Like a trained warrior, I summoned the most insane concoctions from video games that I could think of. Battle ready, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my beak, and conquered these six video game food monsters. Join me and see if I make it to the end without puking!
1. A Fallout 4 (inspired) Smoothie
• Mountain Dew Voltage
• Bubble Gum
Smoothies make excellent breakfast drinks. And they’re totally healthy even if you use ingredients that survived the apocalypse, right? In Fallout 4, bubble gum gives you +10 Hit Points and +1 Radiation. The carrots give you +10 Hit Points and +3 Radiation. As for the soda, well…originally, I was going to go for a traditional brown Cola. After all, the Nuka Cola logo is similar to Coke, etc. But when I learned that a glowing blue Nuka Cola Quantum was actually (at one point) for sale, I knew I had to get the closest thing I could. And here I have it, blue Mountain Dew Voltage. Because let’s be honest- if any soda can make your insides feel nuked, it’s Mountain Dew. The recipe for Vim Quartz more or less uses these ingredients, so why not take culinary advice from a game about the undying savagery of humanity?
I crack open the bottle of soda, and it doesn’t even smell like anything real. Honestly, I can barely even describe it. Cotton Candy scented is being generous. Come to think of it, it sort of smells like a berry bubble bath. Weird…let’s get drinking!
I started by putting my ingredients into the blender. At first, I wondered if the gum would jam up my blender, but it rose to the occasion and knew it was time to be a warrior. But the sight of the drink was incredible. It was beautiful and hideous, simultaneously. That bubble gum smell hitting my nose is evoking childhood nightmares from the deepest part of my psyche. And I’m not quite sure what parts are sinking and what’s floating…
Cheers. This smoothie is fucking abhorrent. The bubble gum rehydrated in the glass and clogged up my straw. The soda was so cloyingly sweet and unpleasant. In fact, the soda and the gum tasted very similar. The carrot had its own brand of unyielding sweetness that just resulted in clumps of lumpy sweet, making me wish my own life ended in the apocalypse too.
2. The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild: Stamina Potion with a side of Honey Glazed Mushrooms
• Monster Parts (i.e. Gummy Snakes and Monster Energy Drink)
For our second experiment, we’re going to test our potion making skills! Which means it’s time to get cooking. I thought a while about how to approach this potion, which meant considering everything I know about Zelda, elfin world, and elixirs and I realized that potions are brewed. I made a Stamina Reduction using the mushrooms, carrots, monster parts, and a little water.
Meanwhile, I sautéed some mushrooms in butter and once they were cooked, I added honey caught in the wild while avoiding creatures (naturally) and let them glaze up. And while it smelled a little vomitous (real word, I promise), there’s nothing nicer than having a little nosh while we’re slamming down potions. I put them on a plate and set them aside to cool so my mouth wouldn’t transform into a sensitive inferno.
At this point, my monster parts have melted and my brew is looking pretty damn cool. It even smells fun, like melted Jell-O. But just a few minute later, the fun has dissipated and the potion smells a little cursed. I’m guessing that means it’s done. I cracked open the can of Monster drink, which was tinged red like Monster Blood. To that, I added my Stamina Reduction.
Altogether, I thought the drink looked cute, like an elfin sidecar. I wish there was booze in it right now. But between my potion and my side dish, I have a meal fit for a warrior. I garnish the drink with some more monster parts and dive in.
Upon first sip, my tongue is numb. My stamina is depleting and my efforts were in vain. All I taste is the tangy hell of that monster blood. I could have put bog water where a corpse had been steeping for a billion years and still wouldn’t be able to taste it over this dreck.
But there’s still hope- I have my honey glazed mushrooms. Which after I take a bite, I see aren’t too bad.
But they’re not too good. Mostly just not really memorable. The mushroom is too moist to retain a true glaze on them, therefore resulting in kind of a sweet mushroom with honey dripping off. Not good, not bad, not anything. Let’s move on.
3. Skyrim: Apple Cabbage Stew
• Red apples
• Green cabbage
• Salt pile
For our next experiment, I was ready to move on from beverages and appetizers and tackle the stew course. It’s like the soup course, but for warriors. I really went minimalist for this dish. I was ready to make a nice, hearty stew with beef broth, veggies, and just have the cabbage and apple be the piece de resistance. However, according to the dish’s very own Wiki page, there are but three ingredients here. Which confuses me why the stew looks brown in the picture on the page. But if that’s the medieval sludge we’re to make, then fate we will follow. Maybe if there were more ingredients, the stew would restore more than +15 Stamina and +10 Health. But I digress.
I chop up my apples and dump them in the pot along with my cabbage and salt. I added only a little water, because remember- this is stew, not soup. It needs to be hearty and thick and stick to our ribs because we might never get anything else to eat again. And wow, for real, there’s no denying that boiling cabbage smell. It’s permeating my universe. I let it drown over high heat and it’s finally ready. It’s apple. It’s cabbage. It’s stewed. Time to get down.
I take a bite…and I sigh. It’s absolutely disgusting. It’s just salty. The salt has sucked all the sweetness away from the apple. The cabbage is soggy, wet, and tasteless. It’s now that I realized I’m disappointed. Surprisingly, I thought this dish was going to be “The One”. The diamond in the rough. The fun, balanced meal using unexpected ingredients. I wanted the magic of Skyrim. Instead, I got Sea-rim. A combination of salt and butt. Let’s get out of here.
4. Dragon Age: Fluffy Mackerel Pudding
• Canned mackerel
• Green bell pepper
• Raw eggs
• Prepared yellow mustard
• Dried onion flakes
• Cayenne pepper
• Hard-boiled egg (for garnish)
Here’s the context for this dish, according to the Dragon Age wiki. It is a Feast-Day fish recipe, and a book, found in Arl Eamon’s estate, naturally falls open to this page. Ironically, this dish is dated back to a 1970s Weight Watcher’s cook book. Wherever the hell this monstrosity came from, all we know is that we’re ready for lunch. And around here, it’s Fish Day. Let’s hit it.
Canned mackerel, you say? Man…I didn’t even know that was a thing. But one thing in this recipe I’m actually excited for is the use of mace and cardamom, two spices I have zero experience with. Typically, new things are super exciting, until they come in canned seafood form. The mace smells incredible- spicy and rich, clovey and deep, almost like pumpkin pie spice. The cardamom on the other hand smells like crushed eucalyptus leaves. Which is fine in and of itself, until that leaf dust creeps into my mouth.
I open the mackerel can and I’m relieved that at this point, it just smells like tuna but a little fishier. Nothing horrifying yet. I’ve had mackerel at sushi restaurants and liked it, though its usually bathed in vinegar. Oh good. I just pulled out a whole fucking spine.
The mixture smells so strange. The combination of very specific spices with fish and mustard is super bizarre. Coming out of the oven though, the dish does look pretty. Maybe I was wrong to be so judgmental. I’ll say this though- for something that’s so damn eggy, I’m having trouble understanding why this fluffy mackerel pudding is garnished with sliced boiled eggs. Fishy and eggy. Ugh, it’s going to be the smelliest farts ever and I hate everything.
I stick my spoon in the pudding and note that it’s very firm. And holy mother, does it stink. I take my bite. And no. No. No, it’s just too unkind. It’s unfair. It’s impossible!
First off, the fish is like, hard and meaty in the worst way ever. The mustard undertone is revolting. The crunch of the vegetables is unwanted and totally different from the crunch of the onion flakes. Did you know there was more than one kind of crunchy? Because I just learned that this second.
The omelet texture from the eggs is just unnecessary and the hard-boiled eggs on top are stupid. If I served this at a luncheon or on a feast day, no one would ever like me again. I’m ready for a light dinner. Let’s rock.
5. Deadly Premonition: The Sinner’s Sandwich
• White bread
• Strawberry jam
• Deli turkey
Those who haven’t played Deadly Premonition (known as Red Seeds Profile in Japan) may still be aware of the game from this cut scene, which has been named one of the funniest video game cut scenes by gamers. At one point in the game the Special Agent is in a café and asks for the special of the day, which the waitress says is turkey. He overheard her talking to another customer, who asks for a turkey, strawberry jam, and cereal sandwich. The special agent mutters “That sounds like the ‘Sinner’s Sandwich. Self-inflicted punishment to atone for past sins. He’s setting an example.” The Special Agent agrees to try said Sinner’s Sandwich. He can’t believe it- it’s fantastic. Jaws drop. Everyone loses mind.
I was ready to atone for my own sins. I assembled my sandwich. In my heart, I was suspicious of the curve ball here, the cereal. After all, nowhere in the game or video do they mention what sort of cereal goes in the sandwich. And well, I had Multigrain Joe O’s in my house. That’s where my sinful destiny leads me today.
The sandwich was quaint and pretty. I took my bite…and a wave of relief just consumed me. Fucking delicious. This sandwich was fucking delicious. My abused mouth released a sigh and I dove back into to that Sinner’s Sandwich. It was Thanksgiving, giving my thankful mouth a cuddle. The cereal was awesome, a crunchy texture that resembled lettuce but the flavour was balanced and welcomed. With this sandwich, I did something that I’d never done in ANY food experiment I’d ever taken part in.
I took a third bite. And with that, every sin I’d ever taken part in was abolished.
Sinner’s Sandwich, I love you. You’re officially handled and wrecked. Time for dessert.
6. Final Fantasy XV: Moist Tomato Cake
• Killer tomato
• Boxed white cake
• Tomato sauce
• Canned frosting
I know I threw a fuss about keeping the Skyrim Stew as close to the source material as possible. But when I saw this cake from Final Fantasy XV only had two ingredients (a killer tomato and fine cleigne wheat) I knew this wouldn’t do. Plus, our food experiment was in desperate need of dessert. And at last- we’ve reached our destination.
Once I caught my killer tomato and advised him of his fate, I was ready to start.
I decided to really boost the tomato in this cake with good old-fashioned sauce. Because if chocolate syrup goes in brownies, tomato sauce goes in tomato cake for an extra bleedy-soft texture. I mix up my cake and put it in the pans. Already it smells like sweet ketchup- into the oven with you!
There’s a very unique savory scent wafting from my oven at this point, and it almost smells like sugar pizza. I took them out of the oven and they’re ready, spongy, and glorious. As they’re cooling, I mix up my ketchup frosting which smells very specifically like McDonalds. And once it’s decorated…oh my goodness, if this cake isn’t the most adorable little thing I’ve ever seen in my life!
Even the cake-guts are beautiful. I’m sure THIS is what Square-Enix meant to accomplish with this concoction!
I bring this adorable little cake to my lips and take a bite.
Oh…oh god. Oh, cruel crimson misery. Oh, treacherous, hideous fate. Curse my vile destiny! Fuck- that’s disgusting. Upon simple mouth-feel, the texture was great. Let’s start there. We nailed that whole moist thing. But holy vomiting vinegar- we sure nailed that tomato thing too. Which is just…oh man…I can’t even go back for a second bite. This one is just too nightmarish. The slight sour tomato and ketchup frosting is just overpowering everything and it ends up tasting like sugared vinegar. The salt does all the wrong things to this. There’s a palatable stink creeping out from the depths, and it might be the canned tinny flavor from the tomato sauce. Everything here is wrong. Nothing is balanced. Everything is hell. This is that killer tomato seeking his revenge, and he got it. He ravaged my mouth with a vengeance and he won.
By now, I’m nauseated. I’m tired. I feel like I haven’t had a problem meal in years. I’m sweaty. I smell like artificial sweeteners and I want to brush my teeth until they bleed. And do you know what that means?
It means we did it right.