Thursday, 27 September 2012

BOOK REVIEW

The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook (1977) 

Can comic-books be considered as books? Strictly no, unless they're like Stan Lee's The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook. A perfect recipe for Friday's Forgotten Books over at Patti Abbott's blog Pattinase which is being hosted by Todd Mason at his blog Sweet Freedom this week. Check out the two blogs for plenty of FFB action.

Now your kids can cook with the comics! 

As a kid I used to wonder how Superman could drink water, sip wine or eat food when he was made of steel. I don’t think Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster ever explained these life-sustaining aspects of their superhero’s life. As a teenager I wondered how the Man of Steel could make love to Lois Lane. Imagine the bionically-challenged Terminator taking a woman to bed…something like that. And as a grown-up I’m still wondering how he’s doing all of the above.

Come to think of it, in the comics Superman is rarely shown drinking or eating let alone making love though in the movie, Superman-II, he (Christopher Reeve) does sleep with his girlfriend (Margot Kidder) on a crystalline bed created out of kryptonite.

Turns out Superman isn’t the only superhero who drinks and eats and burps (let’s forget the sex for now).


A caboodle of Marvel superheroes not only wolf down large quantities of food, they even cook their own food, or so Stan Lee would like us to believe in The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook which is one of the most imaginative comic-book offshoots I have read—and own. Good thing I do: exaggerated as it sounds, used paperbacks of this book cost $124 (Rs.6,200) on Amazon USA and £109.90 (Rs.8,800) on Amazon UK.

A Fireside book published by Simon and Schuster, New York, in 1977, Superheroes’ Cookbook is a 95-page book of everyday recipes by some of Marvel’s leading heroes. Stan Lee claims it’s “the world’s first (and only) superhero cookbook.” It must be—I haven’t come across cookbooks of its kind over the past thirty-five years. At least, I don’t think DC came out with a rival cookbook by the Justice League of America. 

“Our recipes taste and smell Marvel-ous!” Head Chief Captain America proclaims as he takes you through what appears to be a normal cookbook with recipes for five-course meals, kitchen guide, do’s and don’ts, tips and all, except with one significant difference—you feel as if you’re reading a comic-book while browsing through the delectable recipes, which are accompanied by large colourful illustrations of the superheroes as they show off their favourite dishes.

So, for ‘Heroic Breakfast’ you can try out Captain America’s day starters comprising fruit juice pancakes and milk; cereal with milk; or fruit juice, eggs, bacon, toast and milk; or you can have the Hulk’s fried potatoes with bacon and eggs; or the Thing’s clobbered omelette. I can picture his brick-coloured fist pounding the eggs.

You can skip the breakfast and jump to the Fantastic Four’s superhero sandwiches and soups; the Sub-Mariner’s Submarine; The Human Torch’s Fireball; Spider-Man’s Parmigiani; or the Hulk’s Hulkburger.

 
There are six exclusive Heroic Combos as well, if you like.

If you’re still hungry then you can go for the main meal starting with soups from Dr. Strange’s instant eatery besides Doctor Doom’s Lima Bean Chowder; Thor’s Asgardian Vegetable Soup, Iron Man’s Splendid Split Pea Soup; or Silver Surfer’s Surfboard Sensation.

In the main course you have some mighty recipes consisting of meats, poultry, pasta, and fish. Particularly, Thor’s Cabbage Rolls; Doctor Strange’s Mysterious Stew; Daredevil’s De-Deviled Swiss Steak; Conan’s Kung Fu Chicken; Sub-Mariner’s Magnificent Tuna Bake; the Hulk’s Jumbo Shrimp in a Basket; and Spider-Man’s Seafood Platter.

If these sound a tad boring or if you’re looking for something light on the tummy, then you can have some vegetables and salads in 
the Hulk’s kitchen where you'll find the Fantastic Four enticing you with Zangy Casseroles, Stuffed Peppers, Spinach and Corn Casserole, and Grilled Tomato with Cheese. 

Pasta can hardly satiate the Hulk’s hunger and so the green goliath often has Spaghetti and Meat Balls in between clobbering General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross’ armed lilliputs. He has a simple credo: “Hulk hungry—must feed face.” 

The Marvel gang takes the battle of the palate right to the end with recipes for delicious cakes and cookies, pies and tarts, and desserts and beverages.

The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook has great art and lettering by Joe Giella, a renowned American comic book artist who was on the staff of both DC Comics and Marvel. Presented by Stan Lee, the book is the brainchild of Gene Malis and the recipes are by Jody Cameron Malis of Celebrity Kitchen, Inc.

To round up here’s a tip from the superheroes’ kitchen guide: "Be Neat!! Don’t forget to clean up the mess in the kitchen! It’s easier to clean as you go along than to leave it for later."


8 comments:

  1. Wondeful stuff Prashant, takes me right back - I definitely remember holding a copy of 'The Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook' at some point in my youth (but I doubt I trade any fo the recipes) - amazing indeed mate.

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    1. Thanks very much, Sergio. I still drool over comic-books just as I did in childhood except I don't read them as often as I used to. If you still have a copy of this one then hold on to it—it's priceless stuff! I got hold of my copy a few years ago, for as little as Rs.50 ($1), though I never tried any of the recipes either.

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  2. I could go for a Hulkburger. With cheese and bacon.

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    1. Charles, me too, though the options pile up as you turn the pages in this menu of the superheroes.

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  3. I remember this insanity as well...definitely makes the grade...Nuff said!

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    1. Todd, thanks very much. Yes, you kind of wonder what the superheroes are doing in the kitchen instead of fighting battles against some evil scientists or intergalactic creatures. A good pastime.

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  4. I, too, had many superhero questions when I was kid. Some of them were answered in Larry Niven's classic article "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenix."

    I'm not that fond of recipes in mystery novels, but I'm all for junk food with comic superheroes! Great choice!

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    1. Jerry, thanks for mentioning Larry Niven's article "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenix"—I didn't know about it and will look it up soon. I guess Marvel and DC experimented with all sorts of comic-book offshoots, apart from their Annuals, perhaps to sustain interest in comics among both kids and adults alike. There are a lot for junk food recipes in this book too.

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