Well, it’s Halloween again. Yet another year has passed. In some sense, I feel like it’s only been a day; yet, in others, it seems like a lifetime since I last donned a costume and went begging for candy — I can’t even remember what I did on Halloween last year, or where I was for that matter.
I feel like I should talk about candy or something but anyone that knows me can tell you I’m much more the blood and skulls sort. I will say this though: Isn’t it funny how, leading up to a holiday, all the colors in the supermarket change to match those associated with the holiday: cookies turn orange, cereal boxes parade ghouls, entire aisles formerly dedicated to essentials transform themselves into holding grounds for candy and other Halloween paraphernalia.
But the most interesting part about Halloween isn’t the candy or the food — or even the blood and skulls. (A surprising statement, I know, coming from me.) Despite my normal obsession with all things gustatory and morbid, it is the masks of Halloween that I find most curious. Originally, individuals would dress up as evil spirits to scare off evil spirits. Today, though, few go to the haunted or scary but tread instead toward the “sexy” or funny.
People complain that Christmas has been commercialized but this change in costume marks an entirely different type of transformation. Now Halloween is no longer a time to scare away fears of evil spirits but to embrace them; it’s no longer a time to go to extraordinary measures to protect oneself from the dead but, rather, a time to eat obscene amounts of candy making one so sugar-stuffed that they are UNABLE to protect themselves.
Think of this tonight as you eat that umpteenth piece of candy: what will you do when the evil spirits come? I, for one, will be sitting here, wearing MY costume. It is perhaps my wishful thinking that, just maybe, if I sit here masquerading as what I hope to be for long enough, I will become that. However, that’s is an entirely different holiday, isn’t it?
Raspberry Chutney (running through my veins)
- A large bowl of fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)
- A small pinch chili powder (I don’t like hot foods so my pinch was really small)
- 1-2 turns sea salt (I have a grater)
- A spoonful tamarind paste
- 2-3 spoonfuls freshly grated ginger
- A pinch hing (asafoetida)
- A few pinches each saunf (fennel seeds) and rai (black mustard), powdered
- A drizzle of mustard oil
→Puree the berries.
Heat the oil in a small pan till hot. Roast the spices in the oil until fragrant. Add to the pureed berries.
Cool and spoon into a glass jar (or syringe if you’re in the Halloween mood). It’ll keep for at least a week or two.
Enjoy, preferably through mouth — not veins.