Cooking School Journal: Game



I missed the class before Independence Day. It was Game. Yuck.

People have been trying to get me to Saddle Peak Lodge, Josie’s and Manka’s Inverness Lodge.  I always gracefully bow out. They are famous for their Venison and Buffalo preparations. For some odd reason, I’m more comfortable eating a raw octopus tentacle than a perfectly prepared venison steak surrounded by blah blah blah reduction with a puree of blah blah blah and garnished with an essence of locally-grown blah blah blah.

Forgive me.

So, when I woke up on the morning of the Game Class, I was less than excited to go. I went about my daily routine giving myself a mental pep talk: Go! It’ll be a new adventure, regardless of how disgusting it is.

I dressed the kids and fed them their breakfasts. Joe wrangled the big girls into the car and took them to summer day camp. I promptly began cleaning the house as Hannah watched the Wiggles.  While I was carrying out the trash through my downstairs bathroom, I noticed something  from the corner of my eye. There was something floating in the toilet.

“Jesus. What part of ‘flush’, do these kids not understand?!” I thought to myself.

But when the peripheral glance became a full on examination, I discovered a giant RAT floating, dead and bloated in my toilet. Yes. That’s right! RAT!


I threw down the trash and ran out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind me. I immediately called Joe, who to this day has Post-traumatic Stress Disorder from the “rat in the driveway incident of 1997”.  The tone of my voice led him to believe that the Manson family had come into the house and was trying to kill me.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!” I yelled into the phone while trying to catch my breath. It’s a– a– a– giant– rat in the toilet!”

He was so relieved to know that it was merely a rat and promptly began to mock me. Isn’t marriage great?

Relief, however, turned to trepidation when I informed him that he needed to come home on his lunch hour and dispose of it. The mocking ceased.

I grabbed Hannah and drove as far from the house as possible. We spent the next couple of hours at the beach in Ventura. There are no rats on a beach. Right?

When I returned to the house, Joe was gray, trembling and struggling for breath in our driveway. He was wearing a hat, goggles, face mask, work boots, work gloves and a leather jacket.  The rat had been removed.

The Rat Hunter

The Rat Hunter

The hypothesis is that it was trapped in the sewer, died and made its way to our toilet bowl.

Ironic, that in these damn low-flush toilets (now mandatory in California), that take at least two flushes to swallow a piece of paper,  somehow a dead five-pound rodent can make it through.

Neither Joe nor I ate for two days. This is the first time I’m actually able to talk about it.

So when it was time to grab my syllabus and recipe chart, the thought of cooking up rabbit just struck too close to home. I totally flaked on class.

Oh, and by the way, for Christmas this year, Joe and I would love a new pair of bbq tongs.