The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery this last summer focused on the subject of Wrapping and Stuffing. This included a seminar on “Eating Mummies” and I thought Halloween would be a perfect time to educate you on this subject.
It appears that 1,000 years ago Egyptians, and later Europeans, ate Mummies. Originally the corpses were eviscerated and stuffed with herbs, oils and spices – carefully wrapped in a special linen and preserved for the return of the soul thousands of years later. But somehow the mummies came to be thought of as a source of healthy food and were especially prized for their medicinal properties!
Mummies were burned and then ground up and made into a kind of powder, used for treating coughs, ulcers, and migraines, and in fact as a general panacea. The practice was so popular that if they could not come by ancient Egyptian mummies – Europeans and Arabs would use the corpses of executed criminals.
Queen Catherine Medici of France made a special trip to Egypt in 1549 to raid some tombs in the search for authentic mummies and it is said that her father in law carried some mummy powder in a pouch around his stomach in case of an emergency!!
Kind of like one-a-day aspirin I guess….
So here is one of the recipes for Elixir of Mummy:
Choose the carcass of a red headed man without blemishes – age 24 years who has been hanged or ‘broke on a wheel or thrust through’. Leave him out for a day then cut into small pieces – add Myrrh and aloes, wine, olive oil and salt of pearls and coral and let marinate for a month….
I am not done yet – but in the interest of not grossing you out completely in one article I will leave Mellified Man for next week.
If you have not completely lost your appetite, here are some modern day ‘mummies’ for Halloween enjoyment.
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Black decorator gel
Note: You will need a piping bag and star tip – available at craft stores like Michaels and JoAnns.
Pre heat oven to 250°.
Whisk the whites until frothy then gradually whisk in the sugar. Add the vanilla and whisk until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
Drop the star tip into the piping bag and pile the meringue into the bag.
Pipe ‘mummies’ onto a parchment paper- lined cookie sheet, using a ‘back and forth’ movement.
Bake for about one hour or until the meringues are dry to the touch.
These may be kept in a container for up to two weeks.
To finish the mummies –pipe decorator gel for eyes and mouth.
½ stick [2 oz] soft butter
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon strong coffee
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
½ cup chopped dark chocolate
Fruit flavored ‘fruit by the foot’ strips
Mini chocolate chips
Beat together the butter, cocoa and sugar.
Beat in the coffee, yolks and vanilla.
Stir in the flour and knead lightly to form a dough
Wrap in parchment and refrigerate for at least two hours
Preheat oven to 375°.
Divide the dough into 12-15 pieces and form into 3” logs (mummies).
Set the mummies on the parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until the mummies are dry to the touch.
Allow to cool.
Melt the chocolate and spread sparingly on top of the mummies.
Wrap fruit strips around each mummy.
Add two chocolate mini chips for the eyes.
The… HELP! I am Not Dead Yet Hot Dog
Hot dog buns
Hot dogs - cooked
Large pretzel twists
Mayonnaise with a little ketchup
Worcestershire Sauce or dark Barbecue Sauce (You can also use black decorator gel)
Cut the wieners in half lengthwise.
Cut arms and legs from the pretzels.
Mix the mayonnaise with the ketchup.
Spread the buns with the mayonnaise.
Lay the wiener half on top of one half of the bun with part of it (the head) sticking out.
Set the other half of the bun on top.
Stick the ‘arms and legs’ into the bun.
Decorate the eyes and mouth with the Worcestershire or barbecue sauce.
(Note: If you wish to add more gruesome detail, you can drizzle some of the ketchup coming out of the bun!)
Cheese Ball Mummy
8 oz soft cream cheese
8 oz strong cheddar or smoked gouda, grated
Strips of roasted red pepper
Mix together the cream cheese with 2/3 of the grated cheddar or gouda until well blended.
Set out a piece of plastic wrap or parchment and form a mummy out of the cheese mixture.
Sprinkle on the rest of the grated cheese coating the mummy completely
Add the peppercorn eyes and a red pepper mouth.
Chill until ready to serve. May be made two days ahead.
About the AuthorMcKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com's "Food" section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the "Food" section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?