Sunday marks the season finale of my new favorite nightmare / widely acclaimed HBO series, True Detective. And if there's one thing I've learned from watching this particular mystery unfold, it's that the show is ripe with allusion. To food. Also, I'm told, to some other things, like death, Nietzsche, and the occult.
Now, if you haven't been watching, I'll do my best to avoid spoilers, but I'd also strongly recommend that you stop reading this immediately and head straight for your preferred viewing method (cough, my boyfriend's parents' HBO GO account). You can thank me later.
Appetizer: Beef Spirals
First up, a tribute to the show's eerily recurring spiral-shaped symbol, in the fitting form of
dead meat grilled beef. Flank steak is wrapped around a crunchy, cheesy, meaty filling of garlic, scallions, parsley, salami, Fontina, and Parmigiano, and bread crumbs. Roll it on up like a jelly roll, slice it into individual servings, and fire away! If the "flesh" bit rings a little too nauseatingly true, you could also go with some grilled cheese roll-ups. Same idea, only cheese.
Side: Seedy Breadsticks
I'd recommend going craftsy with these and building your very own devil's trap centerpiece—a little butcher's twine would do the trick nicely. Or just scatter them about in dark corners to terrify your guests. But even in a breadbasket, these "seedy" sticks are "bound" to remind you of the show's darkest moments.
Main: Green Spaghetti Monster
The elusive green-eared spaghetti monster gets a fittingly heated tribute with this pasta recipe, featuring a spicy arugula and jalapeño pesto, sprinkled with finely julienned slivers of zucchini.
Dessert: Yellow King Cake
Time your dessert with the great unveiling of the show's mysterious antagonist, The Yellow King. Properly drizzled, the icing even takes on a hair-raising resemblance to a real crown. Spooky!
Though this version features a white glaze topped with multi-colored sugar, a squeeze of food coloring and some yellow sanding sugar will quickly transform this bad boy into the perfect vessel for a ritualistic massacre. With your mouth.
Feeling a little lazy? Grab a box of yellow cake or try this quick and easy yellow birthday cake recipe from scratch!
Drinks: Whiskey and Lone Star
And, of course, no True Detective viewing would be complete without a generous serving of booze. We'll be drowning our sorrows and fears in a whole lot of whiskey, with a chaser of Lone Star tall boys. Can-carving tutorial, anyone?
Not sure which whiskey to go for? Check out our guides:
- The 10 Best Budget Bourbons
- The 6 Best Budget Ryes
- The Serious Eats Guide to Rye Whiskey
- The Serious Eats Guide to Tennessee Whiskey
What punny True Detective foods did we miss? Some red herring mayhaps? A wreath of thyme?
About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a recent graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into oysters, offal, and most edible things. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatandcry.