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Hugh Merwin
Hugh Merwin

11 Wild and Crazy Sandwich Mashups

Hugh Merwin
Hugh Merwin

I’m not a big fan of the word “mashup” when applied to art or videos, because the words “combination,” “crossover,” or just “mix” will do just fine. The neologism “mashup” makes me think of food, so the term makes sense when applied to these sandwiches that are a fusion of different styles, ingredients, or unrelated recipes. Note that I use the term “sandwich” pretty loosely as well.

1. Cubano Corn Dog

Photograph by Drew Swantak.

The delicious Cuban sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. American fair fare is made by deep-frying food on a stick. To adapt the Cuban sandwich to the fair food format, Perry Santanachote made the shredded pork, cubed ham, cheese, and pickle relish stick together with gelatin long enough to dip it in cornbread batter and deep-fry it. The gelatin cooks away, but the cornbread shell holds all those ingredients inside. By then it is essentially a corn dog with a much better meat filling. Get the entire recipe at Thrillist

2. Funnel Cake Burger

While we’re on fair foods, surely you’ve thought of the versatility of the classic funnel cake. They are fairly flat and can be made in any size, so why not use one for a hamburger bun? Josh at Culinary Brodown explains how to do it, and includes a recipe for a savory funnel cake that has no sugar in it. And a ketchup recipe that does. You can still add powdered sugar if you like your burger on the sweet side, but that’s a matter of preference.

3. Reuben Sandwich Pot Pie

When is a sandwich a pie, and vice-versa? When you want it to be! If you love the taste of a Reuben sandwich, you can make it hot, tasty, and special to impress someone with the Reuben Sandwich Pot Pie from Stef at the Cupcake Project. It’s got the classic corned beef and sauerkraut inside a savory crust made with rye flour, with a Swiss cheese sauce and more rye and Swiss in the crumbly topping.

4. Cheeseburger Pop Tart

Self-described “Burger pervert” Mathew Ramsey of Pornburger managed to make a cheeseburger in the form of a pop tart. No sweets, just all savory burger in a toaster pastry crust.

This after school special is a meme-nto of my childhood: a smashed grass-fed beef patty, with a bacon onion jam, melty cheddar cheese, in a buttery pop tart pastry.

Alas, there are no instructions included for making your own, a fact that had commenters raking him over the coals for. If you can get the ingredients, you can make this your own.

5. Apple Pie Grilled Cheese

Photograph by Drew Swantek.

My mother always loved a slice of cheddar cheese with her apple pie. And she makes a good apple pie. If you appreciate those two flavors together, try an Apple Pie Grilled Cheese. These are small double-crust apple pies that make a sandwich when you put cheese between two of them and melt it. Fancy! Get the complete recipe at Thrillist.

6. Koopa Troopa Bacon Turtle Burger

Ooh, this is a perfect sandwich for a kid’s birthday party, or a video game night! Dress up your bacon turtle burgers as Super Mario Koopa Troopa turtles with colored, edible shells. They’ve got hamburger, hot dogs, and bacon inside and visual appeal outside, so take pictures before you eat them. They won’t last long. Get all the steps for making them at Instructables.

7. Ramen Hoagie Roll

Photograph by Hugh Merwin.

You can put your choice of sandwiches inside ramen noodles when you make a Ramen Hoagie roll. You use two packages of noodles, somewhat cooked, and then formed into a roll shape and baked. It’s a bit crispy, but if you love ramen, this will made a great sandwich with something like Philly cheesesteak or meatballs with marinara or even cold cuts inside.

8. French Fry Hamburger Bun

Why have a side order of fries when you can have them on your burger? Oh, you’re right, that’s a lot of carbs (as if you weren’t getting that with fries on the side). What if you were able to get rid of the bun, and use fries as the bun? Genius. The French Fry Bun is made with real French fries. Nick Chipman at Dude Foods made this by using edible glue to connect a row of fries together long enough to serve a hamburger patty and fixin’s between two of them. If this seems like more trouble than you’d prefer, Chapman also has a scheme for using hash browns for a sandwich bun.

9. Dog in a Dog

This is a fusion of a Dachshund and a hot dog. A wiener dog and a wiener. Dog in a Dog is a hot dog wrapped in dinner roll dough in the shape of a dog. The eyes are cheese and black beans. You may have to do this a few times to get it to look right, but what fun that will be!

10. Cheerios Coated Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Photograph by Yvonne Ruperti.

This sandwich is like combining breakfast and lunch, except that you know as well as I do that a grilled cheese for breakfast and a bowl of cereal any time of the day is perfectly fine. But when you want both, Serious Eats shows us how to encrust a grilled cheese with Cheerios by using melted cheese as the glue. And we can use any excuse to add more melted cheese to a sandwich! You can substitute other kinds of cereals, but I might have to draw the line at using Froot Loops.

11. The Double Decker Mac & Cheese Stuffed Bacon Weave Taco

Nick Chipman at Dude Foods went out on a limb to combine all his favorites into a supreme taco mashup. First he made a couple of bacon weave taco shells, which is bacon, but once it’s woven, can be used to hold other foods in place. Then he put your everyday taco ingredients into one, filled the other with delicious macaroni and cheese, then nested the taco inside the mac-and-cheese taco. The result is the Double Decker Mac & Cheese Stuffed Bacon Weave Taco. It’s a good thing all your favorite foods are in there, because you’ve not only filled your calorie limit for the day, you’ve probably also exceeded your sodium limit for the week.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Little Women
gutenberg.org
gutenberg.org

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is one of the world's most beloved novels, and now—nearly 150 years after its original publication—it's capturing yet another generation of readers, thanks in part to Masterpiece's new small-screen adaptation. Whether it's been days or years since you've last read it, here are 10 things you might not know about Alcott's classic tale of family and friendship.

1. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT DIDN'T WANT TO WRITE LITTLE WOMEN.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Louisa May Alcott was writing both literature and pulp fiction (sample title: Pauline's Passion and Punishment) when Thomas Niles, the editor at Roberts Brothers Publishing, approached her about writing a book for girls. Alcott said she would try, but she wasn’t all that interested, later calling such books “moral pap for the young.”

When it became clear Alcott was stalling, Niles offered a publishing contract to her father, Bronson Alcott. Although Bronson was a well-known thinker who was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, his work never achieved much acclaim. When it became clear that Bronson would have an opportunity to publish a new book if Louisa started her girls' story, she caved in to the pressure.

2. LITTLE WOMEN TOOK JUST 10 WEEKS TO WRITE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott began writing the book in May 1868. She worked on it day and night, becoming so consumed with it that she sometimes forgot to eat or sleep. On July 15, she sent all 402 pages to her editor. In September, a mere four months after starting the book, Little Women was published. It became an instant best seller and turned Alcott into a rich and famous woman.

3. THE BOOK AS WE KNOW IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN TWO PARTS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

The first half was published in 1868 as Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The Story Of Their Lives. A Girl’s Book. It ended with John Brooke proposing marriage to Meg. In 1869, Alcott published Good Wives, the second half of the book. It, too, only took a few months to write.

4. MEG, BETH, AND AMY WERE BASED ON ALCOTT'S SISTERS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Meg was based on Louisa’s sister Anna, who fell in love with her husband John Bridge Pratt while performing opposite him in a play. The description of Meg’s wedding in the novel is supposedly based on Anna’s actual wedding.

Beth was based on Lizzie, who died from scarlet fever at age 23. Like Beth, Lizzie caught the illness from a poor family her mother was helping.

Amy was based on May (Amy is an anagram of May), an artist who lived in Europe. In fact, May—who died in childbirth at age 39—was the first woman to exhibit paintings in the Paris Salon.

Jo, of course, is based on Alcott herself.

5. LIKE THE MARCH FAMILY, THE ALCOTTS KNEW POVERTY.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Bronson Alcott’s philosophical ideals made it difficult for him to find employment—for example, as a socialist, he wouldn't work for wages—so the family survived on handouts from friends and neighbors. At times during Louisa’s childhood, there was nothing to eat but bread, water, and the occasional apple.

When she got older, Alcott worked as a paid companion and governess, like Jo does in the novel, and sold “sensation” stories to help pay the bills. She also took on menial jobs, working as a seamstress, a laundress, and a servant. Even as a child, Alcott wanted to help her family escape poverty, something Little Women made possible.

6. ALCOTT REFUSED TO HAVE JO MARRY LAURIE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott, who never married herself, wanted Jo to remain unmarried, too. But while she was working on the second half of Little Women, fans were clamoring for Jo to marry the boy next door, Laurie. “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life," Alcott wrote in her journal. "I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.”

As a compromise—or to spite her fans—Alcott married Jo to the decidedly unromantic Professor Bhaer. Laurie ends up with Amy.

7. THERE ARE LOTS OF THEORIES ABOUT WHO LAURIE WAS BASED ON.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

People have theorized Laurie was inspired by everyone from Thoreau to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son Julian, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. In 1865, while in Europe, Alcott met a Polish musician named Ladislas Wisniewski, whom Alcott nicknamed Laddie. The flirtation between Laddie and Alcott culminated in them spending two weeks together in Paris, alone. According to biographer Harriet Reisen, Alcott later modeled Laurie after Laddie.

How far did the Alcott/Laddie affair go? It’s hard to say, as Alcott later crossed out the section of her diary referring to the romance. In the margin, she wrote, “couldn’t be.”

8. YOU CAN STILL VISIT ORCHARD HOUSE, WHERE ALCOTT WROTE LITTLE WOMEN.

Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts was the Alcott family home. In 1868, Louisa reluctantly left her Boston apartment to write Little Women there. Today, you can tour this house and see May’s drawings on the walls, as well as the small writing desk that Bronson built for Louisa to use.

9. LITTLE WOMEN HAS BEEN ADAPTED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

In addition to a 1958 TV series, multiple Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, and an opera, Little Women has been made into more than a half-dozen movies. The most famous are the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn, the 1949 version starring June Allyson (with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy), and the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Later this year, Clare Niederpruem's modern retelling of the story is scheduled to arrive in movie theaters. It's also been adapted for the small screen a number of times, most recently for PBS's Masterpiece, by Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas.

10. IN 1980, A JAPANESE ANIME VERSION OF LITTLE WOMEN WAS RELEASED.

In 1987, Japan made an anime version of Little Women that ran for 48 half-hour episodes. Watch the first two episodes above.

Additional Resources:
Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography; Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women; Louisa May Alcott's Journals; Little Women; Alcott Film; C-Span; LouisaMayAlcott.org.

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Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Is Causing Another Explosive Problem: Laze
Mario Tama, Getty Images
Mario Tama, Getty Images

Rivers of molten rock aren't the only thing residents near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano have to worry about. Lava from recent volcanic activity has reached the Pacific Ocean and is generating toxic, glass-laced "laze," according to Honolulu-based KITV. Just what is this dangerous substance?

Molten lava has a temperature of about 2000°F, while the surrounding seawater in Hawaii is closer to 80°F. When this super-hot lava hits the colder ocean, the heat makes the water boil, creating powerful explosions of steam, scalding hot water, and projectile rock fragments known as tephra. These plumes are called lava haze, or laze.

Though it looks like regular steam, laze is much more dangerous. When the water and lava combine, and hot lava vaporizes seawater, a series of reactions causes the formation of toxic gas. Chloride from the sea salt mixes with hydrogen in the steam to create a dense, corrosive mixture of hydrochloric acid. The vapor forms clouds that then turn into acid rain.

Laze blows out of the ocean near a lava flow
USGS

That’s not the only danger. The lava cools down rapidly, forming volcanic glass—tiny shards of which explode into the air along with the gases.

Even the slightest encounter with a wisp of laze can be problematic. The hot, acidic mixture can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. It's particularly hazardous to those with breathing problems, like people with asthma.

In 2000, two people died in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from inhaling laze coming from an active lava flow.

The problem spreads far beyond where the lava itself is flowing, pushing the problem downwind. Due to the amount of lava flowing into the ocean and the strength of the winds, laze currently being generated by the Kilauea eruptions could spread up to 15 miles away, a USGS geologist told Reuters.

[h/t Forbes]

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