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Macabre meals: zombie-friendly Mardi Gras fare

When it comes to zombie-friendly Mardi Gras fare, our motto is 'no brains, no gain.'

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

When it comes to zombie-friendly Mardi Gras fare, our motto is 'no brains, no gain.'

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2015 (1712 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg zombies, assemble. You have a place to wander.

OK... shuffle.

This year's Winnipeg Mardi Gras at the RBC Convention Centre is welcoming you with open arms on Friday.

Just try not to bite them.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2015 (1712 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg zombies, assemble. You have a place to wander.

OK... shuffle.

This year's Winnipeg Mardi Gras at the RBC Convention Centre is welcoming you with open arms on Friday.

Just try not to bite them.

When Doug Achorn, the convention centre's executive vice-president, finance and operations, heard Winnipeg's Zombie Walk had been cancelled, he saw an opportunity to bring a new flavour to Winnipeg's annual Mardi Gras and to take party-goer participation to a whole new level.

Attendees are invited to transform themselves into their undead alter-egos and "walk the room." One highlight will be a kind of "Unbeauty Contest" to recognize the best zombie.

"If any of the zombies are comparable to the Undead Newlyweds, it will be a very successful zombie promotion," Achorn says.

To get zombie night shambling along, Winnipeg's Undead Newlyweds (undeadnewlyweds.com) will appear in all their slowly decomposing glory.

The deathly duo combine circus, comedy, theatre and dance. "Devlyn Smith" (the groom) performs circus-level juggling and fire manipulation, and tells jokes and interacts with the audience. The unspeaking "Bride" brings physical comedy, crowd interaction and an eerie beauty to the show.

Chris Without the Hat (that's the name he goes by) plays Devlyn Smith and Tara Lambert plays the Bride. They have been together for nearly a decade, a history that has helped them build the chemistry they need to captivate audiences.

They say theirs is a classic love story where "boy meets girl, girl loves boy, boy loves girl, boy weds girl, girl bites boy, and girl and boy become Undead Newlyweds."

It all happened in August 2011, when the zombie outbreak hit their wedding reception in the late hours of the night, when the Bride was first bitten and became nearly catatonic.

"Devlyn Smith, driven by his love for her, offered his heart to the Bride by ripping open his chest," says Lambert.

"Out of love and respect, the Bride tried as best she could to infect Devlyn as little as possible as she bit into his heart."

The newlyweds' say their main role at Mardi Gras will be to "entertain the masses."

"We will be involved the parade each night, posing for pictures and putting on spontaneous high-energy shows," says Lambert.

"We will also be on the prowl for new zombie recruits, some of who will get to put their lives on the line for Mardi Gras-goer's entertainment."

Along with the music and the entertainment, food is always a big part of Mardi Gras.

Partygoers will find their favourite Louisiana-inspired fare, including po' boy sandwiches, alligator fritters, deep-fried pickles, crab cakes, jambalaya and more. Although none of the food is zombie-specific, both the living and the undead are bound to find something to whet their appetites.

You can get all the information you need about Mardi Gras and the Friday the 13th Zombie Night and Saturday Night's Valentine Celebration at winnipegmardigras.com). Also see: facebook.com/winnipegmardigras and @wpgmardigras#wpgmardigras

Devlyn Smith, speaking for himself and the Bride, says they have a few favourite foods themselves.

"Spaghetti and brainballs, poutine with brain curds, BLT (brains, lettuce and tomato), pan-seared medulla oblongata, and, of course, plain and simple brains!"

As a celebration of all things shambolic, we offer up a few delicacies in the hope that any nearby zombies will be distracted from your own brains. The key to providing goodies for the undead is to make them as visually unappealing as possible to the living — and these recipes fit the bill in the most perfectly awful way possible. They are tasty but utterly repulsive, so close your eyes and enjoy.

 

Hand's Off Meatloaf

Hand's Off — get it? Hand. Is. Off... never mind.

This is based on a recipe that's been around forever. The vegetable soup gives the meat hand a delectable appearance reminiscent of decomposing flesh; uneven and kind of chunky.

1 can condensed vegetable soup

1 kg (2 lb) of ground meat (a ratio of roughly 2/3 ground beef and 1/3 ground pork for moisture)

125 ml (1/2 cup) oatmeal

1 egg, slightly beaten

10 ml (2 tsp) of Cajun spice blend (your favourite brand)

 

Gently mix the vegetable soup, the egg, the oatmeal and the Cajun spice blend together in a bowl. In a larger bowl, thoroughly combine the ground pork and beef and then blend in the soup mixture, leaving the vegetables as much intact as possible.

On a sheet pan covered in parchment paper, evenly shape the meat mixture into the shape of a hand and forearm about one and a half inches thick. (If you have too much meat to fit on to your tray, make any extra into meatballs and cook them on a separate sheet or freeze and cook them for another time).

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 75 minutes and up to 90 minutes. When cooked through, place the pan on a heat-proof surface and use a small spoon to "clean up" the outside edges of the fingers and arm. Tuck greens around the hand to garnish. Very nice served with some warmed barbecue sauce.

 

Cup of Bile

This looks horrible but is totally drinkable. If you want ice, add it after you make the drink so the purée will be thick and stay a little separate from the lemon-lime soda. Thoroughly chill all ingredients in advance.

For one drink:

Hand's Off Meatloaf.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Hand's Off Meatloaf.

2 peeled kiwi

One peeled banana

One half green pear, core removed

30 ml (1 oz) rum

Lemon-lime soda to top up

 

Purée the fruit and the rum in a blender. Pour into a clear glass. Using the back of a spoon, carefully pour the soda onto the top of the fruit purée. Garnish with human bits (or use fruit jelly candies as a substitute). After a minute or two the soda will start to float the purée, making it look truly revolting, but somehow, it remains delicious.

 

Keep an Eye on Your Brains

Udon noodles come in single-serving packets and are available almost anywhere and certainly all Asian markets. They are the most brain-like of all the noodles.

For two servings.

375 ml (1 1/2 cup) of broth (beef or your favourite)

One small red chili pepper, seeds removed and minced

One slice fresh ginger, peeled and minced (size of a loonie)

One garlic clove, minced

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

10 ml (2 tsp) brown sugar

2 single packages of udon noodles

One half devilled egg per serving:

1 egg, hard-boiled, peeled and chilled and cut in half lengthwise

10 ml (2 tsp) mayonnaise or sandwich spread

1 to 3 ml (1/4 to 1/2 tsp) wasabi horseradish (I use Inglehoffer)

One pimento-stuffed Manzanilla olive, cut in half

 

Prepare the devilled egg by mixing the yolk with the mayonnaise and wasabi horseradish and then stuffing it back into the egg. Cut the olive in half and press into the egg (to look like an eye).

Prepare the soup. In a small sauce pan, warm the olive oil. Add the chili, ginger and garlic and gently cook, but do not brown, just a couple of minutes. Add the brown sugar and broth and raise the temperature, bringing the broth to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Using tongs, pile the noodles into the bowls to look like "brains."

Carefully rest the egg eyeballs on the noodles and gently pour the broth on and around the noodles. Serve hot.

 

Head Cheese Ball

Do this with any recipe for a cream cheese ball that you like.

One 250-g (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened

250 ml (1 cup) shredded aged white cheddar cheese (shred fairly fine)

15-30 ml (1-2 tbsp) ranch-style dressing mix

Cayenne or paprika for sprinkling

10-12 shelled sunflower seeds

Two small slices of peeled parsnip

 

Place the cream cheese in a stainless steel bowl and ensure it is soft but not melted. Set aside 30 ml (2 tbsp) of cream cheese to "ice" the skull.

Gently blend in the shredded cheddar and the ranch dressing mix, starting with 15 ml. Taste to see if you want more dressing mix.

Once blended, shape the cream cheese into a ball. Transfer to a serving tray and start shaping into a "skull" using metal spoons (not wood). They will make it easier to shape and smooth the cheese. Finish by spreading a thin coat of the reserved cream cheese over the skull as best you can. (You just want to smooth things out a bit).

Add features by depressing the spoon tips (baby spoons are great for this) into the face to make eye sockets. Use the handle end of the spoon to form the "nose" and draw a line for the mouth.

Use the sunflower seeds to make two rows of teeth. Start with the bottom row, pushing the seeds along the mouth line, pointed ends in. Add the top row.

To finish, using a very light hand and a small sifter, sift a very small amount of cayenne or paprika lightly over the skull here and there to give a "just skinned" look. Press the two pieces of parsnip into the eye sockets. Garnish and serve with crackers and vegetables.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 6:28 AM CST: Changes headline, replaces photo

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