Have you ever made cartoon food?  I have.  Twice.  In one weekend.

Never, ever be stupid enough to let your kids influence your meal decisions.  Especially if their decision tree sprouts from cartoons.

One of the cartoons they watch – Cartoon Network’s Regular Show – had an episode that was centered around something called a “Death Sandwich.”  There’s a whole backstory to this sandwich. It involves a failed dojo – Death Kwon Do – run by a mulleted instructor in cut-off jean shorts (sort of an animated equivalent of Napoleon Dynamite’s Rex Kwon Do).  Thanks to the show’s protagonists, the dojo was shuttered, and then reborn as a pizza and sub takeout joint, because why not.  Like the dojo, everything associated with it bears an “of death” suffix (“punch of death”, “kick of death”, “sandwich of death”, “be back in 5 minutes of death”, etc.).  The Death Sandwich is the sandwich joint’s feature special.  Of course.

So naturally, my elder kid decides that it’d be a brilliant idea to make our own Death Sandwich.  But since the cartoon doesn’t explicitly explain what goes into a Death Sandwich, it was left to my kid’s observation of what needs to go into a Death Sandwich.

“Dad, this weekend, can we please make a Death Sandwich?  We gotta buy a baguette, soy sauce… You know that pink ginger you get with your sushi?  Yeah, that… And meatballs.  It’ll be so cool, Dad.”


I ran through the ingredients in my head.  I mentally hurled a little.  There was absolutely no way on God’s green earth I was going to make a sandwich out of that list because I knew there was absolutely no way on God’s green earth these kids were going to eat such a monstrosity.

My kids and I went to the DVR, huddled around the TV like bunch NFL refs and replayed the Death Sandwich-making sequence over and over again, and negotiated a slightly more palatable make up of the glorious Death Sandwich: Italian rolls, meatballs, marinara sauce, and genoa salami.

And of course, making the sandwich can’t possibly be a simple, straightforward affair.  Oh dear God, no.  Like the cartoon, I was required to make it with all the required Death Kwon Do martial arts gestures, complete with rapid-fire hand movements, hushed breathing, and the occasional “HI-YAHHH!”  Because if you’re not gonna go all the way, why bother, amirite?

Death Sandwich Comparo

Apparently, the cartoon suggests that the Death Sandwich is named so because you need “eat it right, or you die!”  That detail was not lost on my kids.  So how do you “eat it right”?

“We need to get a proper haircut, Dad.  We need to get a mullet.  Then we need cut-off jeans and…”

“Let me stop you right there, bubba.  Nothing you just said is alright by me in any way.”

[blank stares]

“Guys, you are not getting mullets.  And you’re certainly not getting cut-off jeans.  Especially just to eat one sandwich.”

In the end, they ate the Death Sandwiches without much fuss.  In fact, quite the opposite: “This is the greatest sandwich I’ve had my entire life.”  It better well be.

In the end, everybody lived.  No one died.

At least no one came close to dying.  Until the next morning, when my kids decided it was time to make bacon pancakes.  Bacon pancakes – only recently did I find out that they are likely the only breakfast with their own theme song.  Thanks to another cartoon – Adventure Time – there’s a song about bacon pancakes that’ll bore itself into your brain, lodge itself in there for all eternity, and go on infinite loop ‘til you want to shoot yourself in the head.

Bacon Pancakes

Bacon pancakes,

makin’ bacon pancakes,

Take some bacon, put it in a pancake,

Bacon pancakes, that’s what it’s gonna make,

Bacon pancaaaaaaaake![repeat a kajillion times]

You may already know this, but on YouTube, there are tons of remixes of the song, pointless exercises like 10-hour video loop, and mashup versions.  All this over a 12-second video of Jake the dog frying up some bacon in pan while singing.  All the science and engineering in the world to give us unbelievable computing power to let us create and share video content, and it always – ALWAYS! – comes back to dog and cat videos.

That morning, the Bacon Pancakes song soared out of two insane children in my kitchen NON-STOP from the minute the bacon started sizzling in the pan, to chopping up the bacon, to mixing up the pancake batter, to carefully embedding the bacon into each pancake, to scooping them off the griddle, to serving them up at the breakfast table.

Apparently, songs about breakfast can make you want to commit murder.

Bacon Pancake served

Unlike the Death Sandwich, which was practically inhaled with vigor by both kids, these much-celebrated bacon pancakes weren’t an automatic hit.  One kid gobbled up a stack, probably more thrilled that he was being allowed to live out another cartoon episode than he was with the bold flavors of fried pig fat and cooked batter.  The other kid just went, “meh” and walked off.

Like I said, murder.

And just like that, the hoopla was over.  It’s been three days and neither one has brought up either the Death Sandwich or the Bacon Pancakes again.  It’s like neither the cartoons nor the meals ever happened.  They just had to ‘em out of their system, I suppose.  That, or as I suspect to be more of the case, these ingrates have the attention span on a gnat.

But this is the last time I’m eating anything out of a cartoon.  I won’t even drink Duff beer, there’s no reason I should be eating anything that came out of an animation studio in Korea.