Fear of Failure Halloween Menu

Scary CocktailThis Halloween, we had a dinner party – not a Halloween Party, mind you, but a dinner party that was scheduled on Halloween. Which meant we were not bound by traditional Halloween foods. To embrace a Halloween-like theme without being a Halloween party, we decided to have a Scary Food menu, as in food that I was scared to make because I didn’t think I’d be successful. Fear of failure can be a terrible thing.

Here’s my Scary Food menu. Clearly it’s an individual thing, but it was a great project to get over the threshold with recipes I never try or always assign to Lawrence to make. After half a cocktail, everyone was in agreement that really the party would be much more fun if the food did fail spectacularly. Which it didn’t. But that was okay too.


  • Arancini and Fried Pickles (c’mon, seriously, a vat of hot oil must scare other people too – now that I’m practiced, though, next year we’re thinking of wrapping Snickers in bacon and deep frying them)
  • Candy Corn Cocktails (with vodka infused with candy corn – which, we discovered, has enough wax in it that 24 hours later it still hadn’t fully dissolved, creating a lovely candy corn snot effect that was very Halloween-y)


  • Fish Stew (I’m convinced that I’m unable to cook fish correctly – it turned out that I just don’t like fish stew) – plus a vegetarian Pumpkin soup just in case. Because it’s orange. And it’s Halloween.
  • Challah (bread that is braided to look pretty and has to turn out tender and airy or be considered a disaster and the disaster has religious judgment implied from a religion that I don’t even belong to? Scary)
  • Baked Potatoes with Lemon (a friend of mine told me that squeezing the lemon with seeds and baking it all together with the potatoes works, I was convinced there was no way baking a lemon carcass makes it palatable, I was wrong)
  • Grits (I’m from Vermont, it seems improbable that my grits would be acceptable, and so I’ve avoided them) with Braised Greens


  • Chocolate Souffle (all I know about souffles is that they involve eggs and fear of falling, but I trust that worst case scenario one soaks a fallen souffle in rum and serve it with ice cream on top)


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