Beggar’s Chicken – Friday Fictioneers, July 2014

Copyright Marie-Gail Stratford

Alice’s meal, chosen by Hector, arrived with a resounding fanfare and enthusiastic applause from other diners.

She stared at the clay ball nestling on a bed of lotus leaves, and looked up nervously as a silver hammer was presented with a flourish.

More applause, louder this time.

Alice hated being the centre of attention. Moreover she was tired of Hector and his overbearing ways. She’d tell him so tonight.

She smashed the clay surface with one blow, revealing a diamond ring mounted on a steaming chicken.

The room went positively ballistic.

This, Alice thought, might be more difficult than she’d imagined.

I once had Beggar’s Chicken in a restaurant in Hong Kong.  The ritual was every bit as embarrassing as this, though regrettably there was nothing more interesting than delicious chicken inside the clay covering.  We also had ‘thousand year egg‘ at the same meal.  😦 

Friday Fictioneers is on the menu for the next few days, with Rochelle in the role of majordomo, performing it with her customary tact and diplomacy. 

 

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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78 Responses to Beggar’s Chicken – Friday Fictioneers, July 2014

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Oh dear. This certainly does complicate the issue, doesn’t it. I feel a tad sorry for Hector. Nicely done as always.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  2. Thank you for expanding my mind on Beggar’s Chicken and Century Egg. What a great idea for a marriage proposal!! Hector probably shouldn’t have counted his chickens before they smashed…

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  3. Sandra, Good story and well written as always. I also felt sorry for Hector. She waited a bit too long. At least the ring was in a location where she didn’t swallow it as is sometimes shown in the movies. That sounds like an interesting dish though. Well done. 🙂 —Susan

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      This is a bit of a personal nightmare of mine Susan, one I seemed to enact several times in my younger days. I was always at the bail-out point when the guy was at the ‘let’s make a commitment’ phase. I remember once being taken home to meet someone’s parents the very night I was planning to call it a day…can’t imagine what he told them when he got back from taking me home afterwards. 😦

      Like

  4. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Eat the chicken, return the ring. Hector will thank her in the long run and learn something in the short run. Like a good lawyer, he should never have asked a question he didn’t know the answer to.

    Another great story from the fabulous kitchen of your imagination.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  5. Sandra, although it would be an uncomfortable situation to actually be in, this had me laughing. Good thing the ring was somewhere she could easily see it or it might have been upsetting to get back and return. 🙂 Hector seems a bit ostentatious, so he may have a hard time taking no for an answer.

    As for you, glad you made it to Neville.

    janet

    Like

  6. camgal says:

    Aww the poor darling. She should break it to him kindly, so to speak. Interesting take on the prompt especially the scenery.

    Like

  7. Ha! You are the master of the unexpected twist at the end. Since I despise public proposals, I feel Hector (aptly named) should get what he deserves. Don’t go all wobbly now, Alice.

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  8. Yikes. Well, this is just symptomatic of his controlling, isn’t it. I knew a couple — divorced now, as was foretold by myself (I always know, darling) where the man proposed to the woman in public, in a bar, on a stage — typical of him. To force the issue in public.
    I say she should take the opportunity to publicly humiliate him, but then, I’m in a cruel mood.

    Like

  9. yarnspinnerr says:

    That is truly innovative.

    Like

  10. I foresaw (is that a word?) the ring and thought Uh-oh when she decided to “tell him tonight.” Well told story.

    Like

  11. Sarah says:

    Great story, Sandra! I didn’t really feel that sorry for Hector–seems like he didn’t have a good read on his girlfriend.

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  12. Yeah, a bit more difficult indeed. It reminds me of videos I’ve seen of elaborate proposals where the woman says no and there is a huge awkward silence. I feel a bit bad for Hector but apparently he’s oblivious enough not to see the signs.

    Like

  13. Indira says:

    Did she tell him after all?I’ll be happy if she did. Very nicely written. Great story.

    Like

  14. claudia says:

    This was wonderful. I never saw the ring coming at all…can imagine her face when she saw it!

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  15. paulmclem says:

    I thought she was going to brutally assault Hector with the hammer. Perhaps she will later 🙂

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  16. Interesting, especially after the comment I left you on my story.

    Like

  17. storydivamg says:

    Nicely done, Sandra. Funny, I’ve always considered such public proposals to be the theatrics of an insecure control freak. I guess your character is learning this first hand.

    As to the ornate meals and dining rituals, I find them exciting on occasion. One thing I strongly dislike about American culture is the gluttonous way in which so many consume food without respect for the preparation or the preparers. These types of Eastern rituals over special dishes, many of which took hours or even days to prepare, seem to add a sanctity that is often lacking in modern chow halls. (Just a few thoughts of mine. I will now step down from my soapbox.)

    Cheers!
    MG

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      There do seem to be more customs in the East; it can be so easy to offend. Thanks for reading and commenting Marie-Gail.

      Like

      • storydivamg says:

        Just in case there was any question, I am certainly not offended. 🙂 My daddy spent 18 months in Korea as a young man and made sure that we understood many of the dining customs as we grew up. I imagine that often the places where food has been the most sparse are the places where these types of traditions sprout up, for better or worse.

        Cheers!
        Marie Gail

        Like

  18. Poor Hector has no idea what is coming for him! I find the ritual very interesting. But I also don’t like being the center of attention. I tend to blush (for hours).

    Like

  19. helenmidgley says:

    Nicely woven, I’d leave the chicken and tale the ring 😉

    Like

  20. Carrie says:

    Oh, that does complicate matters. Nice little twist at the end 🙂

    Like

  21. What to say? Been there, done that. You painted it well, Sandra.

    Like

  22. I’m with Helen on this one..take the diamond and run..anyone making a public proposal when they are not completely certain of the response has a few loose screws! Great story..and I learned about thousand year eggs…yech

    Like

  23. Feeling sorry for poor Hector! As always, a lot of both story and nuance in a very few words.

    Like

  24. good story, but reminds me:
    Never hit pots of clay,
    or you might get feet of clay.

    Randy

    Like

  25. Funny story…and somehow i feel like She won’t run or say no 🙂

    Like

  26. draliman says:

    Oh dear, poor woman! I wonder what she’ll do now?
    It would be my personal nightmare to be in a restaurant with everyone looking on, staring at some weird dish and everyone waiting to see what I’ll do.

    Like

  27. Hannah says:

    I wouldn’t want to be on display while eating…especially if there was a surprise (and unwelcome!) proposal involved. Great story!

    Like

  28. wmqcolby says:

    Ohhh that really puts a damper on things, doesn’t it? Well-done, Sandra! Always a pleasure to read your stuff.
    By the way, was I the only one who got hungry while writing? Hahaha!

    Like

  29. ContactRida says:

    ha! hard to swallow too:) great story!

    Like

  30. dianathrelfo says:

    Sandra, I love your take on the photo prompt. What a dilemma! Freedom and independence OR a diamond ring and Hector!

    Like

  31. MrBinks says:

    Poor Hector 😦
    Really well written, as ever.

    Like

  32. misskzebra says:

    Thousand year egg? You’re very brave if you’ve tried it. I’ve heard many things about them, and I’m under the impression they’re quite an acquired taste. 🙂

    Like

  33. rgayer55 says:

    I’ve always thought those public proposals were a little over the top. I don’t feel sorry for him, but it certainly makes her task more difficult. A great piece of writing, Sandra.

    Like

  34. K.Z. says:

    complicated indeed. i’d take the chicken and the ring and then leave hector 🙂 when i was younger i wanted some huge public marriage proposal.lol now i’m not sure if i even want a big wedding. great story as always 🙂

    Like

  35. Alice Audrey says:

    I actually like thousand year egg, though I can see how others might not. I’d probably get into the beggar chicken too.

    Like

  36. Dee says:

    Loved this Sandra, well written as usual.
    I am smiling as I write this, as I remember being out with my parents when I was about 18, we called in for a meal at a very popular country inn.
    A couple were sitting at the next table and the man ‘did a Hector’ with a Baked Alaska! It was hilarious, the girl wasn’t very impressed and stormed out. I thought the gesture romantic, my father called the poor embarrassed man a name I hadn’t heard him use before!!!

    Like

  37. Subroto says:

    Ah poor overbearing Hector. Maybe she could put that hammer to better use ala “bang bang Maxwell’s silver hammer..”.

    Like

  38. Michael B. Fishman says:

    Poor Alice just found out the meaning of bad timing. I’m curious to find out what her next move is!

    Like

  39. Oh no. I so wish Alice would simply say, No. This may not end well for either of them! 😉

    Like

  40. The others have said it for me. The pompous git.

    Like

  41. Sarah Ann says:

    Would love to know how she extricates herself from this one. Thanks for the lesson on beggar’s chicken too. 🙂

    Like

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