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I Tested Pinterest Mug Recipes To See If They Actually Taste Like Food

Sure, you CAN eat anything out of a mug. But should you?

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The Rules

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In the Pinterest and DIY worlds, the ideal meal is both cute and single-serving. It's made in the microwave and served in a mug. Sometimes it even feels like the internet wants you to eat ALL your meals out of mugs. So, recently, that's what I decided to do.

For three days I would cleanse my body by eating only meals designed to be made in and consumed from a mug. I would embrace the mug lifestyle, become one with the mug. I browsed Pinterest and collected the most edible-looking mug meals I could find. Then, over the course of three days, I ate 12 different recipes to see if any of them tasted like the food they promised to be. Some of them were actually delicious. Others, not so much.

The VERY best recipes — the ones I inhaled despite their creepy non-food-like appearance — received the prestigious honor of the "actually good" award.

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How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This was definitely omelet-like in taste and consistency. I'm having a difficult time coming up with another adjective to describe it besides "fine." Microwave eggs are microwave eggs.

How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This LOOKED a lot like real pizza. But it tasted like a pizza cookie. If you close your eyes and try to ignore the gooey texture of the crust, it's almost like eating pizza. But you will be scraping cheese off your mug for the rest of your time on earth.

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How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This was the first winner of the highly competitive "Actually Good" Award. I added a dollop of canned refried beans to the recipe, which is the kind of creative risk-taking that really pays off. It smelled AMAZING as it cooked in the microwave. In this photo you can see that it looks like actual barf. But it was so good my boyfriend basically stole it from me.

How did it taste?

Confession time: This is not my first microwave cake. I am the kind of person who will wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night screaming, "CAKE!!!" I guess that makes me a Cathy cartoon, but whatever. I've been desperate for cake before, and the word "desperate" here is key. That's the state you have to be in to make microwave cake. It always has the same texture: slick, almost slimy.

This cake tastes like you were abducted by aliens who took you back to their home planet and tried to replicate an Earth-like environment for you, but everything was just a little bit off. Those aliens would serve you this chocolate cake. It's almost like cake, but not quite. It's unsettling. And you start to cry because you may never see your family again.

I had to put vanilla ice cream on it to make it edible. And that felt like cheating.

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How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This was a little waterlogged. I had to pour off some excess liquid before eating it. That's not a super-appealing quality in a quiche. It tasted like eating scrambled eggs with bread chunks in it. Surprisingly, that's not so bad.

How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

Making this completely robbed me of my humanity. It required more than 10 minutes of microwave cook time. In microwave world, anything more than two minutes is an eternity.

I made this at work. It took a lot for me to not scream, "Get away from me! Don't ask questions!" to my coworkers hovering around the microwave. Mug time is a very private time.

It TASTED fine, kind of like cacio e pepe, but this was not quick and easy. This was a nightmare.

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How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I kind of picked this recipe because I hate myself. I thought, Wow, this one will be hilariously awful. Mixing ground beef with oatmeal seemed like the worst idea. My co-workers gave me such disgusted looks when I told them what I was making for dinner.

But it tasted SO GOOD. I can't explain why. It tasted like legit meatloaf. I feel like I would be a monster if I said it rivaled my grandma's meatloaf, but like...it kind of does??? I am as shocked as you are.

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How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This was my first time using an avocado in an unconventional way. And it was great. This was very good. Not quite "Actually Good" Award material because it wasn't mind blowing. But a strong contender.

How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This tasted like your standard pasta with cheese, tomato sauce, and spinach. It was good. It was fine. Will I be writing a letter to the president to tell him about it? I mean, maybe. He might be into it.

How did it taste?

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

The mug cheesecake was by far the most shocking result. As you can see, it looks truly horrifying. But it was the best tasting mug recipe I tried. I used granola for the crust instead of graham crackers, which I highly recommend. The oat texture from the granola made it reminiscent of Momofuku's "Crack Pie." Did it taste like cheesecake? Not at all, but I wish I could eat 10 of them right now.

When I first started typing "pizza in a mug" into the Pinterest search bar, I thought, What am I doing? Even on dedicated food blogs where the photos are extra perfect, the mug meals didn't look very appetizing. Would my plates get jealous of all this mug action? Was I really ready to make this mug sacrifice to the microwave gods? Would I end up sacrificing a piece of myself?

But I was a fool. I thought mug meals were some kind of silly joke. But they're no laughing matter. I thought I would be starving after eating mug-sized portions, but because most recipes require a large novelty mug, the meals were surprisingly filling. And now I know the truth. Some mug meals taste like food. Actual food.

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