The Merits of Dressing Up for No Reason and Making Your Food Look Like a Severed Body Part
Whelp. Halloween is here and, as usual, I’m torn between not caring very much and feeling badly for not caring very much because Halloween is the cool holiday now. No one hip likes Christmas anymore. Me? I’m a Thanksgiving girl. Because food.
It’s not to say that I DON’T like Halloween. It’s just that the folks who do like it seem to REALLY, REALLY like it. Which I’m guessing is based on the costume thing, but I’m from Port Townsend, people. Our residents quite regularly walk the streets in full, period, butter-churning regalia. We have whole festivals and sporting events based on making yourself look as outlandish and silly as possible. Also, didn’t you hear that cosplay is in now? I’m not sure what spurred the quick crossover to the mainstream, but it probably has something to do with Zooey Deshanel .
I was invited to no less than five Halloween parties this year and all but one of them had a “If you don’t dress up we will NOT let you in! …Or maybe we will, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a BAD, BAD person. And also lame. And we’re reconsidering letting you in.” portion to their invitations. That’s just really stressful to me. The last time I dressed up for a Halloween party I wore a short skirt, knee socks and carried pompoms and a tank top that said “Go Ceiling!”. Because I was a Ceiling Fan. Get it? No one else did either.
And then I had to live with the added humiliation of everyone thinking that I just dressed up as a cheerleader, which, if you know me, is….not something I would do. Maybe a zombie cheerleader. If pressed.
Last year I was too intimidated by the YOU MUST DRESS UP IN ORDER TO SOCIALIZE parties, so I declined all invitations. I then decided to go watch some music and meet some folks at The Alberta Street Pub and, because there was no pressure to dress up, I actually wanted to (Reverse psychology? Pfff. That doesn't work.). I happily threw together a costume made of a bunch of things I had easily accessible in my wardrobe in about ten minutes. What outfit does she own all the separate pieces to without having to buy, borrow or search for anything, you ask? A western hooker. Obviously.
This year? I have a promise from my host that I won’t get in trouble if I come sans-‘stume. Pease don’t get me wrong – I really do love dressing up. I just don’t like being forced to do it. Costuming should be a ridiculous, fun, no-pressure celebration. Which typically leads to me being a dead thing. And once a sledgehammer/machete-wielding ninja. Just do it. Any day of the year. Let your freak or Frankenstein or sexy pirate flag fly. And hey, eat some candy while you’re at it.
The point, dear friend, is that I have a cold and am taking a lot of Sudafed at the moment and have no idea what I’m talking about.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are some neat things that you can do/buy to make things that you put in your mouth look gross.
Get your brains/protein with this skull hardboiled egg mold.
And really, how can you go wrong with edible severed fingers? (Mama, I can already picture you cringing).
And, because no gastronomical gross out is complete without some booze, check out these eyeball martinis over at The Watering Mouth.
Did anyone else watch the 1947 Disney Sleepy Hollow every Halloween? It was a standard for us at my house and remains just as creepy as ever. You can stream the whole shebang right here.
And of course I have not forgotten about souptober. I was visited by the mucus fairy last week, so this recipe was invented solely on three principles:
1. It had to make me feel better.
2. I had to be able to taste it.
3. It had to involve bacon and a lot of garlic.
Note: If you’re not sick or are afraid of spicy things, you may want to leave out some of the garlic and the last four ingredients.
Full disclosure: I doubled the last four ingredients.
OW, MY SINUSES HURT SOUP (or Garlic, Bacon and Savoy Cabbage)
8 thick slices bacon – cut crosswise into ¼” strips
1 medium yellow onion – diced
1 small red onion – diced
6-10 cloves garlic – crushed
2 stalks celery – thinly sliced
3-5 medium Yukon gold potatoes – cubed
2-3 carrots – cut crosswise into ½” rounds
1 head savoy cabbage – shredded
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sambal
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Brown bacon in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat until cooked but not crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Increase heat to medium high. If necessary, add some olive oil to the bacon grease (if a lot of grease cooked out of the meat, you can omit the oil). Add onions, garlic celery and a pinch of black pepper and sauté, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, until soft - about 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, potatoes, cabbage and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 3 minutes more, stirring often.
Add bay leaves, chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add sambal, cayenne, pepper flakes and sriracha. If you’re not a fan of the spicy, replace with some savory herbs of your choice (basil, tarragon and marjoram would all be good options).
When heat is fully reduced, stir in bacon. Simmer on low until potatoes are tender – about 20 to 30 minutes.
Sorry about the lack of pictures for this one. I had to concentrate on keeping upright.
I'll sign off with this: May the cute be with you.