Things Just Taste Better Out Of A SkullCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 45•11 • Mar 12, 2009 By Munkarth the Lesser I'm a man who knows what he likes. I like the hot spray of fresh blood against my face, I like the cold clasp of wrought-iron chain mail around my thighs, and, of course, I like the taste of almost anything consumed from the skull of a beheaded enemy. For me, nothing beats a crisp beverage or hearty entrée served in the bony remains of a human head. Whether I'm swilling down breakfast mush or nibbling on a light dinner salad, a skull turns any dining experience into a special event.I don't know what it is, but food served in a hollowed-out brain pan is always delicious. My wife says it's a psychological thing, and there's definitely some truth to that. Eating from a skull stirs up memories of standing victorious upon a smoldering battlefield, the piercing shriek of a slain foe's death cry still ringing in one's ears—and that little bit of magic can really make some make fresh-picked strawberries lightly brushed with a balsamic vinegar reduction jump to life. I'll never forget the first time I ate from the still-warm skull of an enemy. Barely 19 and returning home from a decisive victory over a sworn nemesis, I chose to celebrate with a feast of truffled lobster risotto in a shiitake mushroom garnish. My uncle Duvan the Middle suggested that, instead of eating it from a pasta bowl, I fashion a crude serving receptacle from the skull of a warrior chieftain I had slaughtered that day. A couple of bites and I was hooked. What a gastronomic revelation!No matter what my wife says, though, I've eaten from enough skulls to know my gustatory reaction is about more than cherished reminiscences of horrifying carnage. Stews and pot roasts in particular have a way of seeping into the nooks and crannies of the bones, infusing every bite with flavor. And the lingering hint of dense connective tissue and cerebrospinal fluid can spice up any dish. Once you've tried skulls, I guarantee you won't return to traditional dinnerware.Most folks have a little trepidation their first time, but that's only natural if you stop to consider that the object you're eating from used to contain a mind bent on hacking you to pieces with a broadsword. You're bound to think, 'If my blade had been a fraction of a second slower, if my shield had failed to repel just one blow, then someone would be eating food out of my skull right now.' And, I suppose, my archrival Gundemar the Visigoth could one day be guzzling from my head that dish his wife so generously calls baked ziti.But no skull in the world is going to make that edible.If I've piqued your interest, allow me to offer a few cranial-culinary tips: First, it's very important that each skull come from a vanquished mortal adversary. Simply killing that neighbor with the yapping dog isn't going to cut it. Second, when you step into the kitchen, keep in mind that your only limits are the number of heads you've lopped off and your own creativity.I like to throw dinner parties for my friends, each with a different theme. For example, after a successful ambush of invading Gauls, we might prepare a sumptuous bouillabaisse that we've let simmer for hours in our enemies' severed heads. And another time we might have Taco Night.Believe me, the 22 bones of the skull aren't the only ones rife with gourmet possibilities. Back in college, we used to make beer bongs with spines we ripped from the chests of our rivals. More recently, my family has begun starting each day with a fruit smoothie spooned from a hollowed-out femur—a healthy treat that is an absolute delight after you've sucked down a few mouthfuls of marrow. Before you start trying out your own recipes, though, I must issue a stern warning: Remember to observe the difference between the freshly decapitated skull of a long-despised opponent and that of a person you hate out of mere narrow-minded prejudice. To sup from the first is to be a warrior born, one beholden to sacred traditions and values. To sup from the latter is plain bigotry. Do not dishonor the customs of our people, or one day you might find your own skull being used to serve hummus to my in-laws!I will use your eye sockets to hold the chips! I will use the gaps between your teeth to hold the crudités! By Odin, I will lick your skull clean when we're though snacking!Please excuse my outburst. So, if you're skilled with a blade, part of a family that nurses centuries-old blood feuds, or simply looking for an excuse to indulge your taste buds, eating and drinking from a human skull might be just the thing for you. You'll never go back to eating out of sheep bladders.