monkfish, a turbot and a big piece of cod. My experience has taught me that the best way to carve fish is with a Japanese sushi fish knife, so I started sharpening mine.
When the sharpening was done I spun the blade around in my hand a couple of times. A bit like a cowboy would do with his revolver.
Then, finally, the time of relief was there. I started cleaning the fish. My knife was moving at top speeds removing all the unwanted parts. Nothing beats the feeling of a knife carving through something that was alive at some point.
“Wow I've never seen such knife skills, I would have never guessed by the way you look. Ooh what are you making?” Mari suddenly asked out of nowhere. I stared at her with intensifying glaring eyes. My brother who noticed what had happened ran toward her in a panic dragging her away from me. She was clearly protesting being dragged off.
“Sorry sis!” He shouted at me “Don't disturb her when she is in that state. You can ask her anything when she is back to normal. It is just too dangerous right now.”
I heard Frank saying somewhere in the back of my conscience. Preposterous. I considered this divine state my normal state. While I was getting more and more intense. The joy of letting my knife remove the fillets of all the fish and carving them up in bite-sized cubes satisfied my need for carving up things. I felt completely in my element. While I was following the next steps of my recipe I was thinking about what had happened.
I was being showered in attention due to some video going viral. Thinking about it more deeply, even if it was Gazette and Elodie who posted the video, for me that woman was at fault. She was the one pushing us to do all this crazy stuff. Everything that happened always went back to that woman. I thought I was ahead during lunch break but I had been naive. While I was still making an opening move she was already going for the finish. I was still being completely played. She was in control. I had to up my game even more. Well I will have a chance to do that during tomorrow's date. “Hah, I will show her!”
Finally seeing a way out I started to relax and my angelic smile returned to my face.
It was time to put the dish into the oven.
Frank whispered something to Mari and she came back over a little more shy this time. “Is it okay if I ask you a few questions now?”
We talked a bit about preparing fish. She was really knowledgeable about it and I even picked up some tips that I was sure that I wanted to try out. Like spiking white wine with lemon zests before adding it. She was very surprised that I did something unorthodox like using chervil in the Gratin de poisson à l’ostendaise. Well to me there are no real rules in the kitchen, only the end result counts.
In the meantime I finished the soup and poured it out in soup bowls and topped them with some fresh dill.
It was time to serve the soup. I called Tory to help me carry the bowls. When Mari saw her arriving she said she had to get back to work. When the two of them passed each other they briefly touched each other with their fingers and then the both of them started blushing.
Did they really think I would not notice that little gesture? Not that I mind seeing it. After all, I was partly responsible for them getting together.
Tory and I went to the meeting room. It seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun.
When they noticed us we were showered in applause for entering with the appetizers.
It was clear everyone was hoping that I would join them but I still had to go back to the kitchen. I told everyone I would be back with the main dish and that from then I would stay with them. That seemed to be acceptable for them however I had the impression that Ms Lyst looked a little lonely at my words.
Must be my mind playing tricks. How could she be lonely in a group of people.
While I was walking back toward my kitchen I heard the orgasmic shouts of people tasting one of my personal recipes. That sound also put a satisfied smirk on my face.
Time to get the gratins out of the oven. Fish tastes really dry and bad if you overcook it in the oven so there was no time to lose.
I had prepared individual gratins for everyone. So I put them on large plates and squirted some tufts of mashed potatoes with a piping bag on each plate.
Mom came into the kitchen and she said that she had cleared the table in the meeting room. When she saw my dishes ready she called Tory and they both started carrying the plates to where the party was at. Then mom came to me and said “From now on for the rest of the evening you will stay with your friends, no running to the kitchen no matter how busy we look. They are here for you. It is the first time you brought home friends and I want you to enjoy it. We will take care of the desserts.”
I lost my kitchen privileges for the evening… I had hoped to pop back to the kitchen to make desserts. Well I got my fill so I might as well try to enjoy myself.
Everyone seemed happy that I joined them and we were laughing and messing around while enjoying our perfectly seasoned 'gratin de poisson à l’ostendaise'.
This was the warm atmosphere I wanted to create for people while enjoying my food and it was oddly satisfying to take part in it. It made me think about how long ago it was that I shared dinner with someone other than my family. I could not remember.
Fien started joking about my date tomorrow and everyone started laughing except for Ms Lyst. She seemed to have become quiet and then said “Date? What is that all about?”
Then the girls started talking about my antics and how I got suckered into a date by the school's prince and number one Casanova. They showed her the video that was going around school.
Ms Lyst acted like she was laughing together with the girls at my absolute failure but I felt there was something wrong with that smile of hers. I chose not to let it get to me and after we finished our main course Tory and mom brought in some ice cake for dessert.
We kept enjoying ourselves for the rest of the evening until it was getting late.
I promised to put a report of tomorrow's date on line and then we said our goodbyes.
Gazette, Elodie and Fien were picked up by Sandra. Apparently they would have a sleepover.
Ms Lyst offered to drive Elsa and Tina home because it was not safe to let high school girls go home by themselves at this time.After they had gone home I went to the brasserie and Mom, Frank, Mari and Tory a hug and a kiss to thank them for helping me today. While I was walking through the brasserie to leave for the apartment I was stopped a few times by a customer asking for an autograph. I was exhausted. What a day. It was time for bed.