To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose in the kitchen: a time to whip up a noodle casserole, and a time to knock out a Boeuf Bourguignon à la Julia; a time to roast a turkey for family gathering, and a time to bake brownies to comfort a broken heart; a time to cook a meal that is both an intellectual and a culinary wonder, and a time to geek out and play with your food. This is one of those times.
Life goes by too quickly to celebrate only a small, select number of big holidays and universally-acknowledged achievements with a special meal: birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, graduations. Why wait, when the calendar is full of anniversaries of historical significance, and better yet, when interesting things are happening around you all the time?
Recently the Matters of Taste staff has undertaken a group reading of the Harry Potter books. Upon completion of the second volume MoT’s Literary Liason proclaimed a Chamber of Secrets weekend centered around a screening of the film and, of course, a special meal. With just a brief consideration of general nutritional goals, range of palates that would be present, and general story themes, the menu almost wrote itself.
Behold: The Basilisk Loaf
Preparation: Form the ground basilisk meat in the usual way (with egg, bread crumbs, sauté of onion and red pepper; use plenty of pepper but go light on the essence of Slytherin); wrap in bacon scales and ornament with onion fangs, mushroom nostrils and red pepper tongue and yellow pepper eyes. Present the loaf in a bed of minty peas because, you know, they’re British and stuff.
Note: This dish is always better when you grind your own basilisk meat at home.
Service: At table, massacre the basilisk with three swift strokes of a long bejewelled sword. Present the severed head with artfully sprayed ketchup-colored bile as shown above. Suggest that the diner poke out the basilisk’s yellow pepper eyes. Did you just gross out a fourth-grader? Nicely done!
Behold: Horcrux Cakes
Preparation: Use your preferred molten-chocolate lava cake recipe. It should go without saying that we emphasize the importance of dark chocolate in this recipe.
Note: We do not recommend the addition of an actual piece of a person’s soul in these cakes as it adversely affects the quality of the cake crumb; however, a little espresso powder does lift the flavor profile nicely.
Service: Arm your wizards with forks, Fawkes, and/or basilisk fangs to attack the cakes in the manner of Harry going after Tom Riddle’s diary within moments after they’ve been pulled from the oven. Watch their insides ooze all over the place. Consume. We bet you didn’t know that Lord Voldemort tasted like Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, did you? He may be dark and bad, but he is also delicious–and that’s even before he takes the form of Ralph Fiennes (a noseless and cruel Ralph Fiennes, but Ralph Fiennes, none the less).
Dinner may be served with a nice polyjuice potion and, of course, make sure your house elf cleans up the mess while you watch the movie. As Aragog would say, bon appétit, my children.