What Would Batman Eat?

Thursday, March 8, 2012 12 comments
Dark Chocolate Soufflé

This was a challenge unlike any I have faced as a food blogger.

To celebrate the Manila visit of David Finch, writer and artist of DC Comics' Batman: The Dark Knight series, bookstore chain Fully Booked threw down the gauntlet and asked local bloggers to write about their connection to the iconic illustrated hero. Though more familiar with the television and film series rather than the comic books and graphic novels, I wanted to do my part in a food-related way. But the question loomed darkly:

Batman image by David Finch,
retrieved from Wikipedia.org

In considering the diets among the pantheon of superheroes, the Caped Crusader's may be at once the easiest and the most difficult for this food blogger to determine. It is made easy by the fact that he is human, ergo his food (generally speaking) should be familiar food. In contrast, his DC Comics comrade Superman is an alien from another planet. Who knows what Kryptonian cuisine was like? For all we know, the Man of Steel is actually made of steel and requires no organic sustenance. I doubt that even as Clark Kent he has to watch his calories and cholesterol.

Of course, there are other human superheroes, but nothing points to any super-special qualities about their meal choices. Scientific genius David Banner is a normal guy who probably eats like one, but The Hulk not eat when angry and smash things. (I have an inverse reaction: when I don't eat, I get angry and turn into the Incredible Sulk.)

How about Spider-Man? Since both Peter Parker and the new Spidey, Miles Morales, are teenagers, I suspect that pizza and Doritos are high on the menu. Captain America? Though he and the Dark Knight are both specimens of the human physique perfected, keep in mind that scrawny Steve Rogers was turned into a Super Soldier by way of a special serum and something called 'Vita-Rays' during a top-secret military experiment. Apparently, his supreme musculature is maintained by said mysterious serum that is perpetually replenished by his system, and not from whey protein shakes or awesome Army MREs (Meal Ready-to-Eat).

Which brings us to Iron Man, the rival Marvel Comics hero who shares more than a few commonalities with Batman. Like Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy who focused his brilliant mind and enormous fortune toward crime-fighting and evildoer-erasure after suffering, quite literally, a heart-wrenching experience. Like Batman, Iron Man utilizes advanced weaponry for fighting and special armour to protect his all-too-human body. However, comparing them is a bit like comparing someone who fights in a fully-outfitted M1A2 Abrams tank to another who's basically just wearing a ballistic vest, though admittedly one that is state-of-the-art.

This is where Batman's diet becomes difficult to decipher. Unlike Tony/Iron Man, whose suit provides him with above-normal physical powers, Bruce Wayne/Dark Knight must rely on his own human strength. He's more shredded than cabbage for coleslaw, but it's all self-achieved. Of all the superheroes in the comic book universe, he is perhaps the only one who elevated his natural physical, mental and intellectual gifts to extraordinary levels through constant practice, focused study and strict discipline - all of which are do-able (hypothetically) for us regular folk. For Batman, as it is for us, there is neither radiation exposure nor secret serum nor alien DNA to keep him in tip-top shape. He is what he does and what he eats.

So, What Does Batman Eat?

To start, he apparently doesn't eat nachos.

(For 9 other things Batman doesn' eat, click here.)

WWBE is a question that has been posed by others and most of their answers assume that he follows the regimen of a bodybuilder - frequent meals consisting of vegetables, grains like brown rice and oatmeal, and lean protein such as chicken or fish. But between his Caped Crusader crime-fighting, Bruce Wayne playboy-ing and all-around Dark Knight bad-assery, there's not much time to stop for six mini-meals throughout the day, even with loyal Alfred toiling away in the kitchen. Instead, Batman presumably consumes a great deal of protein shakes and supplements in the interest of time, although I doubt his billionaire alter ego would be sipping Muscle Milk from a squeeze bottle at some black-tie fundraiser.

Given this kind of diet, we come to the crux of my blog post: what could I make that Batman would eat?

Lightness in Darkness

Contrary to what I wrote earlier about his food being our food, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, it really isn't. Bruce Wayne's  transformation into a superhero may be grounded in Everyperson practices - hard work, discipline, focus - but according to kinesiologist and neuroscientist E. Paul Zehr, the degree to which he takes them may be beyond an ordinary person's capabilities. Zehr's book Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero examines what it would take to become Batman-esque and in an interview with ScientificAmerican.com, he summed up the odds of you or me achieving the same results:
"If you found the percentage of billionaires and multiply that by the percentage of people who become Olympic decathletes, you could probably get a close estimate [of who could become a Batman]."
While eating like Batman may not be enough to earn us our Dark Knighthoods, it doesn't mean that he isn't one of us.

Despite his ironclad discipline and concrete moral certitude, Batman occupies the shadows of righteous justice. He is called the Dark Knight for a reason - he is a champion indeed, yet one who is not entirely without flaw or failing. He is the embodiment of what can happen when life deals you a crappy hand, such as witnessing your parents' murders by petty criminals. Instead of becoming a damaged man alienated from society, he became a crusader for its betterment. Yet, just below the surface is the sense that he struggles constantly to keep himself on the right side of the fight. And every once in a while, he may falter...

While 99.9% of the time Batman maintains a steady grip on his values, morality and physical conditioning, he must release that itty-bit of badness in some way. So, why not have a food cheat day?

Dark Chocolate Soufflé Rising
(from Cooking Light, April 2007)

The Dark Knight Rises and so does this dessert (at least for a little while). Really, when you look at the ingredients, how far off his regular regimen could this possibly be? It only seems dark, but in reality this soufflé is quite light. Would the Caped Crusader eat it? Why not? He's Batman...!

For complete measurements and method, please click here.


Cooking spray
Granulated sugar
All-purpose flour
Dutch process cocoa
Fat-free milk
Vanilla extract
Egg white
Powdered sugar

Sugar, flour, cocoa and milk are cooked in a small sauce pan until smooth, with vanilla added after mixture has cooled. Egg white is whipped to stiff peaks with half of the granulated sugar, then folded into the chocolate mixture. The mixture is then spooned into two greased and sugared ramekins, and baked until puffy. Served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

What would you serve Batman?

**This is my official entry to Fully Booked's The Dark Knight Reborn: Bloggers' Challenge.**
For information about David Finch's visit to Manila, please visit Fully Booked Online.


  • Wonder Woman said...

    I joined this challenge, too, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR ENTRY AND IT'S MY FAVORITE ONE OUT OF ALL OF THE ENTRIES THAT I READ. :) I hope you win! Crossing my fingers for you. :)


  • Hornsfan said...

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G post :) You've outdone yourself in my eyes, I've always been a big Batman fan, since watching re-runs of the original Adam West TV show as a kid to drooling over the current (and sexy) Christian Bale version of Gotham's caped crusader. On top of the fact that I love your post (as always, well written, well researched and a dose of humor for good measure) I also love that you used a recipe that I've actually made in the past and enjoy! Well done Tangled Noodle!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Apologies, friends! I am getting worse and worse about responding to your kind comments! My only excuse is that I'm starting to get a gratifying number of freelance writing assignments. But your time in reading and commenting on my blog is so very greatly appreciated! 8-D

    Wonder Woman - Thank you so much!! I really enjoyed reading through your blog! There's a lot left for me to read still... 8-)

    Analyn - Thanks! Unfortunately, I didn't win (darn!) but I had great fun participating. Your little boy is adorable! 8-)

    Bergamot - Thank you! Actually, it had risen even higher right out of the oven, but then deflated quickly before I could get a good picture. Fortunately, it still tasted good! 8-P

    Hornsfan - I loved watching the Adam West version as a kid and remember when Michael Keaton turned in a surprisingly good performance as Batman (though we all can agree that it was Jack Nicholson's movie!) It's so cool that you are so familiar with this recipe. It's so easy, I hope that I'll be well-acquainted with it, too (with some trips to the gym). 8-)

    Beancounter - Haha! Actually, I'm intrigued by the book Becoming Batman - it sounds like there may be some good lessons in it. 8-)

    Trish - It had risen gloriously high (and cracked open like a canyon) but deflated rather quickly. Still, it turned out quite well flavor-wise, so I have no complaints. I didn't win the challenge but I got a lovely dessert out of it! 8-)

  • Midge said...

    I was thinking that a man as wealthy in real life as Batman would have elegant proteins in his diet (proper Angus beef, organically-reared pork, freshly-culled lamb, and game); I wouldn't have pegged the man as a dark chocolate souffle sort. (THAT I think would be Marvel's Professor Xavier!)

  • @Mango_Queen said...

    Oh my goodness! My knees weakened at the sight of this post. I cave at the mention of chocolate ! Thanks for this post & recipe. Can't wait to share it. Hope all is well in Manila, TN !


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