Before I begin, I must address the elephant in the room: yes, I thought Halloween was last Wednesday. While I made it known in the previous post that my sickness had caused a bit of fuzziness in my brain, clearly I underestimated quite how compromised my cognitive abilities were that weekend. I come to you this week–the week when the holiday of Halloween actually occurs–as a far more logical individual. You can disregard my dramatic rant about the missed opportunity to create a festive dessert; in efforts to compensate for that lapse in common sense, I’ve made something for you that screams Halloween. Not only does this recipe contain multiple vegan-friendly junk foods, it resembles one of the most characteristic creatures of the holiday: the mummy.
It’s no cinematic-quality, dust-covered, scare-the-pants-off-you mummy. I considered taking the realistic approach with this idea for a good five seconds before deciding the cute route was the better choice. I had to suppress the part of me that wanted to execute a lifelike, horrifying dessert–I knew that my lofty visions of creating scary guts and ghosts and gore out of Twizzlers and airheads would only end in failure. Thus, the friendly mummy was born, and the surface of this Oreo tart became equally as welcoming as its chocolatey, mousse-filled insides.
If I’m completely honest, I needed a welcoming end to this week. On Wednesday, I had a routine orthopedist appointment that resulted in an unexpected possibility of another stress fracture in my fibula. I am banned from dancing other than barre (about the first half hour of ballet class) until further results can be detected with an MRI. If anything could have made me want to wrap myself up and retreat into solitude (not unlike a mummy), this was it. I left the office in a sort of daze and called my parents to relay the news. I was supposed to be at the dance studio in thirty minutes for a day of rehearsals, and the thought of telling my teachers about what happened made my stomach twist into stiff knots.
I made it there with some time to spare and managed to make it up the stairs into the building despite the thick wave of dread pushing me the other way. I had planned to meet with one of my three instructors before class to tell her my situation–when I walked into the office to find all of them there, I realized I’d be ripping off the bandaid in one swipe. I’d visualized the interaction over and over in my Uber on the way there: in every mental replay my news was met with panic, disappointment, and frustration. So when I sat on the office couch across from them and tearfully explained what had happened, I braced for the worst like a child who’s done something wrong and knows the inevitable discipline to come. I was left feeling rather ridiculous when the response I received was everything but what I’d prepared for: calm, supportive, encouragement. I had unwrapped the tattered cloth strips of a mummy expecting to find a disgusting, rotted interior– instead I found a harmless candy face. Sure, it was still a monster. The news of my appointment had not changed. But when I started having conversations about it, I was pulled from my flailing, suffocating sensation back down to the ground, to reality.
Sometimes when I’m hit with something that challenges my composure, my instinctual response is to internalize my emotions and cut off the social interaction. I know that this can be restorative under certain circumstances; I’m all for a night alone with ice cream and a movie here and there. However, often my tendency to isolate myself from things that bring up painful feelings causes me to also be isolated from what brings me healing. In efforts to stay distanced from my struggles with injury in the past, I’ve inadvertently distanced myself from family, friends, and God. Being alone allowed my imagination to grip my mind with fear–I constantly envisioned the horrors that could be lying beneath that tightly concealed mummy of injury, but I never dared to actually look.I see now how harmful that behavior was, and I’m sharing this realization so that I can hold myself accountable as I face the issue once again and so that anyone else experiencing a recurring hardship may avoid the mistakes I’ve made. This time around, I will reach out to others when I’d rather sit at home and feel sorry for myself. This time, I’ll seek out face-to-face conversations when the temptation of numbing my emotions with social media is pulling fiercely. This time, I’ll suppress the swells of anxiety and anger with prayer. I’m feeling more than ever a calling to fight for joy, as strange as it may sound, and I know now how worthy of a fight it is. This time, whether it be a matter of days or weeks, I’ll always unwrap the mummy.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Mummy Oreo Tartlets (V) (Makes 2 4.5″ tartlets)
- 16 double stuffed Oreos
- 6 TBSP vegan butter/margarine, melted (I used earth balance buttery sticks)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 tsp agar agar powder
- about 1.3 oz vegan chocolate (strange amount I know, it’s 3 rectangles of a Trader Joe’s pound plus bar)
- 6 mystery white Airheads and one colored Airhead
- 1 Twizzler
- Separate cream from Oreos; set aside cream for use later.
- Combine separated cookies and melted butter/margarine in bowl of food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form that stick together when pressed between your fingers.
- Distribute the cookie mixture evenly between the two tart tins, and press it into bottom and sides of each to form crust.
- Place in freezer to chill while you make filling.
- Whisk together almond milk and agar agar powder in small saucepan. Turn on medium heat.
- While almond milk mixture heats up, melt the separated Oreo cream with chocolate in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between until melted.
- When almond milk mixture comes to a boil (bubbles throughout, not just on the outside), pour the cream/chocolate mixture into the saucepan, scraping all of it with a spatula.
- Stir until completely incorporated and mixture returns to a steady boil.
- Remove from heat, and immediately pour half of mixture into each tart pan on top of crust.
- Carefully place in fridge and leave to set, about an hour.
- Cut white Airheads in half lengthwise with scissors to form strips. Use the colored Airhead to form eyes, and use Twizzler to form mouth and pupils. Place features on tartlets and cover with strips as desired to make mummy.