ELKOST International Literary Agency

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THE OGRE'S COOKBOOK (excerpt) - translated by Daniel M. Jaffe

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THE OGRE'S COOKBOOK: Tasty and Nutritious Ways to Prepare Children

Translated from the Russian by Daniel M. Jaffe

Dear Kids,

Under no circumstances should you agree to listen to this book, and you must never read it yourselves. But if grown-ups try forcing you to read it or to listen as they read it aloud, squint up your eyes, stick fingers in your ears, and yell as loud as you can so you're sure not to hear. The most important thing to remember is: it's not true that an ogre will gobble up only poorly behaved boys and girls. He likes well behaved ones even better because they're much tastier. And something else you should know—there's a really simple way to save yourself from an ogre if he catches you. At the very last second, just as he opens his mouth, say in a nasty voice: "And did you wash your hands?"
"No," the ogre will say.
"Then go wash them," you say, "before coming to the table."
And when the ogre runs to wash his hands, yell after him, "With soap, wash with soap! I'm going to check!"
No self-respecting ogre will return after that, so you'll be able to jump up from the plate without even rushing, and can calmly go home for supper.


Dear Parents,

Before you is a home-maker's cookbook. It's a horrifying work. Don't even think of reading it to children at night! Only in the morning! And then only after you've already decided to give them a morning talking-to, to scold them, jab them with reprimands, to nag and needle, rub their noses in their mischief all the way to supper time. That's when it's best to read them this book about ogres' tasty and nutritious cuisine.
After all is said and done, after having sorted through various methods of child-rearing, it isn't difficult to conclude: "The simplest and least terrible thing one person can do to another is—eat him up!"

SPOILED CHILDREN WITH EGG YOLK

Spoil children until they become impossible, then dump them into egg yolk, sprinkle some sugar and, without allowing them to lick one another, quickly set them on the table.

MARCHING BOY STUFFING

Arrange marching boys by height, give each a pinch of gunpowder to sniff, and sift from the ranks those that turn away. As for the rest—pass them through a meat-grinder. Don't let them crawl back through. Sprinkle the ground mass with toy pistols and drumsticks. Shape the marching boys into one large loaf.

PICKLED LITTLE GIRLS

Select several raggedy, cry-baby little girls, wash them, brush their hair and pack them tightly in a sturdy wooden tub. There's no need to sprinkle any salt—the little girls themselves will cry a tubful of salty tears.

SHOW-OFF IN HER NEW JUMPER

Take the sandals from a little girl who's showing off, and place her in a dish coated with mustard. The sandals can be eaten later, as a snack.

MEATBALLS OF SPANKED LITTLE BOYS

Clean several freshly spanked little boys and remove slingshots, marbles, and cap guns from their pockets. Dump into flour, smear oil on their bottoms, pour salt on their heads, fry and eat as quickly as possible, before they get into more mischief.

LITTLE FOOL WITH POPPY SEEDS

Pour poppy seeds over an impossibly foolish little girl and promise her whatever she wants. Eat her while she's happy.

SPICY STEW OF SCRATCHING LITTLE GIRLS

Either husky or petite little girls will work for this dish, but they must have dirty fingernails. Wash the selected little girls in hot brine and place them in a tub, periodically swishing so as to fit in even more. When getting the marinated little girls a month later, pay close attention that no biters got mixed in among the scratchers.

BOYS DONE À LA GIRL, WITH SOFT LITTLE FINGERS

Mix several sluggish rotten boys in a pot, dilute with fragrant shampoo and hand cream, thin further with syrup. Dissolve into the resulting glop two handkerchiefs and four lace shirt collars. In two hours, strain through cheesecloth and drink in small gulps.

STUCK-UP SCHOOLGIRL

Take a girl who's enchanted by her own appearance, stand her before a mirror, let her gaze at herself until in a self-absorbed daze, sprinkle with wide ribbons and tiny buttons, bring to ecstasy and serve with tea.

SKUNK WITH VANILLA

Shave bald a never-washed little boy, sprinkle with vanilla, splash with cologne, and swallow whole, holding both your nose and his.

SOUR KID SOUP

Select kids with the sourest faces. Bathe them in lemon juice, and taste. Immediately stand the too sour ones behind the door, and seat the rest in a pot, fill with water up to their ears and boil, boil, boil until they're no longer having any fun. Yummy sour kid soup!

BERRY JAM WITH BRATS

Instead of throwing bratty girls into the garbage, make berry jam out of them. Separating out those who might still learn to behave, seat the rest in a basin with crushed, squeezed, and wormy berries. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and boil until the worms crawl from the berries onto the little girls. Cool the prepared jam and enjoy if it doesn't make you vomit.

SILLY BOY WITH DUMPLINGS

First, boil dumplings over a low light, then quickly stir in a boy babbling endless silliness. Setting the boy on the table, you needn't plug your ears with cotton; just turn a deaf ear and dig in.