Awful-Sounding TV Sandwiches (Built And Taste-Tested)
Obviously, fictional media exists purely so that we can recklessly imitate everything we see. For example, when comedies convey a character's wackiness by showing them making or eating some ridiculous sandwich, why wouldn't I immediately go make one for myself? If it was unsafe, they wouldn't be allowed to show it!
So, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my beak, and took down six fictional sandwiches that clearly were never meant to be eaten by a nonfictional human being. Come along on this journey and find out if I puked at the end!
Take Me Out To The Burger (Comes With Peanuts And Cracker Jacks) From Bob's Burgers
This was the Burger Of The Day in the episode "Torpedo" and the first thing you'll notice from the ingredients is that we are apparently living in a parallel universe in which Cracker Jacks never had the "S" on the end.
This seems like one of the less plausible sandwiches from Bob's signs and the joke is, of course, that this is the kind of ridiculous thing someone would only eat in a cartoon. They were wrong.
It was fucking delicious. To the point where I'd seriously consider putting Cracker Jack(s) on every burger I eat going forward. I'm completely blown away.
I thought the caramel corn would be hard little tooth shattering danger nuggets, but they were soft and melty and crisp, with this perfect burnt sugar flavor that complimented the smoky burger char. What was I afraid of? This experiment will be a breeze!
Note that I had to go to five different stores to find Cracker Jack in LA. If you have to order it online, go ahead and throw the "S" on the end -- retailers have figured out they have to list it that way:
Well, if one "could only happen in a cartoon" recipe exceeded expectations, why not go for broke?
The Super Shaggy Sandwich From Scooby Doo
Sardines? Who the hell has ever eaten sardines? Raise your hand if you thought that was a fictional joke food invented by old cartoons.
This "stoners will eat anything" monstrosity is so important to the Scooby Doo fictional universe that it even has its own Wikia page. It begins with a normal, if supersized, sandwich (ham, cheese, lettuce) then gets a little off-putting (both ketchup and mustard) and then ridiculous (marshmallows, fudge). Maybe if it had stopped there we'd have wound up with something weird but tolerable -- a cold version of the Cracker Jack burger. But at some point in the Scooby Doo writer's room somebody decided it needed sardines in order to meet Hanna-Barbera's high standards of hilarity.
This would be its undoing. Any hope that this would be a pleasant surprise was dashed when I dug into the sardines and found a SPINE.
The smell was absolutely atrocious. It's like going into a house where a body's been hidden, rediscovered, fed to vultures, and hidden in the floorboards again.
Assembled, this could actually pass as some kind of food ...
... but I could hardly even cut through this mess -- it was thick and dense, like leather. I'm not exaggerating when I say I was shaking bringing this up to my face.
With a racing heart, I took a bite. No. Nope. Nuh uh. Couldn't even chew. It touched my tongue and it was over. The only saving grace, the one ingredient that prevented me from losing it, was the chocolate fudge sauce. It coated my tongue like a robe of protection against the layers of unholy decay pressed between those slices of bread. I'm starting to think the Scooby Doo research staff didn't even test this sandwich before recklessly inserting it into their show.
The Tangwich From Married With Children
Here we have the first sandwich that was portrayed in its show as the thing you eat when your life is so broken and hopeless that you literally envy the dead. The entire premise of Married With Children was that shoe salesman Al Bundy's family barely had money to eat (their spacious two-story house was filthy!) and the drink mix Tang was a running joke as the family found more and more inventive ways to consume it. The laugh track exploded the moment Al said, "Who wants a Tangwich?"
Yet, I have a memory of watching when I was a kid thinking that the Tang was powdered cheese. The fat little kid version of me wanted that powdered cheese sandwich.
I pinched the sides of the bread just like Kelly said to do in the clip (so the powder doesn't fall out) before slicing it on the bias to try to make it look fancy.
If you squint, you can almost convince yourself that's a spill of delicious melted cheese running onto the cutting board. Unfortunately for me, this was not a small, harmless jpeg but a physical object I was about to stick into my mouth. I took a bite ...
It was fucking delicious.
The Tang is sweet and crunchy, and it makes that bland white bread taste like cake. As the sandwich dissolves in your mouth, the powder begins to liquefy in a wonderfully satisfying way. How many other culinary delights go undiscovered simply because they seemed too stupid to try?
Curious, I attempted another variation of the "gross sugary powder on bread" sandwich -- the one made by the character Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club.
The rest of her detention mates watch in morbid fascination as she tosses aside the meat from her packed lunch and then, giving everyone her best "I'm Such a Crazed Disgruntled Youth!" look, tears open some Pixy Stix and pours them and a few fistfuls of Cap'n Crunch onto her bread. So, I added some Cap'n to my Tangwich (I figured that was close enough) ...
... but all that happened was some very boring cereal tried to barge in on my awesome Tangwich party. Only add that if you really need to convince a group of diverse personalities that you're the quirky one.
The Twinkie Wiener Sandwich From UHF
This highly divisive treat comes from the Weird Al movie UHF. Divisive, because exactly half of my friends thought this looked revolting and the other half wanted to eat one immediately. Maybe it just depends on your personality type (not so much whether or not you would crave such a thing, but whether or not you would admit it). Personally, that junk-food fed '90s kid in me was ready for the party to get started.
Come on -- tell me that doesn't look amazing. That fancy ribbon of canned cheese ... this is what royalty eats when they're sure no one is looking.
As for the actual experience of eating it ... it really wasn't half bad. The cloyingly sweet Twinkie cream is actually mellowed out by the salty smoke of the hot dog. Unfortunately, the flavor of the decorative cheese is completely lost in the mix. I guess that's why nobody puts cheese on hot dogs? Mustard would be the obvious substitute for those curious enough to make this on their own. Feel free to let the comments know how that goes.
The El Burdigato Supreme From Teen Titans Go!
The Teen Titans Go! episode "Real Boy Adventures" brings forth our next creation, a supposed combination of the world's four best foods (taco, burger, hot dog, pizza) that in the episode instantly gives a character diarrhea.
The show doesn't provide much in the way of details, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the average El Burdigato consumer isn't insisting it be made from scratch from the finest ingredients. So, mine would be assembled from two Mama Celeste frozen pizzas, a burger from last night's dinner, an unfolded taco from Taco Bell and hot dogs left over from the Twinkie experiment.
The result looks like something you would absolutely expect to be available from Carl's Jr. within the next year or so:
Yes, there's a grossly obvious design flaw in their refusal to simply turn the top pizza over so that the two crusts form a serviceable bun you can hold without gloves, but obviously the animators knew that wouldn't have looked ridiculous enough. Yet another subtle clue that perhaps none of these were intended to ever actually be eaten.
Sadly, there was no "greater than the sum of its parts" Tang magic here. It wasn't bad, but there were no surprises -- it's salty, mushy, spicy, and beefy. The cartoon portrays this as laughably exotic, but let's be honest -- there are pizza shops out there right now that offer all of these ingredients as toppings and the only one that would give the waiter pause is the lettuce.
By this point in our experiment, I'm tired. I'm sweating. I feel like Adam Richman after filming a Man V. Food steak episode. We need to finish with something simple, clean, and refreshing.
The Toothpaste Sandwich From Married With Children
Crest For Kids
Considering the delightful revelation that was the Tangwich, it seemed foolish to ever again doubt Al Bundy's tastes. Here, we put that idea to the ultimate test.
The Toothpaste Sandwich comes from the episode "A Three Job, No Income, Family", which oddly enough aired before the Tangwich episode. According to the rules of escalating sitcom ridiculousness, that means the writers saw this as the less ridiculous, more plausible of the two.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the toothpaste Al is squeezing from the tube is bright blue. The only brand I know in that color is my childhood favorite, Crest For Kids. Just making this thing, the Berry Burst scent of childhood comes wafting back into my nose. The little glittery sparkles incite giddiness in me. It looks like the gloppy jizz of an explosive blue raspberry handjob.
And, sure, a part of your brain screams, "One of those ingredients is literally not food. Putting non-food on food does not somehow result in food -- it in fact robs even the food of its foodness." But look at it! This sandwich's innards looks like they're glowing.
If you're making a low-budget sci-fi movie and you've got a scene that takes place in an alien diner, there's your prop sandwich. I should note here that in the show, when Al is about to take a bite of this a member of the studio audience yells, "Don't do it!"
And sure enough ... he doesn't. He gets interrupted by a doorbell. Ed O'Neill wouldn't even take a bite of this sandwich for the millions of dollars he was paid to be in a sitcom.
I took my bite ...
I couldn't swallow. My own body wouldn't allow it, ancient mechanisms in my biology implanted by millions of years of evolution screamed, "No. This is not a thing that is food. It is a gritty paste intended to scour stains from an exposed part of your skeleton." I gagged and spat it out.
The only positive was the lingering berry-mint flavor that says "Hey, you sort of brushed your teeth! Good job." I can still taste the sardines, though.
What Loryn eats gets puked up on Twitter.
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