Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Joy of Cooking for Zombies...

You know how it is. You've dined well, perhaps having quaffed a few glasses of ruddy plonk or a wee dram or two, and are sprawled out in front of the telly beside a roaring and horribly environmentally unfriendly fire (while more delicate users of English blanch at such an inelegant set of adjectives). You are at one with the world and radiating contentment like a Fianna Fail TD with a fat brown envelope. Then without warning comes an irregular pounding and scraping at the door, as of several hands beating and clawing its surface, accompanied by a low glottal grunting. A quick glance through the curtains confirms your worst suspicion. Once again, the shambling, brain-eating, ambulatory cadavers known as zombies are massing outside, with one instinct pulsing through their decomposed minds: to feast on your quivering and succulent brains. What to do? While the usual response in this situation is to hammer planks of wood across the windows, grab on to your trusty chainsaw, and once your defenses are breached you start lopping off limbs and heads like a psychotic topiarist on steroids. It's all very tiring, wears out the links on your chainsaw, and covers you with gory goo. A much better strategy, and one rarely seen in zombie films, is to offer the rotting horde a tasty and well-cooked dinner. And what better repast is there for the horrible creatures than Baked Brains and Eggs? Of course, you'll need a lot of frozen brains on standby, but these will defrost while the undead are vainly trying to figure how to break into the house. Here's the recipe (taken from 1931's stupendously exhaustive The Joy of Cooking, written by Irma S Rombauer. Suffice to say that if you ever come into the possession of a porcupine or a woodchuck, this book tells you how to cook 'em. More about the book here.)
1) Preheat oven to 350 (degrees Fahrenheit, I presumes).
2) Soak, skin and blanch two sets of brains (or however many you feel you need).
3) Cut into one-inch dice and place in four small greased casseroles.
4) Skin, seed and dice four tomatoes.
5) Combine the tomatoes with one and a half tbls of hot olive oil, one tsp chopped parsley, one tsp of chopped onion or chives, salt, paprika, and one tsp of brown sugar. 
6) Pour these ingredients into the casseroles.
7) Break into each one egg.
8) Bake for about eight minutes, or until the eggs are firm.
9) Melt and brown lightly one-quarter of a cup of butter and mix with two tsps of lemon juice. 10) Pour this mixture over the eggs.
11) Garnish with parsley.
12) Serve at once (not really a problem if the hungry dead are beating down your door!)
Of course, a huge plate of raw, steaming offal would probably satisfy the more crude and uncouth zombie (and any inebriated Irishmen who'd joined the horde by accident), but the beauty of this dish is that you can partake of it yourself if needs be (not that I've ever eaten brains, in black butter or served any other way). And, of course, while the dead are wolfing down their dinner and snarling at each other for grabbing the last tasty portion, you can heft your trusty pickaxe and bury it in the skulls of the awful creatures. It may not be the best manners to kill your guests while they're eating, but they are zombies!
And for something completely different, I'm not sure why I like this song (by a performer who I know nothing about) so much, but I can't seem to get it out of my head (and it has a very clever video).


jams o donnell said...

"Then without warning comes an irregular pounding and scraping at the door, as of several hands beating and clawing its surface, accompanied by a low glottal grunting"

Are you sure they weren't my cousins from Dingle?

I do Like the song. I will have to investigate further

Stan said...

What fun! I do love to see people getting into the Halloween spirit; and I am, so to speak, a sucker for zombies. (Though initially I thought that the noises at the door came from trick-or-treaters.) And it's very well written. Doubtful, I am not doubtful you could sell copy like this, if you found an appreciative publisher. Is there a zombie monthly?

I remember Hatherley as guitarist and backing vocalist with Ash, but I haven't heard much of her solo material. It's quite a catchy song, and a clever video as you say. I wonder how long it took her to learn the backwards-mouthing, and what kind of visual aids she used, if any, while shooting. And how many takes were shot!

A Doubtful Egg said...

Jams: One of the problems with setting a zombie film in Ireland is telling the difference between the walking dead and inebriated locals: grunting, snarling sounds in lieu of speech; shuffling, irregular walk; shabby, soiled clothes; a taste for awful edibles (the foul, stinking, battered "sausage" from the local takeaway); and a slight miasma of decomposition.

Stan: I'm sure the recession will probably be hard on Zombie Monthly! And yes, the video is remarkable, if only for the ability to mime backwards! I haven't heard much of Ash or Hatherley aside from this song, though - I only know this one because I caught the end of the video on NME TV one night when I was flipping channels randomly. I find myself humming it on occasions, as it's damnably catchy!

jams o donnell said...

It must be the irish genes but your c=reply describes me on many a night out!

Ah she's from Ash. I remember them!

Claudia said...

This is brilliant...Also love the tune!

Keeping recipe and paints on hand for when my grandkids visit. Looking at their T-shirts' messages on Spacebook, they'll need very little help to become zombies.

A Doubtful Egg said...

Glad you like it, Claudia. And have fun with the grandkids!