20 Foods I Ate Because of Fictional Characters, Ranked

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

Hermione with Butterbeer on her lips

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

Jay Gatsby sits by a plate of food looking angry

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

The White Witch wraps her cloak around Edmund

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

Ross scowls

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

Samantha and Carrie drink a cosmo

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

Carol Aird drinks a martini and smirks

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.

ET levitates a Reese's Pieces

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

Marie Antoinette sits with her feet up in front of a table of cakes

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

Maeby and George Michael work at the banana stand

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

Jane and Mr. Collins look at boiled potatoes

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

The four March sisters hug

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

SpongeBob stands guard over a Krabby Patty

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

Kronk serves his spinach puffs

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

Diana looks at raspberry cordial with glee

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

a smiley face with eggs as eyes and bacon as a mouth

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

Villanelle eats a Tangfastic

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

An assortment of cartoon cookies

Tangfastics leveled up.

2. Ratatouille, Ratatouille

Anton Ego eats a piece of ratatouille and his eyes are huge

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

Idgie and Ruth sit at a table in a diner

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.


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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1485 articles for us.

61 Comments

  1. the first time I saw Garibaldis in the wild, my little naomily heart nearly burst. I love this list because lol “I was determined to be the kind of girl who would impress Carol Aird over an impromptu weekday brunch in the city” same same same

  2. Love this list!!

    Feel very seen on the soggy bread aversion. Ross’s sandwich sounds like an abomination, and in retrospect, presumably his character getting so worked up about such a monstrosity was the Friends writers signalling to us that he was beyond help?

  3. All this list is correct but EXTRA hard agree on macarons, fried green tomatoes, and Tangfastics. I remember as a kid loads of people would pick the Star Mix over Tangfastics and it’s like what is wrong with you? All those wrong people turned out to be straight, so make of that what you will

  4. My mom taught 5th grade for most of my childhood and would bring in Turkish delight for her students when she taught The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. I recall most of her students agreeing with you, but I, a freaky child with an indiscriminate sweet tooth, was into it.

  5. One I would add, proving I am older than most of you, is:
    Turkey. WKRP in Cincinnati. Ran I think in 1978 and is infamous in sicom tv: as a radio promotion the team at WKRP drops live turkeys from a plane over Cincinnati, thinking they could fly. The episode is called Turkey Drop and a classic. Google WKRP Turkey Drop Dailymotion and you can see the full episode.

    Would make my son Krabby Patties made from Crab cakes. Not to mention Spongebob pancakes. God I miss those days….

    Who could forget the Arrested Development episode of the Banana Stand catching on fire? Also classic.

    Never heard of or ever had a cosmo before sex in the city. Then it seemed to show up everywhere…..the power to TV.

  6. So I was also a person who tried Turkish delight and thought Edmund was insane, it was the worst candy! But then I went to Istanbul and tried fresh Turkish delight, and it was a completely different food. Absolutely delicious. I’m not defending Edmund but if you ever get the chance to try some that haven’t been sitting in a box for three months, I recommend it!

    • Completely agree! Edmund’s the worst…but after trying the real stuff I wouldn’t rule out trading my siblings for a couple of boxes, so who am I to judge?

      (a few years ago I bought some in the US trying to recapture the magic and it was like eating stale soap jelly, which just made me double down on the whole “trade my brother and sister for candy” thing)

      • Hard agree. One of my earliest memories as a huge fan of the books on a trip to visit family in England is spitting Turkish Delight out into a trashcan (that may have been a mailbox?) and deeply despising Edmund.

        But I have since had a chance to eat fresh Turkish Delight that someone brought back as a souvenir from the middle east, and while it still wasn’t my favorite it was infinitely better than what I ate as a kid visiting the UK.

      • Omg, I was so shocked at the unapetizing descriptions of Turkish delight in the article and the comments until I understood! Y’all never had fresh Turkish delight! I didn’t even know it was possible to package that incredible treat and make it taste like soap. What a tragedy!! I’m from Eastern Europe and fresh Turkish delight is in all the stores and it’s delicious. 10/10 would sell out my family for.

  7. This is the best thing I have read in a long time and now I am hungry.

    I bought the ingredients for butterbeer many years ago, then didn’t feel like making it and just drank the cream soda. That may have been the right choice.

    Also, I read this (can I post links?) a million years ago and it has stuck with me.
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cs-lewis-greatest-fiction-convincing-american-kids-that-they-would-like-turkish-delight

    Anyway, thank you. I’m going to go browse my bookcase and my kitchen.

    • I agree the official butterbeer recipe is atrocious, although through much experimenting I’ve been able to come up with a homemade “adult” version of it that is less sickeningly sweet (and more alcoholic). So I don’t hate the concept as much as the execution.

  8. The thing with macarons is. You need to have the fancy ones made in Paris. A world of difference compared to the one from your local bakery. I don’t like the ones here (The Netherlands), but last Fall I was in Paris, I went to two macarons speciality stores. Spent an obscene amount on two boxes. Worth it!
    Then again going to Paris is not a common thing unless you live a train ride away. Oh, and you need to eat them within 48 hours for the best taste and texture.

    It never occurred to me to try to make Ross’ sandwich. Last Thanksgiving I tried orginal/traditional Thanksgiving food for the first time ever. Thanks to an American bagel shop.

    A Thanksgiving bagel with no moist maker. I must say the only thing about it I liked was the bagel and the cranberry sauce. My knowledge of Thanksgiving turkey is zero. I have no idea it is supposed to be sweet with tarragon spices and an almost white/creamy gravy. But it was not for me.

  9. I too was fascinated by Turkish Delight after reading LWW. I finally tried some from a lebanese bakery and… I liked it ! A rose water-flavoured jelly covered in powdered sugar that exploded onto my black t-shirt with the first bite. An all-round surprise you might say !

  10. Every once in a while I wonder what (if any) food would have tempted child me to betray my sibling.

    I was (and still am) very loyal to my brother so I’d like to say none, but on a day when he was being extra annoying, I might have been tempted by a giant Hersey’s milk chocolate bar with almonds.

  11. When I was a child, every time I ate M&Ms, I would always save a red and a blue one till the end and eat them at the same time because of the scene in Matilda where the boy gets thrown out the window by Trunchbull.

    I was a weird kid.

  12. Blackcurrant anything is the best. It’s rich and deep flavoured and tangy.

    Also if you replace tea with hot Ribena you will discover that in fact yes you can get cavities even if you’ve never needed fillings before, and perhaps there should be blackcurrant limits.

  13. I also love fried green tomatoes. Except for when I ordered them at a “southern” restaurant in Boston and got served fried pickles instead!!

    If only you didn’t have to choose between states with laws that protect folks based on gender identify and sexual orientation and states that serve actual sweet tea and fried green tomatoes. 🤦🏻‍♂️ 😩

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