Just-washed grapes are slippery enough. When the dark skins of red grapes are peeled off, and the fruit tossed with a bit of olive oil, things get a whole lot worse. Close your eyes and stick your hands in — it’s just like human eyeballs, no?
Young kids have a fascination with boogers — the real ones — not sure why. Indulge those childhood fantasies on Halloween and offer guests a different kind — those of witches (also known as green apple-flavored Jelly Bellys) — served in a cut-crystal bowl. Open your mouth, and close your eyes — you’re indeed in for a big surprise.
Maggots, or fly larvae, are gross, if you’ve ever been “lucky” enough to have seen them in real life. Trick guests by making them stick their hands in a big bucket of cooked white rice mixed with some warm water — then divulge what it is — still-warm maggots, fresh from the garbage can.
When lightly blanched for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then tossed with olive oil, leaves of green cabbage take on a whole new quality — they're just like human skin. Place the segments of skin on a cake plate or platter for guests to admire, and touch, if they dare.
Imagine your guests' horror when you pop one of these delicious balls of mashed avocado gently blended with alfalfa sprouts that look just like hairballs into your mouth. Ah, fresh from the belly of your cat.
When gently warmed, light corn syrup has a viscosity similar to that of blood. Mix in a couple drops of red food coloring, warm it to about 100 degrees, and place it in a simple glass pitcher (or try this life-like recipe). Then ask, “Would anyone like a teaspoon of my sibling’s blood?”
We’ll admit, this one is gross. The frozen packages of peas and carrots, when mixed with a simple béchamel, resemble throw up. Place it in a plastic bag and make guests identify what the slightly chunky, thick mixture is. Hosting a dinner party? You can also serve the warmed vomit, mixed with chunks of roasted or poached chicken meat, in puff pastry shells. Delightful, no?
Sourcing human bones for haunted houses can be difficult. Instead, go for something smaller — a lizard. Depending on the size of the animal you want to serve, break dried pasta (angel hair or spaghetti) into smaller segments. As guests have their hand in the bag, tell them that the rest of the lizard was eaten — by you — and these fine, crispy bones are all that is left.
While it might not beat like a functioning heart, a warm tomato, blanched and peeled of its skin, is awfully similar to the real thing. Peel about six two- to three-inch tomatoes and stick them in a bag, then challenge guests to figure out what is inside.
Set on a platter, don’t dried apricot halves look just like shriveled up human ears? It’s what happens when kids don’t listen to their parents — or spouses don't listen to each other’s instructions. Oh, and they taste good, too.
They’re the meaty part of a chicken wing, but when the extra skin is removed and drumstick cleaned down to the bone, manchonner in French, before roasting, the drumettes look shockingly like human thumbs.
When placed in a bowl of lentils or rice, with the fingertips pointing up, these knobby, wart-covered fingers are sure to creep guests out. (You can also make them shorter, to resemble toes). Begin with this recipe and use blanched almonds, like the image at left. Or instead use Jordan almonds in pretty colors to resemble polished nails. Then tell your guests they too will have their fingers lopped off if they don't behave (and watch a look of horror sweep over their face).