Evil doesn't just feel good
"I ate the soul of a monk once. It tasted like chocolate."
, it also tastes
good. Any Evil Overlord
worth his cape
will often describe their past evil deeds
, current plot
, or last kill with taste related adjectives like "Delicious", "Sweet" or "Juicy", and their urge to do evil as a "Thirst", "Craving" or "Hunger".
The Seven Deadly Sins
describe materialism and overindulging in earthly pleasures as sinful and wrong, and out of the seven deadlies Gluttony is one of the least glamorous. So when villains use taste to describe evil you just know
there's something creepy and ugly about them, no matter how attractive they are
. For much the same reasons Lust is why Evil Feels Good
, and most villains like to describe their power in tactile and addictive terms like "Strong", "Smooth", and "Intoxicating". This might explain why some villains get Drunk on the Dark Side
Extra points if they happen to be a cannibal
, Serial Killer
, or Emotion Eater
. (Or all of them...
) Although, there have been times when someone - or something - taking this Trope too literally, they finds that Evil often doesn't taste very good at all.
(In fact, some evil creatures taste downright awful.)
See also: Exotic Entree
, Finger-Lickin' Evil
, Lecherous Licking
, You Taste Delicious
, Horror Hunger
, Licking the Blade
and A Glass of Chianti
. Contrast Being Evil Sucks
. Combine with Delicious Distraction
) results. (Usually) not to be confused with I'm a Humanitarian
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Anime & Manga
- In Lucifer Hell produces a highly addictive drug called Pain, which is distilled from the suffering of the damned (specifically it is masochistic suffering as Lucifer notes early on that all the people in Hell are there because they feel the need to be punished). Exactly what it tastes like is never elaborated on but it is highly addictive. When the damned are given hope the taste is spoiled.
- Superman villain Parasite often describes the powers he steals in culinary terms. Superman's power set is Parasite's favorite meal, though he's not averse to stealing other powers.
- Venom considers Spider-Man the best host. To the point where, when it latches onto the Doc Ock-controlled Peter, it realizes something's wrong and attempts to return to its previous host, Flash Thompson.
- Judge Dredd: In Judge Death's Origins Issue Boyhood of a Superfiend, Death notes that he and the two evil witches he teamed up with did unspeakable things to the victims he brought them, which made even a psychopath such as himself feel queasy at first. He subverts that by noting that "Some acts of unspeakable depravity are an... acquired taste", as he grew to enjoy engaging in cannibalism with them.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Harry Osborn in Spider-Man 3 uses this trope in a Double Entendre. After manipulating Peter into thinking Mary Jane has dumped him for Harry, he tells a waitress asking him about the pie he's eating that it "tastes so good."
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Esmé. "I'm going to flatten you! Olaf and I are going to have a romantic breakfast of Baudelaire pancakes!"
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Killing your enemies is one thing. Killing them, baking them into a pie, and serving them to their kinsmen is another entirely. Serving them to their kinsmen and eagerly wolfing down several servings yourself? Wow, Lord Manderly. More a case of Revenge Tastes Good, but the effect is the same.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry describes getting a heady feeling from using the Imperius Curse, stronger and more effective than firewhisky.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Edmund finds his first quite literal taste of evil very good, specifically of the White Witch's
drugs Turkish delight. It soon not only tastes less good but is actually kind of nauseating... but it's so hard to stop.
- In the Thomas Harris book Black Sunday, the terrorist leader Fasil is eating a rich Swiss chocolate bar, and licking the remaining melted chocolate off his fingertips, admitting that if the Israeli Mosad ever knew of his pecadillo in how much he loved chocolate they'd probably have a means to catch him.
- Irial from Wicked Lovely. Yum.
- Incredibly literal example in C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. Demons feed off the souls of the damned, and it's even mentioned that the truly wicked souls taste better.
- Done to humorous effect at the 2002 Royal Rumble: The Undertaker (this being just before his final Heel-Face Turn), having cleared the ring of everyone else, is suddenly and unexpectedly eliminated by Maven when he gets overconfident. 'Taker gets extremely pissed and spends the next several minutes dealing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Maven, which goes on so long that - hilariously - the Royal Rumble Match actually stops dead so the TV camera can follow 'Taker and Maven as they brawl right up through the crowd and into the hallway leading to the arena, finally ending with 'Taker shoving Maven head-first through an old-fashioned popcorn cart, then scooping up some of the spilled popcorn and casually eating it.
- Versed in The Bible as a form of Aesop in the book of Proverbs: "A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell." (Proverbs 9:13-18)
- "Revenge is a dish best served cold" is often attributed to the 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos (the inspiration for Cruel Intentions mentioned above). This, however, is not true; the possibly first use of the phrase occurs in another French novel, Mathilde by Eugčne Sue (1841). The line was famously said in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; this particular usage has been parodied or referenced many times since:
- In an episode of Freakazoid! a villain, voiced by Ricardo Montalban himself, proclaims that "Revenge is a dish best served with pinto beans and muffins."
- At the beginning of Kill Bill this quote is attributed as "an old Klingon Proverb."
- Parodied on The Simpsons by Sideshow Bob: "Revenge is a dish best served family style!"
- From the series premiere of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002):
Skeletor: Revenge is like jivare stew; it tastes best served cold.
- From David Gerrold's character "Solomon Short": "Revenge is a dish best served lightly browned with a side of carrots. And maybe with some fava beans and a light Chianti."
- At the start of chapter 21 of Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitors Hand:
"Revenge is a dish best served with mayonnaise and those little cheesy things on sticks." Osric the Loopy, planetary governer of Corania (appointed 756 M41,removed from office by the Officio Assassinorum 764 M41)
- Parodied yet another way in Get Fuzzy, where Bucky uses this line on Satchel. To which he replies: "Like gazpacho!"
- Both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem describe drinking blood as both sensual and delicious, the best and only rush vampires have left. From the Masquerade revised core book:
What is it like? My dear, words can not describe it. Imagine drinking the finest champagne and the sensation of the most sensual lovemaking you've ever experienced. Overlay that with the rush the opium fiend feels as he takes that first breath on the pipe, and you have some sense, some tiny, infinitesimal sense of what it feels like to drink the blood of...a human being.
- Also, in both game lines vampires can devour the soul of another vampire, which aside from giving them more power, and being even worse than cannibalism, tastes/feels better than drinking blood. It's also addictive.
- Quite a few bits of flavour text in Magic: The Gathering cards. An example.
- Would iliaster, from Infernum, count? This is the spiritual essence of a soul, physically torn away and polluted with anguish and suffering, and demons must consume it to survive. Iliaster is also used for things like engine fuel and the basis for medicines. Basic iliaster, called plasm, is actually noted as "crude, tasteless and unsatisfying" — demons who can afford it prefer to soak meat and, occasionally, vegetables (best not look too closely at either) in the stuff to add some more flavor and texture. Strain, iliaster generated from souls forced to labor on through exhaustion, apparently tastes better (though it's only as "nutritious" as plasm), but is mainly used as the demon equivalent of petrol. Agony, generated from souls kept conscious despite intense physical pain, is very potent (five times stronger than an equivalent dose of plasm) and is generally regarded as the wine of Hell. Sorrow, produced through psychological pain, is twice as nutritious as Agony and is the closest thing demons have to sacramental.
- Probably the most famous quote from the Dark Eldar in Warhammer 40,000 is "Death is my meat, terror my wine" by Supreme Overlord Asrubael Vect. Given that the Dark Eldar feed on pain and suffering this tropes gets brough up quite often around them.
- In Stargate Atlantis, the Wraith need to drain life energy from others in order to survive. Whether this is evil is up for debate; they have to do so in order to survive, after all. But there's no mistaking the almost-rapturous joy that the Wraith experience while draining others, as well as the incredible pain that their victims go through. (The process is so traumatic that the Wraith actually have to strengthen their victims using a special chemical in order to prevent them from dying instantly of shock.) Most Wraith are also very malicious and sadistic, so they probably qualify as an example of the trope. Worth noting is one of Todd's lines in a recent episode. While offering the Atlantis crew some food they picked up during a culling, he mentions he hopes the fruits "taste as good as the farmers who grew them." An early episode had an unusually droll Wraith comment that "Unfortunately, your last chef proved far more appetizing than the meals he prepared." Although he was a single episode baddie, after a season or so some of the ideas behind that character evolved into the character of Todd.
- At various points in Buffy and Angel, vampires like Drusilla would liken the taste of someone's blood to "cloves and honey", and life force draining warlocks would say it Tastes Like Strawberries. And Glory described a mind she had eaten as a "nummy treat". Spike even goes as far as referring to humans as "Happy Meals with legs". On the other hand, when asked what evil itself tasted like, Willow made a face and described it as "a little chalky."
- The First Evil: "Choose a side. Our side. You know it's delicious."
- And in the Angel spin-off Spike bites someone to see if they're evil from the taste of their blood, explaining that "Demons are more astringent with a sort of oakie."
- The Master in Doctor Who. All the time. "You are indeed a worthy opponent, Doctor. It's what gives your destruction its... piquancy."
- Sylar in Heroes occasionally describes his acquisition of powers in culinary terms, talking about his "hunger" to "consume" or "sink his teeth into" the "delicious" powers of others. There is widespread fan speculation that he steals superpowers by eating the brains of superhumans. Even after the whole "brain eating" thing was explicitly Jossed, the characters continue to refer to Sylar's desire for power as a "hunger" and his process of taking the powers of others as "feeding". Potential victims (the Level 5 Villains) are referred to as a "smorgasboard" and a "buffet".
- The Order of the Stick:
- Sabine clearly enjoys this trope in this strip, where she drains Roy's life-energy. She says it has a deep woodsy flavour, with a hint of sage and no bitter after-taste. She adds, "Four stars! I'll have to recommend dining on you to all my fiendish friends!"
- Later parodied: Two hobgoblins tell a rookie at the granary that they whip the human slaves so that their cries of pain will make the food they're carrying taste more evil... then tell him they're just joking.
- The undead continue to embrace this trope, however. In this strip, a wight drains the levels from one of Haley's followers and comments that it was "delicious, but the portion was too small." Then his buddy spots Haley.
- And in this strip, the voices in V's head like the trope as well.
- And brain sucking has all kinds of tastes!
- Also subverted: in the prequel book Start of Darkness, a pre-lich Xykon goes on about his... strange relationship with bad coffee. The first thing he and his minions do after he's been turned into a lich and escaped his confinement is return to the old Greasy Spoon... only for him to find he can no longer taste anything. He flips out.
- 8-Bit Theater:
- If you ask Black Mage, the only thing better than pie is EVIL pie.
Red Mage: This meatloaf is great! Aren't you glad you came back to the mortal realm so you could enjoy this stuff, BM?
Black Mage: When I was the Hell King we feasted on the souls of gluttons. It was like eating murder, marinated in sin. It was bliss.
Vilbert's Mom: Well, I like to put a touch of chili powder in the meat. You know, to give it that extra little kick.
Black Mage: That's...that's just super.
- Absurd Notions, in its earlier years, has a comic annotated with the statement that revenge, like meringue, is sweet and best served cold.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
- Parodied when the good doctor visits Sebastian, the vampire that runs the Red Cross in this strip:
Catering Chef: Would you like some baked ziti, sir?
Sebastian: How...innocent is the baked ziti?
Catering Chef: Very innocent, sir.
Sebastian: Yes. I will have the ziti.
- Also parodied a few pages before where Sebastian describes how he feeds a cow dairy products to make it fat, then butcher it, feed the steaks to infants, and then suck their blood. To quote Sebastian, "It is so decadent."
Sebastian: The babies hate the steaks.
- In Demonology 101 a Witness comments that the food at the wedding of Isaac Jenner and Madeline is delicious. Apparently evil doesn't just taste good, it makes a fine shrimp dish too.
Banai: Trust a Jenner to have the best served wedding I've been to in the last twenty years.
- Richard from Lookingfor Group LFG once drained the soul of a monk. "It tasted like chocolate," he said.
- Khrima took classes on baking evil cupcakes.
- In Life And Death, Steve has heard that the living soul of a mage tastes like strawberries.
- This Dominic Deegan shows this comic, When you eat a soul...
- In Sinfest,
- In Homestuck, one of the first few trolls introduced, Terezi/gallowsCalibrator, frequently uses taste- and smell-related adjectives to describe things. The trope is subverted, however, when it is revealed that she does this not because she's evil, but because she's blind and literally experiences the world around her through taste and smell.
- Dr. Steel has mind control cookies! And cupcakes! (Well, maybe not so much the cupcakes. Dr. Steel calls the batch he made in The Dr. Steel Show Episode 2, "disgusting".)
- In an episode of Girl Genius Radio Theater, even the good guys cannot deny that caramel tastes better when infused with pure evil.
- In the popular fan-videos entitled "The REAL Legend of Zelda,"a humorous (if NSFW) take on Ocarina of Time, it seems Ganondorf has gone into the Breakfast Food area of business, for when Link is in a store, intending to buy bombs, Navi notices a box of Ganon-Flakes, and proceeds to force Link to buy them.
- Silverwolf's Harry Potter fic, The Twelve Disasters of Christmas, has list of reasons to join Voldemort that include "You know you want to join Voldemort. If you do, he'll give you candy canes. "Joining Lord Voldemort is good for the digestive system.", and other food related enticements.
- Turtle soup is widely regarded as a delicacy, and in the past was often made from (currently endangered) sea turtles. Especially those in North America and in East Asia, are threatened or endangered because of people poaching them for gourmands. In many cases, said species are often rare, difficult to cultivate, or that said gourmands simply prefer the taste of wild caught over farm-raised.
- To ensure tasty veal, calves may be prevented from getting any exercise at all. That means that there are farms where baby cows spend most of their short lives in pens so small that pacing isn't an option. All so people can eat veal.
- Some foie gras producers force feed their geese so much food that the birds' stomachs may rupture.
- In The Bible, eating pigs is described as an "abomination" and in some Abrahamic traditions (not just Judaism), people refuse to eat pork for this reason. In cultures that do eat pigs, bacon is considered one of the tastiest foods.
- Shark fin soup is considered a Chinese status symbol; its high cost marking it as a special food at weddings and banquets. To source the fins, sharks are finned alive, then tossed back into the sea to die slowly—shark meat is not as economically valuable as the fins, so their fin-less bodies are left to sink to the ocean floor, unable to swim, where they will be defenselessly preyed upon or die slowly. Add to this that shark fins taste bland and that the soup would otherwise be plain-tasting if it didn't contain fish broth as well. The shark fins are added as a texture thing; it gives body and thickness/ sliminess to the soup.
- Another Chinese food, is Bird's Nest Soup which is Exactly What It Says Onthe Tin; a soup made out of a bird's nest. The bird being the swallow. Which makes its nest by using its spit in place of cement. Harvesting these spitwads/nests means that the birds have a hard time breeding, and are thus, dying out....because their spit is delicious.
- They actually taste like wet tissue-paper.
- Cracked brings us this article, for those moments when you're feeling just a little too good about being human.
- It is illegal in the United States, France, and most of the western world to capture, sell, or cook the endangered ortolan (the bird, not the Star Wars species). In response, resourceful gourmets pay great sums to get the dish. Anthony Bourdain, who wrote about an underground feast featuring ortolans, describes them as "one tasty f—ing bird.”
- Interestingly, a common ritual is for the ortolan-eater to cover his or her head with a napkin while eating the bird. This is sometimes explained as preventing the ortolan's odors from dissipating and reducing interference from the other senses, but one legend ascribes this practice to a priest who felt so guilty about what he was eating that he was trying to hide from God.
- Many junk foods, like pizza, candy, chips, and so on, which cause health problems, taste very good to most people. This is because they use far more fat, sugar and salt, thus overloading taste receptors designed to locate these. The result is they cause "evil (to the body) to taste good". In moderation, humans require all 3 to survive, which is why we have the receptors in the first place.
- Albert Fish was notorious for his cannibalization of children. He found their flesh delectable and enjoyed going into lurid detail regarding the cooking process. On killing and eating a four year old boy, he was quoted as saying "I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did."