Pickles and Ice Cream: A Bizarre Pregnancy Cravings Cookbook

SECOND TRIMESTER

MAINS

While you can make a main course out of any craving if you eat enough of it, this chapter is a collection of the heartier dishes more likely to fill you up. Some very creative variations on burgers, meats, and sides await. As well as one or two very creative variations on the concept of food.

The very first recipe in this chapter, we are proud to say, was taste-tested by not only us but the (now adult) son of the woman who craved it when pregnant with him. His reaction? “Now I know why I turned out so weird.”

LEMON AND CHOCOLATE PRAWNS ON A BED OF SPINACH

Maria, Lisbon, Portugal

SERVES 1

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Quite tasty. Especially after you have tried some of the other recipes and your standards have been lowered.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter

½ clove garlic, crushed

1–5 raw king prawns with shells

2½ ounces / 70 g fresh spinach

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

¼ lemon

1 ounce / 30 g chocolate

1 slice of lemon

METHOD

On medium heat, melt the butter and fry the crushed garlic for about a minute.

Add the prawns and cook, turning occasionally until they have turned pink (approximately 5–8 minutes). If you are pregnant make extra-sure they are well cooked.

Remove from the pan and reserve.

Wash and de-stem the spinach.

Heat the olive oil in the same pan that was used to fry the prawns.

Add the washed, de-stemmed spinach and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Arrange a bed of spinach on the plate and put the prawns on top.

Squeeze the lemon over the dish.

Crush the chocolate into smaller pieces then add the chocolate and lemon slice.

Serve.

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LAMB’S EYES

Danielle, Johannesburg, South Africa

SERVES 1 VERY UNLUCKY PERSON

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Let us never speak of this again.

INGREDIENTS

3 lamb’s eyes

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Rosemary

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF.

Brush the eyes with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary, and roast for about 20 minutes.

When plating, feel free to add some red wine sauce, rosemary, and edible flowers as we did because why the hell not.

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LAMB’S EYES

DANIELLE, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

I became a vegetarian at the age of fifteen. The big pity for me was, however, that my taste buds and consuming passions were in direct conflict with my moral sensibilities—I had always loved, and I mean really, really loved, meat. In the end, I settled on being a pescatarian, and had been happily eating that way for about twenty years. All of this changed, however, when, at the age of thirty-six, I fell pregnant with my son. I had dreamt of a glorious, raw, vegetarian pregnancy, and imagined my body rejecting anything that was unclean. Instead, all that I wanted to eat was chocolate and—driven by an increasingly irrepressible animal craving—meat. I managed to hold myself back, virtuously sticking to salads and veggies, stuffing fresh fruit into my ravenous face, but found it increasingly difficult to ignore my body’s all-too-clear message that what it wanted was animal fat and blood.

I was five months pregnant when we went on holiday to Morocco and my cravings hit fever pitch whilst walking through the famously fabulous Marrakesh market. My feral nose—filled with the scents of every possible creature’s every possible body part being cooked in every possible way—led me to a display of roasted lamb’s heads, whose shiny, gooey eyeballs glowed at me, offering me the promise of tastes and sensations that would transport me into a state of pregnant bliss. AS I LUNGED TOWARDS THE LAMB’S HEAD, LITERALLY ABOUT TO STICK MY FINGERS INTO THE ORIFICES TO EXTRACT AND DEVOUR THE DRIPPING ORBS, MY PARTNER YANKED ME BACK IN HORROR, ASKING ME WHAT THE HELL I THOUGHT I WAS DOING, just as my virtue-mechanisms snapped into place to stop me. I never tasted the eyeballs.

SAUSAGE AND JAM

Valerie, Folkestone, Kent, England

SERVES 1

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We had high hopes for this one. So you could say, this is what disappointment tastes like.

INGREDIENTS

1 sausage

1 tablespoon strawberry jam

1 tablespoon apricot marmalade

METHOD

Fry the sausage in a hot pan until it is brown and crispy on all sides.

Eat using the jam as a sauce.

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BANANA-AND-PEANUT-BUTTER-STUFFED JALAPEÑOS

Brandi, Jamestown, North Dakota, USA

SERVES 1

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Banana-peanut-butter-stuffed jalapeños has thirty-seven letters. “This is the worst-tasting thing in this book” also has thirty-seven letters. Coincidence? Yes, actually. The worst-tasting thing in this book is the Lamb’s Eyes here. This is actually pretty darn good.

INGREDIENTS

1 jalapeño pepper

2 teaspoons peanut butter

¼ banana

3 or 4 peanuts, crushed

METHOD

Slice the jalapeño pepper lengthwise in half.

Remove the white flesh and seeds so that there is a hollow cavity. Reserve seeds if you enjoy spicy food.

Stuff the pepper with the peanut butter.

Cut the banana into squares about ¼ inch / ½ cm in size and place them on top.

Crush the peanuts and sprinkle on top.

Add a few jalapeño seeds if you want to add a bit of extra bite.

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TUNA MAYO–MELON

Scarlett, Dallas–Fort Worth, USA

SERVES 1

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A taste explosion. Like, it literally feels as if someone put a grenade in your mouth and pulled the pin.

INGREDIENTS

1 (5-ounce / 142-g) can of tuna

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

5 ounces / 140 g rindless, seedless watermelon

METHOD

Open the can of tuna and drain off the brine or oil.

Put in a dish and add the mayo. Stir with a fork until it is thoroughly mixed in.

Put a ring mold onto a plate and put the mixture inside.

Cut the watermelon into bite-size shapes and place on top of the tuna-mayo mixture.

Remove the mold and enjoy.

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RUBBER BANDS

Tara, Canberra, Australia

SERVES 0. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU EAT THESE? NO IDEA. PLEASE DON’T FIND OUT.

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A bit like chewing gum. If they made chewing gum in terrible flavors.

INGREDIENT

1 pack of rubber bands

METHOD

Stretch 4–6 rubber bands around the plate and place the rest in the middle.

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RUBBER BANDS

TARA, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA

I’M NOT SURE HOW IT STARTED. I JUST STARTED TASTING RUBBER EVERYWHERE AND IN EVERYTHING. AND THEN I EVEN STARTED SMELLING IT. AFTER A WHILE I WANTED TO EAT IT, WHICH IS WHERE THE IDEA FOR THE RUBBER BANDS CAME FROM. I PREFERRED HOW THE THICK ONES TASTED—THEY HAD A STRONGER FLAVOR.

BACON AND MARS BAR BURGER

Suze, Hamburg, Germany

SERVES 1

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It’s pretty crazy, but the good kind. Not the one that runs after you in a mask with a chain saw.

INGREDIENTS

3 rashers of bacon

1 bread roll

Butter

2 Mars Bars

METHOD

Fry the bacon until it is crispy and then set aside.

Cut the bread roll in half and butter both sides generously.

Unwrap the Mars Bars and place them on the bottom half of the roll with the bacon on top.

Complete the burger with the top half of the bun and serve immediately.

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PINEAPPLE POTATOES

Julie, Johannesburg, South Africa

SERVES 1

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Some things just don’t mix well—the Internet and productivity, hangovers and screaming toddlers, Legos and bare feet… add pineapples and potato to that list.

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium potatoes

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup / 60 ml milk

3 slices of pineapple

Rosemary and chopped chives, for garnish

METHOD

Boil a pot of water, adding the salt.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters.

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes.

Drain.

Add the butter and milk and mash until smooth.

Add salt to taste.

Arrange the pineapple and mashed potato on a plate.

Garnish with rosemary and chives.

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CHICKEN NUGGETS WITH WHIPPED CREAM

Jessica, North Adams, Massachusetts, USA

SERVES 1

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The flavor of whipped cream with the texture of a chicken nugget. Somehow not as good as it sounds. We had to eat it. You don’t.

INGREDIENTS

1 chicken breast

Salt

Pepper

1 egg

3 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pinch of dried thyme

Pinch of dried basil

½ cup / 120 ml canola or sunflower oil

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (chilled)

1 teaspoon sugar

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF.

Cut the chicken into 2 x 1-inch (approx. 5 x 2.5-cm) rectangles and season with salt and pepper.

Set up three bowls: one with beaten egg, one with the bread crumbs, and one with the flour and spices mixed together.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the flour, then the egg, the bread crumbs.

Heat up the oil in a pan.

Fry the chicken about 7 minutes per side and set aside.

Beat the whipping cream in a bowl, gradually adding the sugar.

When it forms stiff peaks, it is ready.

Make a bed of whipped cream and place the chicken nuggets on top.

Watch in horror as the heat from the nuggets almost immediately melts the whipped cream back to its liquid form.

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CHICKEN NUGGETS WITH WHIPPED CREAM

JESSICA, NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS, USA

I craved a lot of saltiness and dairy during my pregnancy. I also ate banana splits every night. Sometimes I would put popcorn on my ice cream. I just happened to look in the fridge one day and see whipped cream and thought this would go great with fries. From there I would dip anything fried into whipped cream. Chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, mac and cheese bites, potato chips.

MY SON DOESN’T REALLY LIKE ANY FRIED FOODS, WHIPPED CREAM, CHOCOLATE SYRUP, ICE CREAM. I GUESS HE HAD ENOUGH DURING PREGNANCY. His teeth came early which I figured was due to all the calcium I consumed.

HOT FUDGE PIZZA

Shivawn, Chicago, USA

SERVES 1

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Kind of good in a bad way. Since chocolate and pizza are the two most addictive substances known to man, it’s hard to stop eating. Be careful with this one.

INGREDIENTS

1 ham and olive pizza

¼ (14-ounce / 400-ml) can condensed milk

2 teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 tablespoon butter

⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

Remove your frozen pizza from the packaging and cook according to the instructions or order a ham and olive pizza from your local pizza restaurant. (Seriously, who makes a pizza from scratch?)

While you are waiting for your pizza, make the hot fudge sauce.

Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan and sift in the cocoa powder. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring often. Boil for 3 minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the butter. It should melt rapidly and can be stirred into the mixture.

Add the vanilla extract and stir.

Allow the hot fudge to cool until it is warm, but not hot enough to burn you.

Slice the pizza into twelve equal slices, if it is not already sliced.

Pour the hot fudge evenly over the entire pizza.

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STEAK WITH ICE CREAM

Olivia, Greenville, South Carolina, USA

SERVES 1

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There is a special place in hell for people who ruin good steaks like this. We’ll save you a seat.

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil

1 (7-ounce / 200-g) fillet steak

Salt

Pepper

1–2 scoops of ice cream (your choice of flavor)

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan until hot.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. For a 1-inch / 2.5-cm-thick steak, fry for approximately 1½ minutes per side for rare, 2 minutes for medium, and 4–5 minutes for well done. If you are pregnant, sorry, but it’s well done for you.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the steak rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes.

Add the ice cream on top and eat quickly before it melts.

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STEAK WITH ICE CREAM

OLIVIA, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA

I WAS CRAVING SOMETHING THAT WOULD FILL ME UP AND STEAK HAPPENED TO POP UP ON THE TV. BUT I DIDN’T WANT SOMETHING THAT WAS HOT, SO I PUT ICE CREAM ON TOP. I HAD TO HAVE IT AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK FOR ABOUT TWO MONTHS. THE FATHER OF MY CHILD THOUGHT IT WAS REVOLTING AND REFUSED TO WATCH ME EAT IT.

HAVING MY SON WAS THE BIGGEST BLESSING, BUT HE GAVE ME QUITE A FEW CRAZY CRAVINGS. I ALSO CRAVED HOT CHEETOS AND LUCKY CHARMS WITH MILK.

SCRAMBLED EGGS, CHEESE, AND SAUERKRAUT ON TOAST

Jerri, Westport, Connecticut, USA

SERVES 1

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This is one dish we can wholeheartedly and unreservedly say is “It’s all right, I guess.”

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoon butter

2 eggs

Salt

Pepper

¼ (14-ounce / 400-ml) can sauerkraut

Slice of brown bread

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

¼ cup / 40 g cheddar cheese

Fresh chopped dill, for garnish

METHOD

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper for each egg.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan. After about 30 seconds, lift and fold with a spatula until it is cooked through.

Heat up the sauerkraut in the microwave.

Toast the bread and butter it.

Put the mayonnaise, scrambled egg, and sauerkraut on top of the bread, then sprinkle with cheese and garnish with dill.

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SCRAMBLED EGGS, CHEESE, AND SAUERKRAUT ON TOAST

JERRI, WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT, USA

I was living in Taiwan when I found out I was pregnant and all “American” foods made me nostalgic and long for home. From the get-go I wanted comfort food. One evening I was making a grilled cheese sandwich and some eggs. The idea of putting them together and adding sauerkraut just sounded heavenly. From the first bite, I was totally hooked. The tang of the sauerkraut mixed with the creaminess of the cheese was oddly satisfying.

My cravings were all about this combination of eggs, cheese, and sauerkraut when I was pregnant. I would use about a quarter of a can of sauerkraut on each sandwich, so there was a lot of vinegar flavor coming through. Luckily my partner was Scottish and grew up eating haggis so he wasn’t fazed in the slightest by it.

I ATE THIS SANDWICH EVERY EVENING FOR ABOUT SEVEN MONTHS. IT BECAME A RITUAL. I CAN’T STAND SAUERKRAUT NOW.

DOG FOOD

Elizabeth, San Antonio, Texas, USA

SERVES 0 PEOPLE. 1 DOG.

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Dogs love their food. But dogs also eat their own puke, so there was a fair amount of dread before trying this one. Surprisingly, it was very bland. Like a regular cracker with a hint of a taste of beef broth. Good for us, but maybe not so good for dogs?

INGREDIENTS

1½ ounces / 40 g dry dog food

METHOD

Pick out the pieces that most appeal to you and arrange them on a plate.

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DOG FOOD

ELIZABETH, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, USA

I was feeding my dog one day and the dog food smelled great. When I first tasted it, it was sort of one of those “awww” moments when you eat something you have been wanting for a really long time. After I had my son I tried it again and let’s just say I definitely wasn’t pregnant anymore! I don’t know what I was thinking. BACK THEN I WOULD GET A ZIPLOCK BAG AND TAKE THE PIECES I WANTED TO EAT, SO I COULD HAVE IT ANYTIME “ON THE GO.”

My whole family thought it was disgusting; my mom even bought a different brand to discourage me from eating it. I was pretty mad. My parents would say, “Your baby is gonna come out acting like a dog with all that dog food you’re eating.” Then when my son was about two, maybe almost three, I caught him in the kitchen sitting next to the dog bowl eating dog food. Safe to say he didn’t like it, but you live and you learn.

FRIED CHICKEN DONUT BURGER

Kristina, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

SERVES 1

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Sadly, the satisfaction-to-calories ratio just isn’t high enough.

FRIED CHICKEN

Vegetable oil for deep frying

¼ cup / 30 g all-purpose flour

Pinch of paprika

Pinch of garlic salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of salt

Pinch of white pepper

1 chicken breast

2 tablespoons buttermilk

DONUTS

¼ ounce / 7 g active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons warm water (100°F / 40–45°C)

2 tablespoons warm milk 1 teaspoon butter

½ cup / 60 g all-purpose flour

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

Light pinch of salt

¼ of a beaten egg

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon warm water

Red food coloring

Sprinkles

METHOD

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large iron skillet to 325ºF / 160ºC.

Put the flour and spices in a resealable plastic bag and shake to mix.

Coat the chicken in the buttermilk and then put it into the bag with the seasoned flour and shake well.

Deep fry the chicken breast for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oil and let cool on a rack.

Refry the chicken until crispy. Remove and drain on a rack.

To make the donut, first put the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat the milk and butter in the microwave until it just starts to boil.

Put half the flour with the baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.

Pour the egg into the mixing bowl along with the yeast mixture and milk.

Mix until smooth, slowly adding the rest of the flour until you have a dough-like texture that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Cover the bowl and put it in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Form into a donut shape and deep fry in the same oil you used for the chicken.

Cook until light golden brown on both sides, turning once.

Set aside on a paper towel while you make the glaze.

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon warm water, and a little red food coloring together. Be careful not to put in too much food coloring, just a tiny amount will get the pink color you are looking for.

Pour over the warm donut. Add the sprinkles while the glaze is still wet.

Allow the donut to cool and the glaze to set.

Cut the donut in half as you would a bread roll.

Place the fried chicken inside as you would a burger. You can place the breast whole or slice it up first.

Serve.

ALTERNATIVE METHOD

Turn twenty-one steps into two steps by simply buying a donut and piece of fried chicken. We won’t judge you. Promise.

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COAL

Amanda, São Paulo, Brazil

SERVES 0. SHOULD YOU EAT THIS? A BIG NO WITH A SIDE OF NOPE.

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Surprisingly, it tasted like nothing. Slightly gritty nothing. It gets 4 stars because the relief that it wasn’t terrible was absolutely delicious.

INGREDIENTS

Coal

METHOD

Put a piece of coal on a plate.

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CHICKEN WITH FROSTING

Rachel, West Valley City, Utah, USA

SERVES 1

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It’s that couple you know from the second they get together that it’s all going to end in tears.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup / 110 g confectioners’ sugar

⅓ teaspoon milk

Food coloring, e.g., yellow, blue, and pink, or your preference

Salt

Pepper

1 chicken breast

2 tablespoons olive oil

Maraschino cherry, for garnish

METHOD

Blend the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a spoon or mixer until well mixed.

Stir in the milk.

Separate the frosting into portions and add a different-colored food coloring to each one. Mix each thoroughly until the color is uniform.

Put in the fridge to chill until the chicken is ready.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breast.

Heat olive oil in a pan to medium heat.

Fry the chicken for 10–12 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. If the chicken is cooking too fast or getting charred on the outside, turn down the heat. When the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, it is ready.

Remove the pan from the heat and slice the chicken into slightly angled slices.

Add the frosting on or around the chicken in a decorative pattern.

Place the cherry strategically on the frosting to garnish.

Serve.

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MEDLEY OF SOAPS

Jannel, Hexham, Northumberland, England

SERVES 0—IF IN DOUBT ABOUT WHETHER YOU SHOULD EAT THIS, REFER TO THE REVIEW AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.

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Do not try this. Ever. Ignoring this warning isn’t like ignoring the expiration date on a yogurt. It’s like ignoring the warning of the lifeguard on the beach who tells you not to enter the shark-infested waters.

INGREDIENTS

Liquid hand soap for sauce / decoration

1 bar of soap

METHOD

Put a squirt of the hand soap aside; mix it vigorously with a little water until it forms foam.

Use different-colored liquid hand soaps and foam to create delicious-looking patterns.

Finish the dish with a bar of soap in the middle.

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MEDLEY OF SOAPS

JANNEL, HEXHAM, NORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND

I have always loved the smell of soap like a lot of people do, but during each of my four pregnancies I was overcome with the urge to lick or bite bars of soap. ALTHOUGH THE TASTE OF IT WOULD MAKE ME COUGH AFTER A WHILE AND COULD GET QUITE OVERPOWERING, I JUST COULDN’T STOP. There were a few times I would grate the soap like cheese and nibble it, even putting it on toast or crackers like a topping. I would say I ate it at least three times a week, not too often as it caused heartburn after too much. Most other people thought I was totally nuts except other women who had also experienced the same craving. There have been times even when I’m not pregnant that I will randomly have a sneaky lick of a bar of soap but generally the urge just strikes during pregnancy.

CUSTARD, JELLY, PEANUT BUTTER, BANANA, AND CREAM SANDWICH

Gemma, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

SERVES 1

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The genius is it’s actually a cake but you get to call it a sandwich, which totally makes it suitable for lunch, dinner, breakfast, in-between snacks… now.

INGREDIENTS

2 slices of white bread

⅓ banana

1½ tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon jelly

1 tablespoon custard

Whipped cream

METHOD

Toast the bread

Slice the banana into equal slices.

Add the peanut butter, banana, jelly, and custard in layers to one slice of bread.

Put the second piece of bread on top and finish with whipped cream.

Cut diagonally across and serve.

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TUNA WITH STRAWBERRY JAM

Sarah, Norwich, East Anglia, England

SERVES 1

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It’s kind of like that time your mom got a bit experimental in the kitchen and served up something “new” she just “wanted to try.” It’s not going to kill you, but you might just end up feeding most of it to the dog.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1 tuna steak, approximately 4 ounces / 100 g

2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Several slices of lemon

1 strawberry, halved, for garnish

Rosemary and sprouts, for garnish if desired

METHOD

Heat the oil on high heat.

Salt and pepper the tuna steak, then fry for about 5 minutes per side.

Remove the steak from the heat and cut into squares about 2.5 x 2.5 inches / 6 x 6 cm in size.

Place each square on a slice of lemon and arrange approximately 1 teaspoon of jam on the plate in stripes, with garnish as desired.

Eat the square with the jam as sauce and repeat until full.

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CHERRY SPAGHETTI

Leanne, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada

SERVES 1

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Religions have been founded on less divine experiences than this.

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups / 340 g fresh cherries, pitted and stems removed

1¼ tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

2 ounces / 70 g spaghetti

METHOD

Add 1 cup / 225 g cherries to a pot with the sugar, butter, and 1 tablespoon of water and bring to a boil on medium heat.

Simmer for 3 minutes on a lower heat.

In a separate bowl mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.

Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the cherry mixture, stirring constantly.

Simmer while stirring for about 3 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, adding the salt.

Add the spaghetti and cook for about 10 minutes or follow the cooking instructions on the box, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.

Drain the pasta.

Pour on the sauce and stir in the remaining fresh cherries.

Serve.

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CHERRY SPAGHETTI

LEANNE, PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

I COULDN’T DECIDE IF I WANTED SPAGHETTI OR CHERRIES. SO I DECIDED TO MIX THE CHERRIES WITH THE SPAGHETTI. IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST BITE. MY HUSBAND THOUGHT IT WAS STRANGE. FIVE YEARS LATER AND HE WILL STILL MENTION IT EVERY TIME WE HAVE SPAGHETTI.

PICKLED PIG’S FOOT WITH CORNFLAKES AND MILK

Vivian, Tucson, Arizona, USA

SERVES 1 UNFORTUNATE SOUL

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Gloopy, fatty, vinegary milk and a mutilated foot in a cereal bowl. This is a valid alternative to the death penalty.

INGREDIENTS

1 pickled pig’s foot

1¼ cups / 300 ml milk

1 ounce / 30 g frosted cornflakes

METHOD

Place the pig’s foot in a bowl.

Add the milk and cornflakes.

Serve.

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PICKLED PIG’S FOOT WITH CORNFLAKES AND MILK

VIVIAN, TUCSON, ARIZONA, USA

Thirty-three years ago, when I was pregnant with my second child, I had a very specific craving. I would get a large bowl, place a pig’s foot in it, then pour frosted flakes on top and fill the bowl with milk. First, I would eat the cereal and milk, leaving the pig’s foot for last. The coolness of the milk felt good in my tummy and the sweet/sour fulfilled my craving. Couldn’t get enough for nine months. It was so good. I ate it—no kidding—at least twice a day and late at night. My husband at the time couldn’t keep the cereal or pig’s feet in stock. ONCE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I HAD NO PIG’S FEET. I WOKE UP MY HUSBAND AND HE WAS SO UPSET THAT I WAS UPSET—ALL THE STORES WERE CLOSED. SO HE WENT BAR HOPPING AND BOUGHT ALL THE HUGE JARS OF PIG FEET! THAT LASTED ME A COUPLE OF MONTHS.

I’ve often wondered if the crazy cravings helped produce the wonderful people I call my children. Smart, loving, caring, intelligent human beings and good looking, too! I know this did not come from me… had to be the cravings!

SEAT BELT

Patricia, Addison, Alabama, USA

SERVES 0. DO YOURSELF, YOUR TEETH, AND YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM A FAVOR AND DON’T EAT THIS.

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Seat belts were first invented by the Englishman George Cayley in the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, they have been used to help keep people safer in accidents. And after tasting them, it is clear that this should continue to be their only purpose. Forever.

INGREDIENTS

1 seat belt

METHOD

This can be enjoyed “raw” in the car by simply chewing on an available seat belt. Or you can remove a seat belt and gnaw on it in the comfort of your own home.

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SEAT BELT

PATRICIA, ADDISON, ALABAMA, USA

It was my first pregnancy, and a few months after I found out I caught myself chewing on seat belts—my car, someone else’s car, it didn’t matter. I would start chewing on them without even realizing it. It happened pretty much every time I got in a car. I would try not to, I mean, who eats someone’s seat belt? But it didn’t matter; within a few minutes I would be chewing on it. I got a lot of crazy looks over that! My friends and family just laughed at me, they thought it was gross, but hilarious at the same time. After a while, it got to the point that it was concerning enough to actually talk with the doctor about it. HE JUST SMILED AT ME WITH A LOOK OF PITY IN HIS EYES AND SAID THAT I WAS ACTUALLY CRAVING THE SALT IN THE SEAT BELT FROM PEOPLE’S SWEAT. Although I was probably unaware of it, I could smell it because my senses were enhanced from pregnancy, and that is why I chewed on them. He said not to worry, though, other pregnant women had done the same thing. And suggested wrapping a hand towel around the seatbelt to fix the problem. It did, thankfully. I never ate another seat belt after that. I did try adding extra salt to other things to satisfy the craving, but it just wasn’t the same as a sweaty seatbelt.

SARDINES, MUSTARD, AND COFFEE

Stephanie, Southaven, Mississippi, USA

SERVES 1

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The three different flavors are like a trio of punches in the gut ending with a particularly brutal sardine uppercut.

INGREDIENTS

2 sardines

1 teaspoon olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

Salt

4 tablespoons boiled water

1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon instant coffee

METHOD

Heat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Gut, wash, and descale the sardines if it has not already been done.

Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon juice, and season with salt.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Boil the water.

Place the Dijon mustard on the plate and place the sardines on top.

Stir the coffee into the boiling water and use as a sauce with the sardines.

Serve.

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FLOWER SALAD

Trisha, Pinckney, Michigan, USA

SERVES 1

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It’s the kind of thing you’ll really appreciate if you end up alone, stranded in the wild. Like knowing which beetles are a good source of protein or how to fashion a rope from your own hair. Unfortunately, that’s probably the only scenario in which you will really appreciate it.

INGREDIENTS

Any edible flowers that are in season can be added to this salad. Make sure the plants have been grown in a way that is suitable for human consumption, i.e., no harmful pesticides or fertilizers.

For this salad, we used:

Roses

Pansies

Daisies

Mint flowers

Nasturtium

Pineapple sage

METHOD

Mix around two handfuls of different flowers and petals together. Add a rose to the side of the plate and then scatter the rest of the flowers in a semicircle around it for an aesthetically pleasing effect.

Enjoy.

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FLOWER SALAD

TRISHA, PINCKNEY, MICHIGAN, USA

I wanted to eat flowers during my first pregnancy. MY HUSBAND BROUGHT ME HOME SOME ROSES AND I HAD TO FIGHT THE URGE TO CHOMP THE HEADS OF THEM LIKE A BILLY GOAT. I panicked and immediately looked online for symptoms of pica (first-time mom, I googled something every 10 minutes) and didn’t see anything for flower cravings; instead I was pleased to find that not only is there an extensive list of edible flowers but that some are quite a delicacy! I went straight to my garden and plucked a few from my borage and tomato plants to taste-test and managed to keep the roses in a pretty vase.

I discovered borage flowers taste like cucumber and I would munch on other local flowers like honeysuckle and clover. It didn’t seem to matter which flowers I ate to satisfy my cravings—I simply wanted to eat flowers. My husband started to tease me about eating things from the yard and my friends (many of whom had yet to become pregnant) laughed it off as completely bizarre, as did I.

I actually do still eat flowers. Now they have many lilac flower recipes and when I see those I get sad that I didn’t know about those back then! I grew up in the country where foraging the occasional mushrooms, asparagus, or other local wild delicacies was normal and I simply added flowers to my knowledge base. They’ve been part of our lives ever since. Just the other day my four-year-old daughter and I sat in the yard and taste-tested clovers. My girls will pick something and bring it indoors and say, “Momma, look what I brought for you! Can we eat them?” For the record there is a huge amount of edible flowers out there! Obviously we refrain from anything possibly treated with chemicals but anything else is fair game.

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