On a handful of his videos, Andrew Rea, the man behind the Babish Culinary Universe, has this sendoff: “Keep cooking, I will if you will.” During the early days of the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders, my fiancee and I found ourselves needing to occupy more time than anyone should know what to do with, and found ourselves binging the wildly popular Binging with Babish, as well as the spinoff Basics with Babish. As awesome as it is to see some of the foods from my favorite movies recreated and revamped, such as the orange mocha frappuccino from Zoolander or the garlic bread from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, there’s only so much representation from the horror genre, as I explored in a previous list.
As such, I took to social media and began curating a list of actual foods from horror films, not some cutesy little cupcakes with Jason masks or Freddy gloves. There’s actually way more actual sustenance to be found in the films of our favorite genre, and it would be awesome to see what Rea could do with some of these culinary concoctions.
Before we dig in, I must include a caveat that I know is going to catch me some hell. There are two dishes that I considered including, those being the Sawyer family chili from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the cursed strawberry pie from Thinner, and the meatball pizza from Nightmare on Elm Street. While these seem like shoo-ins, Andrew has made chili and pizza loads of times on the show, with several iterations coming from both Binging and from Basics. He’s also explored “human” meat before, so there’s not a whole lot to be explored, as much as I want a legitimate Sawyer Family chili recipe. As such, I’m excluding these from the list, as there wouldn’t be much new ground to be broken. There are many ways to skin a cat, sure, but only so many.
Cotton Candy from Killer Klowns from Outer Space
When Babish does dessert, all bets are off. Who can forget the absurdity of the World’s Most Expensive episode of Binging, in which he used an expensive Cognac and edible gold leaf just for shits and giggles? Or his attempt at making a “good” version of the Spongebob bad breath sundae? The thought of him attempting something like cotton candy is an amusing one, and what better inspiration than the schlocky, campy Killer Klowns from Outer Space? With the recent expansion of his channel, perhaps Rea would spring for a cotton candy machine just to dick around with it, trying to make different flavors of human cocoons.
Liver, Fava Beans, and a nice Chianti from The Silence of the Lambs
I only have so much to say about this entry, as given how instilled in pop culture this line is, it’s a wonder why he hasn’t taken this one on. He’s worked with blood in a couple of capacities, so it’s at least in his skillset to go gory. It would also be an excuse to dive into things like pate and other meaty delicacies, and with his partnership with wine subscription service Bright Cellars, this feels like a slam dunk waiting to happen.
Fortune Cookies from It
Staying with dessert to some degree, one of the lasting visuals from Stephen King’s It is the Jade of the Orient scene, in which the fortune cookies at the center of the table spring to life, manifesting themselves into different aberrations. And with as much mass production as we see with foods like fortune cookies, you know that if anyone is crazy enough to make the things by hand, it’s Andrew motherfudging Rea. The man has made puff pastry, udon noodles, and frigging graham crackers by hand. Don’t tell me he wouldn’t try to make these.
Now, how he’d get the little creatures in there, I’m not sure, but again, Andrew would totally be the type to a) fuck around and b) find out.
Mrs. Lovett’s Meat Pies from Sweeney Todd
Babish has dealt with “human” meat before, as we discussed in the previous list, but putting things into pie form is… well, that was his literal second-ever episode, in which he made the timpano from the foodie’s wet dream that is Big Night. I debated if this was another case of “not enough new ground to justify it,” but there’s a very good reason why he should cover the Sondheim classic, as imagined by Tim Burton: ballads with Babish. We’ve never heard Rea flex his pipes on the show, but with a deep, smooth voice like his, I have to wonder what his singing voice is like. It would be an episode where caution could be thrown to the wind, and it could be dumb fun.
Apocalypse Twinkies from Zombieland
I’m beginning to realize how many dessert items we have here, but so be it. This one also has some precedence, as Rea recently recreated the somehow-good twinkie weiner sandwich from UHF. Not only did he make the literal genuine article, he also made a Babish version, complete with a savory Twinkie. To see him try to recapture the magic of the Hostess sponge cake to the letter would be entertaining, and to think of what the over-the-top Babish version is to peer inside the mind of a culinary madman.
Joyce’s Ambrosia Salad from Edward Scissorhands
As much as the Tim Burton classic works with color and the absence thereof, this visually striking dessert caps off one of the most awkward, secondhand embarrassment-inducing scenes of the film. After the bitch of the block spoon-feeds Edward her signature salad, the rest of the neighborhood ladies begin to wear the man down, before Joyce proudly declares that he’ll be visiting her house first. This would be an ideal opportunity for Babish to talk about fruits and their versatility, and could piggyback off of a fruit salad episode of Basics, should he choose to go down that road.
Pea Soup from The Exorcist
Alright, so pea soup isn’t really a thing in the movie, but it’s what everyone thinks of when they think of the William Friedkin shocker that still floors audiences nearly half a century later. Yes, he’s done plenty of soup before, but this could be a situation where he searches for the “real” pea soup recipe used for the film, then jazzes it up in his own way. While I don’t anticipate that he would try to recreate the Regan special, it would at least be funny to see him try. And given his previous experiments with engineering and robotics, perhaps he would try to make a sort of pea soup launcher?
This entry went off the rails, but so does the show itself from time to time, so I’m not bothered and you shouldn’t be either.
Lemonade from Cabin Fever
Is lemonade that interesting of a thing for Babish to create? Well, Eli Roth’s directorial debut, it’s the inciting object, the drink that kicks off a mass infection that derails a group of co-eds and the denizens of their vacation spot. I see an episode like this following the formula of his take on the milkshake from Pulp Fiction, in which we get a replication faithful to the source material, followed by a slightly jazzed-up take, and capped off with absolute madness and excess. Perhaps a boozy version of this summer refresher would be in store as well? After all, enough alcohol and one could feel like their skin is crawling, falling off their frame.
Soylent Green from Soylent Green
Just as the Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi classic is speculative fiction, this one would be a wild card, caution to the wind, “fuck it” kind of episode for our intrepid host. We all know what the titular substance turns out to be (and if you don’t, refer to the clip below and get with the times, please), but letting an experimentalist the level of Andrew Rea have fun with this would be insane. Part of me also wants to see this as an episode of Stump Sohla, and allow new BCU hostess Sohla El-Waylly to get obscene levels of creative with it.
Gluttony’s Spaghetti from Se7en
Basic as this dish is, it’s used to force-feed a man to literal death, in the David Fincher-directed gruesome seven deadly sins allegory. Again, this could be a progression episode, starting off simplistic and getting into experimental, ridiculously expensive territory. Perhaps Rea’s mission would be similar to the Meat Tornado episode, in which he needs to figure out just how much of the subject food it would take to kill a person, then making exactly that amount. In any case, we know that there’s no plate size too outrageous for our dear Babish.
Rose’s Froot Loops from Get Out
This one is something of a sadistic choice, as while I think that the task of making any kind of cereal from scratch is absolutely too much, we’ve seen Andrew make puff pastry from scratch, so I feel like he would take something like this on with reckless abandon and eventual regret. Maybe he would go for some expensive sheep’s milk to go with his exquisite cereal snack, in a bid to imitate the seemingly innocent Rose from Jordan Peele’s 2017 shocker.
Eddie Meatloaf from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Meatloaf is such a divisive food. People either love it because it reminds them of childhood and Mom’s cooking, or they hate that goddamn meat cake with god-awful ketchup icing. Toss-up that may be, Meat Loaf’s turn as the bad boy Eddie in the queerest rock and roll musical out there is over about as quickly as it begins, as Dr. Frank N. Furter does away with the wild man and serves him to the unexpected guests later. This could be a bitchfest for Rea’s hidden hatred for meatloaf (or for Meat Loaf, for that matter), or a love letter to comfort food as a whole.