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The vampire makeover – extreme edition

Home & Garden

by Hilary Klassen


“ampire obsessed” reads the front of the T-shirt worn by a girl singing Christmas carols in her elementary school choir. She represents the younger side of the vampire obsession that has recently overtaken teen and young adult culture. Vampire movies like Twilight and New Moon and TV series such as True Blood and Vampire Diaries are regular fare. Why this obsession with vampires? Not so long ago they were the feared and dreaded creatures of folklore. If we did a time warp and parachuted this girl into 18th century Europe, she would definitely not be vampire obsessed, she would be vampire horrified. Back then vampire superstition was rampant. Mass hysteria escalated sufficiently to cause several official grave exhumations to make sure the dead stayed dead. How did these mysterious hideous creatures become the “easy on the eyes” romantic heroes of today? In 200 years, the vampire image has undergone a radical makeover. One of the earliest vampire tales was written as a good ghost story. John Polidori’s The Vampyre, published in 1819, featured a mysterious vampire who was “pale, with a face whose form and outline were beautiful.” Vampire literature emerged as a new genre. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is considered its defining work. The vampire evolved from scary to seductive. From the novels of

Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire) to Stephanie Meyer, the shift has solidified. The new vampire, still often male (in recent TV and movie versions, female vampires play supporting roles) is no longer dreaded, he is almost heroic. He is still hungry for blood, but is tormented by this hunger. When Stefan, the vampire hero in the TV series Vampire Diaries, sees his would-be girlf r i e n d cut her finger with a kitchen knife, he turns away as his latent hunger kicks in and sudden vampire features overtake his handsome face. Fangs appear, his eyes morph into cavernous-like sockets, and he struggles to overcome this unwelcome reaction and regain his normal “human” visage. At the same time, vampires have subdivided. Whereas in folklore all vampires were hideous, inciting terror, now we have vampire heroes and vampire villains. Essentially the genre creates a new backdrop for the epic battle between good and evil, where vampires are best suited to vanquish their own kind. The potent combination of danger, mystery and sex appeal captures popular culture. Vampires are a symbol of strength to those who feel powerless. Many of today’s young

Soup’s on

people feel powerless, like outsiders, or they simply don’t want to follow the typical path society has laid out for them. They want to be more than they are. Identification with vampires creates an outlet for these feelings.

consent. The people are not preyed upon. Drinking of blood is officially discouraged. Furthermore, the Veil bans children from vampiric activity and encourages respect for vampire elders.

The modern vampire may well

Still, why be parasitic? Why not increase one’s own life force through legitimate means rather than take it from another? Like a contract between the user and the used, we see this in government and corporate structures. Some people draw their strength from those around them, those who “suck the life out of us.”

be a psychic vampire, that is, he or she feeds on the life force of others instead of their blood. However, apart from the popular obsession, are vampires real? There are a growing number of “vampire lifestylers” and there are those who claim to be real vampires. Vampire Secrets, a 2007 movie documentary produced by the History Channel, cites New York as a global hub of underground vampire activity. Here in the dark underbelly of the city, the “Rome of vampires,” many covens and reportedly thousands of vampires engage in controversial and secretive behaviours.

Why “vampire obsessed?” Maybe it’s drawing attention to where we get our power, identity or life force. Maybe it symbolizes deep human hunger, fear of mortality, desire for eternal youth and the uncontrollable desire to embrace taboos. The vampire will continue to evolve, but it will be hard to go back to the hideous, terrifying figure of the past. No doubt the enigmatic, dangerous beauty of the vampire will continue to intrigue.

Here too, times are changing. The internet has made this hidden underworld slightly more visible, so the guardians of vampire secrets have updated their code, a document known as “The Black Veil.” The modern vampire may be a psychic vampire, that is, he or she feeds on the life force of others instead of their blood. To psychic vampires the Veil says, “Respect the life that you feed upon and do not abuse those who provide for you.” The life force of another is never taken without

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Recipes from the Express Kitchen by Deb Sander Photography and food styling by Neighbourhood Express

One of the most inviting meals on a cold day is a hot bowl of homemade soup. Combine it with a slice of warm fresh bread or a tasty salad and lunch just got a whole lot better.

Hamburger Soup This soup’s so good you’ll be back for more. 1½ lbs lean ground beef 1 medium onion chopped 1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes 2 cups water 3 cans beef consommé soup 4 carrots, chopped 1 bay leaf 3 stalks celery, chopped ½ tsp thyme 1/3 cup pearl barley parsley, salt & pepper to taste In frying pan, brown meat and drain off fat. Add onion and sauté about 3 minutes. Combine all ingredients in large 5 quart pot and simmer for a minimum 2 hours on the stove. You can also make this soup in a crock pot and cook it for 6 to 8 hours on low. Freezes well.

Thick and Creamy Potato Bacon Soup


This delicious homemade soup is incredibly thick, sumptuous, rich and warming. 2 ½ lbs potatoes, cubed 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 celery stalk, chopped 1 or 2 carrots, sliced 10 slices bacon 1 cup instant potatoes 4 cups chicken stock 3 cups half & half (cream) 1 tsp black pepper Preparation: Chop onion, garlic, and celery; set aside. Peel 2 ½ pounds of potatoes and cut them in ½ inch cubes. Put them in a large bowl in cold water so they don’t turn brown. Slice carrots, and set aside.

Cooking directions: Fry approx. 10 slices of bacon until crisp. Place cooked bacon on a plate and discard about 2/3 of the grease from the frying pan. Add onions, garlic and celery to the frying pan and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While onion mixture is sautéing, pour chicken broth into large pot and cook over medium high heat. Crumble bacon and add to the broth. When onion mixture is ready add to the broth. Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add cubed potatoes, carrots, 3 cups half & half cream and 1 tsp black pepper. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for another 45 minutes. Stir a little more than you normally would as the half & half can burn. After 45 minutes add 1 cup of instant potatoes. Stir well and serve.


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