There’s a weird amount of content on the internet dedicated to cartoon foods people wish they could eat in real life. Psychologically, we’re likely drawn to these, ahem, drawings, because they are designed to emphasize the best parts of that food in real life, a caricature of deliciousness. Take a cartoon pizza, for example: extra-springy, extra-gooey, extra-yellow cheese with a sprinkling of the reddest pepperoni you’ve ever seen, all sitting on a slice the size of the protagonist’s torso. What’s not to love?
Sometimes wishes come true, and we’re able to sample the fictional foods that we’ve dreamed of for so long. But mostly, we’re left only to imagine those menus from books, films, and TV. Here’s our rundown of the most delicious delicacies we’ll never get to sample. Cross your fingers for future sandwich engineering that can produce anything close to a Dagwood Bumstead original.
Most of my food imagination has been shaped by books, not movies. Often when I see a movie based on a book I’ve loved, the filmmakers have imagined it vastly different from the way I have, and of course they are totally wrong. This ruined the Harry Potter movies for me. Food is a whole other thing, though. No one in the Muggle world will ever get Butterbeer right, so I’m safe. (I know, I know, they have it at the theme park, and I’ve also seen it in kid-friendly cafés around town, but even kids know it’s just some Muggle approximation. Until we get to Diagon Alley ourselves, we’ll never get the real thing.)
I do think it may be possible to feast like a character in a British children’s books, though—even if those characters are Moles and Rats and Toads and other anthropomorphic woodland creatures. They eat human food, and they eat well! One meal I keep thinking about is the picnic the Water Rat packs for the the Sea Rat in The Wind in the Willows.
There he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger’s origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.
I don’t know what it means that the cheese lay down and cried, but I know it would be delicious.
And if I can’t have that, I would at least like to have my own version of Mother Wilder’s doughnut jar from Farmer Boy and fresh pie for breakfast every day. —Aimee Levitt
Who could resist this jingle?
You take a hot dog
Stuff it with some jack cheese
Fold it in a pizza
You got Cheesy Blasters!
And do you know who you can thank for this incredible creation (besides the writers of 30 Rock)? Meatcat, the sunglasses-wearing orange tabby Cheesy Blasters mascot that rides around on a flying skateboard making all our lives a little more XXXtreme.
Why have I never made myself a Cheesy Blaster? Well, because, when food comes frozen out of a box, it’s totally acceptable eating, but what’s less acceptable is stating my intentions to roll a piece of pizza around a cheese-stuffed hot dog myself; then it’s considered “dangerous” and “irresponsible.” This is why it’s stipulated in my living will that I’m going out with a mouthful of hot dogs, pizza, and melted cheese, just the way God intended. —Allison Robicelli
By the time The Simpsons was in its fourth season, it had solidified the aspects of Homer’s character that audiences found funniest—namely, that he is a gluttonous oaf, but a mostly pleasant one. So in the season 4 episode “Selma’s Choice,” an indulgent 30 seconds are spent on the backstory of why Homer’s too sick to take the kids to Duff Gardens that day: He took home a leftover 10-foot party sub from a company picnic some weeks ago, has been eating his way through that same sub ever since, and now he’s suffering food poisoning.
Despite its eventual fallout, this sandwich—while still fresh—always looked so delicious on screen, trailing all the way down to the carpet as Homer nibbled away happily at its not-yet-spoiled ends. And it must have tasted as good as the animation made it look, because even the sandwich’s expired mayonnaise isn’t enough to get Homer to stop eating it, nor (later on) is the evident dust that it’s gathered from its hiding spot behind the radiator so Marge won’t throw it away. And when he finally does bid his sandwich a tearful farewell, it beckons him from the trash bin outside. Gray as it is by then, I still get it. There’s just something about those big cartoon sandwiches, man. I’ve been thinking about this one for 27 years. —Marnie Shure