“There is something dangerously wrong with you, and I don’t know what it is,” my husband says as he unpacks the groceries I’d sent him out to buy. He lifts fudge Pop-Tarts, M&M’s, and maple syrup from a large reusable tote with “paper bags are bad for the environment” emblazoned on it.
“Someone opened and ate some of the marshmallows,” he says, setting a jumbo bag of mini Jet Puffed delights onto the counter. The package is torn and little white nubs spill everywhere. “It wasn’t me,” he continues, “but if it were, I’d consider it an act of kindness. What you’re doing here will kill you.”
He wanders off into another room, sighing about how I don’t take my health seriously and what a mistake it was for me to take on any assignment that involved boiling water and I am left with the realization that I’m about to embark on a journey that both my husband and my physician, who recently invited me to try a low-salt, low-sugar diet, have advised against.
“But it’s Christmas!” I say loudly, trying to force myself into the proper mindset to cook spaghetti, cover it with syrup, and then mash a pop-tart on top of the entire mess before shoveling it into my mouth to celebrate the inner child inside us all.
“Keep telling yourself that,” my husband calls from the other room, where he is now watching a massive robot orgy. “Diabetes doesn’t take a vacation during the holidays.”
I first pitched the idea of making Buddy’s Breakfast from Elf last year. Unfortunately, my retina detached shortly after the story was approved, landing me in emergency surgery followed by so many drugs that I couldn’t tell you what my name was, let alone work a stove without setting our entire block ablaze. The idea slipped my mind for eleven months or so before popping right back up to shout a jolly “HO HO HO Y’all” in Paula Deen’s southern twang as soon as news began to circulate that the film would not be shown on TV this year.
Since I wasn’t going to take to the streets to protest this travesty — I rarely leave the house, even in emergency situations — I decided that the best way to make my voice heard was to prepare Buddy’s breakfast (minus the two-liter bottle of soda) and then eat it, thereby showing my allegiance to a family comedy about a man who thinks he’s an elf (but is probably just severely mentally ill) in the only reasonable manner.
There’s no official recipe for Buddy’s Breakfast (seems like a major marketing miss), but I was able cobble together my own list of ingredients and preparation instructions from the internet, where one of the only things people can agree on is that this particular dish is made with a base of spaghetti and topped with syrups (of any kind), candy, marshmallow, Pop-Tarts, and, most importantly, sprinkles.
In the photo below you can see that I have nicely arranged everything I need. The brightly colored neon package of candy is from the Russian store and is a creative flourish courtesy of the fact that my husband had to wait for his shirts at the dry cleaner, thereby giving him ample time to go into Europa Express and buy candy as well as two pounds of crepes which I am not allowed to touch because they’re for “people who do things around the house instead of just making a huge mess in the kitchen, Mark.”
I ran into my first problem when I started boiling water. The recipe called for salt and unable to find any, I asked my husband, who had now moved on from the robot orgy to watching YouTube videos about the benefits of foam rolling, to take a break and help me find some.
He presented me with a literal rack of exotic salts. If you are ever in this position, I suggest you use the Himalayan Pink salt (which I did) instead of opting for more exotic varieties, such as Rosemary. Such flavors are not to be trusted.
This is the sh*t people talk about when they’re crying about the gay agenda. Who buys artisanal salt? I didn’t realize we were millionaires! And yet I’m still not allowed to use the paper towels without supervision.
There are two ways to prepare the spaghetti. The first is to prepare it the normal way you’d make pasta and then add all the candy after. Since I was trying to get the authentic Elf experience, though, I chose to do things a little differently. First, I brought the water to a boil. Then I added maple syrup to the water, put the spaghetti in it to cook, and squirted the dry noodles with the same syrup for good measure. It’s like a flavor infusion, right? Right?
Once the spaghetti had grown soft and compliant, I pushed it into the pot and drizzled it with Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
Finally, because I hate marshmallows but needed to use them because they’re an integral part of the Sugar food group (this recipe also fulfills your “syrup” requirements for the day), I dumped what I’d like to imagine is a cup but was actually three handfuls of the Jet Puffed abominations into mix.
These quickly melted and turned into foam — “Just like The Little Mermaid in every non-Disney version of the story” — which, in turn, led to everything turning into a boiling volcano that sent me into a fit of loud shrieking before I remembered a “life hack” which said that placing a wooden spoon on top of a boiling pot would get the water to calm the fuck down and start acting like a decent human being again. So I tried that.
Miraculously, it worked.
Once the pasta was done, all I needed to do was pour out the chocolate water, put the spaghetti in a bowl, and then cover it with all manner of chemically-laden confections to make the meal complete.
As someone who watched Top Chef religiously for approximately 1.5 seasons, I know that plating is often more important than taste. So in the spirit of sharing the joy, I made two different versions of Buddy’s Breakfast — one for casual everyday serving, and one (which I gave to my husband, who refused impolitely) for fine company.
Here’s the first variation, which is best eaten alone at your dining table that’s littered with a) a Simpsons Lego house that took nearly two days to make, and b) a Hatcnhimal which you purchased on accident while trying to drive up prices on eBay on a particularly bad emotional day. All you need to do here is ladle up the pasta, smother it in syrups, crush up a Pop-Tart on top, and then liberally sprinkle marshmallows, M&Ms, and sprinkles about the plate.
The entire process takes about two minutes — ten if you’re completely incompetent and somehow spill at least a cup of maple syrup all over the counter and your own chest. I don’t know how that happened. What I do know is that Pop-Tarts, when crushed, are either the consistency of ash or, once you reach their brown and creamy insides, gooey and impossible to wash off of your hands.
If you’re going for something a little fancier — a dish that’s perfect to eat while watching a pirated copy of the movie from whence this meal came on your laptop next to your artisanal hand-raised Christmas tree that cost $45 at the Winter Market you went to, because your friend makes things and you love to support the local art community — I suggest that you start with the spaghetti, cover in syrups, rim with candy and marshmallows, and then stick half a Pop-Tart in the center so as to denote quality.
If you have them, this would also be the perfect place to stick candies with the picture of the crying child on the wrapper. No holiday is complete unless there are tears involved.
Bone apple teeth!
Speaking of complete, no fancy dish is perfect unless it comes with some bullshit in a mason jar. That’s why you can see that I proudly incorporated the leftover syrup/pasta water as a warm and nourishing holiday beverage here. If anyone asks, call it “cocoa soup with a marshmallow reduction” and pretend that “the sugars” have already hit and you can’t hear anything when you’re told it tastes like dirty pasta water.
That’s what I did when I served it to my husband and encouraged him to take a few sips as he watched videos of dudes doing squats “the right way” on YouTube.
Unfortunately, the “dirty pasta water” may have been the best part of the dish. You can say that I made the stuff wrong or didn’t slather the chocolate syrup on with enough joy in my heart, but there’s no denying that Buddy’s Breakfast is not meant for human consumption. At least not in the zestful way he eats it in the film. The spaghetti was fine, but even the most sugar-starved toddler would grimace in horror when presented with the monstrosity that I made.
M&Ms and chocolate syrup are fine on sundaes, where the’s a bit of dairy to cut through their sickly sweetness, but when you combine them with marshmallows and fudge Pop-Tarts (the worst flavor) (fight me) every bite is dry, sticky pain. This is probably where the 2-liter of Cola comes in, but I couldn’t even imagine adding more sugar, even in a liquid and carbonated form, to my body’s already dangerously high glucose levels.
Plus, I imagine that chocolate works in much the same way that jalapeños do, in that anything but milk would just spread the sweetness around, causing one’s mouth to pucker into oblivion while your teeth fell out one by one, creating a Christmas miracle for your dentist who’s been struggling lately and really needed a new hot tub.
Even if you like chocolate (and I do), this breakfast of champions is more torture than reward. You don’t have to take my word for it, but if you choose to whip this confection up don’t say I didn’t warn you about the fact that you’ll be gasping for milk while the syrups and candy dust combine to form an impenetrable wall of surprisingly dry goo. And you’ll probably drool, too, which is embarrassing (and why I didn’t include any pictures of that).
In the end, I did what all Americans would do in such a situation: I grabbed a frying pan, dumped everything in with no regard for aesthetics, melted a stick of butter on top, and then fried that sh*t on high until the marshmallows had turned into sugar water and the spaghetti had dried to a crisp. You know what? In small doses, and coupled with large swigs of alcoholic eggnog, it tasted just a little like Christmas.