Friday, July 4, 2014

A Retro-Tastic Recipe Event for the 4th and Beyond: Corn & Bologna Boots!

Hey kids! There's still a lot of picnic and barbecue time left in this holiday weekend, and you can't make a better personal culinary choice than creating a genuine, authentic piece of edible Americana, like these irresistible corn and bologna boots. I can assure you, they're every bit as good as they look. This hot mixture ain't your grandpa's stuff. 

Do you want to surprise and delight your friends and family this July 4th? Of course you do! And you will if you show up at the annual picnic with a big pile of corn and bologna boots, a dish that truly symbolizes America's forgotten culinary past and spirit of enterprise. Just imagine the smiles and looks of shock on everyone's face when you present them with this  hot "knife and fork" sandwich instead of that boring old red-white-and-blue cake you usually bring!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Convict Curry Three-In-One: A Murdering Child, a Benedict Cumberbatch Movie, & My Move to London

The next time someone asks me why I don't want children, I will lower my voice, lean in, and whisper these two words: Mary Bell. To those who maintain that children are angelic bundles of joy, Bell stands as the exception that proves there really is no such rule at all.

In 1968, just a day shy of her 11th birthday, Bell strangled a four year old boy in her home town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; just a few months later she (possibly with the assistance of a friend)  murdered a three-year-old boy, Martin, by the same method, afterwards inscribing the letter "M" on his stomach with scissors. These are horrible murders to be sure; but perhaps even more disturbing was Bell's apparent lack of remorse or concern, a psychopathic trait that should be familiar to regular readers of my Macabre Meals  and Serial Killer Supper series.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dining with the Doctor: Charles Dickens' Own Christmas Punch for a Doctor Who Regeneration Party

Tick tock goes the clock 
And all the years they fly
Tick tock and all too soon
You and I must die

Tick tock goes the clock 
We laughed at fate and mourned her
Tick tock goes the clock 
Even for the Doctor
(from "Night Terrors") 

All Whovians know the true meaning of Christmas: the annual Doctor Who special. And this is particularly true this year. Not only is 2013 the 50th anniversary of the iconic BBC show, but in this year's special, "The Time of the Doctor," the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith, will regenerate into a new one, Peter Capaldi's 12th Doctor.  Now that's a Christmas birth I can get excited about.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Bee's Knees Cocktail: Velma West, the Hammer Murderess {Macabre Meals & Dastardly Drinks}

In my post about Anna Marie Hahn, aka the Blonde Borgia, I discussed the origins and the rise of the female poisoner as a cultural archetype. And while it is more or less true that poisoners tend to be women, certainly not all murderesses are poisoners. Take Velma West, the Hammer Murderess; or, as newspapers of the time dubbed her, "A 12 O'Clock Girl in a 9 O'Clock Town."

In 1926 - the height of the Prohibition era in the U.S. - the 20-year-old West, nee Velma Van Woert - was working as a shopgirl in Cleveland, Ohio. She became engaged to a much older man, but broke it off abruptly after meeting her future husband, Eddie West, at a picnic. She married Eddie and moved from her beloved Jazz Age city of Cleveland to the small, repressive rural area of Lake County, Ohio.

Things did not go well for her.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad {Macabre Meals}

I enjoyed researching, cooking, writing - and of course eating - my October Serial Killer Supper series so very much that I've decided to continue with it indefinitely. And because the space where death, culture, and food intersects is so vast, I'm expanding the category. Under the umbrella of "Macabre Meals" I'll be exploring all sorts of dark and lovely things. Real murderers, fictional killers, history, scandal, myth, and more. It's going to be so much fun!

As luck would have it, this month's Creative Cooking Crew Challenge, hosted by the lovely Joan of Foodalogue and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks, has dovetailed nicely with my current preoccupation. The task: Create an appetizer for Thanksgiving, something for guests to enjoy before the main feast.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Breakfast with the Murder Demon: the Last Meal of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer {Serial Killer Supper Series, Part IV}

Choosing the final killer for my Serial Killer Supper series - at least for October; frankly, I'm having too much fun to stop forever - was no easy task. I don't know if you've noticed, but there is no shortage of crazed murderers in this world. That said, how could I resist featuring Herman Webster Mudgett, aka Dr. Henry Howard Holmes aka H.H. Holmes,  the man billed as "America's First Serial Killer?"

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Butcher of Rostov's Last Meal: Serial Killer Supper Series, Part III

Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo - fittingly dubbed the Butcher of Rostov and the Red Ripper - holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most prolific and disgusting mass killers of modern times. To be sure, there are, in the West at least, more famous serial killers - Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer, Dahmer, Bundy - but in my research I have not come across one who chose his victims with more calculated coldness, or seemed to carry out his crimes with such absolute depraved gusto and complete lack of remorse.

Between 1978  and 1990 he killed over 50 women, boys, and girls. Impotent in his "normal" life, Chikatilo stabbed and often eviscerated his victims, achieving sexual pleasure from their bleeding and dying cries. He sometimes bit or chewed off parts of their faces, and he claimed that he chewed on the uterus of at least one of his victims. He gouged out his early victims' eyes, believing an old folktale that held that the last moments of death were recorded on the retinas of the dead.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Poisoner's Cake: Serial Killer Supper Series, Part Two ~ the Blonde Borgia

While it is true that serial killers are statistically more likely to be men, women are perfectly capable of racking up an impressive body count, though the killing methods of the two sexes tend to differ. Typically male serial murderers gravitate towards performing violent and bloody atrocities against the (usually female) body; women, in contrast, have historically turned to the comparatively gentle, more hands-off method of poisoning.

Victorian England, in fact,  saw the rise of the woman poisoner as a cultural archetype. After all, poisons such as arsenic were easy to come by and forensic science was not yet adept at detecting such causes of death. To be fair, married women had little or no rights then, and poison often presented the only means out of an abusive marriage. I admit I have a something of a soft spot for women who poisoned out of self-preservation.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Serial Killer Supper Series: Schnitzel, Fried Potatoes, & White Wine; the Last Meal of the Dusseldorf Ripper

In honor of the wondrous, gloomy, and shadowy month of October - temporal home of the year's best holiday, Halloween - I bring you "Serial Killer Suppers," a weekly series in which I will feature a notable meal of a notorious killer. I'm excited, as the series combines two of the things I love most in the world: food and murder. (Say it with me, Hitchcock style: MUH-deh.)

That's not to say I love the actual killers, or their hideous acts, although I do find serial killers to be particularly fascinating. The psychology of multiple murderers, their peculiar and horrible methods, the pleasure, often sexual, they derive from the act of killing, their unstoppable compulsions, their inability to empathize or sympathize with their victims - all of this makes them seem somehow simultaneously less and more than human. After all, notorious killers such as Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac Killer have become more monster than man in the popular imagination, endowed with almost supernatural powers and superhuman prowess.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wild Blueberry & Lemon Love Balls (Astarpungar): An Icelandic Sweet Treat for the NORTH Festival, a Celebration of Nordic Cuisine

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with the upcoming NORTH Festival in New York City. The content is 100% my own

In case you missed the memo, I adore Iceland. Reykjavik is an incredible city, and the surrounding countryside is breathtakingly beautiful. I am well aware that I'm incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to visit twice: once for a combination holiday and research trip for an article for Culture magazine, and a second time as part of an impromptu girls' weekend, aka the Hangover, Lady Edition. 

And so when Honest Cooking contacted me to do a post sharing my love of Iceland as part of the upcoming NORTH Festival in New York, I was more than happy to oblige. I was given complete freedom to write about anything I wanted, and naturally I knew my topic would be food.