I recently found myself paying twenty dollars to get a small package of British candy sent to me because I saw one of my favorite TV characters eating it. And that’s when I decided I should make a list of all the outrageous foods I’ve eaten over the years because I read about them or saw them on-screen. And so: 20 Foods I Ate Because of Fictional Characters, Ranked!
20. Butterbeer, Harry Potter
The taste of Butterbeer should have been my first clue that JK Rowling is a monster. Way back in the early 00s, before Twitter, when the internet was still a toddler and Hermione hadn’t even started developing inexplicable feelings for Ron Weasley, I tried a recipe for Butterbeer. It honestly didn’t seem like it was going to be drinkable when I was mixing it all together — cream soda, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, heavy cream — but, you know, magic. Well, it was the worst thing I have ever tried to drink in my entire life and I have guzzled two (2) pints of actual beer made with Warheads (those radioactive sour candies from the ’90s that eat the inside of your mouth).
19. Oysters Rockefeller, The Great Gatsby
Oysters Rockefeller food poisoned me while I was on a romantic vacation with my wife, and so, instead of a nice evening of canoodling, she watched the Red Sox game and kept running down to the hotel lobby to buy fifteen-dollar bottles of Gatorade while I laid on the floor in the bathroom and thought I would die. Still better than Butterbeer.
18. Turkish Delight, The Chronicles of Narnia
When I read The Chronicles of Narnia, I thought, “Wow, Turkish Delight must be the GREATEST CANDY ON EARTH for Edmund to sell out his entire family to an evil snow witch for a tin of it!” And then I ate Turkish Delight and it made me loathe Edmund Pevensie even more. Based on pictures I thought it was going to taste like gummy bears or those things you get in the Tootsie Roll Halloween bag that are called Dots (which I actually really love!). But no! It’s like a giant date, suspended in jelly, flavored with Lysol, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Edmund is such a perpetual disappointment.
17. Monica’s Moist Maker, Friends
This sandwich already has two strikes against it because it’s Ross Geller’s favorite and also includes the word “moist” — but sandwiches are my favorite food, and I love trying new ones, and so I made Friends‘ most famous food. It’s leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, lettuce, tomato, and an extra piece of gravy-soaked bread in the middle to keep it moist. And it’s disgusting! I spend half my life trying to make sure my sandwich bread doesn’t get soggy! Please put the sauce on the side, no thank you I’ll add my own condiments, toasted please and I’ll add pickles at home, etc. The Moist Maker — as indicated by the title — adds an entire slice of wet bread to the middle of the sandwich. WET BREAD. You can’t even eat around it.
16. Cosmo, Sex and the City
Vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime — seems tasty, right? Except the only time I ever drink cranberry juice is when I have a UTI, so as soon as I started sipping on this thing, I got phantom pains in my urethra. No thanks. Sorry, Samantha!
15. Creamed Spinach Over Poached Eggs and a Dry Martini With an Olive, Carol
I was determined to like this dish because I was determined to be the kind of girl who would impress Carol Aird over an impromptu weekday brunch in the city. My wife says all I want in life is for a beautiful older woman to call me “good girl” and/or tell me I’m the best student she’s ever taught, but that’s not entirely true. I would also settle for a beautiful older woman telling me I was flung out of space. Alas, that woman will not be Carol Aird — because creamed spinach over poached eggs is a textural nightmare and I could not eat more than two bites of it. It doesn’t taste bad but it feels like chewing on damp paper, even when you wash it down with gin, the way God intended all WASPy meals to be eaten.
14. Reese’s Pieces, E.T.
My parents took me to see E.T. when I was a very small child, not because they thought I would like it, but because they thought I wouldn’t understand it, and they wanted to see it. Well, and near the end, they looked over and I had been sobbing in my seat enough to drench my little t-shirt. Anyway, they got me E.T.’s favorite candy on the way home, and, like all Reese’s candies that are not original Reese’s (or the normal mini kind that come wrapped in foil), they were an epic mistake. Be M&M’s or be Reese’s — you can’t be both.
13. Macarons, Marie Antoinette
Macarons seem so fancy and so sumptuous! All rainbow colored and French and the thing everyone tops their desserts with on Top Chef and Great British Bake Off when they want to add a little pizazz. Well, I have now tried macaroons in basically every hue and every flavor and I have only ever had one (1) that I actually liked and that’s because it tasted like a knock-off Girl Scout Cookie (Samoa). I’d rather just have the Girl Scout Cookie. Another extravagant failure for Ms. Marie.
12. Spaghetti Tacos, iCarly
I know what you’re thinking: Are you putting an imaginary Nickelodeon recipe onto this list above a beloved and classic French pastry? Yes, I am. Because spaghetti tacos are surprisingly delicious. You make the spaghetti meat (pork, beef, or chicken) with marinara but also with chili powder, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Then you put it inside a warm crispy tortilla shell. This may sound gross to you, but do you know what’s working for it? There’s no soggy bread inside!
11. Frozen Banana, Arrested Development
There’s always money in the banana stand and that’s because any fruit you dip in chocolate is forkin’ delicious, and people will pay! Also bananas are nature’s most taken-for-granted treat because they’re not expensive and you can get them in all the seasons. But that doesn’t make them any less delicious or versatile. Plus anything you can eat on a stick gets bonus points in my book.
10. Boiled Potatoes, Pride and Prejudice
The potato is like the banana in that it is in constant rotation on dinner plates all over the world but is forever disrespected! A couple of seasons ago on Top Chef someone made mashed potatoes and all the judges laughed, and then they shut their damn fancy mouths because they tasted the mashed potatoes and all they wanted to do was keep eating them! Boiled potatoes are awesome the way that tortilla chips are awesome: they can be a vehicle for basically anything! Just butter, just butter and parsley, just butter and parsley and garlic, just butter and garlic and parsley and dill. One humble potato and all of a sudden you’ve got a plate of spud nachos!
9. Pickled Limes, Little Women
I was never really a fan of Amy March until Florence Pugh was Amy March and then I decided to give her favorite little treat, pickled limes, a go. They were the currency of friendship and popularity at school and Amy was always feeling indebted to give them away, instead of just receiving them. You’re going to wince when I tell you the ingredients: limes, salt, vinegar, garlic, mustard seed, cayenne pepper, and horseradish. You just quarter the limes and put them in a jar with all that stuff. When you take them out, they’re sweet and tangy and spicy and kind of terrible but also kind of perfect. I served mine (to myself) with a charcuterie board and a very hoppy IPA.
8. Krabby Patty, SpongeBob SquarePants
Until me or Plankton get Mr. Krabbs’ secret recipe, I’m just going to assume these are vegetarian crab cakes (tofu-based) on a bun with lettuce, tomato, sea cheese, pickles, and mustard. I don’t know what sea cheese is, so when I made these I used gouda, which the Danish apparently call “north sea cheese” (Vesterhavsost). I used capers as my secret ingredient and toasted my bun and that was correct.
7. Kronk’s Spinach Puffs, Emperor’s New Groove
See, I do love spinach! Just not when it feels like Elmer’s glue in my mouth! I like it especially when it’s stuffed inside a puff pastry with cheese and herbs and eggs and baked to crispy deliciousness. (Honestly I would probably like most any ingredient topped with cheese and shoved into a hot crust. After all, when pizza’s on a bagel, you can eat pizza any time.)
6. Raspberry Cordial, Anne of Green Gables
Remember when Anne and Diana got accidentally drunk on cordial and then Mrs. Barry said they couldn’t see each other anymore and they had the gayest love confession separation? And then Anne saved Baby Barry and they could be gal pals again? Yeah, me too, I think about it all the time. Well, I tried Marilla’s Raspberry Cordial and it is so good! No wonder they drank so much they got sick! It’s just fresh raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and a little bit of honey for depth of flavor. It’s like if a Capri Sun was actual juice and not corn syrup water inside an aluminum moon packet.
5. Smiley Face Bacon and Eggs, Mulan
My little sister used to cook a lot of my meals for me when we were kids and she was a firm believer in fun shapes making things taste better, and it is still true as an adult! Bacon and eggs? Who doesn’t love ’em? But bacon and eggs shaped like a little grin to send you on your way in the morning with a full tummy and a full heart? The real breakfast of champions.
4. Tangfastics, Killing Eve
I have a hard time with British candy, generally, because I do not understand what “black currant” is and why it’s a flavor in everything. Why do you Brits replace the best flavors inside of Starburst, Skittles, etc. with “black currant”??? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend you, it’s just that they look like berries but taste like acid dirt. Anyway, I do love to try British candies which is why I jumped at getting myself a bag of Tangfastics after the entire third season of Killing Eve revolved around them — and they were AWESOME. They’re not like Sour Patch Kids but they’re also not like plain gummy candy. They’re kind of sour, kind of tart, kind of sweet, and they have a sugar coating that is just excellent. Plus they kind of snap when you bite into them and pull. I don’t like the “cola” flavored ones, but my wife does! (Not as much as she likes to watch Villanelle eating them tho.)
3. Edibles, Alice in Wonderland
Tangfastics leveled up.
2. Ratatouille, Ratatouille
Just when you were ready to write off my palate as unsophisticated as a schoolchild’s, I bring you: vegetables! Ratatouille was enough to warm Anton Ego’s cold, critical heart! And it will also warm you right up on a cold day! Or refresh you on a hot one! It’s just eggplant, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, and an entire truckload of garlic. And when you cook it right, it’s not mushy at all! It’s bright and filling and it heats up well and you can serve it as a main dish or as a side dish! Also if you serve it to other people they’ll think you’re a culinary genius because it has so many colors and is the title of a Pixar movie.
1. Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Green Tomatoes
Now this may just be the Georgia girl in me talking, but fried green tomatoes are the greatest food on the planet earth. And you can’t understand them unless you eat them. Green tomatoes aren’t red tomatoes, the batter is cornmeal and not flour, and you should absolutely serve them with homemade remoulade, the main ingredients of which are Tabasco and pickle juice. An absolutely gay absolute southern delicacy.