10 Fun Recipes from Books, Movies, and TV Shows

iStock.com/USA-TARO
iStock.com/USA-TARO

In recent years, the internet has revealed that there's no shortage of talented pop culture fiends out there with a flair for the culinary arts. Here are some of the best real-life recipes for once-fictional delicacies featured in some of your favorite books, movies, and TV shows.

1. Harry Potter's Butterbeer

The beloved Hogsmeade beverage has rapidly become a hit with thirsty Muggles and a crowd-pleasing staple at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Hoards of recipes exist, including a few alcoholic varieties, but most of them essentially consist of mixing cream soda with some sort of sweetener such as butterscotch syrup. For something a bit more involved, check out the video above. (And to watch a couple of Mental Floss staffers give it a try, check out this video.)

2. Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham

Dr. Seuss's alma mater, Dartmouth College, often treats its students to a meal of green eggs and ham in honor of the beloved children's poet. But you don't have to be an Ivy-Leaguer (or Sam-I-Am) to enjoy this whimsical dish: click here for a quick how-to guide.

3. The Lord of the Rings's Elven Lembas Bread

Going on a lengthy quest? Be sure to bake some Lembas bread first. Looking for something meatier? Epic Meal Time couldn't resist adding bacon to the Elvish dietary staple, which you can watch them prepare above.

4. Dune's Arrakeen Spice Coffee

Unlike the mystical substance that drives the universe of Frank Herbert's legendary Dune saga, the “spice” laced into this coffee won't turn your eyes into glowing blue orbs or grant you prescient powers. But, if you should happen to have some extra cinnamon lying around, it's a fun way to start your morning.

5. Star Trek's Romulan Ale

For Trekkies who are 21 or older, Geek In The City describes their Romulan Ale recipe as a “sure-fire way to get you arrested in the United Federation of Planets." The above video offers another take on this alien alcohol.

6. Star Wars's Bantha Milk

No trip to Tatooine is complete without a pint of cool, refreshing Bantha milk. Don't believe us? Check out this adorable ad above. But don't take our word for it, Earth-bound readers: mix up a glass for yourself. (And for a non-alcoholic recipe, go here.)

7. Futurama's Popplers

Futurama fans can relish this tasty, seafood-based replica of one of the Planet Express crew's favorite treats.

8. Soylent Green Crackers

You didn't really think we'd make it through this list without some sort of soylent green recipe, did you? Rest easy, sci-fi fans: no people were harmed in the making of these crackers.

9. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy's Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster

Unlike most of the culinary curiosities we've covered so far, author Douglas Adams actually wrote down a painstakingly specific recipe for his own creation in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Unfortunately, just about every single ingredient is imaginary, leading fans to conjure up some wildly-inventive attempts to replicate Zaphod Beeblebrox's beverage of choice.

10. Game Of Thrones's Dothraki Blood Pie

The warring cultures in George RR Martin's smash-hit fantasy series are so meticulously detailed that an entire cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire, was published in 2012 to commemorate their respective cuisines. Among the most popular dish is the evocatively-named Dothraki blood pie.

An earlier version of this article ran in 2016.

Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System Is the Only Coffee Maker You’ll Ever Need

Amazon
Amazon

Update: The glass-carafe version of the Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System is currently on sale for $99 (a 50 percent discount) on Amazon and Walmart. That's the cheapest price we've ever seen, so grab it while you can. The thermal-carafe version is on sale on Amazon for $168, a 27 percent discount.

For people who just want a cup of joe to help them get out the door in the morning, the French presses, Chemexes, Aeropresses, Moka pots, and other specialized devices that coffee aficionados swear by probably seem more overwhelming than appealing. Ditto the fancy cappuccino machines at local cafes. That’s where Ninja’s new Hot & Cold Brewed System comes in: It was created to give coffee addicts a myriad of options with minimal fuss, not to mention minimal equipment. And it makes tea, too!

“Coffeehouses are known for having an endless selection, but current at-home brewers haven't given users the vast variety of choice we thought possible, and certainly not all in one product," Mark Rosenzweig, CEO of SharkNinja, said in a press release. "The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System changes the category entirely. This innovative system is more than just a machine you use in the morning; it's your all-day brewing partner.”

The Hot & Cold Brewed System comes with two baskets: one for coffee and one for tea. It knows what you're making to make based on the basket you insert, and the available options for that basket will light up. The machine allows the user to make six different sizes of coffee or tea, from a single cup all the way up to a full 50-ounce (10-cup) carafe.

And of course, as the name suggests, the system can make both hot and iced beverages. For coffee, it has five brew options: classic, rich, over ice, cold brew, and specialty (a concentrated brew for milky drinks like cappuccinos). If you’re making tea, you can choose between hot and cold brews optimized for herbal, black, oolong, white, or green tea.

When you select an over ice or cold brew, the machine automatically doubles the strength of your beverage so it doesn't get overly diluted by the ice cubes in the carafe. Even better, the Ninja can make cold brew in just 10 to 15 minutes, whereas other systems and methods typically take hours. (Hot coffee is brewed at 205°F, while the cold brew is made at 101°F.) And the system has a hot and cold frother that folds into the side so you can make barista-level lattes, too.

These bells and whistles sound impressive on paper, but how do they perform in real life? Ninja sent me Hot & Cold Brewed System to test for myself.

Ease of Use

Though it might look like something developed by NASA, the Hot & Cold Brewed System is designed to easily work with the twist of a dial and the push of a button, and it delivers. From loading in the correct amount of grounds with the system’s “smart scoop” to picking what type of brew you’d like, it’s simple enough to use even while bleary-eyed in the morning. It’s also easy to schedule a delayed brew so you can do the rest of your morning routine while your coffee brews. (Here’s the only drawback I can think of about this machine: When it starts brewing, it’s kind of noisy—loud enough to make my cats jump. It’s not a dealbreaker, but if you live in a small apartment and plan to brew coffee so that it’s ready right when you wake up, it might be something to consider.)

The system even tells you when it needs to be descaled. The “clean” button will light up, at which point you simply fill the water reservoir with descaling solution and water and press the clean button. A countdown lets you know how much longer the clean cycle will last.

Taste and Flavor

I swapped out an old, cheap coffee maker for the Hot & Cold Brewed System, and the difference was immediately noticeable. Whether hot or cold, the coffee made by the H&CBS was a better, smoother cup of joe. That’s due to what Ninja has dubbed Thermal Flavor Extraction automated brewing technology, which, according to a press release, “knows the precise temperatures, correct bloom times, and proper levels of saturation for every possible beverage combination to ensure a great taste every time.”

Whatever tech they use, it works. The coffee I make in this machine is consistently tasty. The rich brew setting works exactly as advertised, too, providing a richer, bolder flavor than the classic brew.

Features and Accessories

One of the best things about the H&CBS is the fact that it cuts down on waste significantly. Unlike other machines, it doesn't require any plastic pods or paper filters. Instead, it comes with two permanent filters, one for coffee and one for tea.

And the cold brew function is a game changer if you prefer iced coffee to hot. Not only does it brew quickly, but it eliminates the messy cleanup that comes with making cold brew yourself.

Typically priced at $230 for the thermal carafe version (or $200 for the glass carafe), the Hot & Cold Brewed System is significantly more expensive than a simpler drip coffee machine. But if you’re a cold brew addict looking to treat yourself, it’s worth it. Consider springing for the slightly more expensive thermal carafe model, which will keep your java hot or cold for hours. (I’ve left ice in it overnight and found cubes the next morning.)

You can get the Hot & Cold Brewed System on Amazon, Walmart, Macy's, or directly on Ninja’s website starting at $160.

Fuel Your Cold Brew Obsession With This Elegant, Efficient Coffee Maker

Brrrewer
Brrrewer

The sun is scorching, the days are endless, and the gentle clinking of ice cubes in a glass of cold brew coffee sounds like chimes at the gates of heaven itself.

A beverage so divine deserves to be created by a machine to match, right? Meet Brrrewer, a coffee maker that will provide you with the smoothest, sweetest, richest cold brew coffee you’ve ever had—and it’ll do it in just four hours.

Brrrewer uses the cold drip method to brew coffee in which coffee grounds are suspended between two microfilter membranes. Water is poured over the top membrane, then slowly filters through the coffee grounds and drips out from the bottom membrane. The top membrane ensures that the water is evenly distributed among the coffee grounds, and the bottom membrane allows only the water-turned-coffee to fall into the carafe below, without any of the gritty residue. (That gritty residue is often a result of the full immersion method, which is popular among those with French presses; basically, you just steep your coffee grounds in cold water for 12 to 24 hours, strain out the grounds, and drink.)

The carafe is encased in a second layer of glass, providing thermal insulation and keeping your coffee cold for longer than a regular glass bottle or pitcher. And you can cross “coffee filters” off your shopping list—the microfilter membranes do that job already.

The Italy-based team at Essense designed Brrrewer with elegance and minimalism in mind, so it won’t throw off the aesthetic groove of your kitchen. In fact, it might enhance it. Also, it’s manufactured from a combination of borosilicate glass and BPA-free Tritan plastic; in other words, it’s extra-sturdy and environmentally friendly.

Mixologist Francesco Corona, five-time Italian “Coffee in Good Spirits” champion and world championship finalist, worked with Essense to develop special cocktail recipes for Brrrewer, which you can find in the paperback book, available on its own for $17 or with Brrrewer (the book and coffee maker combo is $78). Order Brrrewer by itself for $67 here, or see other purchase options from Kickstarter.

If four hours is more than you’re willing to wait for cold brew, check out Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System, which can make it in about 15 minutes.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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