Gene: Steve Turkel. He was my best friend.
Some food is just too good to eat. Maybe someone special made it or it's the only one of its kind. If the love for it overpowers the desire to eat it, then it probably becomes Companion Food.
Companion Food is when someone keeps an item of food for longer than sanitary, necessary or appropriate. Characters who do this usually receive scorn for it, as even through refrigeration or freezing food can't last forever. What's worse is if they don't put in any effort to preserve it; its days are numbered, and sooner or later it'll start to smell.
The word "companion" originally means "someone to share bread with", but in this case for this trope, your companion IS the bread.
The trope usually coincides with Anthropomorphic Personification, as the characters who keep the food may give it terms of endearment and talk to it. An even stranger direction the trope takes is when the person has a romantic attraction to the food, and as a result may cross over with Why Don't You Marry It? and Cargo Ship. Characters who engage in Companion Food are often Cloudcuckoolanders with a vivid imagination. They could also be a Big Eater with a passion for food.
The food in question may be a fruit or vegetable that the character is growing. It isn't inappropriate if they spend long amounts of time with it because it isn't decomposing yet, but it's still odd if they love it like their child.
The trope typically ends with people eating it (or at least trying but risking their own health) or throwing away the food. This usually accompanies feelings of regret and grief. Thus they recover from their obsession and realise that food isn't meant to last forever, nor does it need to. If someone else eats the food, it usually leads to an argument despite the absurdity.
If the food is in the form of an animal that has to be eaten, that belongs to its own trope. Subtrope of Companion Cube. Compare Adopt the Food, Anthropomorphic Food, Animate Inanimate Object, It Came from the Fridge.
- In one festival chapter of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Sakura jokingly offers Nozaki a bite from her candied apple, at that point having given up expecting anything romantic from him. Nozaki, being Nozaki, nonchalantly takes a bite. Cue Sakura going redder than the apple. The fanbook and a conversation with Hori later in the manga state that she ended up keeping that apple.
- Happens at least twice with Bucky in Get Fuzzy. In one minor storyline, Bucky is gifted an entire large dead fish to eat by Rob as a reward for helping to fix Satchel's watch, only for Bucky to end up deciding to treat the dead fish as a pet that he even names Smell before Rob eventually is forced to throw it into the trash to get rid of the stench. And in a second three-strip storyline, Bucky is gifted a dead conger eel to eat for unexplained reasons that he ends up treating as a pet just like he did 'Smell' before eventually being forced to give up the eel as well for similar stench based reasons.
- Bao is about a middle-aged Chinese-American woman taking care of an animated dumpling as though he were her son. When the son starts outgrowing her and brings a very much not Chinese-anything girlfriend home, they get in a fight, culminating in the woman eating the dumpling. Fortunately it was All Just a Dream, and the film ends with her actual human son (though his head does make him look like a dumpling) making up with her.
- Ice Age: Scrat and his acorn-obsession plays with the concept. He will go to the end of the Earth to get his hands on an acorn... but only intends to bury them. Over the course of the series, it goes from being a basic food obsession to being played like a romance plot.
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Manny asks Buck when he went mad from being isolated in the dinosaurs' jungle. Buck responds that it was exactly three months ago when he woke up married to an "ugly" pineapple. He claims he loved her anyway.
- Ice Age: Collision Course: During an electrical storm, Buck runs into the forest, claiming to hear a baby. He comes out a few moments later with a pumpkin that he names Bronwyn and starts to treat "her" like his own daughter.
- Monsters vs. Aliens: B.O.B. falls in love with a plate of jello, presumably because "she" resembles him, being a blob and all.
- The Land Before Time: Littlefoot, a young herbivorous Long-Neck (an apatosaurus) carries around a tree-star, large (to a young child) star-shape green leaf on his back for 2/3rds of the movie as a Security Blanket and Tragic Keepsake of his deceased mother who gave it to him shortly before dying to a T-Rex attack. This is especially notable because the whole movie takes place during a wide-spread drought/famine which sets the course of the plot of whole dinosaur herds migrating in search of the Green Valley, a rumored paradise of food and peace. The leaf remains in largely great condition for the whole movie, in spite of it being worn on top of Littlefoot's back like a cloak as he travels across the land (including through an active volcano!) and used as a blanket by the whole protagonist group at one point... up until the climatic final encounter with the T-Rex where it gets stomped under its foot and torn to shreds in the process of Littlefoot and his companions panicking upon waking up and finding out they're in danger.
- Wallace & Gromit: In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Gromit grows a marrow to enter in a competition. He treats the vegetable like his child, covering it with a blanket and playing music for it. Their neighbours, also growing vegetables for the competition, express the same adoration.
- Chungking Express: Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) had an obsession with canned pineapples with an expiration date on 1st May, believing the date to be symbolic due to his past relationship with his girlfriend. His apartment has entire shelves full of canned pineapples, and for most of the film, he spends his downtime starring affectionately at a lone pineapple can.
- Wet Hot American Summer: Gene, the unhinged mess hall chef, has a can of soup as a friend. The vegetable can (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) talks back to him, and it's vague whether it's actually real or not. The prequel series reveals that the can used to be a human, but was turned into a can of vegetables following a freak accident involving toxic waste.
- Dragon: In "A Friend for Dragon", a snake makes it seem like an apple is talking and Dragon mistakenly believes the apple is alive. He has one-sided conversations with it, sleeps with it, and even tries to share his snacks with it. When a walrus eats the apple, Dragon is devastated. When he overcomes his Heroic BSoD, he finds an apple tree and grins, implying that he'll have a similar relationship with those apples.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever: Greg mentions that he used to have a doll named Alfrendo. When Alfrendo went missing, he drew a face on a grapefruit and used that as a substitute. He notes that he actually ended up becoming close to the grapefruit, too, and after it rotted, Frank found out about the ruse and threw it out as Greg wept over it.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules: Discussed. Greg has a flashback of his first day of kindergarten. A boy named Quinn asks him if he likes ice cream, and when Greg says he does, Quinn asks him why he never tried marrying it. Young Greg gets nervous and fears that he'll actually have to get married to ice cream, and he even has an Imagine Spot about it.
- In the WW2 fictions of Sven Hassel, the German soldier Barcelona Blum keeps a small, shrivelled, orange as his talisman, a reminder of his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War and of a country he really yearns to go back to someday.note
- Glee: In "Grilled Cheesus", Finn makes a grilled cheese sandwich and sees Jesus in the crust. Rather than eating it, he keeps it for several days as he contemplates his religious beliefs, then eats it.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: In "The Gang Goes To The Jersey Shore" Frank buys a leg of ham soaked in booze and gets drunk eating it with Mac. They somehow find themselves lost at sea in a raft. Frank only reacts to the situation once he realises he doesn't have the ham anymore. In a scene that parodies Cast Away, he cries out for his "rum ham" and mourns his loss. They're saved by a yacht full of Italians, and it turns out they rescued the ham as well.
- In The Sopranos, Bobby Baccalieri looses his beloved wife, Karen, in a car accident. For the longest time, Bobby keeps a serving of the ziti, the last dish she made while she was alive, in his freezer and stubbornly refuses to eat it for weeks as it represents the only thing he feels he has left of her. Him finally eating the ziti shows that he has moved on the acceptance stage of his grieving.
- Bear in the Big Blue House:
- In "Eat, Drink Juice, and Be Merry", the show's cast is having a picnic and Bear tries to convince Treelo to try fruits and vegetables other than just bananas (or "bananananas", as Treelo calls them). He eventually convinces Treelo to bring tomatoes, but when he tells Treelo to put the tomato in the picnic basket, Treelo clutches the tomato and says that it's his friend, much to the bewilderment of Bear, and Tutter later on.
- In "Friends at Play", Tutter becomes upset when Ojo tells him that Christine the Rabbit is her best friend, as thinks he thinks that Christine replaced him. He puts a hat and a bow tie on a wedge of cheese, names him "Mr. Cheese", and decides to play checkers with him, making him his new best friend until Bear explains to him that people can have more than one best friend.
- On Fraggle Rock, Junior Gorg is friends with Geraldine, an unusually large radish that he lavishes with love and attention.
- On Sesame Street, during their age-appropriately Shallow Parody of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire The Hungry Games: Catching Fur, Cookie Monster, as Cookieniss Evereats, befriends Pita, a talking piece of bread, and refuses to eat him when the rules of the game call for it.
- Happy Tree Friends:
- In "Aw, Shucks!", Lumpy starts treating a giant cob of corn like his own child, complete with feeding it and taking pictures of it "growing up". When the cob becomes burnt and turns into popcorn, he wails over it before realizing the popcorn tastes good.
- In "A Sucker for Love", Nutty falls in love with a box of chocolates and dreams about how his life with it would be like.
- In the Homestar Runner toon "Where's The Cheat?", Marzipan is enamored with a veggie burger that looks like a face Homestar made her, and names it "Homestar Jr.". She baby talks to it and completely neglects the real Homestar in order to keep fawning over it.
- Jaiden Animations: Discussed. Jaiden compares her childhood teacher to an expired pet lemon kept by Oscar the Grouch, because he was a Stern Teacher with a very negative, grouchy personality.
- Sonic Zombie: Tails treats his collection of tacos like his own children and acts like a Papa Wolf when Charmy's about to eat one of them in "Sonic Zombie Doom Ship the Movie".
- Bob's Burgers:
- In "The Quirk-ducers", Linda becomes obsessed with a potato that looks like her grandfather. She even lets it sit at the table and takes it along to the kids' play.
- Referenced to in "Eggs for Days", it's revealed Gene once kept a turkey sandwich as a pet for over a year and named it "Steve Turkel".
- Bob often talks to objects when he's alone, high, or stressed, and this usually includes food. In "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" particularly, he is drunk on absinthe and becomes attached to a turkey that he names Lance. He even has a My Neighbor Totoro-esque dream about hanging out with him.
- A variation in "The Belchies". When Louise is trapped in a pit, she finds a man made out of taffy and she names him Taff. She starts to talk to "him" and becomes close to "him". At the end of the episode, however, she just shrugs it off when Linda disallows her from taking Taff home.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Thick as an Ed", Ed has a mouldy "lucky cheese chunk" named Sheldon who's been living in his pocket for 57 days. It causes Ed to smell even worse than usual and causes the episode's conflict. Throughout the episode, Ed treats Sheldon almost like a beloved pet, and is distraught when Eddy successfully "kills" Sheldon by throwing him into the creek — then it turns out Ed also has Angus, his "more than lucky fishy" (or rather a fish-bone) hanging around his neck. In "May I Have This Ed", Ed now has a new, less smelly cheese chunk named Sheldon Jr..
- Family Guy: In "One if by Clam, Two if By Sea", Peter tries to file papers to marry a slice of blueberry pie. He eats it before long, though.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes: The episode "My So-Called Loaf" has Jimmy making a sandwich that he deems too perfect to eat, much to the dismay of Beezy. Jimmy then goes on to treat it almost like his own kid, calling it "Sandy" and showing it off to people like a museum piece while preventing Beezy from eating it, until a giant talking sandwich cowboy comes along and falls in love with it, all the while threatening to beat Jimmy up if anything happens to "her".
- Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Bye-Bye Yogurt", Quack Quack is shown to have been good friends with a container of yogurt named Yogo, and he is distraught when Yogo expires.
- In Little Princess, the episode "I Don't Like Salad" involves the Princess becoming attached to her tomato plant, playing with it like a toy, naming it Tommy, and refusing to eat the tomatoes. When the tomatoes fall off, she has to eat them, though, lest they rot.
- The Loud House:
- In "Read Aloud", when Lola claims not to like pizza, Lincoln can tell that she's lying because he remembers her eating pizza and also playing with a slice of pizza like a doll.
- In "Room and Hoard", Lana keeps an expired burrito. She plays with it like a baby and even gives it a name: Burt.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Peppermint Larry's "wife" is Candy Wife, a person made of candy. She appears to be mostly inanimate, but everyone treats her as a living being.
- Muppet Babies: In "You Say Potato, I Say Best Friend", Gonzo befriends a potato who he names Potato. The others are confused by this, but they come to accept it.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Party of One", Pinkie Pie goes insane due to extreme sadness from believing her friends no longer like her. During her temporary insanity she befriends a sack of flour she names Madame Le Flour and a turnip named Mr. Turnip.
- Pet Alien: In "Master Bakers", Gumpers becomes convinced that the baker's been turning people into gingerbread men (he hasn't), so he nabs several gingerbread men and becomes friends with them. He struggles to fight the urge to eat them, thinking that protecting them is his "special purpose".
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "I Love Chicken", Stimpy gets into a romantic relationship with an uncooked chicken, much to Ren's annoyance. When Ren eats it, Stimpy goes into a depression. At the end of the episode, he falls in love with a goat head he saw at a store.
- Rocko's Modern Life: In "Down the Hatch", Filburt keeps a loaf of bread as a pet, which he names "Margaret", and takes "her" to the vet when she becomes moldy. The vet there convinces Filburt to trade Margaret for a jar of sauce, which Filburt happily accepts. When Rocko arrives at the pet hospital so the vet can extract a Fatheads brand chewable vitamin cheese tablet from Spunky that Heffer fed him before Spunky explodes (It Makes Sense in Context), he accidentally breaks the jar, much to Filburt's dismay, but Rocko promises Filburt that he'll replace it.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Selma's Choice", Homer keeps a sandwich for over a week but can't bring himself to dispose it. He continues to eat it and gets food poisoning.
Homer: Marge, I'd like to be alone with the sandwich for a moment.
Marge: Are you going to eat it?
- In "The Last Barfighter" Bart wins an extremely expensive tequila kept in a bottle that resembles a skull. He then starts carrying it around and uses it to torment Homer (who isn't allowed to drink it) until the latter decides to steal it from him while he's sleeping. Bart even refers to it as being his best friend in The Stinger when he, Lisa, and Maggie find the bottle shattered on the sidewalk.
- In "Selma's Choice", Homer keeps a sandwich for over a week but can't bring himself to dispose it. He continues to eat it and gets food poisoning.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In "To Love a Patty" has SpongeBob fall in love — romantically, we might add — with a Krabby Patty, to the point of taking it out on a date. When it's obvious the patty is going bad, he eats it anyway, but he isn't happy to do it.
- In "I Had an Accident", SpongeBob becomes afraid to go outside following an injury and isolates himself from everyone. He becomes friends with various objects, including a potato chip he calls "Chip".
- Total Drama: In "Camp Castaways", Owen goes insane after being lost at sea for 11 minutes in the confessional booth, draws a face on a coconut, and calls it Mr. Coconut. It ends up being voted off the island at the end of the episode.
- We Bare Bears: In "Burrito" Grizz develops a relationship with a bear-sized burrito. The end of the episode reveals that the obsession with the burrito comes from an incident he had as a cub when he was saved from being stranded in a tree by a fireman with his forearm wrapped in protective foil.