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Saturday, October 25, 2014

What Halloween Means in New Orleans (The Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop!)

What does Halloween mean anymore? When I was a kid it meant free candy, of course. As I got older it meant cool costumes. Oh, and free candy. As an adult, however, the purpose for the celebration has changed. Now, at least for me, it's a time to embrace the creepy, the spooky, and the gruesome, something I never, ever do! Halloween is my annual chance to scare and be scared.

Most of us do some kind of Halloween recognition. Some cities have turned their community centers into haunted houses. Some malls have “monster crawls” so toddler trick-or-treaters can show off their garb in an indoor environment. Some of us decorate our houses, and buy goodies for the visitors, and wear our own costumes to greet them. It's a time to relish the villainous pirates, the waiting cemeteries, and zombies created by dark voodoo.

It's different here, though, in New Orleans. We ARE pirates and cemeteries and voodoo. That's not Halloween. That's Tuesday.

So what does Halloween mean here? It means bigger. BIGGER. B I G G E R!
Dead Duck... Ice Bucket Challenge No longer "Stayin' Alive"
You can still recognize him!

It's a bit unfair really. We don't have to try. Some of our houses already look like Disney's Haunted Mansion, so simply adding a jack-o-lantern immediately throws them into your nightmares.

See? Scary, and not even trying!

But many don't stop there. Many do BIGGER!

We can't help ourselves. Our cemeteries, for example, are above ground. They advertise themselves. Much like your reaction to walking in the French Quarter or the Garden District where you oogle and awe at the architecture, you'll pass a cemetery and gaze at grand mausoleums – with their symbolism and stained glass and sculptures – and speculate about the occupants. Visitors are dying (wink, wink) to walk among our “cities of the dead”. It's no wonder that as soon as your plane lands you're bombarded with adverts for cemetery tours.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar

One of our history's most famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, traded in his pirate life to own a blacksmith shop. It's a bar, of course. We use that more than a smithy these days.

And the world's foremost voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, lived, died, and was buried right here in the St. Louis Cemetery in the French Quarter. Her grave is among the most visited, with people leaving gifts for her constantly.

Marie Laveau's Tomb
New Orleans is among America's most haunted city. It was established in 1714, which makes it older than our country. We are passionate about keeping our architecture as preserved as possible. As a result, we have haunted hotels, haunted restaurants, and haunted bars. From the street car to the oak trees, you walk the sidewalks of history here into the struggles and successes of the past.

Walking in the past... what better way of seeing ghosts? Especially on Halloween.

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The Snarkology Blog Hop continues...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Food, an insight by Hercule

Greetings. I am the Great Hercule Poirot, cockroach extraordinaire. And I'm taking over this insipid blog just in time to share with you some perfect foodstuffs for the upcoming holiday you call Halloween.

Over the many years that Americans have celebrated the holiday the sole culinary focus has been on the sugar stuffs retrieved by your children. Food has had little place in the celebration beyond that. Oh, sure, people give silly names to food to make them sound scary (“please, have another helping of my Ghoulish Goulash”) or you have to be blindfolded to be scared of the food (“what you are feeling are eyeballs, certainly not peeled grapes!”).

But I'm so happy to see chefs truly embrace the foodstuffs of Halloween with much more creativity than ever before! Not only with the names silly but with wonderful visuals and textures.

Let us start with breakfast. Why not start scaring the young ones right from the start, eh? Behold these lovely Zombie Pancakes, the secret of which is to apply batter you want darker first to the hot pan so it browns more than the rest. True, this technique could be made to any picture, but it is Halloween!

Moving onto lunch you don't want to stuff your children too much; we must save room for the candy! So may I recommend these tasty Stuffed Pizza Skulls! Yes, you will need the special Wilton Skull 3D pan, but think of all the other wonderful things you could do with it! It will be the best $30 you ever spent.

Next is the dinner, and I'm sad to say that my recommendation is still not yet available here in the states, which is sad because 1) it is available at Burger King and there seems to be no shortage of those and b) it is disgusting to look at and Americans seem to love that. It is the famous Black Burger (or Darth Vader Burger).

Now for the best part, the sweets! You cannot have enough of these, even after the kiddles have brought home buckets of the chocolate. Besides, you'll want something different, something wonderful... something spoooooooky.

These chocolate skulls are life sized and anatomically correct. Go ahead and envision your nemesis groveling before you begging for mercy! Buwahaha!

Ahem. A smaller version may be these. I so love the walnut brain. Reminds me of someone...

So you don't want ALL sweets at your party, and who could blame you -- besides me, of course. Look at these lovely appetizers to kick things off. You can see it now, can you not? Instead of blindfolding your guests to trick them into thinking a hotdog is a finger they will scream, "For the love of all things holy, the hotdog is a finger!"

Looking for something you can make at home? Perhaps these Spider Cookies appease, or this Panna Cotta Brain with Raspberry Sauce.

I for one am glad to see the holiday take an intriguing culinary turn. To find more such delights please paw through my own website, bugsmind.com. It's vastly more educational that this one you read now!