Is It Something You Eat?
"What's estrogen? Can you eat it?"Stock line for an Idiot Hero, Big Eater or Extreme Omnivore. Usually used to convey how out of touch a character is with whatever they are asking to eat. Related to Sniff Sniff Nom. Also see I Ate WHAT? If someone's default reaction to a word they don't recognise is to take offence, see Calling Me a Logarithm. If it's to pretend they know the word, see I've Heard of That — What Is It?.
— Female orc joke, World of Warcraft
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Anime & Manga
- Love Hina: Kaolla Su. At least in the manga, her standard question whenever she hears a new word/phrase/concept is "Can you eat it?" But then Kaolla is the kind of person who will absentmindedly gnaw on someone's limbs in her sleep if she share a bed with them.... She asks whether Tokyo University is a food at one point.
Kaolla: What's Tokiyo-ewe? Is it a snack?
- There used to be a Kaolla Su shrine with "Can I eat it?" on its banner, displayed next to a picture of Su in a swimsuit.
- Rak from Tower of God:
Rak: Irregular? What's that? Food?
- Dragon Ball
- When ChiChi offers to be Goku's bride, he accepts readily. Some years later when she comes to get revenge on his failure to fulfill the promise, it is revealed that he had thought a bride was a kind of food. Although this was only in the dub — in the Japanese version he was mistaking "engagement" (kon'yaku) with "Konjac" (konnyaku), which would make no sense in English.
- He has also asked the same thing about the eponymous MacGuffins.
- Also, in the Non-Serial Movies and games, Goten is revealed to have no idea his dad's real name is Kakarott, usually thinking they're talking about some sort of vegetable.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: Idiot Lancer Kotarō, in asking What Is This Thing You Call Love?.
- Kodomo no Jikan: "What's 'recording'? Is it tasty?"
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
Italy: Traffic laws? I've never eaten that sort of thing.
- In Slayers, when Martina claims that Gourry is to be her fiancé, Gourry asks, "What's a fiancé? IS IT A PICKLE?! Hmmmm, but is it sweet or sour?"
- This priceless bit from a Naruto filler:
"French or soft. Which do you prefer?"
"Are you talking about food?"
(laughs) "Oh Lord. Kissing."
- Final Fantasy: Unlimited:
Fungo: What is a "thief"? Can you... eat it?
- Ryuichi of Gravitation is quoted as saying "What's talent? Something tasty?"
- In chapter 19 of Heaven's Lost Property, Nymph acted like this. She kept asking, "Does wrestling taste good?" while licking a candied apple.
- Kamichama Karin. The episode 1 preview has Karin mistaking the resident talking cat's Verbal Tic for a type of soup.
- The Vision of Escaflowne:
"A pager isn't something you eat!"
"That's for me to decide."
- Yuuji pulls this on Yoshi in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts in the light novel.
"OK, the real fight starts now."
"Wait, Yuuji! You never trusted me from the beginning!"
"Trust? What is that? Is it edible?"
- In Corrector Yui, the impossibly computer-illiterate title character initially mistakes "delete" for "dessert" and wonders where the food is. (Asamiya Kia's rewrite of the manga has her think it's "Doritos," but it leads to the same thing.) This kicks off a Running Gag of her mistaking "delete" for any similar-sounding words.
- In Eyeshield 21, Juumonji's uptight father is described as originally thinking that American football (amefuto) was some kind of candy (since ame means "sweet" in Japanese).
- In the English translation of the Black Butler manga, at one point Ciel is asking Sebastian who would teach him how to dance (as there was no time to get his normal dance tutors to), and points out that none of the others there would be able to teach him. Said others are shown drawn in a Chibi style, with "Does waltz taste yummy?" above them.
- In Mai-HiME, Mikoto demonstrates her upbringing to her classmates.
Mikoto: What's bra?... Is it edible?
- In Cowboy Bebop, this is also a common question coming from Ed. Or when not asking, she's just seen trying to take a bite. No surprise, as she's a Cloudcuckoolander and the heroes are regularly starving.
- Alice from Pandora Hearts takes this approach to both abstract and physical objects.
- From the manga Sleeper, we have:
- In Toriko, when the warden of honey prison activates her love pheromones, Zebra isn't affected and asks what are pheromones and if he can eat them.
- A little gem from Fairy Tail when Natsu controls Lucy's body with a voodoo doll and over-bends it in various positions that shouldn't be anatomically possible.
Lucy: Natsu... Do you know what joints are?
Natsu: What are they? They sound tasty...
- A variant of this trope is used in Pokémon by Ash, usually asking if something like "aromatherapy" is a Pokémon.
- How could "Aromatherapy" ever be a Pokémon? There are more than 10 letters in the word.
- It's also played straight in an episode centered around Hitmontop, with Ash claiming he once ate Shihan for lunch. Brock exasperatedly corrects him that a Shihan is a martial arts master, as Ash was under the impression that it was garlic chicken.
- In Stepping on Roses, Sumi's adoptive little brother Atari asked this about the word "education."
- In Akkan Baby, Shigeru takes a pregnancy test, and her friends ask her if she and Yuki have been using rubbers. "What are rubbers?" asks Shigeru. "Candy?"
- In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, when Sorata mentions his "pitch" to his little sister, she asks him if it's tasty.
- In Date A Live, Tohka kept doing this during her first date with Shido, asking if various things, like the foods they were eating or an Affectionate Gesture to the Head he gives her were the date.
- In One Piece, Don Quixote Doflamingo hints that he has something Luffy would want. Luffy's first assumption that the 'something' is in fact some super-delicious meat. It's actually the Flare-Flare Fruit that Luffy's dead brother Ace had eaten, now a prize at his Colosseum- and bait for his trap.
- From Archie Comics; not the actual phrase, but same idea:
Dilton: That Jughead stuffs himself silly.
Veronica: We can't tolerate this sort of conduct.
Dilton: Jughead! Have a little decorum!
(looks around the banquet table)
Jughead: Where is it?
- Demon Knights: When a small girl tells Exoristos, "You dress like a tart," Exoristos's reaction is, "Again, thanks! Is that some kind of pastry?"
- Lucky Luke
- Dragon Ball Abridged features this exchange:
Piccolo: It's called sarcasm!
Goku: What's that taste like?
Piccolo: DAMN IT, Goku!
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
Kaiba: It's a figure of speech, Mokie.
Mokuba: Oh. Can I eat it?
- Turnabout Storm: Pinkie Pie overhears Phoenix talking about Rainbow Dash's Psyche-Locksnote , and wonders if "Psyche-Locks" are some kind of breakfast cereal.
- Inner Demons: When Lezard asks the Element bearers if they've ever heard of Reincarnation, Pinkie asks if it's tasty.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged :
Young Woman: I saw you fall, and I thought to myself O.M.G. is everything going to be ok? Don't worry, I got you a bandage.
JoJo: (Thinking) Band... age? What a strange device. Do... do I eat it? Is it microwaveable?
- In Gensokyo 20XXV, due to being near blind from the rat poison incident, Reimu has a habit of putting things in her mouth to see if they are edible or not. Ironically, this is what caused her to eat the rat poison that left her near blind in the first place, along with Curiosity Killed the Cast and Curiosity Is a Crapshoot, along with being an Extreme Omnivore.
Amoridere: Well, yeah, as that is what had prompted her to eat the rat poison in the first place because she wanted to see if it was food and, since it tasted sweet (it does last I checked), she thought it was something to eat and continued to eat it until the jar was empty.
- In Tripping Through Time Iris Potter asks a newly-hatched snake if it has a name and it replies "Name? What is this name that you speak of? Is it edible?"
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- In Groundhog Day:
Phil Connors: Do you ever have déjŕ vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
Mrs. Lancaster: (serving breakfast) I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen.
- In Help!, there is a scene where George is holding a cymbal. He then takes a bite out of it.
- From Clue, justified, since it the thing in question is also a brand of baked goods:
Wadsworth: "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die."
Prof. Plum: Die?
Wadsworth: Merely quoting, sir, from Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Col. Mustard: Hm, I prefer Kipling myself. "The female of the species is more deadly than the male." You like Kipling, Miss Scarlet?
Miss Scarlet: Sure, I'll eat anything.
- Unlikely. The film is probably set in The Fifties (with WW2 having ended fairly recently and McCarthyism being in full swing) while, according to The Other Wiki, Mr. Kipling cakes were first sold in 1967.
- Inverted in Highlander. Connor describes haggis to Ramirez, who asks what you do with it. When Connor says that you eat it, Ramirez finds the idea repulsive. What makes it even funnier is that Sean Connery, the actor playing Ramirez is Scottish, and Christopher Lambert, the actor playing Connor, isn't.
- Also inverted in Captain America: The First Avenger. Howard Stark asks Peggy Carter about having some fondue together, and Rogers mistakes it for an euphemism for sex.
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy does this in one unused take, in the scene where Ed Harken introduces Veronica Corningstone as the station's newest reporter. When Harken mentions that the sponsors have complained about a lack of diversity in the newsroom, Champ asks "What in the hell's 'diversity'?", and Ron responds "I may be wrong, buy I believe 'diversity' is a type of mustard". note
Ridcully: Sounds a sort of name you'd associate with cheese, I mean, a pound of Mature Rincewind, it rolls off the tongue...
- It must be repeatedly explained to Archchancellor Ridcully that Rincewind is a wizard, not a type of cheese.
Glenda: So you quite liked [the football game], then.
- Also, a variation in Unseen Academicals:
Nutt: Oh yes! The ambience was wonderful!
Glenda: I didn't try those, but the pease pudding is usually good.
- The Hobbit features the trolls debating what a hobbit is and if you can eat one. Them being trolls, the answer is yes. Although, they ultimately decide that he's so small and miserable that it would be too much trouble to skin and bone him for the little meat that he has, and throw him away, almost forgetting about him. Now, thirteen drwarves with him, there's an idea for a good meal.
- Stock line from Ned Land from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Professor Arronax and Conseil have a keen interest in wildlife, whereas Ned's interest is purely culinary.
- Oddly, this also shows up in another Jules Verne work, The Mysterious Island, in which sailor Pencroft's only real interest in fauna and botany was mostly just in terms of edibility and taste.
- In the Chronicles of Prydain, Orddu asks "What is a Gurgi? Do you eat it or sit on it?"
- When Sancho Panza tells Don Quixote's niece that he joined her uncle because he was promised an island, she replies "What are islands? Is it something to eat, glutton and gormandiser that thou art?"
- In Mark Twain's "The Death Disk" the main character was telling his young daughter a "true story" and when he stated that the three colonels in the story "committed a breach of discipline" she asked "Is it something good to eat, papa?" When he tried rephrasing it and said that they'd exceeded their orders she started to ask if that was something to eat and he replied "No, it's as inedible as the other."
- In an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, Big Eater Jethro is threatened with a karate chop. He's looking forward to it because it he thinks it's like a pork chop. He later insists on getting one even though the person he's asking is a highly ranked martial artist who begs him not to ask for it. Jethro also asks for a "judo roll" and a "sumo crush", thinking they're food. Each time he gets exactly what he asked for but doesn't get it and thinks he's being attacked for no good reason.
- In the My Name Is Earl episode "Sticks and Stones," when talking about the stock market:
Randy: I'm confused. You own $20,000 worth of Krispy Kremes, but you still have to pay for donuts?
Paul: I don't get donuts, I get dividends.
Earl: Mmm, dividends... are they like those little powdered munchkins?
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: Upon being presented the game Simon, Trumpy gets the riff, "Can I eat it? It looks so good."
- Vanessa's line from the series finale of Small Wonder: "Humans sure are weird. I wonder if they taste good?"
- That Mitchell and Webb Look: The post-apocalyptic game show. "What was hope?" "Was it a spice?" "What's a spice?"
- In one episode of Hancock, Tony Hancock has a bizarre flight of fantasy about his father being friends with Vladimir Lenin, in which he claims that "Len" used to come round to their house for "a great big plateful of samovar".
- A variation from Peanuts
Peppermint Patty: I know what a Stradivarius is Ma'am! It's a big Dinosaur.
- In Get Fuzzy, Satchel thinks this way about Bucky's "revelation."
- Tales of Symphonia:
Lloyd: Professor, what's a philanderer? Is it something you eat?
- Mega Man Battle Network 6: The most blatant signs of Lan's Flanderization are the times he asks this.
Bud: What's an "internet"? Is it food?
- Rockman.EXE Operate Shooting Star, the Updated Re-release Crossover with Mega Man Star Force also has this gem:
- Teddie in Persona 4: "Proof...? I told you, I don't know what that is. Is it tasty?"
- Soul Nomad & the World Eaters:
Danette: Revowasshun? Wuzzat? Is it food? Does it taste good?
Rumia: Are you the kind of person I can eat?
- In Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Reimu's normal route, she encounters this twice...
Reimu: Ever heard the phrase... "Good medicine tastes bad"?
Reimu: I'm a normal shrine maiden.
Meiling: That's good to hear. Certainly, I've heard that shrine maidens make for good eating...
Reimu: Don't spread rumors like that!
Patchouli: Then maybe I'll help myself.
- Marisa turns it on its head:
Marisa: I'm really tasty.
Patchouli: Let's see, how to easily remove unneeded portions of food ...
Reimila: So, what are you here for? I'm already quite full, but ...
Marisa: Okay, but y'know, I'm hungry.
Remilia: ... You can eat me.
Marisa: You don't say?
- Justified in that Marisa and Reimu's opponents are youkai, who are said to eat humans.
- One of Cirno's fanmade theme songs theme song, "Odenpa LOVE GIRL," has lyrics that nicely illustrates her idiocy with gems like "Is an abacus yummy? (I can't eat it!)"
- This trope is also played with in one of the canon short stories. Marisa shows Reimu a prism, explains what it is, and adds, "You can't eat it," even though there's no reason to think Reimu would try to eat a hunk of glass. Reimu nonchalantly agrees that it seems hard, and the conversation continues.
- In My Sims Kingdom, when Rusty steals a horseshoe, Gabby decides to round up a posse. Just then, you and your assistants walk up. Gabby says he's found his posse. Buddy asks if it's a kind of soup...
- Chrono Trigger
Ayla: Pretty! Big! This Rainbow Shell? Can eat?
- Ayla's first instinct on meeting Frog is also to ask if she can cook him. The party promptly shifts the conversation to asking if she's seen Magus. "Cape one more tasty?"
- Wild Child Shea from Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness:
Shea: Marriage? What that? Taste good?
- Final Fantasy
- Variation in Final Fantasy X: when your party battles the Dark Flans in Zanarkand, Rikku takes one look and muses, "Hmmm... is that edible?" A Fan Fic even makes a Shout-Out to this, when Rikku jokes that Wakka describes Lulu's cooking as tasting like "burnt Flan." Of course, the joke is in the real world, flan is a type of food.
- Final Fantasy XII gets rather meta: Flan the food was designed after Flan the monster.
- A Running Gag in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has Para-Medic describing the local wildlife and flora, with Snake asking what it tastes like. In his case, though, he can eat it, which seems to reliably Squick out Para-Medic even though Snake has little other choice in the tropical rainforest that is the Russian wilderness.
- Taken to horrible levels in one of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl Easter egg transmissions where Snake contemplates eating Yoshi.
- In BlazBlue, Taokaka's standard response to anything new is to ask if it's edible, even "black squiggly" Arakune, or an intangible concept:
Tao: What's "unemployed"? Does it taste good?
- In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, an NPC says that he heard that, to do a basic game function, you must press a controller button. But he has no idea what a "Y button" is, so he wonders if it's edible.
- In the Tiny Chao Garden found in certain Sonic the Hedgehog games, your Chao will sometimes ask "What is political reform? Is it tasty?"
- A variant in The Space Bar. In the brief (but hilarious) segment playing as... intellectually wanting... alien Thud, you describe most objects by their edibility. For instance the bazooka is "Long. Heavy. Not edible." Despite this description, you can attempt to eat it.
- In Castlevania: Judgment:
- In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, one of the eventual party members is an Extreme Omnivore called Drong. The player character is in the service of Queen Gwendolyn, and wants to return to the palace and report to her. Drong immediately inquires, "What's a Queen Gwendolyn? Can I eat it?" Of course, he can technically eat Queen Gwendolyn.
- Big Eater Token Mini-Moe Rika in Sakura Taisen V doesn't know what Santa is and asks if she can eat it.
- Gitaroo Man, upon losing to Panpeus:
Panpeus: The Gitaroo is mine! Can I eat it?
- In Digimon World, when Tokomon is explaining how time works in the Digital World, he asks if "seasons" are something you can eat.
- In Street Fighter Alpha 3, Birdie admires Honda's hairstyle, leading the latter to introduce him to the concept of sumo.
Birdie: Sumo? What's that? Some kind of raw fish dish?
- In Star Ocean: Second Evolution, a young Arlian boy says this when Claude asks him for information for a way back to his home planet at the beginning of the game:
Boy: A "spayship"? Is that something you can eat? I don't know what that is.
- Stahl of Fire Emblem Awakening will say "What's this? Is it edible? I haven't eaten in minutes..." whenever he finds an item. While it makes sense when he finds an item like "Gaius' Confect", it's more questionable when he finds an "Imposing Axe" or a "Tree Branch".
- In Pokémon X and Y, after your first double-battle (with Twins Faith & Joy, on Route 5 outside Lumiose City), one of the twins will wonder "What's a 'dubbel-battel'? Can you eat it? Is it tasty?"
- The Spider-man/Juggernaut fight in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions gives us this:
Spider-Man: OK, laughing boy. Now stand still while I administer the coup-de-grace!Juggernaut: I hate French food!
- Strong, the super mutant companion in Fallout 4, missed the metaphor and assumes the "milk of human kindness" is something he can consume to gain the strength that made humans successful in the wasteland.
- A Teen Girl Squad issue has three of the girls discussing their prom dresses. Meanwhile, tomboyish What's Her Face wonders aloud whether a "dress" is "a food."
- In Faux Pas, Cindy often wonders whether something new can be eaten. (Small wonder, as she's surrounded by animals she would normally eat if they would stop befriending her.)
- The Order of the Stick. The Empress of Blood asks this about Elan. Problem is, since she's a voracious red dragon, he would be perfectly edible for her.
- A strip of Penny Arcade plays with it (although some people do eat the placenta):
Gabe: I'll tell you this: the best thing about the placenta is cold placenta sandwiches the next day.
- In Amy In Wonderland, the Mad Hatter (Sonic) says this when Amy mentions Sonic:
Mad Hatter: What's a Sonic? Can you eat it? It is delicious? Give me some!
- Inverted in a post from Fail Blog.
"Tofu. I thought that was like touché. I didn't know it was a food.
- As found on Not Always Right: Even the word "abbreviation" is not safe.
- Oh, it gets better than that. One person is adamant she didn't ask for "tax" on her sandwich.
- The Dragonball example is referenced in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, with Vegeta asking Trunks if marriage is a type of food. Though it turns out Vegeta is just trolling him.
- In Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Abridged Jotaro wonders what a bandage is...
- Jotaro:Ban-dage? What a strange device. Do...do I eat it? Is...is it microwavable? Does it...taste like...poptarts? I don't know."
- Done in Brows Held High's review of the Bollywood film Omkara, where Kyle mocks the Lord Thomas Babington MacCauley's ignorance of Indian literature.
MacCauley: I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India!
Heckler: What about the Ramayana?
MacCauley: No, thank you. I already had lunch.
- Family Guy
Brian: Swing and a miss.
- Lois tells Peter that his idea for a parade float based on an episode of Whos The Boss is a little esoteric, and we cut to Pete's brain as it attempts to decipher what "esoteric" means. "Does it mean 'sexy'?'" "I think it's a science term." "Fellas, Fellas, esoteric means 'delicious'." so Peter says: "Lois, Who's The Boss? is not a food."
Stewie: We are in a sexless marriage! We have yet to have sex!
- Also this:
Olivia: Do you even know what sex is?!
Stewie: That's not the poi... don't change the... It's a kind of cake?
- Code Lyoko, episode 70 "Skidbladnir":
Yumi: It's Morse code, turkey!
Odd: Morse code turkey? Sounds pretty scrumptious...
Yumi: Mais c'est du morse, banane! Translation
- (Even better in the French version...)
Odd: Du morse-banane? Ç'a l'air bon, c'est japonais? Translation
Chowder: Pepper spray? That sounds delicious! (gets sprayed in the face) AHHH!! I was wrong!! I was horribly wrong!!!
- Fun fact: Dave's Insanity Sauce, a super-hot habanero extract sauce, has a "private reserve" variety with "twice the heat." In a contest to see which was spicier, Dave's Insanity Sauce weighed in at a higher Scovill rating than self-defense pepper spray. (Which, incidentally, you might be able to cook with.)
- Not-so-fun fact: Fox News' Megyn Kelly appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss a pepper-spray incident that unfolded during an Occupy protest at the University of California Davis in 2011. She said pepper spray is “like a derivative of actual pepper. It’s a food product, essentially.”
- A variation occurs in Dot and Keeto. Dot, shrunk down to the size of a bug and looking for the root that will change her back to normal size, encounters a praying mantis. The mantis asks if she wants anything to eat, and she tells him that what she wants is "like a carrot." The mantis then asks how many legs a "carrot" has.
- In the Christmas Special O Christmas Tree, a squirrel attempts to explain christmas lights to a bear.
Squirrel: You gotta plug 'em in. They're electric.
Bear: What does that mean?
Squirrel: Oh, I don't believe this. Don't you know what electricity is?
Bear: Some kind of fish?
- Dragon Tales gives us an example:
Wheezie: We're so close I can taste it!
Ord: Oh? What's it taste like?
Wheezie: It's just an expression, silly!
Ord: Oh... What's an expression taste like?
- The Simpsons: Homer does his "mmmm... x" Catch Phrase with many inedible things:
Homer: mmmm... Pi...
Homer: (after spraying his eggs with pepper spray) mmmm... incapacitating... (passes out)
Judge Harm: Bart Simpson, I declare you emancipated. Further, I hereby garnish Homer's wages until Bart is fully repaid.
Homer: mmmm... garnish...
- The Critic: When Jay meets Alice's ex-husband Cyrus as he is about to confess his feelings for her:
Cyrus: I'd like to thank you for helping my wife. It's more than what I did.
Jay: Well, there are a lot of people in New York who would of done what I did. They're called putzes!
Cyrus: Hmm... I like pepperoni on my putzes.
Jay: I'll bet you do.
- In Play It Again, Charlie Brown, Frieda attempts to take Lucy's place at Schroeder's piano:
Lucy: Do you like Beethoven?
Lucy: If you're gonna hang around here, you've gotta like Beethoven!
Frieda: All right, but I'll just have a small glass.
(Schroeder kicks them both out)
Lucy: You blew it, kid.
- From the Futurama episode "A Farewell to Arms", when Bender starts looting as much as possible.
Bender: Want a torah?
Fry: No thanks, I'm not hungry.
- In Invader Zim, Zim was asked by Dib whether he had ever had rain on his planet. Zim unsuccessfully guessed that rain was a food and not the water pouring down from outside.
Zim: Yes, oh such rain we had! It was delicious.
- In an episode of Mike, Lu & Og, when Mike introduces the islanders to baseball.
Wendell: Can one eat the ball when one is finished?Margery: Indeed.
- Inverted in an episode of Pinky and the Brain when Brain attempts to win big on Jeopardy!, and practices by having Pinky ask him some questions.
Pinky: What is pie?
Brain: The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Big Pink Loser", Patrick has to take back a trophy he got by mistake, and this exchange occurs.
Patrick: But... it's shiny.
SpongeBob: Yeah, but you know what else is shiny?
- Inverted in the Gravity Falls episode, "Sock Opera":
Gabe: Maybe later you can join me for a biscotti.Mabel: (gasp) You drive a biscotti?
- Babies, in what Sigmund Freud called the "oral phase", seem to use "stick it in your mouth" as their default object identification protocol. Especially when teething. This is because babies' eyesight is not all that good, and most of their working touch receptors are on their lips, so "stick it in your mouth" is just a method to feel it better, if not taste it, rather than a legitimate attempt to eat it. This behavior is called "mouthing".
- Dogs: the old joke being a dog's thought process on finding something goes, "If it's moving, chase it. If it's not moving, eat it. If you can't eat it, have sex with it."
- Similar to babies above; since dogs don't have hands, the best way for a dog to get a feel for something is to put its mouth on it.
- Humanity runs on this. How many foods do we create by letting something spoil under specific conditions? Pickles, cheese, salami, beer, butter, etc. Basically, the invention of new food goes something like this:
Step 1: Store something.
Step 2: X in my Y! (It's more likely than you think.)
Step 3: This stuff doesn't smell that bad. It's still good. Om nom nom nom.
Step 4: This is delicious... I'm a genius!
Step 5: ???
Step 6: Profit!
- Another example: Leavened bread was probably the result it being unintentionally left to rest long enough for yeast to cause the dough rising; the first person to eat it would have been eating a strange new thing.
- 1853: A customer keeps sending back his french fries because they're "too thick". After one time too many, the frustrated chef decides to cut them ridiculously thin and fry them to a crisp to see the guest's reaction. The guest loved them, and thus potato chips were born.
- Several artificial sweeteners were discovered when a chemist either tried whether his experiment was something you can eat, or went to get lunch without stopping to wash his hands.
- Strangely enough, sharks are big-time users of this trope. When a shark encounters something unusual, the first thing it will try to do is figure out what it is. Because sharks have no hands, they have to use their mouths. And because they have no lips, in order to touch it they have to bite it. Ouch. This is actually what causes a lot of the unprovoked shark attacks on humans, especially with the Great White. The shark in question either wants to figure out what we are, or thinks we might be a weird seal. Hence the shark attacks where a shark takes one bite or so and leaves. Of course, sometimes they don't.
- The problem, of course, being that these investigations are made with 2-foot-wide jaws that can exert a 5-ton bite force. This is the rough equivalent of examining an egg by hitting it with a sledgehammer attached to your tongue.
- This also serves to explain why sharks' stomach contents are so legendarily eclectic.
- It's actually a well-established fact that most sharks think humans taste disgusting, so presumably, a shark that has "attacked" a human once won't do it again because it's already "identified" human-shaped things as "not for eating."
- The Times columnist Bernard Levin once wrote a column in which he asked, inter alia, "Can you eat quarks?" Sir Alan Cottrell wrote a brief letter in reply:
Sir: Mr Bernard Levin asks "Can you eat quarks?" I estimate that he eats 500,000,000,000,000,000,001 quarks a day.
- Anyone encountering a new language, specially under strange circumstances like traveling to a foreign land, will ask this question sooner or later.