02/12/2014 02:08 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2014

The 12 Weirdest, Most Surprising Places to Find Recipes

by Belle Cushing

These days, it can sometimes seem like everyone and his brother and his brother's favorite rapper has a cookbook, so it doesn't surprise us when non-chefs come out spouting their cooking how-tos. You may not realize it, but recipes are all around: You'll be cozied up reading a nice non-food-related biography, or popping in a DVD for a Saturday evening flick, and BOOM! A recipe. Where you least expected it. Where no recipe had been before (but will likely keep popping up from now on). Here are 12 recipes you just may come across somewhere you wouldn't expect.

  • In a speech bubble from the mouth of Thor
    Herein lies the secret to Thor's "Warrior Madness." This recipe is the greatest of all the superpowered recipes that made it into The 1977 Mighty Marvel Superhero Cookbook, which also features Spiderman in a toque using his Spidey sense to see where his recipe went wrong, and a very manly beef liver. It was a one-off production, and now a collectible you'll need some luck to get your hands on. But Marvel should really think about making recipe inserts a regular thing.
  • In a Kurt Vonnegut novel
    Kurt Vonnegut intended the recipes interspersed throughout Deadeye Detective to serve "as musical interludes for the salivary glands." They are inspired by James Beard, Marcella Hazan, and Bea Sandler, and while he warns the reader not to cook from them, the recipe for Haitian banana soup sounds pretty enticing: "Stew two pounds of goat or chicken with half a cup of chopped onions, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Use two quarts of water. Stew for an hour. Add three peeled yams and three peeled bananas, cut into chunks. Simmer until the meat is tender. Take out the meat. What is left is eight servings of Haitian banana soup."
  • In the bonus features of a David Lynch DVD
    When David Lynch released his Inland Empire (2007) on DVD, he snuck into the special features his very own method for making quinoa. The video recipe—which comes in two glowing, ominous, surreal parts complete with rifts in consciousness and tales of Coca-Cola in Yugoslavia—is as Lynchian as the movie itself.
  • In a letter from Dean Martin
    It makes a little more sense when you learn that this letter from Dean Martin was destined for The Celebrity Cookbook, a collection of recipes ranging from Lucille Ball's persimmon cake to Frank Sinatra's barbecued lamb. But wouldn't that be a great letter to receive?
  • In a tattoo magazine
    We suppose it was only a matter of time before the Inked Chef made it into Inked mag. Last November, even Inked magazine capitalized on what is the biggest month for food and media with a little story on tatted-out Chopped judge Aaron Sanchez that featured the chef's recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing. It has chorizo and cornbread and sounds pretty good. After all, even the inked gotta eat.
  • In the Bible
    "Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils and millet, and spelt and put them in one vessel…" Ezekiel 4:9. The exact measurements are missing in this biblical directive, but this is as close as a higher power gets to telling you how to cook. The verse even spawned its own line of breads.
  • In a Friends episode
    "The One With Phoebe's Cookies" chronicles the search for Phoebe's grandmother's elusive cookie recipe. You know, from that iconically French Frenchwoman Nesslé Tullehosse—oh. That very exclusive recipe, and likely some jam, cheesecake, and beef trifle, also made it into the the show's very own Cooking with Friends cookbook.
  • In the hippest teen mag of the '80s
    Before Sassy, the teen magazine to best all teen magazines, folded in the nineties, it was home to a now-much-pined-after recipe column called "Eat This." The series showed celebs dishing on their fave eats, like Sonic Youth and this recipe for their Tuna Tacos. So cool.
  • In a skate-rat mag called Thrasher
    If you were an irreverent teen who wasn't getting your recipes from Sassy, you might have been flipping through Thrasher mag to the Skarfing Material column. Here, Chef Boy-Am-I-Hungry taught his skate rat readers how to make things like "Tortelgagga-nag-nag with no if, and, or but sauce." The mag still exists, but for some inexplicable reason, it has put an end to Chef Boy-Am-I-Hungry's gastronomic adventures. Luckily, there's a tumblr out there that revisits the greats.
  • On Rosa Parks's bank envelope
    Rosa Parks's recipe for "Featherlite" Banana Pancakes ended up on a Guernsey's auction lot in 2011, along with a postcard from Martin Luther King, Jr., Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton, the pink dress she wore to accept said medal, and other valuables from the Civil Rights icon. The pancakes are made with a "featherlite" self-rising flour, but the real magic ingredient is peanut butter. The bank envelope scrawl is a little cryptic, so Serious Eats wrote out the recipe all nice.
  • In 2 Chainz's latest album
    What do you mean, you haven't yet cooked from 2 Chainz's album-cum-cookbook B.O.A.T.S. 2 #Metime? The compilation of recipes from the rapper's tour bus (as seen previously on his Instagram) includes some great advice, culinary and otherwise, such as "Call Fergie, invite her to watch a movie on Netflix. Once she accepts, start making green beans."
  • In the pages of a jazz icon's biography
    Charles Mingus was not just a renowned double bassist, a jazz composer, and a genius of collective improvisation throughout the '50s and '60s. He also made a killer eggnog, the recipe for which Janet Coleman included in the biography she wrote on his influential career, thus granting well-made booze a spot right up there with his pioneering jazz riffs as a major life accomplishment. The recipe is reproduced on his official website for your enjoyment.

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