What is it about food in fiction that makes it quite so tantalizing? Anything other than the most gruesome-looking meals can so easily pop out from the screen or page and entice the audience more effectively than most actual foods. Maybe it’s because writers, unlike chefs, aren’t constrained by realism, or perhaps it’s simply because we often want what we can’t have. Either way, these recipes may appear to span from the fantastical to the feasible — from the Big Kahuna Burgers and turtle soups to magical bread and pan-galactic cocktails — but they actually share one significant thing in common: They’re no prisoners of fiction. Quite the opposite, in fact, and we’ve compiled some of the best recipes out there for them. Get cooking.
Lemon cakes, Game of Thrones
Within the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, lemon cakes are a Westerosi delicacy enjoyed exclusively by the wealthy and the aristocratic, and are usually found in courts and castles around the Seven Kingdoms. It is also a particularly well-known running joke among the fandom that Sansa Stark, second-youngest of the Stark children and sufferer of some of the worst that family goes through, is obsessed with the things.
Luckily, they’re not too complex to make, and any novice baker should be able to whip some up in a couple of hours. And remember: If life gives you a psychotic husband, a murdered father, the destruction of your basically your entire family (oops, spoilers) and years upon years of torment and abuse — uh, make lemon cake. We think that’s how the saying goes.
Butterbeer, Harry Potter
Of all of the various wonderful foods and treats that came from the mind of J.K. Rowling during the Harry Potter saga, butterbeer is one of the most curious — and almost certainly the most tempting. According to the series, it’s a weak alcoholic drink that tastes vaguely of butterscotch, and has a growing presence throughout the books as the main trio and their friends make their way into late adolescence.
Ever since it first appeared in the series, the creation of the perfect butterbeer recipe has been something of a dream for many Potter fans, though a largely official version is now served at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks. Luckily, a side-effect of this is that there are countless recipes out there for you to try, with some of the best being easily made at home.
Mock Turtle Soup, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Mock turtle soup isn’t so much a crucial part of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as the mock turtle himself is. The Mock Turtle himself — who, according to the Queen of Hearts, is what mock turtle soup is made from.
Real mock turtle soup was, in fact, a soup made from calf’s head that was served in England around the 18th century. You can probably find a few historically accurate recipes out there, but if it’s faithfulness to Alice you’re looking for, you can go no better than Heston Blumenthal’s own Fat Duck recipe, which includes a faux edible stopwatch that is dissolved in the soup itself. It’s not easy, but it’s damned impressive.
Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Dubbed the best drink in existence by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in, uh, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, pan-galactic gargle blaster is unceremoniously (and masterfully) described by Douglas Adams as being akin to “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.” This particular recipe suggests you recreate the gargle blaster with bourbon, gin, sour apple pucker, blue curacao, lemon juice and syrup. Mix, shake, strain and drink — very carefully — it’s as simple as that.
And if you are planning on making some, don’t forget the Guide‘s solemn warning: “Never drink more than two Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters unless you are a 30-ton mega elephant with bronchial pneumonia.” Unless you’re Ford Prefect.
Lembas, The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien’s propensity for world-building means he developed more than his fair share of fictional foods and drinks in his works, but most famous of all is the elvish waybread known as lembas. They’re thin cakes wrapped in leaves that, famously, are said to be able to fill the stomach of a grown man with only a single bite (though that’s in the movies — Tolkien’s version actually stated that one whole cake was enough to last you a day). Because these are elves we’re talking about here, it seems only natural that we go vegan with this recipe.
The recipe includes banana, coconut oil and maple syrup, and even goes as far as to recommend which leaves you should wrap it in. Bake some up and keep it for your next marathon of the extended editions.
Scooby Snacks, Scooby-Doo
It’s not that weird that Scooby Snacks were so appealing, was it? There was something so enrapturing about just how obsessed with them Shaggy and Scoobs were — so it’s nothing against you if you always wanted to try them. For the uninitiated, Scooby Snacks are the favourite food and primary form of payment for Scooby-Doo and his best friend Shaggy, and therefore end up appearing in pretty much every episode.
While an official version does exist, we might have to turn to a different recipe for those of us who like to DIY. Luckily, these Scooby Snacks ares made from rather more edible ingredients, and will turn out as something closer to a brownie or a cookie than a biscuit.
Big Kahuna Burger, Pulp Fiction
Nowadays, the Big Kahuna Burger is one of the more outright iconic members of the fictional food hall of fame. Taken from perhaps the most famous scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, the Big Kahuna Burger — which Brett and his crew are eating when Jules and Vincent arrive — appears as little more than a cheeseburger with some pretty standard fillings. It’s Jules’ reaction to taking a bite, however, which really sells it. The conversation then shifts to the etymology of the Quarter Pounder with cheese, before things get a little… shooty.
This recipe for the Big Kahuna Burger contains all the hallmarks of a classic cheeseburger, along with a few choice extras (including pineapple, since Big Kahuna Burger is a Hawaiian joint after all) to spice it all up a bit. Get it right and you’ve got the perfect cornerstone for a delicious meal.
Blue milk, Star Wars
Blue milk makes its first appearance in the Star Wars saga during one of the first scenes in A New Hope, in which it’s seen on the table at which Luke, Owen and Beru eat — as well as the above deleted scene. It soon became one of the series’ more recognizable Easter eggs, making appearances in everything from the other movies to novels to comic books.
Helpfully, Disney has actually released their own official recipe for blue milk. It contains milk (duh), yogurt, banana, a dash of honey and, of course, a few drops of blue food coloring. You should be able to mix up the whole thing in only a few minutes, and then you only need to sit back and enjoy a glass before or after a hard day’s work on the moisture farms.
Garmonbozia, Twin Peaks
Hungry? Well, you won’t be after you watch that clip. Taken from the newest series of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s inexplicable horror/soap opera Twin Peaks, it depicts — well, we won’t go into who that is — vomiting something known as Garmonbozia. In the Twin Peaks universe, Garmonbozia is the substance that is collected, traded and devoured by the demonic entities who inhabit the Black Lodge. Taking the appearance of creamed corn, Garmonbozia is thought to consist of pure pain and suffering, causing the evil Lodge spirits to bring about negative emotions in the lives of others so that they can collect it. It’s also highly poisonous and can put you in the hospital if you get too close.
Still hungry? This recipe is slightly more tempting than the fictional version, and includes corn, cream cheese, garlic and onion. Consume with a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee, preferably while talking backwards and screaming incoherently.
Everything burrito, Adventure Time
This is one for the more culinary adventurous. The everything burrito, in the popular animated series Adventure Time, is, well, exactly what it says on the tin. Or it would be, if it could fit in a tin. It’s the creation of Jake the Dog, who professes an unconditional love for the burrito — which itself includes burgers, sandwiches, cakes, pancakes, waffles, cotton candy, yarn, grapes, carrots, a spatula, eggs, hot dogs, fries, chocolate, apple, blackcurrant, bread, cheese, spaghetti and much, much more.
And yes, there’s a real recipe for it out there. And yes, it contains everything the original does. And yes, even more incredibly, it includes a video of somebody actually successfully making it. We tip our caps to thee.