10 Fun Recipes from Books, Movies, and TV Shows

iStock.com/USA-TARO
iStock.com/USA-TARO

In recent years, the internet has revealed that there's no shortage of talented pop culture fiends out there with a flair for the culinary arts. Here are some of the best real-life recipes for once-fictional delicacies featured in some of your favorite books, movies, and TV shows.

1. Harry Potter's Butterbeer

The beloved Hogsmeade beverage has rapidly become a hit with thirsty Muggles and a crowd-pleasing staple at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Hoards of recipes exist, including a few alcoholic varieties, but most of them essentially consist of mixing cream soda with some sort of sweetener such as butterscotch syrup. For something a bit more involved, check out the video above. (And to watch a couple of Mental Floss staffers give it a try, check out this video.)

2. Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham

Dr. Seuss's alma mater, Dartmouth College, often treats its students to a meal of green eggs and ham in honor of the beloved children's poet. But you don't have to be an Ivy-Leaguer (or Sam-I-Am) to enjoy this whimsical dish: click here for a quick how-to guide.

3. The Lord of the Rings's Elven Lembas Bread

Going on a lengthy quest? Be sure to bake some Lembas bread first. Looking for something meatier? Epic Meal Time couldn't resist adding bacon to the Elvish dietary staple, which you can watch them prepare above.

4. Dune's Arrakeen Spice Coffee

Unlike the mystical substance that drives the universe of Frank Herbert's legendary Dune saga, the “spice” laced into this coffee won't turn your eyes into glowing blue orbs or grant you prescient powers. But, if you should happen to have some extra cinnamon lying around, it's a fun way to start your morning.

5. Star Trek's Romulan Ale

For Trekkies who are 21 or older, Geek In The City describes their Romulan Ale recipe as a “sure-fire way to get you arrested in the United Federation of Planets." The above video offers another take on this alien alcohol.

6. Star Wars's Bantha Milk

No trip to Tatooine is complete without a pint of cool, refreshing Bantha milk. Don't believe us? Check out this adorable ad above. But don't take our word for it, Earth-bound readers: mix up a glass for yourself. (And for a non-alcoholic recipe, go here.)

7. Futurama's Popplers

Futurama fans can relish this tasty, seafood-based replica of one of the Planet Express crew's favorite treats.

8. Soylent Green Crackers

You didn't really think we'd make it through this list without some sort of soylent green recipe, did you? Rest easy, sci-fi fans: no people were harmed in the making of these crackers.

9. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy's Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster

Unlike most of the culinary curiosities we've covered so far, author Douglas Adams actually wrote down a painstakingly specific recipe for his own creation in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Unfortunately, just about every single ingredient is imaginary, leading fans to conjure up some wildly-inventive attempts to replicate Zaphod Beeblebrox's beverage of choice.

10. Game Of Thrones's Dothraki Blood Pie

The warring cultures in George RR Martin's smash-hit fantasy series are so meticulously detailed that an entire cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire, was published in 2012 to commemorate their respective cuisines. Among the most popular dish is the evocatively-named Dothraki blood pie.

An earlier version of this article ran in 2016.

Can't Find Yeast? Grow Your Own at Home With a Sourdough Starter

Dutodom, iStock via Getty Images
Dutodom, iStock via Getty Images

Baking bread can relieve stress and it requires long stretches of time at home that many of us now have. But shoppers have been panic-buying some surprising items since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to pantry staples like rice and beans, yeast packets are suddenly hard to find in grocery stores. If you got the idea to make homemade bread at the same time as everyone on your Instagram feed, don't let the yeast shortage stop you. As long as you have flour, water, and time, you can grow your own yeast at home.

While many bread recipes call for either instant yeast or dry active yeast, sourdough bread can be made with ingredients you hopefully already have on hand. The key to sourdough's unique, tangy taste lies in its "wild" yeast. Yeast is a single-celled type of fungus that's abundant in nature—it's so abundant, it's floating around your home right now.

To cultivate wild yeast, you need to make a sourdough starter. This can be done by combining one cup of flour (like whole grain, all-purpose, or a mixture of the two) with a half cup of cool water in a bowl made of nonreactive material (such as glass, stainless steel, or food-grade plastic). Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it sit in a fairly warm place (70°F to 75°F) for 24 hours.

Your starter must be fed with one cup of flour and a half cup of water every day for five days before it can be used in baking. Sourdough starter is a living thing, so you should notice is start to bubble and grow in size over time (it also makes a great low-maintenance pet if you're looking for company in quarantine). On the fifth day, you can use your starter to make dough for sourdough bread. Here's a recipe from King Arthur Flour that only calls for starter, flour, salt, and water.

If you just want to get the urge to bake out of your system, you can toss your starter once you're done with it. If you plan on making sourdough again, you can use the same starter indefinitely. Starters have been known to live in people's kitchens for decades. But to avoid using up all your flour, you can store yours in the fridge after the first five days and reduce feedings to once a week.

How to Make Queen Elizabeth’s Beloved Chocolate Biscuit Cake at Home

Queen Elizabeth II at an afternoon tea event in 1999.
Queen Elizabeth II at an afternoon tea event in 1999.
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Between living in regal palaces and owning all the dolphins in the UK, Queen Elizabeth II is not like the rest of us in most ways. But there is one thing that many of us do have in common with her: a weakness for chocolate cake. Back in 2017, former royal chef Darren McGrady shared that the queen is especially partial to a certain chocolate biscuit cake that he served each day for afternoon tea.

"The chocolate biscuit cake is the only cake that goes back again and again and again, every day until it's all gone," McGrady told RecipesPlus. "She'll take a small slice every day until eventually there is only one tiny piece, but you have to send that up; she wants to finish the whole of that cake."

If the queen relocated from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle before she made it to the last slice, McGrady brought the leftover cake with him by train. Wishing you could sample the royal dessert yourself? If you’re willing to spend a little time in the kitchen, you can: The full recipe is available on McGrady’s website.

For novice bakers picturing something decadent and complicated, don’t worry—the recipe is refreshingly simple, calling only for sugar, butter, dark chocolate, one egg, and rich tea biscuits or other sweet, hard cookies. Essentially, all you have to do is crumble the biscuits into small chunks, melt the dark chocolate, combine all the ingredients in a certain order, and let the cake chill in a pan in the refrigerator for a few hours. Then, you use additional melted dark chocolate as frosting.

Step-by-step instructions and ingredient amounts can be found here. And if you’re a little wary about using a raw egg in a no-bake cake, here’s a similar recipe that calls for whipping cream instead.

[h/t The Royal Chef]

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