If I never have to talk about American Halloween again I will be perfectly fine. Alas, that is far from the case. I will be discussing Halloween with Austrians at least through mid-November. Since some of the teachers have asked me to make sure all of their classes get to hear my take on Halloween, I guess that means I’ve prepared my lesson well, but I don’t even like Halloween that much. I don’t get excited about candy corn and find little enjoyment in watching horror movies.
In each class I’ve passed out a list of 45 Halloween-related vocabulary words. Even the students who are set to graduate next summer and become English teachers in primary schools have had questions from the list. Graveyard and tombstone are often confused, eerie and cobweb are new, as are jack-o-lantern and candy corn. And ghoul. I get lots of questions about ghoul.
Which made me realize I don’t exactly know what a ghoul is. Sure, it’s something that comes out on Halloween like a ghost, witch, or goblin…but unlike those, it has no specific shape. This, of course, makes it a lot more difficult to explain to my students. A graveyard is simply a Friedhof while a tombstone is a Grabstein and eerie means the same as spooky, which everyone already knew.
Over the past few weeks I’ve learned that sometimes you have to come up with explanations for English words really quickly, and often they are the sort of word you know that you know, but you can’t quite define. Like ghoul. I told my students it was an evil spirit and promised myself I would look it up when I got a chance. Later I did a quick Google search for “define: ghoul” and luckily…”an evil spirit or phantom, esp. one supposed to rob graves and feed on dead bodies.” Well, I didn’t know ghouls robbed graves but at least they are definitely evil spirits.
Now, a less-than-graceful segway to food. I have to confess: I don’t quite have a recipe for you today. Though I, of course, have been cooking (a girl’s gotta eat!), I haven’t made anything I feel is acceptable to share. So I’ve gone back to the archives and found these Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins which I made last October and I know I followed the original recipe exactly.
That’s crazy, right? It’s probably because I was baking with cream cheese, which isn’t something I normally do, and I was also working with my friend Tyne. This recipe was actually something she suggested as a roommate bonding activity. These muffins were definitely a hit. The sweet and slightly spicy pumpkin pairs really well with the creamy faintly vanilla flavored cheesecake. We made a combination of both mini and regular muffins and if memory serves correctly, they didn’t last too long! You can find the original recipe here.