1. Yes, lye at concentration is extremely dangerous – not just poisonous, it will chemically burn away living tissue it contacts. In that regard, it is indeed much like acid; but is the complete opposite in terms of physical chemistry, as it is a very strong base (or “alkaline”).

  2. It looks to me that she thought of another dangerous food to add to the list while on her way to make the sandwiches, and came back to make her suggestion. I have no idea about the ‘jar of bees’ comment.

  3. Stan, the “jar of bees” in the last panel was using a callback to his suggestion of “macaroni and bees” in panel number … well, the one directly above this. However, it doesn’t seem to really be a plot point in any joke.

    Mitch, in this case you don’t need scare quotes on alkali as Sodium Hydroxide lye and Potassium Hydroxide lye are paradigmatic alkalis. Though in the general case you would be correct that base and basic are more applicable terms for high pH substances than alkali and alkaline, if that was what your quotes were getting at.

  4. I thought at the end, it appeared he was actually listing ingredients in his casserole – and she then decided it would be better to eat something else, and he’s disappointed in that they’re not eating his casserole, because he used up his bees to make it. (I’m not very familiar with this comic, only having seen it here, so I could be way off.)

  5. (Not shown) She asks him what he wants for lunch.
    His first response gets a joyful look from her.
    He thinks of fugu, and probably says it jokingly. This leads to him thinking about other dangerous foods and funny ways to mix that in with real dishes. She is obviously repulsed by many of them and realizes she won’t be getting a serious answer. A bit frustrated, she just defaults to sandwiches and walks off. While away, she comes up with her own clever quip and shares it. She has joined in the fun.
    I can’t really give a solid explanation for the bees and casserole comment, but in my head he is still just playing around and pulls out a casserole dish as if to start the process, then jokingly adds he doesn’t have any bees.

  6. Chemgal has it. The joke is you think that he is just making up disgusting thing to eat but in the last panel you realize that those are the ingredients in something he actually made.

  7. Notice the little Easter Egg in the Captain Crunches cartoon: Quisp in his flying saucer. Quisp the cereal is hard to find these days. It is almost exactly the same as Cap’n Crunch except that it doesn’t shred the roof of your mouth.

  8. I disagree that all of those are ingredients in the dish. I think that is solely the “macaroni and bees”.

  9. Brian in STL, I agree, it was taking the idea too far to see those as all included in the macaroni and beese.

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