Monday, November 4, 2013

What Vegetarians Do For Fun

As a family, we've never done much for Halloween. It just never seemed like a holiday I could really get behind (Now Reformation Day, that's a different story!). But we do try to have something for the kids to do that day so they stay out of trouble.

We don't want a bunch of delinquents running around TP-ing people's houses do we?



(A certain someone's children TP'd my house this year. After a certain someone drove them out there!)

I decided to have a Hobo theme for this year's Un-Halloween party. Or, if you prefer, Housing-challenged. The main reason for this was I wanted everyone to spend the bulk of the time out at our fire pit instead of indoors.

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men! Our party day happened to coincide with a prairie hurricane and we didn't even want to risk a fire in the burn barrel.  So everything moved indoors with a few necessary modifications. (I draw the line at open fires in the living room.)

Our party game was something Noni has been wanting to try for a long time: Vegetarian Fear Factor.

Fear Factor, if you recall, was a challenge-based game show where contestants had to endure a series of terrifying challenges in the hopes of winning the Big Prize. Often the challenges would include a gross food to be eaten---things like spider-filled doughnuts, raw pig intestines, or live cockroaches.

But, hey, there's plenty of gross vegetarian options out there. Shoot, the way some people talk, you'd think ANY vegetarian dish belonged on the show! But we were going to feature the worst of the worst.

Our challenge was simple. Each person received 5 different samples of grossness. The goal was to eat all five. Or at least sample all five.

The line-up was as follows: Canned lychee (a tropical fruit that looks like a cow's eye---my dad used to tell us that they were cows' eyes), beets (no challenge for the beet lovers of the group), plain oatmeal, plain tapioca, and plain tofu.

Damon opted out immediately, but everyone else decided to at least try the foods. I did OK right through the oatmeal---I've eaten lychee lots of times before (Curse you, Vietnam war!!! That's where my dad developed a fondness for the pernicious fruit). I like beets, and the oatmeal tasted OK.

I had to pack it in when it came to the tapioca, though. I've never liked tapioca and having it cold, slimy, and booger-like was not going to work for me. I gagged just trying to bite off a chunk of it. I tried some of the tofu, but my momentum was gone. I couldn't finish it all.

Not so Noni and Devon! Devon chugged right through without even a pause. Obviously he is used to putting disgusting things in his mouth. But Noni, who has a fierce competitive streak, was determined to prove herself. The rest of us abandoned her to head for the refreshments in the kitchen, but she kept at it until everything was consumed.

Way to go, Noni! I suppose this skill will serve her well if she ever tries to find work as a goat.

Our refreshments were simple, in keeping with the theme of the party. I'd intended to roast small potatoes in the fire, but settled for frying them up instead. Small, fresh-baked loaves of bread completed our supper.

For desert, I tried an idea from Facebook (where all good ideas come from, naturally). I like caramel apples, but they're too big and too hard to eat. The idea is to scoop balls from an apple with a melon baller and make mini-caramel apples, just the right size to eat.

While the caramel heated up, Tiggy and I got beauty shots taken in the living room. The pictures turned out nicely, but it didn't go so well with the caramel. Evidently, when they say "stir constantly", they actually mean it. Even if you look really, really cute.

But nobody minded the little black spots in the caramel.


NOBODY minded. This treat was hugely popular with the everyone. Fun to make and fun to eat---a real winner.

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