People Are Asking: What Do Vampires Really Eat?

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People Are Asking: What Do Vampires Really Eat?

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:27 am

What Do Vampires Really Eat?


It is well known throughout the Balkans that the first days of
Autumn mark the beginning of the period during which vampires have to
find new victims whose blood will keep them alive for the coming
year. To protect themselves from being bitten and eventually
becoming vampires themselves, thousands of people are now hanging
cloves of garlic over every window and door in their homes, others
are at the churches having the crosses blessed and yet other are
sewing a sprig or two of tarragon onto their clothing.

One of the most primitive but most durable beliefs among simple
people is that the dead can return to life, and one of the most
exotic manifestations of this belief is the legend of the vampire.
When Bram Stoker wrote "Dracula" in 1897 he gave
nearly everyone an image of what vampires looked like and how they
behaved. Starting with Henrik Galeen's "Nosferatu", the first
vampire film made in 1922 and to the current day, a host of
actors including Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee,
and Vincent Price, have reinforced that image and, whether in
literary or cinematic form, vampires are thin creatures with pale,
narrow faces that frequently sprout a pair of prominent canine
teeth. Most vampires have long crooked fingernails, rarely stand
up straight and wear black cloaks, the shape of which suggests the
wings of a bat. None of this is objectionable to the folklorist,
the filmmaker or the novelist. What offends gourmets, however, is
that according to popular belief, vampires drink but never eat.

That folklore, literature and the cinema are not always well
connected to reality is in no way better demonstrated than by
studying the dining habits of the most famous vampire of all, the
historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. In their historical studies
of vampires, historians Peter Chotjewitz and Paul Barber inform us
that Dracula was considered by his comrades to be a good host, one
who enjoyed eating and who always set a fine table. In his book
"Dracula: The Legend and the Reality", Clive Leatherdale suggests
that Vlad was especially fond of yoghurt, sausages, grilled meats and goat's
cheese flavored with pepper.

The most detailed description of Dracula's dining preferences is
probably that supplied by Kazimier Moszynski who, in "Slavic Folk
Culture" documented a feast Dracula hosted in his castle at Walchia,
probably in November of 1476. The guests were Dracula's two
women companions and ten of the officers in his army and, after a
large bowl of cold yoghurt soup, the diners went on to a salad of
tomatoes, cucumbers and goat's cheese. This was followed by a
variety of salted smoked meats. The main course was said to be the
Count's favorite dish, a chicken stew that contained
white beans and mushrooms. Among the dessert dishes
were preserved plum and flowers that had been cooked in sugar syrup.
With the exception of the cooked flowers,
it would not be difficult to duplicate this dinner today, as most
of these dishes are still considered a traditional part of Romanian
cuisine. The yoghurt soup is known as tarator; the
salad relies on the cheese we now know as Brynza; the
favorite smoked meat of Romania is still pastrama (Americans call
it pastrami); and the chicken stew, the recipe for which follows, is called Pui
Romanese.

For both culinary pleasure and historical accuracy, it should
be noted that there are several contradictions between Bram
Stoker's Dracula and the historical Vlad, Prince of the Romanian
principality of Walachia. While it is true that the notoriety
surrounding Vlad Dracula's method of punishment for his enemies,
namely death by impalement, provided Stoker with an attractive
pedigree for his hero, there the relationship ends, for Vlad
did not practice vampirism. The rumor that Vlad was a vampire
first circulated when several German pamphlets were printed in
Nuremburg and Augsburg between 1488 and 1530. Even though these
pamphlets provided many sensational details, they were given
little credence because they had been provided by a group of Saxon
merchants of Transylvania who were angry because Vlad had limited
their trading privileges in Walachia.


Chicken with Mushrooms and Beans

1 cup dried white beans or dried lima beans
1/4 cup olive oil
3 very small chickens, cut in convenient serving pieces
1/4 cup butter
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. celery, chopped
2 Tbsp. celery leaves, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
8 bay leaves
200 gr. small mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
juice of 3 lemons

Place the beans in a large bowl and pour over cold water to
cover. Let soak for 8 hours and then drain. If using white
beans, after they have been drained transfer them to a large
pot, pour over fresh water, simmer on a low flame for 2 hours
and drain. Set aside for later use.

In a flameproof casserole dish heat 3 Tbsp. of
the olive oil and in this saute the chicken pieces until they are
golden. With a slotted spoon remove the pieces and set aside.

To the casserole dish add the remaining oil, butter, onion,
parsley, celery, celery leaves, garlic and bay leaves and on these
lay the mushrooms and chicken pieces. Cook on a medium flame for
about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Sea-
son to taste with salt and pepper and add the wine. Continue
cooking until the wine has evaporated and then pour in just enough
of the stock to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce the
flame and simmer on a low flame for 15 minutes. Add the beans and
continue to cook for 30 minutes longer. Add the lemon juice,
remove from the flame, cover the skillet and place in a oven that
has been pre- heated to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes.
Serve with the gravy directly from the casserole. (Serves 6 - 8).
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Daniel Rogov
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Re: People Are Asking: What Do Vampires Really Eat?

Postby Charlie Dawg » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:35 pm

Only one question: why not flowers cooked in sugar?
You are what you eat.
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Charlie Dawg
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