The Noshing Dead: Merle Dixon’s Edible Arm
Before we split up, I heard Sheriff Crazy Eyes and Hot Asian Dude arguing about walker bait. Apparently, when they decided to sneak past a herd using the world’s most disgusting cosplay, they left a little undead snack food up on the roof in the form of a redneck racist handcuffed to the building. He could either stay there and get eaten – which would keep a lot of walkers busy, or he could cut off his own hand and leave a blood trail – which would lead the walkers away.
I can’t decide what’s worse; live human bait or a world where anyone is bigoted against Hot Asian Dude.
We don’t have any spare people to chain up outside. Well, there’s Steve, but confidentially, once we’re on the run I plan on slicing through his hamstrings and leaving him there for the walkers. His sacrifice will be for the greater good. Okay, mostly I don’t want to live in a world where he keeps lecturing us all on what changes the founding fathers would’ve made to the bill of rights if they knew we’d eventually be facing walkers. I hope he gets eaten by one of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Meanwhile, I still like the body bait idea. We have nothing but time to kill down here in this windowless basement kitchen, so I might as well try to make an arm. Heck, I can even make it drip something dark and red and nearly indistinguishable from blood. If we can get the walkers fighting over a bite, maybe we can make a break for it.
Merle Dixon’s Arm
3 pounds granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
4 cups red wine sangria
1 tbsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
½ tsp red food coloring
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter
½ tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp kosher salt
6 cups bread flour
I’ll be honest with you. Part of me wants to believe this is all some kind of crazy prank. You can use stuff around your house to make some pretty decent special effects makeup if you don’t mind getting too gross. Last night, I wanted to prove it to the guys, so I mixed some the cheap, boxed Sangria we found with a dash of raspberry balsamic vinegar and some red food coloring and used it to soak three whole pounds of peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples.
They weren’t too impressed at first, but this morning, those apples looked disturbingly fleshy. I’m onto something. I know it. All those people can’t have gone mad at once. This is Atlanta. There must be some kind of crazy DragonCon prank going on out there. Trap some rubes in a basement kitchen with everything they need to survive and see how long before they go batshit insane. Ha. I’m onto them. Really. Good one, guys.
It’s hard to tell the passage of time down here, but once the apples had what I’ll call a “day” to really soak in all that color and flavor, I got the bread started. Every time I turn on the stand mixer the moaners outside the door get all riled up. Steve says the biters are are sensitive to sound, and that’s why they’re still lurking around outside our door, but I call bullshit. The actors just wake up whenever they hear us getting rowdy. I’m almost sympathetic. When they’re not scaring the crap out of us, their job has to be pretty boring. Those aren’t real zombies. That’s not possible.
To make the dough, I mixed the yeast and warm water in the stand mixer’s bowl and let it bloom like an unexpected bruise for the next 15 minutes. Then I dumped in all the other dough ingredients, gave it a good stir, and let the stand mixer knead away for the next 8 or so minutes. I suppose I could’ve taken 10-12 minutes to more quietly knead by hand, but all that noise outside the door kind of made me feel like we weren’t the last humans on Earth. I found it reassuring, but I think Karl pissed himself when they pushed the doors in a couple inches.
I promised to quiet down after that. We all just sat around in a circle, glaring at one another for an hour or so while Karl’s pants dried. That gave the dough time to double in size. I gave it one solid punch down, then floured up the counter and rolled it out.
I really wanted to try the gruesome severed hand effect, so I cut the dough into a long, tapered oval with a nice wide shoulder and a narrow wrist. Then I painted the whole thing with melted butter and spread all the brown sugar and cinnamon on top.
Since this was supposed to look like an arm, I used the apple slices to build up a nice bicep in the top part. I left a little gap for the elbow then put down a single, thick layer of apple slices for the forearm. This also gave me an excuse to make the guys take their shirts off so I could compare anatomy. That would’ve been a lot more fun with Hot Asian Dude or Crossbow Toting Redneck, but you have to work with what you’ve got.
After that, I folded the dough over itself, pinched it tightly closed, and flipped it over. It looked a lot like an apple filled jelly roll until I bent it at the elbow.
Elbows are kind of hard to make. They fold and pucker inwards, plus the skin on either side gently bulges while the actual external pivot point itself isn’t quite where you expect. It’s a couple inches further down from the interior pivot. I tried to convince the guys to keep their shirts off until I got it right, but the walkers started shaking the door and the guys said they didn’t want to die half naked, so I just did my best.
I shoved a couple of apple slices in the gaping wound that would’ve been the wrist.
Then slashed a couple injury lines into the bicep just for good measure. We wanted this to look like an injured human who’d make easy prey, after all. To keep the wounds looking more realistic, I tugged and texturized the openings, then arranged a couple of apple slices inside so it looked like a muscle was sliced open by a knife.
Half an hour later, I popped the life sized arm into a 350F oven for 25-30 minutes. The good news was my mythical man got a nice tan. The bad news was he gained a lot of weight, because even with a reduced rising time, my formerly muscular arm puffed up to high school gym teacher proportions.
While the arm baked, I poured the leftover sangria into a shallow saucepan and added ½ cup of brown sugar plus ½ tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt. Once the whole sloppy mix came to a boil I turned the heat down to low so it could simmer while the arm itself cooked.
The life sized arm came out a little fatter than I would’ve liked, but it smelled fantastic. I’m pretty pleased. The goal is to distract whatever’s lurking outside this door. I don’t know how they could resist this smell.
Now that it has cooled to the touch, I’ve trailed some of the reduced Sangria blood sauce from the gaping arm wounds as well as the horrific severed wrist.
The guys say it smells too good to waste. I’m flattered, but damnit, I just spent hours making us a prop that looks like a human arm. Feed it to the walkers. Whether they’re actors or actually undead, it should keep them busy long enough for us to bolt. Right? Guys?
Stop biting it. You look worse than the undead outside.
Fine. I don’t care. At least save me a piece.
Other Kitchen Overlord Halloween Recipes:
Bloody Banana Guts
Sausage Stuffed Pastry Guts
Red Wine Poached Pear Shoulders
Bloody Beet Flesh
Ethiopian Zombie Wot
Walking Dead Post Apocalyptic Dandelion Green and Walnut Pesto
Zombie Brain Bread
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