The vast expanses of the internet means there are an abundance of websites dedicated to more idiosyncratic interests, not all of them pornographic in nature. Food has carved out a sizable chunk of the online world, and that includes people who have dedicated themselves to recreating recipes and foods from pop culture.
Then there are the brave souls decide to make recipes for bizarre, gross and generally unappetizing foodstuffs. We’re taking at look at the individuals who have done this to try and gain insight into the experience that is eating garbage for the entertainment of the masses.
Up first is Lauren Girdler, who runs the Simpsons recipe site Eats Like a Duck (full disclosure, I’ve contributed to the site a couple of times). Here’s Girdler on making and tasting the things, good or bad, that Homer Simpson and other denizens of Springfield have shoved down their gullets.
Paste: Why did you start Eats Like a Duck? Were you looking to do something food-related and decided to do a Simpsons food blog, or were you looking to do something Simpsons-related, and decided on food? Or maybe a bit of both?
Lauren Girdler: Both. I’ve been watching The Simpsons since I was young and it’s my favorite tv show, plus cooking and baking are something I really enjoy. So trying to recreate recipes from the show seemed like a fun, albeit sometimes hazardous, challenge.
Paste: What was the first recipe that came to mind that you wanted to tackle?
Homer’s Patented Space-Age Out of This World Moon Waffles. There’s a reason so many people have recreated this recipe online! It’s iconic of both The Simpsons and Homer. Just a note to anyone planning to make this: it will ruin your waffle iron and make your house stink like liquid smoke for days afterward.
Paste: There are so many Simpsons-related recipes out there, you could get away with doing few, or perhaps none, of the weird or bad recipes. Why did you decide to include those?
LG: I’m completionist and consider it a personal goal to recreate as many recipes from The Simpsons as possible. Do I need to come up with better personal goals? Probably. Also, some of the most disgusting recipes were requested by readers of the blog so there is a desire to see this, it’s not just me being all isolated and weird.
Paste: Do you ever regret being willing to tackle the weirder recipes from the show? Because some of them exist within The Simpsons literally just to be unpleasant or strange as a joke.
LG: I find it funny and challenging to make recipes that came from The Simpsons writers’ room where they thought “What’s the weirdest thing we can come up with?” Recreating French toast you found on a Pinterest board is one thing, making Bubble Crum is quite another.
Paste: What was the worst thing you’ve made for this blog? What did it taste like? Is it the worst thing you’ve ever eaten full stop?
LG: Two recipes immediately come to mind: Clove and Tom Collins Pie and Vodka and Mayonnaise. Both were reader requests and both tasted exactly like their titles suggest. These recipes are interesting because they are from quite different eras of the show. So while Season 5 Homer can’t eat the Clove and Tom Collins Pie, Season 22 Homer seems to enjoy vodka and mayonnaise. Officially I spat both of these out on the first taste and I’m ok with that.
(Side note: Laurel Randolph has written a “Cooking The Simpsons” series for Paste for some time, and while she normally focuses on actually edible recipes, she too decided to take on the Clove and Tom Collins Pie. Shockingly, she was not a fan.)
Paste: Have any of the things you expected to be bad actually been good? Or at least not terrible?
LG: The Strawburrito actually turned out quite well and is something I have made again when I had leftover tortillas. I also liked the Cheeto Root Beer Noodles, at least more than I thought I would when I was planning out the recipe.
Paste: Is there anything from the show that you really are looking forward to making that you haven’t made yet? Is there anything you are planning to make that you are dreading?
LG: Right now, I’m in the process of making Marge’s Dessert Dogs. I also need to work on making Skinner’s POW Stew, but I just can’t seem to get the spices right! I’m dreading 64 slices of American cheese, there’s no way I will be able to stay up all night eating cheese, but I suppose I will have to try…
Paste: Do you ever think it’s strange that you make things you know will be bad to post about it on the internet? Is it worth it?
LG: For me, it’s worth it because I find a lot of the weird recipes from the show more challenging. But I do try to minimize food waste wherever possible; I made the Lean Cuisini and used a mouthful of food and a splash of beer. But I ate the rest of the lean cuisine and drank the rest of the beer separately, not all blended together because that tasted disgusting.
Paste: What do you think the appeal is about people making weird recipes and eating them? Do those posts tend to be more popular?
LG: Well, cartoons don’t have to be 100 percent realistic which is what makes many of the recipes so hilarious. But even I have my limits, which is why I have an “I’m Not Making That” section. I’m not going to make a California Cheeseburger and I don’t know where to find a Blinky Fish to serve for dinner.
What do you think is the quintessential Simpsons-related recipe?
LG: To me, there really isn’t just one! A few at the top are: Homer’s Patented Space-Age Out of This World Moon Waffles, Nachos Flanders Style, Khlav Kalash (which I haven’t made yet) and Skittlebräu.
Chris Morgan is the author of The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. He’s also on Twitter.