By Raji Singh
In the late 1800’s, my immigrant Russian great grandmother, Shelva Fiction was barely able to speak English. She learned it by beginning a journal about her husband, ‘Doc’ Fiction. His was a life dedicated to folk and patent medicines, and cures in general.
One of her entries was of special interest to women. It was Madame Rrrose Heather’s Whure’s Delight, or as G-gra’ma Shelva called it, ‘R-R-Ruse’s Pride’. It was, and still is, a popular pastry aphrodisiac. For generations wives have been serving it to husbands, quoting G-Gra’ma “with delightful boudoir results.”
Shelva compiled copious note on the ‘Delight’. She was a great story teller. Here is her version of how the delight came about.
TALE OF THE ‘WHURE’S DELIGHT’ – HOW ONE RECIPE CAME TO WOO A NATION
For nearly 75 years, an anonymously-written cooking column appears weekly in the Cincinnati Daily Opine. (We at the Fiction House know it is the work of Madame Rrrose Heather, owner of Cincinnati’s most notorious bordello.) The column’s recipes exotic fare is served on 19th century dinner tables – maybe once. Then it’s a return to the basics more reflecting a society’s stern work ethic. But one sumptuous fudge dessert, with a few alterations becomes culinary legend throughout the land.
“What ye sprinklin’ in the Delight sauce, Rrrose Heather?”
“In the old country it’d be…” Over hot stove, Rrrose whispers it and Bonnie titters. Rrrose smiles – so enjoying these ‘mother-daughter’ kitchen times with one of her ‘girls’. “But since we cain’t be gettin’ that here I use, just a smidgen’ mind ya, oil ‘a the buckeye. It be givin’ the same passionate allure. Wouldn’t be surprised if our business triples after they print this; while over on the domestic side ‘a the city babies begin poppin’ out left and right nine months down nature’s path.”
Rrrose tenderly strokes Bonnie’s abdomen. She can’t wait until Bonnie realizes she’s pregnant. ‘A grandmother, Cincinnati’s Rrrose will be!’
(Author’s note: That original recipe, now so commercialized, so changed over time that it has lost, how might one say, its ‘vigor’, but the original Whure’s Delight is still served – fresh-baked daily – couples make your reservations today – at the Fiction House Bed and Breakfast.)
(Read more of Shelva and Rrrose Heather in the novel, Tales of Fiction House. Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)
©2013 Raji Singh
©2014 Raji Singh (additional material)