Created By: midoriri on February 3, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on August 28, 2014

Do Not Waste Food

Characters don\\\'t like when you throw food away...

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A special kind of Berserk Button: wasting food. If a character sees another throwing away perfectly good food, or "disrespecting it" in some way (usually smacking it from someone and letting it fall to the ground), they snap. Most of the time they'll even explain to the waste why they're so angry.

Usually this comes about in a character because they were very hungry in the past, and they now know how important food truly is. Or maybe their own parents had this button and it passed down to them.

Examples

Anime and Manga

Western Animation

...and many, many others.
Community Feedback Replies: 48
  • February 3, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    Common in anime. I believe the Japanese even have a special kind of hell for such people.
  • February 3, 2012
    nvzblgrrl
    The classic parent guilt phrase of 'There are children starving in Africa/China/other impoverished country/continent'. Most (if not every) middle class or poorer family goes through the whole schtick at least once.
  • February 3, 2012
    Synchronicity
  • February 6, 2012
    SteamGoth
    On an episode of Friends, Rachel dropped a piece food on the floor and panicked because Ross is such a neat freak. However, Joey reminded her that he no longer lived there, dropping another bit of food to prove his point. Rachel got carried away and lobbed a huge wad of spaghetti on the floor. Joey admonished her, "It's still food," picked it up, and ate it.
  • February 6, 2012
    SKJAM
    • The fairy tale "The Girl Who Stepped On Bread" (was that Hans Christian Andersen?) who went to Hell for her wastefulness.
  • February 7, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ @SKJAM: It is indeed from Hans Christian Andersen. One of its titles was "The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf".
  • February 7, 2012
    thewriter
    Truth In Television: Food is expensive.
  • February 7, 2012
    DracMonster
    In anime and manga this is often invoked with the Japanese idiom "There are seven gods in each grain of rice," referring to the Shinto belief/folklore that there are seven rice gods and leaving even one grain in your bowl risks being cursed by one of them. (This is the stereotypical thing parents say to their children at the dinner table and is more or less the direct equivalent of the "starving children in Africa" line mentioned above.)
  • February 7, 2012
    robybang
    • Maus: Vladek, because he was a Holocaust survivor.

    • Ramsay's F Word: Gordon met a family of reindeer farmers who either ate or used every part of the reindeer because it's their livelihood. At one point, they tried to feed him dried reindeer penis, which he tries once and refuses to eat afterwards.
  • February 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Seinfeld: This was George's excuse when he gets caught taking an almost-uneaten eclair out of the trash and eating it.
    • Real Life: Freegansim, which involves rooting through trash to find food for free.
      • The unnamed Cult sometimes called "The Bretheren" are also called "Garbage Eaters" because they do this as a matter of course.
  • February 8, 2012
    CharacterInWhite
    • From The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta do not think highly of the Capitol's Quell celebration, which involves deliberately inducing vomiting so as to consume more food at the feast.
  • February 9, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Occasionally referenced by David Letterman when something very wasteful of food happens, either on the show or out in the world. "And this is why the rest of the world hates us."
  • February 9, 2012
    SalFishFin
    Can we get some elaboration in the examples please?

    Sanji was steanded on a deserted island for months with only a small sack of rations, to the point where when he spent around two weeks without eating a single thing (This takes place in a Worl Of Badass, so this kind of thing is less deadly than in the real world, but only slightly).

    In The Hunger Games example, you forgot to mention that the Capitol keeps order by forcing poverty on the twelve districts, so Katniss was literally on the razor's edge of starving to death for most of her life.
  • February 9, 2012
    AP
    • In A Christmas Story, Ralphie's mother invokes the typical "starving people in China" line when his younger brother refuses to eat.
  • February 11, 2012
    Delphi
    • Common in Real Life among people who grew up in poverty.
  • February 11, 2012
    Hisaishi
    Sam from Freefall takes this trope to a relative extreme, outright preferring rotting food over fresh food.
  • February 11, 2012
    Hisaishi
    Eikichi Onizuka from Great Teacher Onizuka can't help but go into a trance after on of his students throws away a perfectly good sushi platter. The trance causes him to list off facts regarding the ingredients of the platter.
  • February 12, 2012
    TonyG
    In one episode of The Smurfs, Handy invents a machine that delivers food to the Smurfs' homes. He becomes aghast when they start wasting food because they think the machine will simply deliver more, not knowing that the machine is depleting their crops faster than before.
  • February 12, 2012
    Premonition45
    In Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, when Indy, Willie and Short Round have arrived at the village, the villagers offer them some food, but Willie doesn't want it:
    Indy: That's more food than these people eat in a week. They're starving.
    Willie: Oh, I'm sorry, you can have it...
    Indy: (sternly) Eat it.
    Willie: I'm not hungry.
    Indy: (chuckling nervously) You're insulting them and you're embarrassing me. Eat it.
    (As the villagers gesture to eat, Willie nervously eats the food)
  • February 12, 2012
    robybang
    • Native Americans are often said to have used every part of their kills, such as eating the meat, wearing the skin, making weapons from the bones, and using the organs and intestines for containers.
  • February 12, 2012
    Embryon
    The Simpsons:
    • Played with in a news report gag.
      Scott Christian: Coming up next, a new fad that's sweeping the nation -- wasting food. (B-roll of a man smiling as he dumps food and milk into a garbage can)
    • In one episode, Homer brings a mostly-uneaten ten-foot hoagie home and eats it over several days. Predictably, he gets terrible food poisoning.
    EDIT: Oh wait, I didn't realize this was a character trope. Never mind.
  • April 22, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
    The native American example is not entirely accurate (they would occasionally kill more than they could realistically make use of just by error or circumstance) but it is something many tribes strove toward.

  • April 22, 2014
    KantonKage
  • April 22, 2014
    Alucard
    Lost Food Grievance includes people getting angry about wasted food.

    That is unless this trope wants to be a split.
  • April 22, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
    Not quite.

    "The eater and complainer aren't necessarily required to be the same person, but the food has to be acknowledged as good-tasting or well-liked by the eater, whether they have Bizarre Taste In Food or enjoy some Foreign Queasine. Situations where a Cordon Bleugh Chef becomes annoyed at a Discreet Dining Disposal happening to something they made distinctly wouldn't count."

    But with that out of the way, I would not be against broadening lost food grievance and tossing this You Know That Thing Where proposal.
  • April 22, 2014
    Wildstar93
    Sponge Bob Square Pants gets upset when someone throws away an unfinished Krabby Patty or one drops to the floor. He even cremates an unfinished patty in Just One Bite and cries over it.
  • April 22, 2014
    Antigone3
    Another Real Life example, that's gradually departing as the people involved die, is anyone who lived through the Great Depression. (Possibly WWII rationing as well, though since my late grandmother experienced both I can't say which was the bigger impact for her.)
  • April 22, 2014
    Alucard
    ^^^ Seems like the only difference is that Lost Food Grievance requires the food to be very specific and considered good in-universe (tying it especially hard to the reaction of the character). This seems to want to cover all food, especially in cases where cooking/food is treated with high importance as a sustenance over simply tasting good (including for monetary/pragmatic reasons).
  • April 22, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    "And many many more". Brilliant.

    Live Action TV
    • M*A*S*H. Frank Burns was the garbage office, and as such, would come down on anyone he felt was wasting food, even though nobody in camp liked the food. Finally, Potter came up with the perfect solution to the problem:
      Potter: Tell ya what, Burns; if there's any food left that you think is edible... you eat it.
      Radar: (Hands Frank his tray) Here ya go, sir!
      • In the episode, "Good-bye, Radar", due to the camp's generator breaking down, and the backup generator being stolen, Potter had the entire camp (and even invited as many Korean locals as he could) eat as much of the "fresh" food as they can before he had the chance to spoil.
  • April 22, 2014
    DAN004
    Lost Food Grievance is about someone angry over his own food getting wasted. This is about getting angry about wasting food in general - ppl in Lost Food Grievance won't care if somebody else's food get wasted, while guys in this trope will.

    That's as clear as I can get.
  • April 22, 2014
    Alucard
    Lost Food Grievance specifies this:

    "The eater and complainer aren't necessarily required to be the same person, but the food has to be acknowledged as good-tasting or well-liked by the eater, whether they have Bizarre Taste In Food or enjoy some Foreign Queasine."

    Again, a split would be perfectly fine, either expanding this, or shrinking LFG (it pretty encompassing right now).
  • April 23, 2014
    needsanewhobby
    To the person who rote above that this is Truth In Television: in Britain we throw away 30% of the food we buy.
  • April 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ I'd agree with shrinking LFG and moving that bit you're copying into this ykttw.
  • April 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Besides Sanji fits here more than there.
  • April 23, 2014
    Arivne
    • Formatted the Examples section.
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added Example section media header(s).
    • Namespaced and italicized work names.

    Most of the Anime and Manga examples are Zero Context Examples.
  • April 23, 2014
    Koveras
    Has anyone pointed out that the title sounds like dialogue? Because it kinda does.
  • April 23, 2014
    313Bluestreak
    Well, why don't we come up with title suggestions then? I'd probably name it Food Waste Abhorrence.
  • April 23, 2014
    Generality
  • April 23, 2014
    robbulldog
    Real Life
    • "Our grandparents used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food. Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value," Francis said at his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square. "Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry," he said.
  • April 23, 2014
    Koveras
    @313Bluestreak: I was going to suggest something along the lines of Hates Seeing Food Wasted or Hates Food Wasting, since this is clearly a characterization trope.
  • April 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Hates Food Wasting plz.

    Lost Food Grievance is about an instance, btw. :P
  • April 23, 2014
    Dalillama
    @thewriter And food gets more expensive the further back in history you go, too.

    • In Tinker, Tinker is held prisoner by oni. The cook (an 8 foot tall ogre) is from an area where famines are common, and is enraged by anyone not cleaning their plate. Unfortunately, from Tinker's perspective (and most of the oni there, who aren't from the same area), most of what he fixes is Foreign Queasine. She gets petty revenge on her most annoying captor by dumping her pickled vegetables on their plate and watching them have to eat it all.
  • April 23, 2014
    Alucard
    ^^ That's a pretty good angle to attack this from. LFG denotes a childish personality, while this one can be for characters with more serious reasons, such as Kyoko Sakura's hungry childhood forcing her to take food very seriously.

    I think some examples can be moved over from LFG in light of that (not that the two can't overlap).
  • April 23, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The George Carlin routine "Ice Box Man:"
    Leftovers make you feel good twice. D'ja ever think about that? Leftovers give you two separate good feelings. When you first put them away, you feel really intelligent - "I'm saving food!" And then, after a month, when hair is growing out of them and you throw them away you feel...really intelligent - "I'm saving my life!"
  • April 23, 2014
    sgamer82
    Some detail for One Piece's Sanji: The reason he hates seeing food wasted is because he very nearly starved to death as a child. This also gives him a near Honor Before Reason code of honor on feeding the hungry, no matter who they may be.
  • August 28, 2014
    Wildstar93
    Another example: in Warrior Cats, Clan cats bury whatever they can't finish eating. Eating wasted food (crowfood) can result in someone getting a stomachache.
  • August 28, 2014
    Exxolon
    Don't know if this quite fits but the Perry Bible Fellowship has a strip that might fit this in a very dark way - http://pbfcomics.com/182/
  • August 28, 2014
    DAN004
    Who's managing this anyway?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rcmoro6kn3nlrp1eatzbuj85