The Duchess and the Dinner
by A. Phool Saylor

Catherine Cobham, actress, woman of the world, espionage agent for
His Britannic Majesty, and currently borrowing the title Duchess of
Wharfedale -- was a woman of many talents. The fact that one of them
was a knack for embroidering the truth in no way detracted from her
expertise in cookery, attained when she was attached to a certain
French nobleman's household in the role of kitchen maid. His
Lordship had been fond of food from exotic locales, and she was as
familiar with the new vegetables from the former North American
colonies as French, British, and even Italian cuisine.

It was the latter that was the vehicle for her ongoing campaign to
butter up Don Alfredo de Masaredo, in the hopes of convincing him to
allow Acting Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower to get out of that dismal
cell and get some exercise. The Duchess had merely supervised
preparation of the meal, since no lady of her rank could possibly be
expected to exert herself in such lowly endeavor, but Don Alfredo's
cook was so flattered by the attention -- and by the opportunity to
expand his repertoire -- that he exceeded her fondest expectations.

The meal was a resounding success. At last, laying his cutlery
reverently across the plate now emptied of the thin ribbons of
dumpling in their rich white sauce, he bowed to his noble
guest. "Comida de los dios! Muchas gracias, Senora Duquesa. I do
not believe I have ever tasted such a marvelous dish! Whatever do
you call it?"

The lady smiled graciously. Her plan was working to perfection.
One more exotic dish and Mr. H was as good as paroled. "I am
delighted that you enjoyed it. The Florentinos call it Fettucini,
Alfredo."

~~~~~~

Tune in next week for Kitty's adventures in dessert ... "The Duchess
and the Devil's Food!