“Meals for Monsters” Visits THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)

Review and Recipes by Jenny Orosel

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011) is one of those movies that people absolutely love or passionately hate.  I loved it, and that was purely accidental.

A few months after the birth of my daughter, I had an afternoon to myself and a free movie pass.  I’d fallen out of the movie loop and was only vaguely familiar with half the titles showing.  THE CABIN IN THE WOODS sounded like your typical slasher flick and the previews reiterated that.  On my way out the door I heard my husband say, “Oh, that’s interesting.  Joss Whedon wrote the script.”  From that moment my expectations went out the window.

In case you’ve been living in Amish country for the past decade and a half, Joss Whedon is the mastermind behind genre-tweaking shows like BUFFY THE VAPIRE SLAYER and FIREFLY.  For CABIN, he went all out.  Five college students plan for a weekend at the titular cabin.  They cover the slasher film archetypes—the innocent, the slut, the stoner, the nerd and the jock.  After reading strange words from a diary in the basement, the five are pursued by a century-old redneck-cannibal-zombie family.  Only, it’s not so simple.  The slut has a brain, the nerd is good looking and athletic, the innocent isn’t all that innocent, and the redneck-cannibal-zombie family was sent by a nameless organization who set up the whole weekend specifically to make sure those five die a miserable, violent death.  Will they survive the cannibals or will the organization step in and do the job themselves?

The plot isn’t what made CABIN great, although it was a fun story. Few movies could have as many in-jokes and odd references as CABIN did and make them integral to the story. Whedon and director Drew Goddard blended in those references both at the forefront and the background of the movie.  Even after repeated viewings, I was still able to spot things that I hadn’t noticed before.  So here’s a meal that, not only could work for a trip to a cabin in the woods, but also while sitting in front of the TV, watching CABIN for the third time.

Very little is actually consumed in CABIN.  The kids drink beer in the woods, and the organization drones have coffee and tequila.  Beer is easy—open, drink.  But if beer’s not your speed, try:


3 tablespoons sweetened instant cinnamon coffee
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 shot tequila

Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and let cool (because warm tequila is rather nasty).  Mix with the shot of tequila and enjoy either straight or over ice.


Every time my family would go camping, canned beef stew was a staple.  It travelled well, was easy to heat and eat, and was a somewhat well-rounded meal.  Two negatives were that it wasn’t very interesting, and you still had to clean up a bunch of bowls.  A decent hot sauce will at least aid in the first.  The second can be solved with edible biscuit bowls.


For those, you need:
Tube of refrigerated biscuit dough
Muffin pan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Separate the dough into individual biscuits.  Flatten each until it’s about three to four inches across.  Flip the pan over and stretch the dough over the indentations, pinching together any excess.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until browned.  They can either be eaten hot at home, filled with stew or chunky-style soup, or they can easily be cooled off and packed for your next trip into the woods.  When planning, figure three to four bowls per person.

Edible Biscut Bowls – the finished product!


The dessert is to honor the character of Marty, the “stoner” archetype.  While his first on-screen appearance is toking from a travel-mug-turned-bong, he turned out to be much more important.  So, as a nod to him:


2 sticks butter, melted then cooled to room temperature
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 chopped herbs (I used mint for my brownies, but feel free to use any other…herbs).

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8×8 pan.  Mix the eggs and sugar.  Combine in all but the last ingredients.  Fold in the herbs (being careful to emit stems and twigs).  Bake for 45 minutes.  Once cooled, slice and remove from pan.


On a side note, I want to say that Netflix displeases me.  I was excited to watch the DVD, hearing there was an audio commentary and some fun extras.  The copy from Netflix?  It has Spanish subtitles and four trailers, including two movies that came out a couple years ago.  At least it was the same movie I remembered.

Whether you watch the bare bones version or the blu-ray with 1001 extras, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a fun movie and one of the rare ones that can hold up to repeat viewings.  Hopefully you try something from here the next time you watch it, and I hope you enjoy.

© Copyright 2012 by Jenny Orosel


One Response to ““Meals for Monsters” Visits THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)”

  1. Okay, the biscuit bowls are just brilliant. Can’t wait to use this during football season.

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