Food & Drink · Living Abroad

Halloween in Murcia, and how to make vegetables yummy

While Halloween is not a traditional Spanish holiday (All Saints’ Day on November 1 is much more important), the steady creep of American consumerism has rendered all of us helpless in this age of ever-increasing globalization. Children now dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating, while young adults dress up and go get drunk because we all have the next day off of work or school anyway.

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Rosie the Riveter, my go-to, easy-peasy Halloween costume

I only lasted until 4 a.m. (quite early by Spanish standards), but I started the evening with a potluck at my friend’s place at 8:30, meaning I had no nap time to properly prepare to stay out until dawn. (Also, I’m old.) But as much as I like going out and dancing and generally being crazy, I love spending time with a small group of friends and really getting to know these new people in the most current of my never-ending list of homes.

So how did I decide to endear myself to my new friends? Bringing veggie-based dishes, of course.

Ok, let’s be clear. This is a slight exaggeration for comic effect. The first dish I brought was spinach and artichoke dip, which is hardly what anyone thinks of when you hear that someone is bringing the vegetables to a party. (Although my friend’s fiancé didn’t know what an artichoke was, so that should give you an idea of the kind of prejudice against vegetables that I was walking into.) But the second thing I brought was brussel sprout salad.

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I never claimed to be a food photographer

Yeah, that’s right, brussel sprouts. Everyone’s favorite vegetable. And raw brussel sprouts, no less.

But the truth is there are a few secrets to making raw brussel sprouts delicious.

All you need to do is make a nice vinaigrette (approximately equal parts dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil, then seasoned to taste), then add some sliced almonds, maybe some dried cranberries (which I didn’t do this time but is always a good idea), and some cheese and bacon.

Oh yeah, cheese and bacon.

They’re optional, because it will taste good with just the dressing and almonds, but they’re also really delicious. So delicious that said friend’s fiancé–the one who didn’t know what an artichoke was, the one who never eats vegetables because he is a true meat-and-potatoes Liverpudlian–he ate this salad and declared that, actually, it was delicious and maybe he likes brussel sprouts now.

My mom would be so proud of me.

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