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
- 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.
Film - Live Action
- 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.
- The French movie L'Aile ou la Cuisse with Louis de Funès has Tricatel-brand industrial food, which turns out to be artificial: Fish and chicken roast are made by molding some paste around skeletons, before spray-painting a nice roast color around them.
- 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.
- This is done in Black Books with wine: having drunk an incredibly rare bottle of wine while house sitting, Bernard and Manny try to replace it by filling the bottle with cheap wine and adding the tastes the real wine is described as having, resulting in them adding vanilla ice cream for the vanilla and a twig for the oaky finish. The task is not aided by the fact that Bernard's taste buds have degraded to the point that he can happily eat a coaster. Their friend inadvertently kills the Pope by giving him the wine to drink.
- Once in Two Lumps, Snooch ate the Thanksgiving turkey and Eben sculpted a fake out of gooshyfood. It didn't fool "Mom".
- 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.
- Mr Bogus:
- In the episode "Et Tu, Brattus?", Bogus cuts up a piece of wood and paints it like a slice of cheese in order to fool Ratty into getting caught by the bully's box trap.
- Another episode 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.
- 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."
- During the Blockade of Leningrad, the besieged civilians had no real bread and had to bake substitute bread from various inedible shit like potato peels, pine tree needles, sawdust or mineral oil.
- "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.
- Crab sticks and crab salad, popular in (among other places) East Asia and Russia, don't contain any real crab meat. They are based on surimi, powdered fish flavoured to taste like crab and textured to look like crab. Crab salad is sometimes made with corn, sometime with egg, sometime with pickles, but what they never put in it is crab.