An Edible Curse
October 6, 2019 3:18 PM   Subscribe

My flatmate and I are having a Halloween party built around the theme, or more precisely the general Mood of 'cursed images'. One of my responsibilities is devising a menu. Items don't need to have anything to do with any particular 'cursed image' - it's more that they need to have a generally unsettling feel, a certain Wrongness, while still ultimately being tolerable-to-pleasant to eat. All the food I prepare will be vegan. There need to be plenty of savoury options.
posted by Acheman to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Trypophobia-inducing foods
posted by lakeroon at 3:36 PM on October 6, 2019

Just coloring things the wrong color goes a long way. (You can get natural food dyes; they'll still do the trick. Or there are things like charcoal noodles.)
posted by wintersweet at 3:38 PM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

I've made these before, they have a certain cursed quality. I assume there's probably vegan hotdogs you can use.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:48 PM on October 6, 2019 [8 favorites]

Food that looks like other food where the two things cross the sweet/savory barrier can be very odd to eat—like a ice cream with whipped cream prepared to look exactly like a baked potato.

Another classic is a cat box cake/pastry especially if it has sandy-looking crushed cookies on top with melted candy bars rolled in the crushed cookies. I’ve seen people serve it in a (new, washed) cat box with a (new, washed) cat box scoop.
posted by sleeping bear at 4:27 PM on October 6, 2019 [7 favorites]

Jello salads. You can use agar. 70s Party on Twitter might provide some inspiration.
posted by corvine at 4:43 PM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

I went to this hip art hallowen party once. The main buffet table.featured a corpse. It was made so you dipped out of the body. They used sections of huge winter squashes to make open leg parts and what ever else they could find for the rest of the features. It was realistic enough.
posted by Oyéah at 4:53 PM on October 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

You could always serve frogurt. I hear that's also cursed.
posted by wasabifooting at 4:55 PM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

Pineapple (or fruit in general) on mini pizzas.
posted by carbide at 5:08 PM on October 6, 2019

We had a 'dinner party of unfortunate foods'. Someone made sushi rolls with Mac n' Cheese and hot dogs. This was perhaps the wrongest thing on the menu. So, 'sushi' rolls made with vegan non-sushi ingredients?
Seconding jello (or vegan alternative) with weird things embedded in it.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 5:21 PM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was trying to figure out what you could make after murdering some pomegranates, and found this gory beaut. That recipe isn't vegan but I assume the usual substitutes will be fine.
posted by teremala at 5:25 PM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

A plate of dark olives and dark grapes that look very similar, intermingled. It’s fine as long you know which one you picked up...
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:41 PM on October 6, 2019

(Just a note, please don't put charcoal in foods to make them black, it absorbs medication and can be really surprisingly harmful to folks who might be taking lots of gambles on a spooky evening and who cannot afford to have their meds screwed with. You do not know who is and is not on medication.)

I think that beets will be your friend. Beet balls when not caramelized look like indistinct gobs of something unpleasant. Cauliflower can be lightly pickled with all sorts of yummy flavors and tinted bright unsettling pink with some beet juice - mix with green juice (basil maybe?) for murkiness. Simmer button mushrooms in beet juice to get juicy dark red fleshy looking things that you can, for example, float on a shot glass of roasted onion broth.

What if you stuffed a pepper with a tomato with a date with an olive with an almond - stuffed all the way down.
posted by Mizu at 6:47 PM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

I once heard a story about someone who made a savory birthday cake, frosted with whipped mashed potatoes. If you have a vegan/meatless loaf recipe that could be baked into cake rounds, you could create something reasonably attractive, delicious, and completely horrifying.

Pasta takes food coloring pretty well, but there’s something jarring about bright blue noodles in a savory sauce.

Pizza cut into shapes that are definitely not triangles.

Salad dressing served in a ketchup bottle, or a soda bottle.

Get a baguette, or some other type of food that guests might traditionally slice for themselves. Provide only crafting/office scissors. Do you make a nice spread? Serve it with a fork.

Making cookies? Plate them with a nice bowl of salsa.

I think you could probably get a lot of mileage just by serving things in the wrong sorts of containers. Bean salad in a fancy pie tin, rice spread in a thin layer over a serving tray, cake paired with a low-res photo of ice cream. You would have to be deliberate about it, or people will just think you don’t have the right servingware, but done right it just feel unsettling and odd.
posted by catalytics at 7:36 PM on October 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Some type of dark colored punch with floating severed hand ice cubes:
posted by nuclear_soup at 9:00 PM on October 6, 2019

M&ms and skittles (or the vegan equivalents) mixed in the same bowl.

Popsicles made with unsweetened vegetable juice.

Slushy cocktails or other drinks made to look like dirty snow or muddy water. Two complementary colors (red/green, yellow/purple, orange/blue) mixed together make an unappetizing brown color.
posted by pdxhiker at 9:09 PM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have a brain jello mold like this one, which also works fabulously as an ice cream mold. Vegan panna cotta or coconut milk ice cream with some kind of pink bits in it molded in this would be delicious and creepy. I’ve seen molds like this for other organs and body parts, too.
posted by centrifugal at 11:04 PM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

In terms of food that looks like other food, I must direct you to Bob Blumer, aka the Surreal Gourmet. He had a show a while back on Food Network (Canada, at least) in which he'd make food that looked like other food, usually. Other times it was just bizarre cooking methods (his was the first dishwasher salmon I'd heard of). One dish that comes to mind was a cauliflower coconut(?) soup that looked flat white, and topped with curried cheerios as croutons, the result being a savory soup which appeared to be a bowl of milk with some cereal floating on it.

He has books. His cuisine's not vegan, but it'll have vegetarian recipes that you'll likely find adaptable, unless, perhaps, they're egg-forward.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:49 AM on October 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Two words: Demon Pig. Oh yeah, it is vegan because it just is, man.
posted by jadepearl at 1:55 AM on October 7, 2019

While I'm not 100% sure if the Trader Joe's Creamy Pink Primavera Pasta Sauce is vegan, the recipe looks fairly easy to replicate with vegan ingredients and an immersion blender if you feel like having your pasta sauce in a disturbing pink hue.

Source: I bought this on a whim, and even though my boyfriend and I both sampled it and thought it tasted pretty good, neither of us has been able to bring ourselves to actually put it on pasta because the color is so off-putting.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:21 AM on October 7, 2019

a few more:

-kool aid pickles
-deep fried fruit (seen this most often with watermelon)
-rice krispie treats using potato chips instead of Rice Krispies (vegan marshmallows)
-spaghetti tacos

I think I would also just put out bowls of everyday foods that you don’t normally have at a party. Like, a bowl of corn would look strange and “cursed image”-like in the midst of a big party spread, I think. For extra weirdness, heat it up and then serve it on the table back in the can.

Could getting miracle fruit be part of this experience?
posted by nuclear_soup at 7:40 AM on October 7, 2019

I just made mushroom risotto with a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms, red wine, and beef broth. It's nearly black. You could use beet juice instead of beef broth and it would go dark red. Red wine turns things a bit grayish. Squid ink makes food dark and has an interesting flavor.

I have a brain mold, and pink jello with yogurt replacing half the liquid is unsettling. You could add spaghetti squash for weird texture in jello and other foods.

Tofu is usually in cubes, but a melon baller or ice cream scoop would be useful.
posted by theora55 at 7:40 AM on October 7, 2019

Stuffed mushroom eyeballs
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:37 AM on October 7, 2019

Ooh, a vegan take on the ortolan—a songbird dish “so cruel, that it is meant to be eaten with a towel draped over the diner’s hide one’s face from God”—would be amazing!
posted by Edna Million at 9:49 AM on October 7, 2019

I don't know if there's a way to do it vegan since it is 80% Nacho Cheeze, but I posted this Flamin' Hot Cheetos Mac & Cheese Bundt Cake on my timeline and everyone was horrified.
posted by zeusianfog at 12:41 PM on October 7, 2019

Here is a recipe for a No-Apple Zucchini Pie that apparently tastes very much like a richly spiced apple pie. And yet it is a vegetable pie! I'm actually looking forward to trying this myself now I know about it.

The color-change magic of Butterfly Pea Flower tea and the cocktails derived thereof is more delightful than unsettling but it is very fun at parties. Here's a recipe for a Magic Margarita. Drinks like this do depend on your playing bartender, though, so it might not be your first choice if you are having a huge event.

If you're more in the mood for a punch bowl, what about making an ice ring with something unexpected frozen inside? Gummy worms or peeled grapes maybe. Or make an Ice Hand.

The vegetarian mock seafoods made with mushrooms are unusual yet tasty, too. Mock Eel or Mushroom 'Scallops' look awesome.
posted by DSime at 2:42 PM on October 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm late to the party but just saw a great example of this on Reddit and had to share. It's red velvet rice krispie treats, formed and served like raw ground beef. An unsettling sight! Here's a link to the post!
posted by Behemoth, in no. 302-bis, with the Browning at 8:09 PM on October 17, 2019

« Older How make LG V30+ photo settings completely natural   |   How to help a depressed friend? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.