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Food as Characterization

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Even before we get deep into the story, or sometimes afterwards, an early clue about a character can be presented by how they like their food or drink. Sometimes, the food choice is symbolic, representing something about their personality, affiliation, or true nature. Other times, it's simply a character tic that makes the person more memorable.


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Examples:

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    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Goblins like to eat insects, as their crunchiness goes well with chicken, but also because they're not very civilized, living through banditry, with other species appearing to make civilization.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parasite (2019): The Parks are Sheltered Aristocrats who keep expensive, premium-quality Hanwoo beef sirloin in the fridge but thoughtlessly mix it in with instant noodles.

    Literature 
  • The Sword of Truth: Richard can't stomach meat because of all the killing he has to do in his job as a war wizard.
  • In The Witch In The Cherry Tree, the titular witch prefers her cupcakes burnt. This is apparently a trait among witches, because the normal people refer to the burnt cupcakes as "witch cakes".
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden is a Blue-Collar Warlock with little disposable income whose tastes run in two directions - a magical Truce Zone pub with top-notch steak sandwiches and phenomenal beer, and fast food. In Changes, he insists on meeting The Don Johnny Marcone at a Burger King.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle: Kvothe's Orphan's Ordeal and subsequent money troubles left him fond of Mundane Luxuries like snacking on fresh apples (rather than scrounging for discarded cores) and treating his friends to dinner at a nice (but not fancy) restaurant.
  • The Raven Tower: When the heir to the throne, Mawat, suffers his first major setback, he locks himself in his room and leaves his meals outside to spoil. It's an early sign of how he takes his rank and its privileges for granted, and of how his Hair-Trigger Temper often works against him.
    Servant: If he doesn't come out in an hour or two you should just drink the milk, because it will go bad. I don't know why Cook even sent it. We hardly get any fresh milk, and it's wasted on this.
    Eolo: He likes milk. He likes it a little sour. [the servant rolls her eyes]
  • Stormsong by C.L. Polk: Grace's relationship with Avia is always underscored by the fact that Grace is a tremendously wealthy noblewoman and Avia went from Riches to Rags. It rises to the surface when Grace's servants serve them a Simple, yet Opulent breakfast, including candied oranges, while outside, much of the country is being pushed towards starvation by a brutal winter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Office (US), Michael's preference for chain restaurants is a sign of his immaturity and lack of sophistication; for example, when he goes to New York City on a business trip, he gets a "New York Slice" from Sbarro, and uses the local Chili's both when he has a meeting with a potential major client, and when hosting the annual Dundie awards.
  • You: Love believes in this very heavily. She insists on taking Joe to restaurants all around Los Angeles to find his "perfect bite", analyzing him all the way through. In the end, the dinner she makes for him encompasses not only what he likes in a meal, but his personality and interests in general—old fashioned, done right, not gimmicky, but real.
  • Supernatural: The Winchester brothers are blue-collar monster-hunters who live on the road, so they tend towards simple restaurant fare and fast food. Dean loves burgers so much that one angel tries to bribe him with a platter from his favourite restaurant, while Sam, the more conscientious and forward-thinking of the pair, tries to balance out the heart-stopper meals with salads.
  • Hannibal: Hannibal Lecter is a Man of Wealth and Taste and a Supreme Chef whose meals are always meticulously-crafted Food Porn. Unfortunately, to match his love of being a Devil in Plain Sight, they usually have a secret ingredient.
  • Poirot: The titular Belgian detective is effete, sophisticated, and as fastidious about his food as about everything else. He seeks out skilled continental chefs; places highly specific orders, once refusing to eat eggs of unequal sizes; and calls English cuisine nothing more than food, to the bemusement of his English friends. Nonetheless, when Hastings takes him out for midnight fish and chips after a case, he digs in with a secret grin.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Fat Bastard Steven Mandragora is eating a massive amount of raw oysters as he's interrogated by Agent Faraday. While making suggestive comments to Black Canary, he mentions to Green Arrow that he likes his oysters "young and sweet."
  • In The Loud House, each of Lincoln's sisters likes her eggs cooked differently (except the twins, who both like theirs hard-boiled.) Some of these preferences don't say anything about their personalities, but two do, namely Luan who likes hers in a cube shape (or "funny side up") which ties into her quirky personality, and Lucy who likes hers burnt because she's a goth and therefore likes fire and the colour black.

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