I recently re-read the Elizabeth Kostova’s book The Historian. I am freaked out by how much I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s an old-fashioned, can’t-turn-the-pages-fast-enough swashbuckler told through letters, diary entries, postcards, and reminiscences. It combines history, romance, adventure, and an abiding love of books – and there are secrets among secrets among secrets. Deliciously mysterious! I’m not giving anything away by telling you that it centers around the legend of Vlad the Impaler and the Dracula myth (or is it?). Much of the action takes place in libraries and on trains… and the characters travel to mysterious locales – Turkey, Romania, Hungary – to determine if Vlad was really a vampire.
I started the book in Prague and gave myself the heeby-jeebies thinking about it while walking down shadowy cobblestone alleys. I finished it just in time for Halloween…
Did you know that a handful of our favorite paleo-friendly foods are effective weapons against vampires?! I’m just saying: this knowledge might come in handy as Halloween approaches.
Aside from being monstrously delicious, studies have shown that garlic can lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, prevent cancer, and protect against bacterial and fungal infections. It’s also your numero uno protection against Vlad. Just festoon your windows and doors with garlic ropes, drape a few cloves around your neck, and for bonus protection, rub some in your armpits (Um… ew.). You can also mix crushed garlic with water and use as a savory eau de toilette.
You know the advice: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”
I’ve been driven to distraction by the tempation of Sunbutter made from sunflower seeds… turns out, ol’ fang-face is distracted by seeds, too. According to European peasant superstition, you can keep a vampire from rising from his coffin if you fill it with seeds. When the moon is high in the sky and Dracula ia ready to start his hunt, he’ll be compelled to count and eat the seeds, one by one… which can take him all night. Any seeds will do – caraway, mustard, carrot – but poppy is a favorite because of their narcotic effect. For added protection, sprinkle your roof and sidewalk, too.
The world is made up of “sweets people” and “salty people.” I am firmly in the salty camp – it’s so hard to resist popcorn, tortilla chips, and other salty goodness. And now another reason to love salt: it’s a vampire GPS. Just deposit salt on the floor around your bed. If you’re attacked by a vampire, the salt will stick to his feet and your avenging heroes will be able to follow the salt trail from your bedchamber to Dracula’s coffin… presumably to drive a stake through his cold, cold heart.
Back in the day, Romanians slaughtered pigs on St. Ignatious Day, rendered their fat, and rubbed it all over “suspicious corpses” to keep them from rising and biting. I like to translate that into, “A little bacon goes a long way… toward fighting the undead.”
Now that you know the best bloodsucker repellents, here’s a recipe that uses all of the magic charms listed above, just in case you want to rally your vampire-fighting power in the form of dinner.
Vampire-Fighting Paleo Pork Stew
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 lb. pork, cut into1-inch cubes (any cut but loin)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 apple, 1/2-inch dice
1. Preheat a large soup pot on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Put coconut oil in pan, then add pork, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and cook until well-browned on all sides. Remove to a bowl.
2. In the same pan, cook the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Don’t burn the garlic! When the onions are soft and beginning to brown, add the meat and any accumulated juices back to the pot.
3. In a small bowl, mix broth, mustard, and caraway seeds, then add to the pot and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 90 minutes.
4. Add diced apple to the pot and cook an additional 30-60 minutes, until meat and apples are tender.
To serve: Place a bed of sautéed cabbage, sauerkraut, or cooked spaghetti squash in a deep bowl and top with the pork stew. Bonus for busy cooks: This can also be made in a slow cooker.
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