The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell S1E1: Snacks for Strays


Have you watched the new Netflix show, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell? This food show is totally addicting.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell feels like what would happen if you crossed Martha Stewart with Morticia Adams. The Netflix show features Christine, of course. She lives in a beautiful Victorian gingerbread mansion and bakes incredible things, all while dressed in fantastic vintage dresses that never get messy. Inside, her mansion features adorable pink appliances as well as skulls, spiders, and all things macabre. She shares the mansion with creatures, at least two of which are raised from the dead.

Episode one sets the tone from the start. We see the lovely mansion and Christine inside, a dead-ringer for Snow White in her blue vintage gown with white details and cameo brooch. She is gently handling a skull, contemplating it. She pauses to eat a tarantula. It is all very surreal.

Soon after, we meet her housemates. Rose is a raccoon? She appears to have a raccoon face, a skunk tail, and a fork for a hand. We later learn that Rose was killed in a trash compactor but Christine revived her. Rose has an insatiable appetite and a murderous bent.

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  • Joining them is Rankle, a mummified cat from ancient Egypt. She was robbed from her tomb and ended up in an antique shop. Christine found Rankle, read the spell on the burial cloth, and resurrected the cat. Rankle was worshipped in Egypt and has the inflated sense of self you would expect. At one point she tells us, “my followers used to make little replicas of me out of the purest gold. They would pray to them most fervently. Some of those sculptures still exist.” Rose replies, “why don’t you go find one and pray to it that you meet someone who cares?”

    Christine also seems to have some sort of octopus living in her fridge named Millie. Rose, Rankle, and Millie are creations of Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson.

    The plot of the episode is that Christine predicts they will have a visitor soon so she plans a late-night snack. She calmly tells us that the kitchen of a good hostess never closes, and then she whips up a treat that would take me all day to make. She shows us how to make peanut butter pretzel bones.

    Basically, she mixes peanut butter, butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and a little salt to create an edible clay. She creates four little balls of the clay and then rolls out a thin piece. She uses the thin piece of clay to wrap around a pretzel rod lengthwise, and then she uses two little balls of clay on each end to create the general shape of a bone. She smooths down the balls of clay until she has a good bone shape.

    After chilling it in the freezer for two hours, she then proceeds to shape the bone with a vegetable peeler and sculpting tools. Once satisfied with the shape, she dips it in white chocolate, lets that set, and shapes it further. She puts tiny pits in the ends of the bones to provide even more realism, and then finishes by airbrushing it. You could use her finished product in a movie set; it is so realistic. And given that it is made of peanut butter, pretzels, and chocolate, that has to be the best tasting bone anyone could eat.

    Her ”snack” made, the predicted visitor arrives. He appears to be something of a werewolf, but she tells us not to get hung up on labels. She welcomes him to the house where “the strange and unusual are safe and welcome” and invites him to live with them.

    After serving him the peanut butter bones on a fine silver platter covered in chocolate crumb dirt, she sends the new housemate off to bed. She warns Rose and Rankle, “no murder plots tonight. Be sure to floss” and goes off to bed herself.

    The new creature is Edgar, and Rose and Rankle are determined to get rid of him. To welcome Edgar, Christine plans to create a cake replica of their house with little Edgars out of rice cereal treats. Rose tells her, “I still think murder’s a better surprise. It always catches people off guard.”

    Christine’s creations are not something that most would dare to replicate. The ingredient list for the house includes edible powder pigments, modeling chocolate, sculpting tools, paintbrushes and an airbrush. However, you can pick up some useful tips as you watch her.

    For instance, she stresses the importance of support when making a large cake structure. Too often, I have seen competitions where a cake collapsed due to lack of structure. She recommends cake boards and dowel rods inserted every four to five inches.

    The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, photo provided by Netflix

    She demonstrates how to sculpt eyeballs, starting with a ball of modeling chocolate big enough for two eyes and then cutting it in half as an easy way to get two eyes of the same size. She also shows us how to use powder pigments to paint details, moistening them with vodka. The vodka makes them paint-like, but evaporates quickly so that the paint doesn’t run. She creates eyelids out of half circles of modeling chocolate and uses the folds and tilt to create menace. Finally, she uses clear piping gel to create a realistic glisten to the eye.

    On the house, she recommends using a blade to cut slats into the chilled buttercream, which gives it a more wooden texture. For the windows, she outlines them in icing and then scrapes out buttercream to create an inset casing.

    When making her little rice cereal Edgar, she shows us how to make teeth and claws. Using a very small piping tip, she places the tip where she wants the base of a tooth or claw to be, and then she pulls away into the air, leaving a little spike of white royal icing.

    After she finishes her little Edgar treat, Rose tells Rankle, “that cookie isn’t the only thing that’s going to be expiring soon.” They cackle loudly, and then the cat says, “you mean you’re gonna kill Edgar, right?” It’s a funny little moment that lightens the macabre mood. Rose sprinkles poison over the newly made cake.

    Edgar arrives for his surprise party with a large roll of paper under one arm. Rose mistakes it for a gun and falls back into the cake, destroying it. Christine calmly accepts this and says she always makes a backup. She is clearly a fairy princess or witch because, if I had spent days on that cake and someone destroyed it, murder would still be on the agenda.

    Edgar unrolls the paper he is holding to reveal a hand-drawn picture of his new family. Christine is enchanted while Rose tells him he ruined everything, everything being his own murder. Edgar howls in distress and Rankle tells him, “the cruel universe is indifferent to your suffering” and then spots the replacement confection and says, “oh! Cake!”

    The episode ends with a brick through the window bearing a message, “keep it down freaks.” Perhaps soon we will meet the neighbors of this odd bunch.

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    With a disconcerting mix of Disney fairy tale with the Brothers Grimm, funny interactions between the creatures, stunning creations to admire, and a few tips anyone can use, this show is definitely worth your time. I look forward to seeing what Christine dreams up next!