Our new series, “Dining With,” serves up our favorite books and intensifies the flavor as we journey into the imagined culinary lives of literature’s most compelling characters, concocting menus, dinner parties and other taste-forward scenarios divining what it might be like to dine with our favorite literary icons. In honor of Disney’s Maleficent, our inaugural feature imagines what the world’s most notorious fairy might serve at an intimate party celebrating her film’s premiere.
Prone to reclusion and dark sorcery, you might question whether or not Maleficent is a natural hostess. What will happen if you sip that cocktail? Should you worry that every bite might induce a cursed coma? Will you even exit alive? Despite her predilection for evil magic and obstinate grudge-holding, the nefarious fairy knows all too well what it’s like to be left out of the party. She’d never let a guest feel unwelcome. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, who would most certainly be invited but would do well to watch out for sharp, potentially hexed objects. Regardless, Maleficent’s dramatic, gothic castle in the Forbidden Mountains is the ideal space for a memorable fete, especially one honoring the betrayed fairy’s sinister tale.
As guests arrive, they are led, one by one, up the creaking, winding staircase into Maleficent’s tower and greeted by one of her many goblin minions serving up the evening’s signature cocktail: Aurora’s Kiss. Its sweet potency is dangerous. Have too many, and who knows how long you’ll be out.
There is a film to be screened, but first, dinner. A hulking, wooden, claw-footed table consumes the room, its ornate sculpture featuring the steely heads of dragons perched in each corner and long sides carved into a series of sharp spikes, pointed ominously into the laps of unassuming guests. Every so often and without warning, the candles lighting the room erupt in bright bursts, igniting the space with heat and light like flames from a dragon’s mouth. Each place setting features a menu, handwritten in ornate scrawl, the evening’s courses glistening in deep, crimson ink.
Forest Kingdom: Salad punctured with stinging nettles, and blistered red pepper vinaigrette.
Dragon’s Breath Consommé: Clear broth spiked with the peppery aroma of dragon’s breath, topped with a flash-fried assortment of reptile scales.
Raven Bruschette: Dragon-seared raven, served atop grilled bread with bursts of cherry tomato and a scattering of potentially poisonous foraged herbs
Spinning Wheel Kebabs: Boiled fairy organs, stacked on the spokes of a spinning wheel and drizzled with a vinegary rémoulade.
Stew of Departed Souls: Frothy, bubbling, potent. Lightly seasoned with the tears of those gone before.
Mistress of Evil Meat Pie: Crusted in sweet revenge.
Disenchantment, a la mode: Asoporific sundae steeped in blood orange syrup and served with a side of house-made vanilla bean ice cream.
Prince Philip’s Demise: Heart-shaped red velvet cake, splattered with bursts of dark cherry frosting and pierced with a stake of crystalized sugar.
Aurora’s Curse: Snow white ladyfingers, garnished with sharp splinters of wood and the hopes and dreams of a naïve teenaged girl.
After dinner, guests are led through a secret passageway into another of Maleficent’s dungeon hideaways, and are greeted with the red, velveteen chairs of her private screening room. Munching on popcorn and sipping steaming, burbling cocktails, the room pulses with tension. When can we laugh? Should we cry when she is betrayed, boo when she is slighted? Can Maleficent read our thoughts? What if we secretly think she was a too hard on young, innocent Aurora?
The film ends, and the guests clap ecstatically, showering Maleficent with praise for her marvelous, visually stunning performance–perhaps as thrilled with the film as they are to find themselves still alive. They exit, bellies and minds filled with exotic foodstuffs and relief. As a parting gift, they are presented with an artfully tied parcel of cured raven and a recipe card for their hostess’s Stew of Departed Souls tucked into a small glass vial–perfect for collecting the tears of those gone before.