Nearly a third of Marvel’s comic book characters have roots in a neighborhood of New York City known as Hell’s Kitchen. Nick Fury grew up there, as did the yarmulke sporting rock monster known as the Thing. Daredevil calls Hell’s Kitchen his home, as did Stiltman, Vermin and Ms. Lion.
That so many Marvel denizens live in the same neighborhood is understandable. Most of the Marvel stories take place in the city that never sleeps, and let’s face it… the rents in Williamsburg are astronomical right now. The fact that now-legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby grew up in Hell’s Kitchen probably didn’t hurt matters, either.
Maybe this “Hell’s Kitchen” connection can explain the curious artifact of comic’s past: The Marvel Comics Cookbook.
Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook was published in 1977 by a division of Simon & Schuster called Fireside books. Fireside books also published the famous “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way,” the indispensable book detailing Marvel comic secrets. Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook was, how should we say, LESS indispensable?
Ostensibly written by Stan Lee (I mean, it says he wrote it right on the cover…that means that he wrote it, right?) with illustrations by Jack Kirby, John Romita and any other Marvel bullpen artist needing a pay check at the time, the book was packed with bizarre recipes, anecdotes and other forgettable food moments that you wouldn’t shake a Hostess Fruit Pie at.
Gigantic, oozing Hulk burgers and disgusting casseroles, probably named after Thor or Captain America abounded in this culinary abomination. Any food that might actually make sense in this context was strangely absent. Where was the list of ingredients for Captain America’s Secret Soldier Serum, for example? The recipe for Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man’s, favorite breakfast food was another noteworthy omission.
Spidey fans know that Webhead’s favorite dish is his Aunt May’s wheat cakes, gigantic pancakes made with wheat flour instead of white. The recipe has been published several times in the pages of Spidey, often in annuals or other filler materials and always accompanied by a cheery illustration of a fat Peter busting out of his sweater vest. The secret ingredient? It’s love. And wheat flour.
A few years back when Marvel released Marvel Zombies 2 they revisited the cookbook idea by writing up some quick Mighty Marvel ZOMBIE recipes for your consumption. Dishes like Hulk Burgers, Rack of Giant-Man ribs and Galactus Pie have a grizzly new meaning when you consider the heroes are the main course. I tried to follow the recipes, but I just didn’t have two pounds of freshly ground up Silver Surfer available.
Never to miss out on an opportunity to make easy money themselves, DC also offered the DC Superheroes Super Healthy Cookbook. This was pretty much the same dang thing as the Marvel book, only with DC heroes instead. Stan Lee probably didn’t write this one, either.
For more DC food fun check out the epilog to Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdome Come where Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman dine out at Planet Krypton, a DC superhero themed restaurant just as cheesy and tacky as anything you’d expect to find in Orlando. They drank out of collectable DC comics glasses and made jokes about Power Girl’s breasts, as there was a chicken sandwich packed full of breast meat named after her.
STAR WARS FOOD
By far the geekiest dish comes from one of the deepest depths of Nerdom: The Star Wars Holiday Special. This ridiculous piece of horrid marketeering needs to be seen at least once in your lifetime to be believed.
In it, Chewbacca and Han struggle to get home to the planet Kashyyyk for “Life-Day,” a made up analogous Christmas celebration. In the special we also meet Chewbacca’s wife Malla, his Father Itchy and his son Lumpawarrump, or Lumpy for short. His next-door neighbor, Wallah-Wallah-Bing-Bang did not make an appearance. What did get a mention, however, were Wookie-Ookiees.
Presumably a baked good that Wookies make, Wookie-Ookiees were a throw away line uttered by actor Art Carney for comedic effect. Playing an international trader named Saun Dann, Carney mentioned he looked forward to eating Chewbacca’s wife’s Wookie-Ookiees. I bet he was.
Years afterward Lucas, much like Stan Lee before him realized there was a buck to be made in licensing a Star Wars cookbook. Amongst the blue milk and recipes for Bantha Poo-Doo appeared the now renamed Wookie-Cookies. The secret ingredient? A pound of butter. MMmmmmm, butter.
Whether it’s Butter Beer from Harry Potter, Slurm from Futurama or the eponymous “the Stuff” from the film “The Stuff” there are as many mouth watering foods that dominate the imaginations of our shared geek cuisine as there are stars in the sky. Your goal is to come up with the best recipes for these foods that you can and put them on the Internet. I’ll get us all started:
Serves: Let’s just say roughly 1 Million, about the population of a post nuclear war New York City, though it is hard to gauge. See the problem with this recipe is, the more you try to cook less it can go around …. You get the idea.