The endless stream of social events during the holiday season can be exhausting. All that schmoozing, hobnobbing, and quaffing takes a lot of effort, and can dull the enthusiasm of even the most spirited reveler. This is when it pays to be a provocateur and serve up a surprise to guests.
Proffered at just the right moment, a well-chosen food item, gift, or garnish can rejuvenate a wilting crowd, sparking conversation and making people wonder, “Where on this sweet Earth did that come from?” Here are some present ideas for the dinner party prankster.
This is one part of Atlas Obscura’s eight-part 2015 gift guide. See the rest.
7. Sourtoe Cocktail
The Downtown Hotel in Canada’s Yukon territory serves drinks with one hell of a unique garnish: a pickled human toe. The establishment’s Sourtoe Cocktail, served daily, consists of any beverage you desire plus the toe, which is plopped into the glass. The aim is not to drink the toe—they’re in short supply—but to let it touch your lips as you down the liquid. Only then can you say you are a member of the Sourtoe Club, a status that comes with a certificate and, of course, bragging rights.
6. Alien-Abducted-Cow Jerky
A long-present problem in the world has been the absence of a beef jerky product targeted specifically toward extraterrestrial enthusiasts. But the wait is now over. Alien Fresh Jerky, a roadside purveyor of desiccated meats located in Baker, California, offers a range of jerky they claim is the best in the universe. The standout flavor is the pineapple teriyaki, allegedly sourced from cows that have been beamed aboard alien spacecraft.
5. Miracle Fruit Tablets
Turn a sedate gathering into a flavor-tripping party with Miracle Fruit tabs, which make savory foods taste sweet. Then use your candied mouths to have a solid chat about why the FDA refused to approve the berries for use as a natural sweetener.
4. CCCP Cook Book
Chocolate fountains are so over. The hottest trend in dinner party cooking is Soviet-styled finger foods. Get on board with the CCCP Cook Book, which features aspic, borscht, caviar, herring, and a bonus buffet of communist propaganda.
3. Argan Oil
The perfect gift for a party host, argan oil is moisturizing, pleasantly nutty, and comes from Moroccan trees inhabited by fearless, bough-climbing goats. These goats eat the tree’s fruit and poop out the indigestible seeds, which are then collected, processed, and turned into the pricey argan oil you see on the shelves of cosmetics boutiques.
2. Skull Ice Molds
Sure, you want your guests to have a rollicking good time, but why not throw a little memento mori into their drinks so that they fully appreciate the precious, fleeting nature of existence? An ice skull or two will get the message across in a subtle way. As the skull melts, it becomes another metaphor for the fragility of life. Neat-o!
1. Cricket Lollipops
Add some pizzazz to the dessert course with crickets encased in pastel candy. Available in grape, strawberry, orange, and blueberry flavors, each contains a cricket with a satisfying crunch. Carb-conscious eaters, please note that they’re sugar-free.
Gastro Obscura covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink.
Sign up for our email, delivered twice a week.