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Kathy Buckert – Deviled Feast

Deviled Feast

In keeping with its name, this meal gives a devilish dose of mayhem – until the aroma of forgiveness infuses every heart within the home.

Makes a family size serving
Total Time: Nineteen years to marinate and one night to complete


  • 1 spurned ex-daughter-in-law
  • 1 bastard son who was unaware of his status
  • 1 woman diagnosed with Stockholm syndrome
  • 1 Mafioso lover who was also an ex-drug addict
  • 1 loving husband who had a vasectomy
  • 1 bad ass pastor
  • 1 informed daughter
  • 1 SWAT team

Preheat: To a steaming, sweltering, and scorching temperature

Combine: The blending of two or more food ingredients to create a mixture. He slashed girl’s faces for disrespecting him. He killed seven men. I was coerced through fear to engage in sexual relations with a man who claimed to be in the mafia and who had been clean from drugs for two months, a lethal combination. I became his drug. As much as crack surged through his body giving him undeniable pleasure, so did I. He would not let go of my sacred space. He would not let me breathe. I was his hostage.

Toss: Uses a lift and drop method. The food is turned over and over again enabling food to be seasoned with the flavors of each item. After months of verbal abuse and threats against my family, I grew to love this man. My therapist said: Stockholm syndrome. My faith, the only remnant of my former self, made me evaluate the depths of my desire for him. I knew I could not go on. I had to fight back. I needed normalcy again. Toss in a 6’3” biker with tattoos covering his strong, muscular arms, who just happened to be my pastor, and the scare tactics began. He didn’t like someone messing with one of his parishioners, so he went to the restaurant where I worked with my lover. When his Harley Davidson rumbled into the parking lot, patrons looked out the window. When he walked in the door, every eye was on him. When he asked to be seated in his section, the hostess trembled from the command in his voice. When my lover approached the table, my pastor’s only words after he asked him to sit: “You mess with a girl in my church and you will pay.” I surmised he intimidated him because my drug addict Mafioso lover backed off after a week of screaming in my answering machine, “You ungrateful bitch.”

Dredge: The process of pulling foods through dry ingredients to coat them before cooking. I pulled the wet tears of my mistake through the dry areas of doubt when I missed my period. I denied the possibility of anything close to the obvious. I told myself white lies. I had cancer. I was stressed. I blamed it on the moon. There was nothing I could do but pee on a stick. No lie would have hidden the truth. The only thing hidden was the pregnancy test with the bright red plus sign I put under my mattress.

Whisk: The process of using a whisk to blend ingredients together or to incorporate air into ingredients to increase their volume. I told everyone my husband’s vasectomy didn’t work. My deceit was building momentum. My husband kept my scandalous secret too, but it didn’t stop him from sending me or our children 350 miles away to live with my parents. His excuse? “Our finances are bad. We need to get back on our feet again.” He lied too. We became a brewing storm of lies heralding an astronomical tide of grief to come.   

Pulse: A method of mixing ingredients in a blender or mixer by using bursts of power in very short intervals. Every day I called him begging his forgiveness. I left messages on his answering machine. I sent him cards and letters. I pushed. I pushed. I pushed. Nothing. I decided to slay the giant with the one rock I had left. I told him I was moving on. “I tried to save us,” I told him. “But I am going to have my baby and make a life for myself without you.” Within six hours he knocked on my door, the drive time from Vermont to New York.  He chose to forgive me.

Marinate: The soaking of food, such as meat, vegetables, or fish, in a flavored liquid for the purpose of flavoring and tenderizing foods before cooking. We raised Geoffrey together. His name means reconciliation. Ironic since we didn’t know at the time we named him how he would mend our broken home. My husband loved him like his own. Outside of being the sperm donor, he was his own. The one taboo: The Mafioso lover’s name was never to be mentioned in our home. Geoffrey didn’t know. For nineteen years he didn’t know.

Sear: The process of quickly browning the surface of food by exposing it to extremely high heat. Simmering coals of revenge singed the fabric of our family ties when my daughter-in-law left my oldest son and attempted to seduce Geoffrey. He refused her advances because blood was blood. Her response: “Your brother is not your brother and your father is not your real father. You’re the bastard son.” My oldest son deduced Geoffrey was not his father’s and planted the seed in his wife’s mind. She used it as a weapon of seduction, but the master manipulator failed.

Doors slammed off their hinges. Voices cluttered my dreamless sleep. My husband put the phone to my ear at 2:00 am. My oldest daughter screamed into the phone, “Mom, he knows. He knows about Tommy.” She knew. I told her the truth. The rubber band snapped in my brain. I ran downstairs following the trail of shattered grief heard through the basement vents. “You whore,” Geoffrey screamed.  He picked up a gun from his nightstand and pointed it at me.

Looking down the barrel of a cold, steel pistol with a finger resting on the trigger is unfathomable in any situation, but more so when it is your own flesh and blood. Worse yet, when the gun rotated its position toward his temple, my mother’s heart fought against all fear. I had to save the life of my child. Protecting meant calling 911. Protecting meant letting an elite tactical unit aim a high powered rife at my son’s body while they urged him to put down his weapon. Protecting my son meant watching him handcuffed and taken away on a mental health arrest. Protecting my son meant moving out of the home, so he would have a place to return, free of me.

Garnish: Edible items added to food dishes that provide added flavor and appealing appearances for the items being served. Anger seeped into the deepest crevices of my festering soul. I plotted. I hated. I wanted revenge against my daughter-in-law.  She was my rock of offense. But she soon became my conscious awareness of how I had been forgiven by my husband for a heinous act against him. How could I not do the same?

After weeks of struggling, I sat on my couch debating whether it was worth it or not. I picked up my cell phone and with trembling fingers I did the only thing I could do. I sent her a text. I forgave her. And in forgiving her, I felt free for the first time in nineteen years.  Not only because I forgave but because my secret was out in the open. I told my parents. I told my children who didn’t know. I told my son the truth about his biological father.

Clarify: To separate and remove solids from a liquid, thus making it clear. My son and I are closer today because of our experience. He understands why I felt the need to protect him from the biological. The true essence of our familial bonds is freely admitting our mistakes and forgiving those who try to sever the ties we hold so close to our heart. We are stronger because we have learned to love each other unconditionally and to leave the past where it belongs – in the past.

Kathy Buckert

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