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Cooking Through Fiction: Dracula's Robber Steak

Continuing in the pursuit of cooking my way through fiction, I’ve been reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Within a few chapters, it’s as though a shroud has been draped over the entire world. Sunlight cannot penetrate the darkness, and as a reader tumbles into this gothic realm, one begins to wonder if anything other than flickering firelight exists at all. Perhaps there are only degrees of darkness, ranging from the silvery gray of twilight to the absolute stygian blackness. On the rare occasions when a moon can be seen, villagers are mesmerized, desperate for its light.

But the novel starts innocently enough with Jonathan Harker’s journal entry. In his travelogue, he details his adventure through the Carpathian Mountains toward the castle of Count Dracula, and Harker describes the food he eats during some of his stops before the story becomes ghastly and dark. However, the recipe (taken nearly verbatim from the text) was delicious and satisfying.

“There are many odd things to put down, and, lest who reads them may fancy that I dined too well before I left Bistritz, let me put down my dinner exactly. I dined on what they called ‘robber steak’—bits of bacon, onion, and beef, seasoned with red pepper, and strung on sticks, and roasted over the fire, in simple style of the London cat’s meat!” (Dracula by Bram Stoker, Chapter 1)

Dracula’s Robber Steak

Serves: 6 Difficulty level: Easy


1 lb beef cut into cubes 10 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into pieces 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into cubes 2 red bell peppers, cut into cubes 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika 2 tbsps olive oil, divided salt and pepper to taste skewers optional: pita or flatbread

How to Make

  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Heat grill to medium high heat.

  3. Season the beef with paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil.

  4. Toss cubed onion and peppers with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Alternate the ingredients on skewers.

  6. Grill until meat is cooked to desire temperature.

  7. Serve with warmed pita or flatbread.

Read my review of Dracula on Goodreads.

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