Posts Tagged ‘Branston P.I. (C.K.L.E.)’

Image Source: foto_decadent/Tim Walker/UK Vogue December 2008/Tales of the Unexpected/The Marvellous Mischievious Magical World of Roald Dahl

It’s not like Boris and I don’t have our challenges. Most of you think the life of a girl detective is an easy one. But my job gets tougher and tougher each day.

The last time I’d had a really good mystery to solve was back in May when I solved The Case of the Missing Snack.

There’s not much call for those with my specialised degree –  the C.K.L.E. (Certified Kitchen Lounge-About Eater) is a path one follows because one must. The gathering together of dross is not a part of the thinking process at all.

We’ve been spending a lot of time lately burning bangers and mashing mashers as a matter of fact. But always, always! in the finest fashions, you should know. Stiff upper lip and all.

But Boris has become moody. Around the holidays he longs for the cooking of his childhood. Or what he thinks was the cooking of his childhood, anyway. He actually grew up in Flushing, Queens – which you get to by taking a pot-holed highway to after going over some midtown bridge in Manhattan – but he believes he grew up eating Russian food.

And he hungers for it in an awful way.

So, for the New Year’s, I am making a picnic! A Georgian picnic.

We are having a pickled cabbage rose set just so in the center of the quilt we’ll recline upon. Then we will dive into chicken with walnuts. Because no picnic is complete without a bit of cooking done en plein air we’ll start a little woodfire off to the side to prepare some skewered eggs along with some grilled cheese.  Maybe a bit of steamed purslane would be nice as a salad (as it seems to be growing among a rockpile nearby it would not be dear at all, either!) For dessert we’ll just stay traditional and have the New Year’s Day treat of Gozinake. (When you are Georgian, there is no such thing as too many walnuts.)

It looks to be a fine day, though a bit chilly.

Cheers to all of you on the first day of the new year. And do give me a call if you need a good mystery solved.

I’m always hungry.


Darra Goldstein’s The Georgian Feast is a must-read, for anyone interested in the foods of Georgia.

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by Branston, P.I.

It was 2:30 AM by the clock at my bedside and I’d awoken with a sudden start. Lightning briefly flashed outside my window. Something felt terribly wrong.

We were staying at the country estate of Kincaid Eblowster, the world-famous art critic. He’d hired me to find the jewels that had been stolen from an art installation during a performance piece the previous weekend. Naturally I brought Boris along in case any manual labor was required.

Why was I sure something was wrong? Granted, the decor in the guestroom was not of the usual sort but was that really enough to give me pause?

Damien Hirst

After all, it was not everyone who could have the pleasure of sleeping on a hard cot with an egg-crate table in the same room as Damien Hirst’s Ode to Rene Magritte and Francis Bacon and I was quite tickled by the experience. An honor indeed.

It came to me in a flash what was wrong. Boris was gone. But where? And why?

I knew it was an impossibility that he was anywhere in the house for he could always be heard within one-quarter mile with that snort-like way he had of breathing that had been caused in his youth by trying to swallow a pigeon (grilled with plum sauce) whole one glorious Autumn day while playing eating games with his mates.

Grabbing my flashlight I ran through the house. No Boris. He must have been kidnapped.

As I approached the kitchen there was a small funny noise. It sounded like a little slurp. And as I heard it I realized there was an even worse problem than Boris being kidnapped – I was hungry. Really really hungry.

The large gleaming surfaces of the kitchen looked too clean and perfect to actually have any food around and upon searching the cupboards indeed it was true. This was a house where nobody cooked.

I heard the noise again, and thinking that perhaps it was Boris laying half-unconscious from lack of nutrients I followed the sound. Out the door and towards the lake house. A scratching noise seemed to be coming from behind the dark windows. Approaching carefully I raised my flashlight and prepared to crash it down on the head of whomever was lurking there. Hopefully it would be the perpetrator of the jewel robbery and I could be on my way to the next case or to the Fat Duck, whichever happened first.

Kicking open the door with a loud scream, I viewed the scene.

snack cat

There he was! The thief, caught in the act! Jewels were strewn all over the floor of the tiny lake house interspersed with piles of catnip. The perpetrator had obviously settled down for a drink to celebrate his dreadful criminal accomplishment when I’d burst into this pretty little scene.

He mewed dreadfully and started to draw close. Unsure of whether he was armed or not I crouched on the floor, preparing to defend myself.

He jumped on my lap, rapidly knocking his head into my tummy and as he did so I noticed a carton of cereal on a nearby table. Food. I was so hungry.

As he continued to batter at me with his little claws it came to me that perhaps if I were to be his friend he would share the cereal. Granted this was going over the line of professionalism but after all one never knows where the next bite will come from. I petted his head and he purred. Okay. I could deal with this.

We shared the cereal and milk and when he fell asleep on the corner of the old battered couch I gathered up the jewels to return to Kincaid. The case was solved. Except for Boris. Where was Boris?

Tripping up the lane to return to my guestroom it came to me. Boris was not there because he’d gone to visit his poor old mother the evening before and had decided to not return till morning, preferring his childhood home to sleeping in art installations.

He’d missed a fine snack. I hoped he wouldn’t regret it.

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Branston Branston, P.I. (C.K.L.E.), Girl Detective – will be reporting to foodvox with ongoing investigations into food history and mysteries – questioning recipes and suspects alike. Branston has been a private detective on the world food scene for some unknown length of time. Her qualifications include the title of C.K.L.E. (Certified Kitchen Lounge-about Eater).

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