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Disgusting Vegetarian Food

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Vegetarian and vegan characters in fiction eat weird or horrible tasting foods.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Pichu-kun on May 1st 2016 at 7:50:26 PM
Last Edited By:
Pichu-kun on Mar 28th 2018 at 6:56:59 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Beast Boy: (holding a soy-dog) Yo, Raven! Try one. They're loaded with soybean-y goodness.
Raven: I respect that you don't eat meat. Please respect that I don't eat fake meat.

In real life, the various forms of vegetarianism involve eating a multitude of different foods as long as they don't contain poultry, red meat, or fish (contrary to popular belief pescatarianism is not considered vegetarianism) or are cooked alongside them. In fiction this is watered down considerably. Characters will eat diets consisting of mostly tofu, common vegetables, and random "health foods" that their non-vegetarian friends find odd or even gross.

This is often the result of many vegetarian foods using foods that are considered Stock "Yuck!", such as tofu, various vegetables, and "vegetarian substitutes". Fictional vegetarians also don't tend to cook these foods in appealing ways, either for comedic exaggeration or due to the writers lack of knowledge on veg-friendly recipes, and will mix foods in a way that makes them have a Bizarre Taste in Food. Seeing characters eating plain tofu is very common, despite the fact most people don't eat tofu like that. In real life many vegetarians don't even use tofu as a way to get protein and they don't eat veggie burgers or veggie nuggets (instead opting for foods that are naturally vegetarian friendly)

As with many food tropes, this is culturally dependent and can invoke Values Dissonance. In countries with a large vegetarian population or in cultures where tofu and soy products are common, such revulsion to these foods is unusual.

Often overlaps with If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You as many vegetarian foods are relatively healthier than their non-vegetarian counterparts. Sometimes a character eating unconventional foods is one of the signs they're an Evil Vegetarian.


Examples:

Live-Action TV

  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Wounded" much humor is made out of contrasting the culinary tastes of newlyweds Miles and Keiko O'Brien. First Keiko makes her idea of breakfast: kelp buds, plankton loaf, and sea berries. Miles isn't very enthusiastic about it (and shows an expression of shock and disbelief that this stuff is really food), but Keiko argues that it's healthy. Miles's suggestion of muffins, oatmeal, corned beef, and eggs is met with shock by Keiko. Attempts to introduce her to scalloped potatoes, mutton shanks, oxtails, and cabbage are met with equal disinterest. It's not stated whether or not Keiko is vegetarian, but perhaps she sticks to fish.

Newspaper Comics

  • In Foxtrot many of Andy's recipes would fall into this category.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • Beast Boy from Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! is vegetarian due to being a shapeshifter; he feels uncomfortable eating animals when he's been most of them. He is most frequently seen eating tofu and soy products (including uncooked blocks of tofu) however none of his friends are interested in trying it out.
  • Sam from Danny Phantom has been shown literally eating grass on a slice of bread. Her friends (especially the meat loving Tucker) find it less than appealing.
  • Chef McMuscli from Camp Lazlo is known for his disgusting vegan recipes.

Feedback: 17 replies

May 1st 2016 at 10:49:13 PM

Yeah I feel the dissonance; tofu is abundant in my country.

Compare Evil Vegetarian.

May 2nd 2016 at 7:31:33 PM

The quote is from the original Teen Titans cartoon, not Go.

May 2nd 2016 at 7:35:28 PM

Foxtrot: Many of Andy's recipes would fall into this category.

May 2nd 2016 at 7:44:17 PM

^^ I know. I accidentally put "Go" after it.

Aug 27th 2017 at 3:01:01 PM

A Very Long Rope To The Top Of The Sky: When Deidre makes vegetarian food for Mint, she's the only one who likes it.

Aug 27th 2017 at 6:54:00 PM

  • Played For Laughs in The Simpsons episode "A Star Is Torn". When the family is unable to get their usual groceries from the Kwik-E-Mart due to a hold-up occurring, they decide to follow Lisa's suggestion and get all vegetables from Cletus' stall. While the Simpsons all seem to enjoy the entirely vegan meal, but very promptly afterwards all of them get violently sick and vow to never eat vegan again.

Aug 28th 2017 at 1:18:39 AM

  • In The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey, Thorin and his company are offered vegetable salad for dinner in Rivendell, and express their disgust over the lack of meat.

Aug 28th 2017 at 2:47:11 AM

Judge Dee: When taking refuge from a storm in a monaastery, the judge shares the monks' vegetarian diet (such as a "fish" made of tofu) to avoid looking ungrateful, but has difficulty hiding his lack of enthusiasm.

Aug 29th 2017 at 2:48:19 AM

In a The Far Side cartoon, a pride of lions are seen reacting with disgust after they accidentally catch a "tofudelope".

Mar 14th 2018 at 7:34:55 AM

  • On Mythbusters, when testing whether eating turkey makes people tired, as a control, Kari had Grant and Tori eat a vegetarian turkey substitute. Both of them complained about how much worse it was than actual turkey.

Mar 14th 2018 at 9:14:26 AM

  • In Gavin And Stacey, Gwen mistakes Pam for a vegetarian when she sees her buying vegetarian food, so when she comes to visit, she cooks cauliflower cheese for her. However, Gwen decides not to put any cheese on it, just in case Pam's actually a vegan, leaving her with a bowl of cauliflower. Understandably, Pan isn't very happy about this.

Mar 14th 2018 at 9:14:58 AM

Accidental double post, please ignore this.

Mar 28th 2018 at 8:04:01 AM

In the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "The Wounded" much humor is made out of contrasting the culinary tastes of newlyweds Miles and Keiko O'Brien. First Keiko makes her idea of breakfast: kelp buds, plankton loaf, and sea berries. Miles isn't very enthusiastic about it (and shows an expression of shock and disbelief that this stuff is really food), but Keiko argues that it's healthy. Miles's suggestion of muffins, oatmeal, corned beef, and eggs is met with shock by Keiko. Attempts to introduce her to scalloped potatoes, mutton shanks, oxtails, and cabbage are met with equal disinterest. It's not stated whether or not Keiko is vegetarian, but perhaps she sticks to fish.

Mar 28th 2018 at 4:52:25 PM

Amidst scathing criticisms of carnivores, Vegan Artbook has a recurring... call it a joke where people refuse to eat vegan food and its pointed out that this is just food, minus certain items, or the vegan starts listing all the foods the other party is apparently giving up.

Mar 28th 2018 at 6:55:16 PM

^ But is it disgusting?

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