Cecylia had a most unusual hobby. Naturally she couldn’t pursue it all the time, like once a day. Once a week was plenty, although in fact once a month was more the usual practice. Cecylia collected (and used) rabbit recipes.
It all began one day when a friend called in for a cup of coffee and they got talking.
“I don’t know how anyone could cook a rabbit any other way than in a rabbit stew. Rabbit is surely the most uninteresting edible mammal on the planet.”
This set Cecylia on a mission. For the last seven months she had found eleven creative ways to cook rabbit. One of the recipes, rabbit cooked in prunes, wasn’t as successful as the others, but all in all (as Cecylia’s friend said) “When it comes to rabbit there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
Since Cecylia’s hobby almost bordered on an obsession, her friend arranged for them to visit a rabbit farm for Cecylia’s birthday.
“It’ll be such fun, and maybe the farmer’s wife (how very sexist of me) will have a few rabbit recipes she can share.”
Off they went!
“Oh look at the beautiful bunny-rabbits! Oh aren’t they lovely? Oh this one has baby bunnies – all five of them! Oh look at all the colours! How cute! I see you have angora rabbits as well. They are so soft! Oh how gorgeous! I simply must knit an angora rabbit hat! What a lovely birthday gift! Not only a visit to the bunny farm but an oh-so-soft angora rabbit muff and scarf as well! How marvellous!”
Cecylia (as the reader will have already deduced) never cooked another bunny-rabbit.
Stella had rather foolishly invited the neighbours, Mr and Mrs Jones, over for dinner. She had quite forgotten that there was no housekeeping money left in the kitty for the rest of the week. To put it bluntly, she was right out of cash and there was nothing in the freezer.
“What a stupid thing to do! What a stupid thing to do!” muttered Stella for the whole week. Somehow she was half waiting for a miracle – like by the time Friday came food would rather miraculously have fallen from the sky. One could hardly feed dinner guests on a slice of bread and a raw carrot and celery – which was all that was left. And then the miracle happened!
A wild rabbit came hopping by just as Stella was emptying the tea pot of its leaves around the lemon tree. Swiftly she hit the rabbit on the head with the tea pot. It was dazed. Practical Stella wrung its neck, and with considerable joy she skinned and gutted it.
Rabbit stew! No one in the world could make rabbit stew as delicious as Stella. And Mr and Mrs Jones agreed.
“That was the most delicious rabbit I have ever tasted in my life,” said Mr Jones.
“Talk of coincidence,” laughed Mrs Jones. “It seems to be rabbit week. Our little daughter’s pet rabbit, Fluffy Balls, escaped and went missing earlier this very week.”
Fiona wanted for only one thing when it came to her ninth birthday: she wanted to cook dinner for everyone ALL BY HERSELF!
“Can she invite her friends?”
“No,” said Mother. “You’ve already celebrated your birthday with your school friends. This is going to be just for the family.”
Fiona decided she would make “just a stew”, but first she had to have her own casserole dish. Mother took her to the second hand shop (“No, we are not buying a new one dear”) and they purchased one that had little birds on it for $7.60.
Then the stew had to be a decent enough beef cut, and had to have nearly every vegetable known to humanity in it.
Fiona didn’t just cut the beef into chunks, she made them perfect. The vegetables weren’t simply diced, they were sliced to exactness. Fiona spent hours preparing her dish. She set the table beautifully too. All was perfection!
Mother, Father, and Fiona’s two brothers sat down at the table and waited.
“Voila!” announced Fiona as she appeared with her stew in the beautiful dish with little birds on it.