On February 7, 2004, less than two weeks after Scary-Crayon first opened its virtual doors to the browsing public, A Random Lunch #0 was posted. The fact that its title contained a number suggested that it would not be the only "random" culinary experiment to grace the site -- and sure enough, about halfway into March, the revelation of A Random Lunch #1 fulfilled the implied promise. #2 came during the following month, then #3 during the next, then #4... but somewhere along the line, the lunches stopped appearing so frequently. Months came and went without the presentation of a single random concoction; when the Random Lunches did arrive, they were posted out of order. One of the skipped lunches never appeared at all. In fact, despite being one of the first recurring featurettes on SC, there have only been eleven Random Lunches to date. The most recent one at the time of this writing, #11, was posted over seven months ago.
And yet the randomness of their order and the reality that #6 never appeared nevertheless suggests that there was some intended order -- and that, lost somewhere amidst the unfinished SC articles and archived images that have never seen the light of online day, there was a Random Lunch #6. And there was. Indeed, there were many Random Lunches that never received numbers at all -- but just because their results were never made public does not mean that they did not exist. Just as other nations continue to pursue nuclear weaponry even as the mighty United States vainly beats its chest and threatens action unless they cease and desist; just as a mad scientist continues to create freakish feathered alligator sheep hybrid clones in defiance of regulations and prohibitions; so have we continued to partake of random experiments in the secrecy of our kitchen. Unlike these lawbreakers and potential evildoers, though, our reasons for not sharing our findings stem not from love of conquest or national interests or fears that the authorities will halt our progress. No, we simply got distracted before fully documenting the Random Lunches in official article format and eventually forgot about them altogether. But tucked away on the DVD-Rs that I occasionally burn to conserve hard drive space, the proof that these experiments took place remained in jpeg form, waiting for someone to browse those nested folders and reveal the eldritch concoctions therein to readers across the globe. And so it is that today -- at long last -- Scary-Crayon proudly presents The Lost Lunches: Volume One.
The Chicken Finger and Vegetarian Sausage Sandwich
(Created: February 16, 2004)
One of the very earliest of the random lunches, this dish was created back when I was still playing it relatively safe with my unlikely culinary combos. I mean, even if slathering chicken fingers and veggie sausages with fat free Miracle Whip and sticking them between two toasted slices of reduced calorie high fiber wheat bread didn't make for the most amazing combination, it was hardly going to offend anyone's tastebuds. Suffice it to say that chicken fingers and vegetarian sausages don't complement each other particularly well, but -- as expected -- combining them doesn't exactly detract from their respective tastes either. Eating this sandwich was essentially equivalent to eating a bunch of miniature chicken sandwiches and sausage sandwiches in alternating order -- tasty, but not what I'd call a successful random lunch experiment. And note the taquito on the side! It was pretty good, but it didn't have anything to do with the trial itself. I just put it there because I was planning to work an Invader Zim reference into the characters' dialogue. GIR likes taquitos, you see. ;)
The Unholy and Horrific Overripe Banana Concoctions
(Created: July 30, 2004)
Longtime readers of Scary-Crayon (or folks who peruse the following link and then reread this sentence) may recall one of our previous culinary endeavors: the Peanut Butter Banana Burrito Experiment. However, our food pieces aren't always completed in a timely manner -- and while the article was posted on August 3, 2004, the photographs therein were taken on February 8 of that year. The 1.5 bananas used in the experiment pictured here were actually from the same bunch, which -- if I had to hazard a guess -- was purchased in either January 2004 or December 2003. So by the time July rolled around, they were somewhat... ripe.
Not that that was going to stop me from using them, though! I'd kept them in the freezer, so it's not like they'd been rotting on the kitchen counter for all of that time (good thing, too; they'd probably have attracted all sorts of insects and icky grossness) -- they should have been fine. And they were fine, which is to say that the freshness of the bananas was not the major problem with at least one of the horrific random lunches created on that fateful day. On the contrary, what made the experiment in question go so badly was my brilliant idea to slice up the bananas, combine half of the slices with an egg, and -- as I tended to do those in days -- dump the mixture into sizzlin' grease. I fried the remaining banana slices as they were.
The "pure" banana slices were really the control group -- the omelette positively terrified me, but I was a little worried about eating them even by themselves. However, upon tasting them and finding them to be edible (if a little soft), I decided to spruce up this less interesting half of the experiment as well by combining it with some additional ingredients. Grabbing one of the discounted croissants I'd recently purchased (yay overbaking!) and nearby jars of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, I proceeded to stuff the croissant with the fried banana slices and top it off with a heap of each of the fluffernutter mixins. The resulting snack wasn't bad, but I can't say that I would choose it over a plain fluffernutter sandwich sans bananas or a dish featuring peanut butter and bananas without a superfluous glob of marshmallow creme. And with the possible exception of certain breakfast sandwiches at fast food restaurants, croissants are always better by themselves.
The Brown Banana Omelette, however, might be the reason I never actually got around to posting this random lunch, as my subconscious was likely doing all that it could to distract me and keep from actively remembering it. It wasn't quite as bad as Pup Corn or stale peanut butter-flavored cereal -- because holy hell there is something evil about those things -- but it had a really funky taste that was just unpleasant all around. In fact, the fish-shaped cheddar wedges and ketchup were last-minute additions that I threw atop the eldritch concoction in order to overcome the extremely weird taste and make it a little more palatable. They helped me to stomach it by turning it into a rubbery, cheesy, ketchup-y mess, but this is still a dish that I urge you to avoid at all costs. In fact, given my more recent experience with strawberries and eggs, I've concluded that mixing fruit and eggs is a very, very bad idea. You want to mix vegetables and eggs? Go for it. Green eggs and ham, fine. But not fruit and eggs. God, not fruit and eggs. Never, ever, ever, ever mix fruit and eggs. Ever.
The Surimi, Scrambled Egg, and Bloody Mary Breakfast
(Created: December 4, 2004)
Admittedly, the main dish in this random
lunch breakfast -- a bowl of fake crabmeat mixed with a microwaved and scrambled egg -- is hardly as odd or frightening as many of our other spontaneous edible concoctions. What's different about the overall meal, though, is that its accompanying drink was a Bloody Mary... at 10:30 AM on a Saturday morning. I don't exactly recall what convinced me that this was a potentially good idea -- I was probably thinking that, since zesty ketchup is pretty good on seafood omelettes, the drink's spicy tomato flavor would go well with the dish -- but whatever it was was decidedly wrong. Bloody Marys are fairly gross any time of the day (especially when they're made with the cheapest vodka that money can buy), but on that morning they pretty much ruined my enjoyment of what would otherwise have been a tasty breakfast. Ugh.
The Cut Corn and Ice Cream Sundae/Soup Special
(Created: December 12, 2004)
Corn is good with sweet things, right? I mean, there's corn pudding, corn fritters... heck, there's even sweet corn. So you'd expect corn and ice cream to be tasty, right? Right...? If you're raising an eyebrow and saying, "Uhm... heck no," then give yourself a point because you're absolutely right. Corn may work well in some dessert concoctions, but it is a terrible addition to ice cream. To make matters worse, I neglected to take into account that microwaving the frozen corn and then immediately adding the ice cream would cause the ice cream to melt, meaning that my less-than-delectable sundae was soon transformed into a bowl of ice cream soup. With corn. It was certainly... interesting, but not something that I can recommend in good conscience.
Thus ends The Lost Lunches: Volume One. However, while these experiments weren't quite as successful or intriguing as some of our previous culinary endeavors, keep in mind that we have knowingly titled this article Volume One. There will inevitably come a Two, and then a Three -- someday -- because there are still many, many photos of undocumented concoctions that have largely been forgotten even by the one who created and consumed them. But memories are tricky things, and it is amazing how a single photograph can bring foul flavors from the past rushing to the forefront of one's mind. After all, some people say that we never really forget anything: that although memories and thoughts get pushed aside to make room for new ones, we nevertheless retain the information that we believe to be lost. The pictures provide us with a menmonic key to open the door of that dusty mental cellar, allowing the light of recollection to penetrate the shadows that have formed in the interim. And when that time comes, friends, what once was lost... will again be found.