The Day of the Dead and Halloween are nearly upon us and I am frantically digging for recipes that can protect the living against the Un-dead. Books and papers fly as I paw through shelves and piles, seeking something to ward off the Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves that may be lurking outside the door, or that may invade my kitchen at any moment. They all have highly specialized dentition designed to make swift work of the main course – me!
I’m calling on restaurateurs – please, this time of the year, an “amuse bouche” for the living might be just the thing to calm the customer’s nerves. Could chefs please get a little creative, and instead of offering me a puddle of olive oil, or herbed olive oil, or olives in a lake of olive oil with obligatory bread (that I don’t eat anyway), could they provide something that will protect our table from monsters? Let’s get our priorities straight please; safety comes first!
You can’t ward off zombies per se, with garlic or crosses, but you can put something on the table that won’t attract them to your establishment in the first place. How about some complimentary zombie-immune starters along these lines:
- Vegetable Pakoras with a little yogurt sauce or a cilantro chutney on the side
- Lightly pickled Carrot sticks and Dilly Beans, seasoned with garlic of course
- A homemade cheddar-garbanzo bean cracker with a pear chutney
- An endive boat with a vegetarian Banh Mi style filling
- A black lentil salad with plantain chips
- Yucca Fries with a sprinkling of salt and various peppers, and fresh limes
And chefs, if all the customers start moaning after the salad course, don’t assume narcissistically that they are in ecstasy over the fabulous new pâté de foie. Admit it, you were just making the pâté as a cost-recovery measure to use up chicken livers. It’s time to think on your feet – could the moaning coming from the dining room be a sign of zombie behavior spectrum disorder [i]? If so, take appropriate action immediately. If you are a fan of the zombie movie genre, you will know that you cannot necessarily trust anyone at this point, not even your sous-chef. Especially take note of this if you happen to be in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend where the Zombie Buffet 5K will be happening.
For the Vampire problem, everyone already knows to wear a garlic necklace, and frankly a random grouping of bulbs of garlic would fit right in with the giant globular necklace trends this season. Help us out please! Let’s see some velvety aioli, or the Greek skorthalia, or perhaps a beautiful green broccoli-garlic spread for gluten-free crositni or crackers – so easy to make, so garlicky and so green and lively that no zombie or vampire will come near the eater.
- · For each ½ pound of broccoli florets, 2 cloves garlic – peeled, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper
- · Bring water to a full rolling boil. Add the broccoli and cook until tender in boiling water, about 5-10 minutes, uncovered. Drain, dry and put into the food processor with the raw garlic. Process until smooth, adding the oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature on gluten-free crostini or crackers.
One caveat about the drinks menu – The brilliant Zombie movie Ahhh! Zombies, a tale told from the perspective of the unfortunate zombies themselves, clearly demonstrates that to keep from attracting zombies you must absolutely avoid brain milkshakes, so there is no need for chefs to develop grizzly new martinis on the brain theme, thank you very mush.
For the werewolves, you need only serve the broccoli appetizer on a silver platter, and your diners’ problems with werewolves will be over. No matter who comes through the front door, the customers will be able to survive until the dessert course.
[i] The Zombie Attack Disaster Preparedness Plan from the University of Florida http://www.astro.ufl.edu/~jybarra/zombieplan.pdf