Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Severed heads-- desserts don't GET more Catholic than this

My fascinating friend Rachel invited me to a party last weekend, and on the treats table I beheld some Rice Krispies creations which I naively took for Santa Claus heads:



What else could they be, right? Well, then I discovered that Rachel had guarded against any such jolly interpretation with this sign:



"Severed Head Treats." It seems the man she's dating mailed her some of these homemade delectables, and she was so entranced she recreated them for her party. I'd say he's had a macabre influence on her, but it might just as easily be the other way around.

Anyway, I thought the treats were hilarious and I popped a bunch of them in my mouth and delighted the in pools of cherry-flavored blood left behind:



But I was vexed by the question of how I was going to manage to post them on my blog. Obviously they had to be posted, but since they were so explicitly labeled as not Santa heads nor anything having to do with the beautiful Christmas season, what excuse could I make to claim them as Catholic?

And then it came to me in a flash of inspiration which I credit to all the Scripture readings we have at Mass just before Christmas about St. John the Baptist: these are obviously his head!

My sporting friend at once manufactured for me a silver platter:



And there he sits, eerie, mouthless, silently accusing, and oh, so delicious.

I also obtained a picture of Salome and her mother Herodias, grimly triumphant over the (apparently shrunken) head of the prophet who dared to cross them.



(That's actually Rachel on the right and her sister Hannah, and I love that when I asked them to pose with the head they at once wiped their smiles off-- they have an innate sense of the dramatic that makes for excellent pictures, as I've often noticed on Rachel's blog before now.)

If you're not familiar with the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, the version from Mark is below. It's an interesting vignette from the New Testament. He's the archetype of speaking the truth to power no matter the personal cost-- invoke him to pray for our bishops!

For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want, and I'll give it to you." And he promised her with an oath, "Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom." She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?"

"The head of John the Baptist," she answered. At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter." The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. On hearing of this, John's disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

4 comments:

The Cellarer said...

Oh I just have to make these with the kids... though I might make them with raspberry jam as it would look more realistic, ahem, I mean I prefer it to cherry....

Rachel Gray said...

Oh, I love the jam idea!

Dymphna said...

How did she do this?

Rachel Gray said...

I think she made a recipe of Rice Krispies Treats and formed it into balls, then dipped them in chocolate at one end and pink frosting at the other (red dipping chocolate from a craft store would be less messy). The eyes and mouth look like little bits of chocolate; mini chocolate chips would probably work. If the treats are still warm the eyes will probably stick without any melted chocolate or frosting for glue.