The Things I Do For Comics – The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook
So often, when I set down to write an installment in this series of articles, I do so without joy. Then again, that’s the very idea of the column; I put my sanity on the line to read the worst of the worst so that you fair readers never have to. I suppose you could say that I’m a hero, sure… but I don’t do it for the glory, I do it because if I don’t no one will. This week, however, I stumbled across a bit of history that was delightfully dreadful, and I want the rest of the world to see it in all of its glory… or at least a few dozen people.
Just a glimpse at the cover of this book gives you an idea as to the quality of the recipes within. Spider-Man seems to be presenting some sort of pineapple meatloaf and a hamburger wedged into a loaf of bread with a side of olives. Hulk is super-psyched to offer up a plate of whole tomatoes and puzzle pieces, Captain America has a very interesting twist on the apple pie, and Sue Storm is carrying what appears to be a plate full of whole potatoes. Good lord, I WISH the recipes in this book were as reasonable as the ones I just mentioned. But let’s get down to business.
Right off the bat, this book offers some safety advice for the children to whom it was marketed. Boy, things have changed since 1977. I don’t think you could find any printed material in this day and age (excluding anarchist pamphlets) that encourage children to brandish knives, handle boiling liquids, and start and extinguish fires on their own. Maybe I was too hysterical after reading this warning, but when I went back to the book’s front matter to search for some mention of parental guidance, I found nothing. It’s as if they want these kids to die!
So after the Do’s and Don’ts section is finished, we move straight into the recipes. Or do we? Captain America’s favorite breakfasts options are laid out before the kids in detail, but it’s more of a shopping list than it is a recipe. Sure, the cereal one can be excused, most toddlers know how to prepare that for themselves so they can watch Saturday morning cartoons in style, but pancakes? When I was five I knew more about where babies came from than where pancakes did.
Oh, I see! The recipe for pancakes is printed on the side of the pancake mix box! Things must have been tough before pancake mix was sold in stores, when children had to go foraging in the woods for pancake mix. The “recipe” shown above is, in fact, a craft project. The one below is more along the lines of a science project.
And the goal of this science project? To test the limits of the human gag reflex. Fucking swiss cheese and jelly on pancakes? SLOPPY JOE MIXTURE? This pancake sounds like it’s stuffed with the contents of a prison cafeteria garbage can. I sincerely doubt that the “meat spreads” they recommend as a pancake filling are pâté, I’m assuming we’re talking Armour Potted Meat Product at best.
I think there’s a typo on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I already know this book well enough to know that the recipe for corned beef hash includes a can of corned beef hash, and I’m not surprised that the recipe calls for shortening and catsup. However, I believe a key word is missing from the name of this meal. I’m confident the intended title was “Hawkeye’s Tapeworm’s Corned Beef Hash”. Make sure you use the whole can of corn. Kids love corn.
I mean, they must, right? Why else would this book include it in so many of the recipes? It’s not like corn is a superfood or anything, there are a great number of vegetables more beneficial to one’s diet. Is it possible that the publishers of this book are taking money from Big Corn? I’m certainly not ruling it out. Also? What a pathetic name for Thor’s signature sandwich. It’s got nothing on…
You can tell from that smile that he’s aware of the double entendre. Jesus, though, that’s a piss-poor sandwich. It doesn’t say how much ham to use, but the picture makes it look like we can expect two slices. That’s more slices of bread than slices of ham, for the folks at home. And cheese? Forget about it! Plus, I realize I’m being a bit picky here, but the picture shows the sandwich upside-down relative to the recipe. Throw these kids a bone, Reed. We’re not all rocket scientists.
If there are any child chefs reading right now, please pay special attention to the following sentence. DO NOT EAT HANDFULS OF SHRIMP OR LEMON SLICES. You may like the tastes, and if you’re reading this cookbook there’s a good chance that your parents aren’t exactly present, but please tell someone at school that there’s no actual food in your house and they will see to it that you are taken to a home and fed. If your parents wanted you around, they never would have given you this book.
Now, here’s another scenario. Say your parents are recently deceased, maybe in the last few hours or days, and you’re hungry. There are actual groceries in the house and even some light picnic salads in the fridge. The possibilities are now endless! But here are some of the most disgusting options imaginable.
Has the illustrator ever actually encountered cottage cheese? I’m not a fan of that stuff, but I’ve eaten enough of it to know that it is as subject to the laws of gravity as all other foods. Granted, I wasn’t alive in 1977, but I sincerely doubt that Cottage Cheese was being made at that time from a Care Bears family cloud-based recipe. Taking a look at these other wraps, I have to wonder if Doctor Seuss didn’t ghost-pencil this book. Purple tuna salad? Green coleslaw? Oh, shit… maybe this kid’s parents have been dead for weeks.
Are. You. Goddamn. Kidding. Me? Mix ketchup, peanut butter, and cream cheese together? That sounds like the contents of the slop bucket that a bus boy uses to clear dishes. What kind of party is this?
This recipe is absolutely mind-boggling. The fact that they are so particular about the cheese as to insist that it be processed cheese cracks me up. I wish they would specify that the ground beef be low-grade and the tomato soup be a generic store brand. But I understand the need to stretch the grocery budget when you’re a child cooking for a family of eight.
I have to admit, at one point this book redeemed itself a bit. One page 72 there was a recipe for a cake under the dessert section. Golly! With that base recipe for a one-layer cake they could build upward and create a whole section about fun superhero-themed cakes for every character in the Marvel Universe!
And they almost do it. But when it comes to actually created cakes based on Marvel’s characters, the kids are instructed to use specialized cake mixes. Was page 72 an afterthought? Were they one shitty pun short of a cookbook, so they decided to include a single practical recipe? The world may never know. But right at the end of the book, we do get a recipe that could conceivably be fun for kids. With the simple sugar cookie recipe and a little elbow grease, kids can make cookies shaped like their favorite Marvel heroes! All they have to do is trace a series of headshots onto tracing paper and poke toothpicks through the define the shape of the desired cookie!
But it all kinds of gets overshadowed by the Thing’s unnerving promiscuity. I guess when you weigh several tons and cannot truly experience skin to skin contact with another human being, you develop some kinky tastes. And a winning smile!
Well, to quote the presenter of this hilariously awful little book, ‘Nuff Said!
But I’ll leave you with this BONUS RACISM SECTION.
While the Marvel Comics Group was surprisingly open-minded to the idea of a racially diverse cast of characters in the 1970s, the folks who bought a license for this book were not so savvy. Between one potentially honest mistake a few misplaced stereotypes, this is easily the most racist cookook I’ve ever encountered. I should mention, however, that I’ve never read anything by Paula Deen.
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Posted on December 29, 2013, in Books, COMICS!, The Things I Do For Comics and tagged Captain America, Cookbook, Fantastic Four, Food, Galactus, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, Marvel, spider-man, the thing, Thor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.