Creepy cuisine

What’s on the menu at your house for Halloween?

Bat wings?

Monkey brains?

Eyes of newt?

At one of the more memorable Halloween parties of my childhood, the menu consisted of just such fare. While my friends and I were busy dreaming up our costumes, DotMom concocted a “Mystery Menu” supper. Each of the guests was given a menu filled with suitably disgusting choices and had to pick a set number of items for each course, not knowing exactly what they would be getting. Those who chose wisely received a delicious spaghetti dinner; others got noodles without sauce; dessert without a main course; or maybe a plate full of food without utensils with which to eat their selections.

Unfortunately, DotMom’s menu was long ago lost, but I came across a similar Spooky Supper. Here’s a sample menu and how it works:

Frightening Fare

Edna’s Entrails (spaghetti)

Dracula’s Delight (spaghetti sauce)

Swamp Moss (green salad)

Bones & Marrow (cheese-stuffed celery sticks)

Tombstones (garlic bread)

Monkey Brains (Jell-O salad)

Blood Transfusion (red fruit punch)

Jack’s Innards (pumpkin dessert)

Mummy Wrap (napkin)

Devil’s Tongue (Fork)

Jack the Ripper (knife)

Grave Digger (spoon)

 The meal is served in three courses, Course A, Course B, Course C; each person receives a menu (without the food description) and chooses four items for each course, labeling the selections A1, A2, A3, A4; B1, B2, B3, B4; C1, C2, C3, C4. Alternately, if you want to do only one course, the person could be allowed to select six items from the menu.

This is only an example; make up your own menu and Frightening Fare names and have some fun.

 I recently received an inquiry about roasting pumpkin seeds, and since pumpkin-carving time is upon us, here’s a recipe for savory seeds. Many sources recommend drying the seeds on paper towels for several days before making this recipe.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Combine 1½ tablespoons margarine, melted, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. Pour mixture over 2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Place in shallow baking pan.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Store in airtight container.

 About a year ago, I shared a snack mix recipe that was a favorite at the annual Pajama Party gathering for the local Christmas Basket program.  I recently made a triple batch and received more requests for the recipe. So here it is again, just in time for Halloween and the other holiday seasons ahead.

Beware: It’s highly addictive. Be prepared to make it again and again.

Sweet ’N’ Salty Snack Mix

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan with no-stick cooking spray. In prepared pan, combine 4 cups regular-flavor cone-shaped baked corn snacks; 4 cups bite-sized square crispy wheat cereal, 1 cup small salted pretzel twists and 1 cup pecan halves; set aside.

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, combine ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar, ½ cup butter, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup and ½ tea-spoon salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (4 to 6 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon baking soda. Pour syrup mixture over cereal mixture in pan; toss to coat.

Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until coating is set. Remove from oven; stir.

Spread mixture onto waxed paper. Cool 5 minutes, then stir in one 14-ounce bag holiday-colored candy-coated chocolate pieces. Cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in container with tight-fitting lid for up to 1 week.

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