Food and drink: Blood sport 

Count Dracula season brings out the beast in us

Ah, ’tis the season, the ha-a-u-u-nting season, when all things dark and Gothic and otherworldly come to play, as they did in a brilliant production of The Passion of Dracula I saw last weekend.

Huge bats skimmed the tops of our heads and crosses ignited in flames at the touch of the infamous Count as he sought his eternal bride.

I must have been a little bit hungry, as the sight of all that smacking of lips and drinking of fresh blood made me wonder…

Not! Excuse me while I get a grip, for normally you can’t get me in the same room as blood pudding, blood sausage, black pudding, boudin noir , blutwurst , or whatever you call the stuff when blood, usually pigs’ or cows’, forms the central ingredient of a fat and meaty sausage or “pudding” seasoned with herbs and glued together with a bit of oatmeal, barley or the like.

My husband, on the other hand, is Eastern European. No, not Transylvanian or Moldavian, but close enough with his Latvian/Polish bloodlines and his predilection to eat just about anything.

Blood sausage was part of his upbringing as far back as he can remember. He jokes that he thought if he brought a pal home from school and word got out that his mom served blood sausage at lunch he’d be accused of wearing black capes and sleeping in a coffin — and expelled from school (wishful thinking).

And so stands the great divide between those who will eat blood and those who will not. Personally, I do admit to a bit of a contradiction, as I recall enjoying the taste of my own blood as a kid when I licked a fresh paper cut or small scrape.

But the line in the sawdust on the butcher’s floor seems to be drawn between WASPs, and pretty much the rest of the world. I should say Canadian WASPs, for the Brits have long enjoyed black pudding as part of a traditional breakfast. In fact, the wee puddings have been elevated to something of a cultural phenomenon, as villages vie for best black pudding titles, and contestants swing ladies’ pantyhose filled with the stuff.

Then there are the Old World lifestyles, where getting the most from the farm animal was a given, and today’s lifestyles, where we package meats in black Styrofoam trays so we see nary a dribble of blood oozing out from underneath that New York steak.


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