Out of all the bone-chilling creatures that go bump in the night, no one’s reputation has dwindled quite like vampires. From their daylight sparkling to their millennial-influenced approach to dating, they just don’t evoke the blood-curdling, hide-your-kids, hide-your-wife fear they used to. To be fair, they probably don’t want our blood to curdle, unless they plan on making jam. Fueling the pop culture ruse that they only want love in all the wrong places, vampires have lulled us into complacency to prepare us for some delectable dishes.
From pigs to ducks, the immortal macabre among us have made blood an innocuous presence in various cuisines. Try these dishes, if you dare, but stay on your toes; your blood might be the next ingredient.
1. Black Pudding
Nothing says “inoffensive” like English food. The Scots, Welsh, and Irish have a field day with animal innards, but the English are so polite, they call their blood sausage “black pudding.” While the color sounds uninviting, you feel like you’re in for a special treat, despite the main ingredients being pig’s blood and oatmeal. Most countries lacking a pervasive fear of the dead boast some form of blood sausage, but the minimalism in black pudding’s spices is both inherently English and a blood-sucking red flag.
2. Blood Pancakes
You’re starting your day out wrong if you’re not substituting animal blood for egg whites. The two similarly viscous liquids serve as excellent binding agents, but Scandinavians developed a taste for these savory, sanguine versions of pancakes. Think about it: long winters, limited sunshine…
3. Larb Lanna
This Northern Thai salad, takes the minced meat of the traditionally Laotian dish and swaps the sour seafood sauce for pig/chicken blood. The fatty cuts of meat give you more of a Hannibal Lecter vibe than any Dracula coolness, but the jury’s out on whether or not it goes with a nice Chianti.
This Polish soup is not for the faint of heart or duck lovers. While there are some spices in the mix, the overwhelming majority of what you slurp down is duck. The duck’s blood serves as a base for the broth and the rest of the duck gets thrown in the pot too. Thanks to the wonders of oxidation, the blood transforms into a stew-like brown color, so the only shock factor you’d get in your bowl would be a duck’s bill.
5. Reign in Blood
Nandini Khaund, Chicago’s ballsiest cocktail slinger, created this drink after being challenged to creatively use pig’s blood in the Chicago Reader’s Cocktail Challenge. Khaund tried drinking pig’s blood straight up, but chose to let the blood take a backseat to a cacophony of sweet and bitter liqueurs, merely coating the serving glass with the oozing life force. Considering the almost indescribable iron high she felt after drinking the blood on its own, Khaund either did us all a solid or keeps the extras for herself.