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Favorite recipes and anecdotes from the co-author of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries.
Sneaky Pie Brown, co-author of such irresistible Mrs. Murphy mysteries as Murder on the Prowl, dishes up delectable fare for cats and humans alike in this unique collection of recipes spiced with witty personal anecdotes, including glimpses of life with co-author Rita Mae Brown.
What do you serve when a kitty is bored with all the old standbys? Since cookbooks are written by humans for humans, Sneaky Pie Brown has produced a cookbook with appeal for fastidious felines, including such treats as Veal Kidney and Salmon Pie.
Ever the thoughtful hostess, Miss Pie has also included plenty of recipes to accommodate the visiting human or finicky dog. There's Mother's Fried Chicken, Christmas Goose, Big Dog's Delight, and, of course, Mrs. Hogendobber's Orange Buns, the very thought of which makes Mrs. Murphy fans' mouths water.
Throughout there are also delightfully illustrated anecdotes for those Sneaky Pie fans eager to learn more about the dashing author. She even spills the beans about what happened to Rita Mae's brand-new pickup when a neighbor came calling with his goat.
For cats and cat lovers, this book combines real and tasty recipes with the same droll humor that made one reviewer declare, "As feline collaborators go, you couldn't ask for better than Sneaky Pie Brown, the canny tiger cat" (The New York Times Book Review).
Under the Cover
An excerpt from Sneaky Pie's Cookbook for Mystery Lovers
Cat cuisine is very simple: meat, fish, and fowl. We are obligate carnivores, which means we must eat meat to stay healthy. Not that one has to eat as much as my sidekick Pewter, whose butt is so big you could show a movie on it. A kitty should know his or her limits.
I've included my favorite recipes plus a few for humans, dogs, and even a couple for horses.
Personally, I enjoy eating with humans but I refuse to eat with dogs. All that gobbling and swallowing chunks of food whole just turns my stomach. Then you spend the rest of the day listening to the symphony played by their intestines. Cats are ever so elegant compared to dogs.
I have personally tested each cat recipe, Tucker has tested the dog recipes and my veterinarian, Christopher Middleton, has checked them out, too. I've noted serving sizes only on those recipes for humans. The servings for cats, dogs, and a few others will vary from animal to animal. Tell your human to consider these treats. I'm assuming your regular diet has the protein and carbohydrates you need plus a touch of fat for the winter.
You'll find no recipes for mouse tartare, mole soufflé, or batwing soup. If I included them and your humans read this, the poor souls would faint dead away. You know how squeamish they are. Imagine telling them how to bite off a mouse's head? Get the smelling salts!
I hope you enjoy these and I wish you bon appétit and good health.
Yours in Catitude,
Cat: New Year's Tuna
1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in oil--unless you're fat, then use a can of tuna packed in water
1/2 pint half-and-half (Again, if you're a fat cat change that to an equal amount of 2% milk.)
1. Mix the ingredients together until mushy. Humans won't like it so you'll have it all to yourself. And although we all deserve a great big treat on New Year's Eve, this is probably enough for you and a feline friend.
2. Serve precisely at twelve o'clock midnight for a prosperous New Year.
As you know, I live in the South, which means that each New Year's Eve the humans are boiling black-eyed peas. The first food of the New Year they put in their mouths has to be black-eyed peas. You won't catch me eating a black-eyed pea or any other pea for that matter.
Most New Years around here are pretty much the same. Mother intends to stay awake until midnight. She places pots and pans by the door with a giant spoon, the idea being that after her mouthful of black-eyed peas, she goes outside and bangs the pots. The horses hate it, of course.
Out here in the country, people shoot rifles in the air, set off firecrackers, and make a great deal of noise. In the icy January air, with no leaves on the trees to muffle sound, those sounds carry. There's a lot of stall banging and loud complaints from the stable on New Year's Eve.
The New Year's Eve I remember best occurred when Pewter and I were kittens. The Corgi wasn't born yet. Mom waited until December 31 to buy a truck. Her first new truck. Pewter and I ran outside to admire the Ford F150 4 x 4. The metallic royal blue exterior seemed deeper against the white snow. The interior was a handsome beige. Naturally, our human was over the moon.
A mile and a half down our road lived a simpleminded neighbor two years older than God. I don't think I've ever seen a human that old before or since. No one called him by his last name because his uncle had been governor of Virginia back in the forties and a governor couldn't have a simpleminded nephew. As he was a short, energetic man, everyone just called him Banty.
Banty lived alone since his family had long been dead. He adored my mother because she spoke to him as though he was just like everyone else. Now, why he wanted to be just like anyone else mystifies me because the truth about Virginians is that one out of four is mentally ill. Think of your three best friends. If they're all right, then it's you! Mother's mother told her that and it's the God's honest truth--not that anyone from Virginia will admit it.
Anyway, Banty desperately wanted to be like everyone else. He'd visit and bring us fresh-grown catnip. What money his family had put aside for him had been exhausted decades ago--no one had ever expected him to live to such an advanced age. He cut his own wood for his wood-burning stove and his cookstove. He raised chickens and sold eggs. He also had goats for milk and he'd learned to make goat's milk soap, and a fine soap it was.
This particular New Year's Eve the evening temperature skidded into the teens. The day had been warmer, the low forties, and the snow melted a bit, which meant on top of the snow rested a treacherous layer of ice.
Mom had parked her new truck by the front door so she could look at it constantly. Before sunset she hopped into her old truck one last time, a worn 1972 Ford, and drove it down to the dealer. He would carry her home.
Banty, with a goat on a leash, a gift for Mom, walked up to the front door and knocked, but Mom wasn't home. We meowed. He opened the door a crack, thought better of it, and closed the door. The night was so bitter, he didn't want to leave the nanny goat tied to a fence. And if he turned the goat out in a pasture it would follow him home. So he opened the door of the brand-new truck and the goat jumped right in. Perfect. He slipped and slid down the driveway, walking the mile and a half back to his little house in the hollow.
Mom showed up in the driveway about an hour after that. She hopped out of the passenger seat and waved good-bye to the Ford dealer.
We watched from the picture window as she admired her truck. She took a step closer. Stopped. Then moved as fast as we'd ever seen Mom move. Remarkable, really, given the ice. She opened the door to behold her present from Banty, and the fact that her truck now had no interior. The nanny goat even ate hunks out of the dash.
Mom lifted the goat out of the truck, sat down on the front steps, and cried. Finally she pulled herself together, walking the goat down to the garden shed. She couldn't put the nanny in with the horses because the scent of a goat will drive them crazy until they become accustomed to it. If you live in the city you might not know it but goats stink to high heaven.
She emptied out the garden shed, brought hay and straw up from the barn, falling down a couple of times in the process. It was getting colder and colder--so cold that the inside of your nose hurt when you breathed. Still, she was out there for over an hour.
When she reached the house her lips were blue. We loved on her and warmed her up as much as we could. She was distraught. How do you explain a situation like this to your insurance agent?
She called him at home. He said, "Happy New Year and don't worry."
Well, she felt somewhat better. She made Pewter and me some New Year's Tuna. Then she cooked herself black-eyed peas for luck. And you know, that turned out to be one of the best years we ever had, although I never have learned to tolerate the nanny goat, Princess Vandal.
Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede novels, including Six of One and Cakewalk;A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day; and many other books. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia, and is a Master of Foxhounds and the huntsman.
To inquire about booking Rita Mae Brown for a speaking engagement, please contact the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org.