Frankenweenie is one of those spooky Tim Burton stop motion animation features that I adore. The story is simple and sweet, a young Victor Frankenstein who uses Science! to bring his beloved dog Sparky back from an untimely end. It’s stylishly black and white, and draws heavily from vintage monster movies.
It takes place in the charming town of New Holland, where each of the school children are hilariously creepy in their own way – my favorite is the weird blond girl who has a pretty Victorian bedroom and makes divinations from her cat’s litter box (“you’ll dream of me one day, won’t you kitty??”)
There’s a good bit of food in the movie, including Mr. Frankenstein using fondue to make a point about compromise – aka no one getting what they want – and Mrs. Frankenstein has a classic housewife thing going and spends a lot of time in the kitchen making waffles and cookies and other homey foods. There’s even an actual recipe from a cookbook for Double Dutch Cherry Cupcakes (the town’s Dutch Day Festival is a fall carnival) which of course I’ll try at some point. There’s some good carnival food too that proves useful – salty popcorn is surprisingly effective for defeating reanimated sea monkeys.
What made me really fall in love with it was the ending. (Beware, spoilers for Frankenweenie). Whereas I thought it was going to be a bland story of dealing with loss, instead the message is about using all your power to hold on to what you love. Maybe not the healthier of the two messages? But definitely the more interesting.
For this recipe I cobbled together a few ingredients, electrified it with some savory seasonings, and served it up hotdog style – it’s aliiiive!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 slices bread
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
- good palmful sage, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt (and an extra pinch)
- fresh cracked pepper
- oil for frying
Blitz the bread into soft crumbs in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, melted butter, garlic, apple, sage, salt and pepper. Add beef and chicken and mix well.
In a frying pan, heat a small amount of oil. Shape the meat mixture into long sausage shapes and fry in batches, rolling to brown on all sides, adding more oil as necessary. Drain on a paper towel.
Serve on potato hotdog buns with lots of dijon mustard!
I’ve been listening to a lot of Bloody Good Horror podcasts lately; they did NOT like this movie. It’s worth a listen though, because what they say about it is not wrong – they dislike the super dry humor, the too dark imagery, and the muddied end message. I liked it for all the reasons they didn’t; at one point they ask, “who is this movie for??” to which I answer “for me!” It’s not going to be everyone’s dog biscuit, but it hits all the quadrants (spooky, stylish, quirky and sweet) of the things I love.