Author’s wife donated ‘Dracula salad’ recipe to help church

Bram Stoker's wife Florence contributed to the recipe book, with sales used to build a church extension.

Author’s wife donated ‘Dracula salad’ recipe to help church church of scotland

The wife of the creator of the world’s most famous vampire donated a recipe for ‘Dracula Salad’ to help renovate an historic Aberdeenshire church.

Florence Balcombe contributed to a pamphlet sold in aid of Cruden Parish Church shortly after her husband Bram Stoker died in 1912.

The entry reads: “Arrange alternative slices of ripe tomatoes and ripe purple egg shaped plums in dish and dress with oil and vinegar French dressing.”

All the proceeds from the sale of ‘Cruden Recipes and Wrinkles’ went towards building an extension at Cruden Parish Church, which dates back to 1776, to house an organ.

Minister Rev Sean Swindells revealed the Irish author’s association with his congregation in an online reflection.

Bram Stoker, who was raised in the Church of Ireland, was a regular visitor to Cruden Bay between 1893 and 1910 and wrote the early chapters of Dracula there.

He took the inspiration for Castle Dracula from nearby Slains Castle, a ruined cliff top fortress which has a distinctive octagonal hall which matches the description of a room in the Gothic horror novel.

Florence Balcombe is said to have spent a lot of her time playing golf in Cruden Bay and meeting with friends while her husband was writing.

Mr Swindells said: “For each day of lockdown, I have been publishing a reflection on the church Facebook page and website and we have held online Bible study groups, Sunday evening services and provided pastoral support via phone and email.

“To keep things fresh and relevant this has included some key historical figures like Bram Stoker and to date the most popular reflection appears to be the one about the blood sucking Count Dracula that we published.

“It is a fascinating piece of history but of course within the Christian religion, the shedding of blood through sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, takes on a completely new dimension.

“Rather than the sacrifice of an animal, Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, becomes the sacrifice.

“His shedding of blood and death by the Romans through crucifixion, is seen as a once for all cosmic act of forgiveness.”

Rev Sean Swindells with the recipe for Dracula Salad

London-based Bram Stoker wrote two other books in Cruden Bay – The Watter’s Mou’ and The Mystery of the Sea – but remains most famous for Dracula.

The eponymous character has been brought to life on the silver screen by actors Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman.

Mike Shepherd, author of ‘When Brave Men Shudder: The Scottish origins of Dracula’, said: “Bram Stoker fell in love with the village and used it as his writing den, returning year after year.

“He was a part-time author and he ran the Lyceum Theatre in London which was owned by the most famous actor in the world at the time, Henry Irving.

“Stoker would get a month off every summer when the theatre shut down and while he wrote Florence played golf in the village and met friends.

“She submitted two recipes for the pamphlet, including the Dracula Salad, because of the links between her late husband, Cruden Bay and Dracula.”