We've all probably felt so hungry that we ended up daydreaming about the food in anticipation. Well, that's basically what this trope is: a character fantasizes about their food, either verbally (often with the line "I can just imagine the X" or "I can almost smell/taste the X") or via a Fantasy Sequence or Thought Bubble. Naturally, cravings like these are Truth in Television, and you can thank your hypothalamus for that, since among its tasks in maintaining homeostasis is regulating food intake. Add to the fact that humans innately seek out foods rich in sugar, fat, salt and high-energy carbohydrates, and the science behind this trope is cracked!
This trope differs from the similar trope Meat-O-Vision, in that Meat-O-Vision is about imagining the people around the imaginer turning into food, (although in some cases, they might briefly forget that it's all in their head). Delicious Daydreams are about food in general; the most surreal of these daydreams tend to be about Giant Food. They might involve a Mountain of Food.
When Played for Laughs, it means that the character is just being dramatic about how hungry they are and/or how much they like the food or food in general. When Played for Drama, however, it can mean that the character is literally starving or hasn't had anything interesting to eat in ages. Might also be done by someone (again, usually a Big Eater or someone who really loves the food) if they're about to go to a new place that serves delicious food or are imagining buying food with a large sum of money they think they will acquire. Compare Marshmallow Dream. Also compare, but do not confuse with, Delicious Distraction.
- In the original Fullmetal Alchemist, the first episode has Ed so thirsty from walking through the desert that he says "Water... I can almost hear it." Subverted in that he can hear it, as there's a fountain nearby. Double-subverted in that the fountain is a fountain of wine instead of water.
- Fushigi Yuugi begins with Miaka having fallen asleep in class, dreaming about food.
- In an Asterix book, Asterix and Obelix are in danger and Obelix, who is hungry, imagines some roast meat.
- Jungle: While starving in the jungle, Yossi dreams he is in a fast food restaurant where he is given a tray loaded down with food (and the gorgeous cashier flirts with him). However, he wakes up before he can eat any of it.
- In the Bear in the Big Blue House episode "Call it a Day", Bear is talking about the events of a typical day and when he gets to lunch, he imagines a stack of peanut butter sandwiches and says, "Mmm, peanut butter."
- The song "Food, Glorious Food" in Oliver!. The boys in the workhouse sing it to complain about the gruel they're being fed while fantasizing about the food they'd like to be eating instead. It praises delectable dishes like hot sausage and mustard, cold jelly and custard, pease pudding and a great big steak.
- JonTron: In "Food Games", Jon starts discussing how the McDonald's games are absolutely not going to make him crave "a delicious McDonald's hamburger, which has the perfect blend of crispy lettuce, meaty tomatoes, a patty sizzled to perfection, and all topped off with one, perfectly crunchy pickle." Immediately following is the sound of Jon opening a wrapper and eating one of the many burgers he ended up buying.
- In the KikoRiki episode "The Chill", when Wally sees his friends giving food to Dokko, who has a cold, he decides he wants to catch one so that he can be fed too and imagines himself being fed jam, jelly, and fruit.
- An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures has Hamton in class daydreaming about his lunch dancing in a conga line.
Cha cha cha cha cha, LUNCH! Cha cha cha cha cha, LUNCH!
- In The Simpsons, when the power plant is bought out by a German company, one of the higher ups sympathizes with Homer's love of candy, saying they're from "the land of chocolate." Naturally, Homer fantasizes about something way more literal.