Real Cooking

“Fillet of a fenny snake, in the cauldron boil and bake;

“Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing;

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

-William Shakespeare

“Macbeth,” Act IV, Scene I

Don’t worry, you won’t find any recipes containing eye of newt here. But with Halloween’s arrival, I thought it might be fun to include recipes in this week’s column for some homemade face paints that can add dimension to a Halloween costume for yourself or for your favorite trick or treater.

I know that not everyone is into participating in Halloween, but for me it has always represented a time of great fun. I have wonderful memories of going trick-or-treating through the darkened streets of our neighborhood accompanied by my older sister and then later, after I hit the third grade, with a gang of my friends.

It was a simpler time when kids could roam the streets on a chilly October night without the fear of being accosted. We would go door to door collecting goodies from adults who would greet us with big smiles and comments of, “Well, look who’s here.”

There was even an older lady who lived around the corner who would have each and every child in to sign her guest book.

It was a time when every house had its porch light on and a shining jack-o-lantern sat on every front step. Adults walking the sidewalks with the younger children would stop to chat or call to each other from the far side of the street.

From time to time a police car would pass by, the officers handing out candy to the kids and making sure everyone was having a fun-and safe-time.

The danger didn’t come from poisoned candy or creepy strangers. The cops were around to make sure everyone crossed the streets safely and to ward off teenagers who might be out looking for mischief.

It was a time when we never thought that by dressing up as a princess, or a hobo or-even a witch-that we were feeding into the dark forces. We never considered that by stepping onto a welcoming porch that we were “begging” for candy. We were just having fun.

And by my estimation, the adults were enjoying themselves as much as the kids.

I remember my mother and dad making sure there was enough candy for the hundreds-and I really mean hundreds-of kids who would be stopping by. The pumpkin had to be huge, according to my dad, so everyone in the family could have a chance to dig out some of the orange goop from inside. Popcorn balls were made and cupcakes baked.

And at about 4:30 in the afternoon, the first trick-or-treaters would hit the streets. They were the little kids, toddlers being brought out for their first Halloween. They were usually adorned in a creature costume their mother had sewn on the Singer. Cute little kittens and roaring lions.

In contrast, the last Halloween visitors would come to the door at about 10 at night. Teenagers who didn’t want to relinquish their childhood conventions.

It was a time. It was a great time.

* * *

Easy Face Paint

1/2 tsp. cold cream

1/2 tsp. water

1 tsp. cornstarch

food color

Using an ice-cube tray, mix each color in a different compartment to make a palette of colors.

Basic Edible Face Paint

10 tsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. white flour

5 tsp. vegetable shortening

1/8 tsp. food coloring

1/4-tsp. glycerin (can be purchased at pharmacy)

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and flour. Using a spoon, stir shortening into the mixture. At this point add any food coloring you would like. Stir in the glycerin; mixing until well blended.

Use your fingers or a make up sponge to apply large amounts. Small brushes are useful around eyes, lips and making detailed designs.

The Basic Recipe For

All Thing Icky

1 oz. gelatin (plain or flavored, depending on desired effect)

2 tbs. boiling water

mix in as needed: couscous, paprika, colored sugar

4 tbs. corn syrup

(A list of gelatin flavors and their uses are listed below)

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the boiling water. Mix and let set for three minutes. If applying to skin, make sure the gelatin has reached a comfortable temperature. A variety of techniques can be used for creating special effects.

To make small skin growths, drip the liquid gelatin onto a ceramic plate and let it set up completely. Use a sharp object to peel the formation off of the plate. Apply to skin with corn syrup.

To cover a bigger area, use a spoon or popsicle stick to apply partially set gelatin to the skin. The gelatin will drip or clot depending on the degree of set it has reached. Let set, about five minutes, and shape as desired. Stirring in couscous gives a grainy texture or sprinkle with colored sugar or paprika for different visual effects.

Don’t be afraid to layer and drip multiple colors. Be sure to test for possible allergic reactions by placing a small amount of the makeup on a patch of clean, dry skin. Cover loosely and leave the makeup on for 24 hours. If no reaction occurs, have fun.

Uses for flavors of gelatin

Peach, lemon, orange, grape: skin growths, foundation for scabs, blisters, scars.

Black cherry or cranberry: blood, veins, moles, road rash (mixed with a tsp. of grape).

Lime: marine life (algae, seaweed).

Plain: create the foundation for scars, scabs.

Dribble colored gelatin over the clear-shaped foundation.

* * *

Now, for something far more tasty.

Carmel Popcorn Balls

5 tbs. vegetable oil

21/2 cups unpopped popcorn

1/4 cup butter (no substitutes)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pop the popcorn in the vegetable oil as per directions on package. Place popped corn in oven on warm setting.

In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer inserted, combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir in condensed milk; simmer, stirring constantly, until thermometer reads 238 degrees. Stir in vanilla.

Pour caramel mixture over popped corn and stir to coat. Butter hands and shape into balls. Makes about 15, 31/2 inch in diameter popcorn balls.

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