Say what you will about the half-baked scam perpetrated by Anna Ayala at a Wendy's restaurant five years ago, the finger she supposedly...

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Say what you will about the half-baked scam perpetrated by Anna Ayala at a Wendy’s restaurant five years ago, the finger she supposedly discovered in her chili was medium-well done.

“I cooked it,” Ayala said, making a clean breast of her crime for the first time in a televised interview Wednesday.

Ayala’s attempt to shake down the fast-food chain attracted worldwide attention and cost Wendy’s an estimated $21 million in lost business. After serving a prison term of four years — one year for every remaining digit on the harvested hand of Brian Rossiter, who was paid $100 by Ayala’s husband (Rossiter’s co-worker) for the finger severed in an accident — Ayala, 44, has been living in San Jose since last April.

But as a condition of her parole, she has not returned to the scene of the crime.

“I’m banned from Wendy’s,” she said. “For life.”

Ayala drove the finger from her home in Las Vegas to San Jose, then pretended she had just chomped down on it, warning other patrons to avoid the chili.

When she and husband Jaime Plascencia pleaded guilty after their attempt to scam Wendy’s, the plot’s Julia Child took crucial details of the finger fricassee to the slammer with her.

“Put it all on the table for us,” asked reporter Joe Vazquez of San Francisco-based CBS-5, apparently forgetting what happened last time someone asked her to do so.

Vazquez demanded to know if she used her own recipe, or Wendy’s. (Answer: Wendy’s!)

Ayala seemed dismayed that she had once handled the fingertip so casually. “Nasty, sick,” she said. “What was I thinking? Wow.”

The thing that aggrieved her most was the name other cons hung on her in the penitentiary — which seems likely to follow her the rest of her days. “They would call me the Finger Lady,” she said sorrowfully. ” ‘Oh, look, there goes the Finger Lady.’ “

At least they called her a lady.