Created By: fulltimeD on April 15, 2012 Last Edited By: CaveCat on April 18, 2013
Troped

Mock Meal

Characters sculpt a Turkey or other Food Animal out of substitution food

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Trope
Most often seen in comedy; this is when the universally hated tinned meat (SPAM) or some other (usually low-quality) substitution food is used to simulate a meal of higher quality. A character will sculpt a Turkey, Chicken, Lamb, Pig or other food animal out of canned Mystery Meat, or another substitute food.

Does not cover synthetic foodstuffs in futuristic settings.

Needs More Examples.


Examples:

Comics
  • An Over the Hedge strip had Verne sculpt a lookalike roast pig out of tofu, claiming that roast pig had so much cholesterol. He even claims, that it looked almost real, until it melted from being roasted over the fire.
  • Andy from FoxTrot makes these a lot. For example, when she tried to cheer Peter by making his favorite meal: By putting a tofu patty into a bun like a hamburger, cutting eggplant into strips like french fries, and and putting brown rice paste into a glass like a straw, just like a chocolate milk shake.

Literature
  • In the novel Dog and Dragon a kingdom has been in a state of war for a few generations and even the ruler's castle faces food shortages. In order to keep up appearances, feasts would be prepared out of stale bread and then the royal mage would cast a spell that would make the food look and taste like a sumptuous meal fit for royalty. Only another magic user would be able to see through the ruse.

Live-Action Television
  • Shameless (US) features a sculpted SPAM turkey for the Thanksgiving episode.
  • On M*A*S*H, the main characters sculpt a "SPAM Lamb" after Radar lets the original lamb, provided by a Greek military unit, escape so it can avoid being eaten.
  • Done in Three's Company with a phony cake Jack made from sawdust, thinking he was on his way out and trying to ruin the party. Surprisingly, Mr. Roper liked it. (Recall in an earlier episode the man ate dog food....)
  • Firefly: The crew makes a birthday cake for Simon. But since they live on a spaceship, it's made out of protein rations, which are exactly the same thing they'd had for dinner.
  • In one episode of Angel, Cordelia Chase's new boyfriend, a being from another dimension, makes her a drink called "mochra". He mentions the ingredient he needs to properly make the brew isn't available in our world. Cordy dubs the tea "mock mochra".
  • The Supersizers Eat. On the Wartime episode, they reconstructed what was apparently a common dish during WWII Britain: a Mock Duck made out of sausage.

Web Comics
  • Once in Two Lumps, Snooch ate the Thanksgiving turkey and Eben sculpted a fake out of gooshyfood. It didn't fool "Mom".

Western Animation
  • Phineas and Ferb have one such where Baljeet sculpts a chicken out of peanuts, and calls it "Peanut Chicken: so peanutty you won't even taste the chicken."
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, someone orders a pizza from the Krusty Krab by mistake. Sensing an opportunity to make money, Mr. Krabs squashes some Krabby Patties into a pizza and sends SpongeBob and Squidward to deliver it.
  • The Simpsons had a Thanksgiving episode with a vegetarian "turkey" sculpted from tofu.
  • Played both straight and inverted with a non-food item: in Tex Avery's "What's Buzzin', Buzzard?", one of the vultures painted a flat rock to look like a T-bone steak and offered it to his friend. He ate it as if it were meat. The first vulture quickly painted his own rock and took a bite. Crunch.
  • An episode of Mr. Bogus involved Bogus chasing after an ant that had stolen his special piece of cake. The ant manages to elude Bogus for a while by painting a rock to look like a piece of cake in order to fool Bogus. When Bogus bites into the rock, he winds up breaking his teeth in the process.

Real Life
  • During WWII, meat was severely rationed so housewives often had to fake it with meat that was tough or poor quality, plus organ meats and other less-valued pieces. These were put in a grinder along with oatmeal or some other meat-extender (even soy was used) and shaped into steaks or another more appetizing form. One name for this meal was "Emergency Steak."
  • "Mock Apple Pie" dates from a time when apples weren't always around and frozen apple pies weren't plentiful and cheap. Now it's more expensive to make a mock apple pie than a real apple pie.
  • There's no actual turtle in a Mock Turtle soup, either. It uses cheap cuts of beef, fish, and chicken, brains, organ meat, a bit of wine, spices, and a few other kitchen odds and ends.

Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • April 15, 2012
    nman
    This is a bit narrow. People would start writing examples like "Not made with spam, but in this one episode of... they make a turkey out of tofu called a tofurkey and everyone hates it" and then it would have to go to the repair shop.
  • April 15, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I see your point. It still seems tropable though. I could see expanding it to include things like that.
  • April 15, 2012
    nman
    Oh, sorry, I wasn't saying anything negative about the trope, just that if there's a Missing Supertrope, people are going to shoehorn examples, so you might want to make this a broader trope first.
  • April 15, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Yeah I got that. Thanks. How would you suggest broadening it?
  • April 15, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Call it Sculpted Substitution or Sculpted Substitution Surprise and there you go.

    • Phineas And Ferb have one such where Baljeet sculpts a chicken out of peanuts, and calls it "Peanut Chicken: so peanutty you won't even taste the chicken."
  • April 15, 2012
    yogyog
    I you extend this to include any food that tries to look like, or taste like, another, then there are loads of real-world examples of this: Veggie Burgers, Veggie Sausages, Margarine (impersonating butter), Quorn, the list goes on. (In my opinion, there are some very nice bean and nut burgers that only impersonate the shape of a burger, not the taste.)
  • April 15, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @Paradisica: good idea, thanks
  • April 15, 2012
    fulltimeD
    will edit later
  • April 16, 2012
    aurora369
    Isn't canned meat called SPAM, in caps? Lowercase spam is unwanted email.
  • April 16, 2012
    CaveCat
  • April 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^Their homepage does indeed seem to have it in allcaps every time the word appears. Also it's a registered trademark. If someone else makes SPiced hAM they're not allowed to call it SPAM.
  • April 17, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    The Simpsons had a Thanksgiving episode with a vegetarian "turkey" sculpted from tofu.

    Played both straight and inverted with a non-food item: in Tex Avery's "What's Buzzin', Buzzard?", one of the vultures painted a flat rock to look like a T-bone steak and offered it to his friend. He ate it as if it were meat. The first vulture quickly painted his own rock and took a bite. Crunch.

  • April 17, 2012
    Ryusui
    I like Sculpted Substitution Surprise - that makes it more obvious this is a food trope.
  • April 17, 2012
    Dragonmouth
    • Firefly: The crew makes a birthday cake for Simon. But since they live on a spaceship, it's made out of protein rations, which are exactly the same thing they'd had for dinner.
  • April 17, 2012
    Met
    During WWII, meat was severely rationed so housewives often had to fake it with meat that was tough or poor quality, plus organ meats and other less-valued pieces. These were put in a grinder along with oatmeal or some other meat-extender (even soy was used) and shaped into steaks or another more appetizing form. One name for this meal was "Emergency Steak."
  • April 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    "Mock Apple Pie" dates from a time when apples weren't always around and frozen apple pies weren't plentiful and cheap. Now it's more expensive to make a mock apple pie than a real apple pie.
  • April 18, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    There's no actual turtle in a Mock Turtle soup, either. It uses cheap cuts of beef, fish, and chicken, brains, organ meat, a bit of wine, spices, and a few other kitchen odds and ends.

    In one episode of Angel, Cordelia Chase's new boyfriend, a being from another dimension, makes her a drink called "mochra". He mentions the ingredient he needs to properly make the brew isn't available in our world. Cordy dubs the tea "mock mochra".
  • April 18, 2012
    Antigone3
    Once in Two Lumps, Snooch ate the Thanksgiving turkey and Eben sculpted a fake out of gooshyfood. It didn't fool "Mom".
  • April 18, 2012
    stickmeister0
    I'm going to assume that we agreed this no longer involves SPAM, but instead a sculpture made out of food to resemble another food. Unsure of whether or not this counts as an example as they are mermen, but...
    • Spongebob Squarepants once created sculptures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy out of Krabby Patties as an entry to a contest.

    EDIT: Actually, no, my mistake. I don't believe this counts as they're not food. Sorry about that.
  • April 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Perhaps Mock Meal, using the established term from mock apple pie & mock turtle soup, along with Angel's mock mochra.
  • April 18, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Done in Threes Company with a phony cake Jack made from sawdust, thinking he was on his way out and trying to ruin the party. Surprisingly, Mr. Roper liked it. (Recall in an earlier episode the man ate dog food....)

    What about when cartoon predators think they're eating prey but are actually biting into either their own fingers or tails, or another predator's finger/tail?
  • April 19, 2012
    CaveCat
    ^^Seconding Mock Meal.
  • April 19, 2012
    Antigone3
    Another vote for Mock Meal.
  • April 23, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Mock Meal is a good name.

    Will update in a few days. Work is getting in the way of my fun.
  • April 23, 2012
    katiek
    On Supersizers Go..., on the Wartime episode, they reconstructed what was apparently a common dish during WWII Britain: a Mock Duck made out of sausage.
  • May 10, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Mock Meal it is then... Will edit and update probably this weekend...
  • May 10, 2012
    TonyG
    On Sponge Bob Square Pants, someone orders a pizza from the Krusty Krab by mistake. Sensing an opportunity to make money, Mr. Krabs squashes some Krabby Patties into a pizza and sends SpongeBob and Squidward to deliver it.
  • May 10, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @katiek: What media is that example from? Live Action Television? Western Animation? Comics?
  • May 10, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @Antigone3: "sculpted a fake (?)"

    A fake what?
  • May 10, 2012
    TBeholder
    maybe "Snack" instead of "Surprize"?
  • May 11, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^ I think katiek was referring to The Supersizers Eat, a British TV show.

    Live Action TV
    • The Supersizers Eat. On the Wartime episode, they reconstructed what was apparently a common dish during WWII Britain: a Mock Duck made out of sausage.
  • May 11, 2012
    ShiningArmor87
    Andy from Fox Trot makes these a lot.
  • May 11, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^^Thanks

    ^Could you change that from a Zero Context Example into a proper example (IE, "For example, in one strip...")
  • May 11, 2012
    Antigone3
    @fulltimeD: a fake turkey -- sorry, thought the context had it covered.

    I'll try to get you a link to the strip.
  • May 11, 2012
    nielas
    • In the novel Dog and Dragon a kingdom has been in a state of war for a few generations and even the ruler's castle faces food shortages. In order to keep up appearances, feasts would be prepared out of stale bread and then the royal mage would cast a spell that would make the food look and taste like a sumptuous meal fit for royalty. Only another magic user would be able to see through the ruse.
  • May 11, 2012
    ShiningArmor87
    @fulltimeD: Okay:
    • Andy from Fox Trot makes these a lot. For example, when she tried to cheer Peter by making his favorite meal: By putting a tofu patty into a bun like a hamburger, cutting eggplant into strips like french fries, and and putting brown rice paste into a glass like a straw, just like a chocolate milk shake.
  • April 18, 2013
    CardsOfWar
    In the Red Dwarf novelisation, Lister is stranded on future Earth, all he has is some dogmeat, and various garnishes. He tries to convince himself it is not dogmeat, but fails as soon as he takes the first bite.
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