Lord Wyman Manderly waited patiently while the scullion, puffing with effort, put a starched white apron around his enormous waist.
The Lord of the White Harbor loved eating but had never cooked himself, the smallfolk always took care of it. This was a special occasion though.
Just a glance was enough to dismiss the boy, then absent-mindedly he followed the edge of the cleaver with his finger. What did it say in that old recipe?
…Mince the meat, add the onion and roast the meat on melted butter until all the blood has curdled.
Meat it is then.
Lord Wyman aimed and hacked the thigh bone with a clean strike. Although he’s grown fat over the years his hand was still steady and skilled. He cut off the rest of the sinew and removed the blood film. Having separated the loin, Lord Wyman started cutting out the juiciest bits trying to avoid the fat bulging from under the skin. The blood trickled down the knife onto the floor and soiled his boots.
Lord Manderly got one more piece of the softest meat and wiped his brow with a kitchen towel before starting to mince the deep-red flesh.
The new Guard’s of the North son’s wedding was a very important day for the Lord of the White Harbor and he would do everything to be at his best. Forty wagons had been loaded with the choice edibles so much that the axles bended under the weight. Ten musicians, coins jingling in their pockets, were polishing their instruments. Three sackcloth bags full of things with two blue towers united by a bridge on silver-grey on them were hidden in the cellars of the New castle. Everything was ready for the visit to Winterfell.
Almost everything. There were only the three meat pies to be cooked. The biggest wedding present from the Lord of the White Harbor.
Lord Wyman checked with the notes. He found a big frying pan and the ladle of warm butter the scullion left for him. Flickering under the cast-iron pan, the fire winked with its yellow eye. Lord Wyman took handfuls of wet chopped meat soaked in blood and put it on the pan, hungry and sizzling. Almost immediately the spicy spirit filling his nostrils changed into the sweet fragrant of fried game. Crimson bubbles kept bursting on the scorching surface turning into fulvous curves. The heavy scented fragrant meat juice trickled rose then turned clear as a tear.
Clear as a tear. Wyman Manderly knew tears all too well. The master of the White Harbor couldn’t hold it in the day his younger son’s mutilated body was brought to him, and a few drops of treacherous wetness dribbled down his cheeks to rest in the corners of his mouth.
As he was told, before they died those three also cried. Well, Lord Wyman smirked triumphantly; it’s a pity they never knew the honour they’d been afforded.
He took the pan off the fire with an iron-cast bite and drained the meat making sure none of the fat was wasted. The filling for the first pie turned out perfect.
Roll out the pastry on a clean iron plate smeared with butter in the centre, spoon the fried meat, add carrot, turnip, parsnip and mushrooms, then drape the pastry over the dish and pinch the edges.
There you go, any wench could do it. The lord’s fat hands moved as if he had been pinching meat pies all his life.
Having finished, Lord Wyman took a step back to admire his work.
There were two more bodies in the corner waiting to be hacked and chopped. There was a lot of time before dawn and Lord Manderly was in no hurry whatsoever. He took the cleaver and glanced at the fire in the hearth.
He heard himself whistling the Rat Cook song.