The Fictional Foods We Wish Were Real - Gastro Obscura
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The Fictional Foods We Wish Were Real

Atlas Obscura readers weigh in on the fake snacks they’d most like to try.

What fictional foods make you as excited as a hobbit in a pantry?
What fictional foods make you as excited as a hobbit in a pantry? © New Line/Courtesy Everett Collection

Sure, you can buy a Wonka Bar at any candy store. You can drink a sugary Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in Orlando. And you can find a recipe for Lembas Bread on about a million Lord of the Rings fan sites. But none of these initially fictional foods could ever live up to how we imagined they would taste when we first saw or read about them. Fictional dishes invite us to open our mental palates to the possibility of new flavors and experiences. And because they are the product of imagination, they often also carry an emotional weight that real food, no matter how exotic, can rarely bring.

Recently, we asked Atlas Obscura readers to tell us which fictional food had sparked their imaginations more than any other. The results were delicious. You told us about your love for make-believe foods from books, television shows, films, and more. Most importantly, you got super specific about what you think these foods must taste like, including an alien dish that reminds one of you of “raw horse meat or sashimi with a kind of hot spice.”

We’ve collected our favorite responses below. Next time you encounter a mouth-watering food that doesn’t exist, try and decide for yourself what incredible, impossible flavors it might actually have.

Think of these less as a collection of books and more like a tasting menu.
Think of these less as a collection of books and more like a tasting menu. Fair Use/Wikicommons

Literature

Roast Beast from How the Grinch Stole Christmas

What might it taste like?
“It sounds like the best aspects of beef, pork, and turkey but very tender and juicy. It’s fictional but relatable. There’s no doubt that it’s the center of a festive feast.” — Mary Gow, Brooklyn, New York

Lunch Boxes That Grow on Trees from Ozma of Oz

What might it taste like?
“I think that all the items would have a slight wood aftertaste. I figured that each box would have a slightly different flavor depending on how ‘ripe’ it was. There was also a dinner tree in the book too. I am guessing even though it was described to have meat and milk that it must all taste like vegetarian alternatives like tofu, or almond milk.” — Dianne Guindon, Santa Cruz, California

Frobscottle from The BFG

What might it taste like?
“Sweet, exotic, and downright delightful. As described in the book, it would certainly hold its own among popular soft drinks today. If it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for me! Incredible taste, physics-defying properties, a name that sounds like a sneeze, and amusing after effects, definitely an experience worth having!” — Leah, Canada

Red Kibble from The Expanse series

What might it taste like?
“As a biologist and lab manager, I’m pretty sure everything described in the books tastes like chicken (except the pseudo-chicken in a can) but no one knows, as there aren’t any chickens in the Belt.” — Johnny O Farnen, Bellevue, Nebraska

Metheglin from The Kingkiller Chronicles

What might it taste like?
“‘Like summertime.’ Sweet, light, a floral honey flavor. The description makes it sound like some of my favorite beers, but more rapturous and intoxicating!” — Nick Yonge, Vancouver, Canada

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

What might it taste like?
“A cataclysm of citrus with an effervescent apocalypse. Anything that would make you simultaneously evolve and devolve seems like an interesting way to not die.” — Ian Maxwell, Denver, Colorado USA

A Shmoo from the Lil’ Abner Comics

What might it taste like?
“It says it can taste like steak, chicken or oysters… They are genial playmates for children and then will jump into your frying pan and become dinner. I’ve always remembered the shmoo.” — Roseann Milano, Tucson, Arizona

Harry Potter and the Endless Spread of Mouthwatering Fictional Foods.
Harry Potter and the Endless Spread of Mouthwatering Fictional Foods. © Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett Collection

Cauldron Cakes from the Harry Potter series

What might it taste like?
“A small sponge cake with a ganache, a smooth interior that tastes like chocolate and pepper. So, a spicy chocolate taste. I love sweets and I adore the world of Harry Potter. I immediately envisioned chocolate, and the ‘cauldron’ makes me think spicy. I imagine a delectable treat.” — Cherie, Jacksonville, Florida

Bilbo Baggins’ Seed Cakes from The Hobbit

What might it taste like?
“Not quite sweet, not quite savory, but very pleasant. It reminds me of adventure, and the feeling one gets of coming home after an adventure.” — kimwim, Meriden, Connecticut

Great Hall Cake from the Redwall series

What might it taste like?
“Honey, tart fruit, creamy, and dark all at the same time. I loved the Redwall series when I was growing up. There are many of the foods mentioned in the abbey feasts like the otters’ Hotroot Soup or the moles’ Deeper’n’Ever Turnip’n’Tater’n’Beetroot Pie, but the Great Hall Cake was always described as a masterpiece of plant-based confection. Since a feast was always a part of Redwall, and most of the feasts took place in the abbey, the Great Hall cake is in almost every book, and its description has never failed to make me salivate—just a little.” — Mary Garrison, Birmingham, Alabama

Klah from Dragonriders of Pern

What might it taste like?
“I imagine klah, a coffee analog, to be a cross between cinnamon and rooibus tea. That one would be prepared like Mexican Cafe de Olla, kept simmering in communal areas and to which you could add other things like nuts or fruits. I loved these books growing up, and in middle school we were challenged to recreate fictional foods from our favorite books. I made klah. Good times.” — Cynthia, El Paso, Texas

In Narnia, as in the real world, you should be wary of free drinks.
In Narnia, as in the real world, you should be wary of free drinks. Photo 12/Alamy

Fruit From the Toffee Tree from The Chronicles of Narnia

What might it taste like?
“I imagine it with the texture of a plum but with a rich, sticky toffee sweetness, like sticky toffee pudding, but juicy! I loved the novelty of it! The toffee tree was accidentally planted when the land of Narnia was fresh and full of possibility, and the toffee tree is the realization of some of that possibility.” — Rohini, Silver Spring, Maryland

Subtraction Stew from The Phantom Tollbooth

What might it taste like?
“I have no idea, but I should get hungrier as I eat it.” — Sabrina Sobel, Farmingdale, New York


Television and Film

Scooby Snacks from Scooby-Doo

What might it taste like?
“Hopefully not dog food. I imagine a really hardy shortbread or savory cookie. Shaggy and Scooby go crazy for this, and I have to wonder why.” — Zach Van Stanley, Denver, Colorado

The Giant Ribs from the end credits of The Flinstones

What might it taste like?
“Like the best take-out ribs you’ve ever had in your life! They don’t look too saucy so I’m guessing they have a dry rub. The meat is probably a little exotic tasting as well as it is likely dinosaur or mammoth.” — Matt, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Roast Porg from The Last Jedi

What might it taste like?
“Teriyaki chicken. Chewbacca wanted to cook one in The Last Jedi. Might be succulent and savory.” — Leon Easter, Stockton, California

The Stuff from The Stuff

What might it taste like?
“The Stuff, from the satirical 1985 sci-fi schlock horror movie of the same name, is advertised as being sweet, creamy, and filling (in spite of the fact that it contains zero calories). I figure it’d taste like fluffy yogurt, or gelato with a marshmallow texture.” — James Clayton, Manchester, United Kingdom

Doozer Sticks from Fraggle Rock

What might it taste like?
“Orange peppermint. Kind of an orange liqueur mixed with Goldschläger without any bitterness or bite at all. I always thought Fraggles were jerks for constantly tearing down and eating Doozers’ life work. Because the Fraggles were genuinely nice, I figure the sticks must taste really good, give some kind of narcotic/alcohol buzz, and be a bit addictive. Maybe they’re edible crystal meth? That could be why Fraggle eyes are always bugged out and they have so much energy.” — Andrew C. Hockessin, Delaware

Ed’s Special Sauce from Good Burger

What might it taste like?
“Vinegary Chipotle Mayo with lemon maybe? When it came out, my dad let me and my brother mix up weird concoctions to try to recreate it. I would love to know how far off we were, haha!” — Jessica, St. Louis, Missouri

Go home, Data. You're drunk.
Go home, Data. You’re drunk. © Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Klingon Bloodwine from Star Trek: The Next Generation

What might it taste like?
“Kool-Aid. Because when Guinan served Worf a drink because she thought he was out of sorts, he looked at it, grunted, and said ‘Ah. Warrior’s drink.’ Guinan replied, ‘We call it prune juice.’ If prune juice turned on Worf, maybe blood wine was only something like Kool-Aid, which their Klingon systems experienced as alcoholic. For instance, I can’t eat or drink anything with sugar in it. Makes my ears ring, and start feeling sort of wired.” — Nikoli McCracken, Panaca, Nevada

Bajoran Hasperat from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

What might it taste like?
“Something akin to kimchi, or a very spicy pastrami with spicy pickled vegetables.” — Sandi Rust, Elgin, South Carolina

Snozberries from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

What might it taste like?
“A tart peach with hints of strawberry.” — Timothy Broach, Carmel, Indiana

Breen from Babylon 5

What might it taste like?
“Swedish meatballs. Every civilization in the galaxy has a version of this dish” — Jim, Upstate New York

Soy Pop from The Simpsons

What might it taste like?
“I’d love to try the Soy Pop snack that features in the Simpsons episode ‘Lisa’s Wedding.’ My guess is that it would be just the right amount of salty, slightly chewy (I’m thinking the consistency of a mango), and with a creamy tangy center. However, the packet says it now has a ‘gag suppressant’ so I could be very wrong!” — Eduardo J Lopez Morton S, Mexico City

Bachelor Chow from Futurama

What might it taste like?
“Cheerios plus meatballs.” — Kevin, Maine


Miscellaneous

Ambrosia from Greek mythology

What might it taste like?
“It would be light and fluffy and airy, kind of like a mix between cake and a light biscuit (British bap). It would have a touch of coconut —not too much—and sparked with citrus. It is not overly sweet, yet has no need of any icing. Simply put, it is ‘heavenly.’” — Beth, Riceboro, Georgia

Power Pellets from the Pac-Man games

What might it taste like?
“Giant Kix cereal puffs. When I was a kid, there was a Pac-Man cartoon where he would eat the power pellets. I had not seen them as food in the video game so this was literally a ‘game changer.’” — Chris Rice, Los Angeles

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs from Aesop’s Fables

What might it taste like?
“I imagine it might taste, if roasted correctly, extremely tender, but with a metallic aftertaste, like regret, or fear. I always wondered what it would be like to eat the last thing ever, as in, the last piece of chocolate, and the last strawberry, or the last glass of wine, and know, you’ll never have that experience again. We, as a species, may find this out in the next couple of decades.” — Marie Clare Lecrivain, Los Angeles, California

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