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Is It Something You Eat?

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Well, she's not wrong...
"What's estrogen? Can you eat it?"
Female orc joke, World of Warcraft

Stock line for an Idiot Hero, Big Eater or Extreme Omnivore. Usually used to convey how out of touch a character is with whatever they are asking to eat.

Related to Sniff Sniff Nom. Also see I Ate WHAT?! and Dinner Order Flub.

If someone's default reaction to a word they don't recognise is to take offence, see Calling Me a Logarithm. If it's to pretend they know the word, see I've Heard of That — What Is It?


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  • In episode 3 of Happy Heroes, Little M. is running away from the Supermen chasing him with electric prongs and says he'll defend himself with the Black Jewel, which he drops on the ground. Careless S. finds it and inquires about it.
    Careless S.: What does this thing do?
    Little M.: Hey, that's mine!
    Careless S.: Wait, you mean this is something you eat?
    Little M.: Yes, yes, that's right. Now give it back.
  • In Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Sports are Fun episode 2, Paddi thinks a marathon sounds more delicious than the food he already has with him, leading to Weslie correcting him about what a marathon actually is.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Akkan Baby, Shigeru takes a pregnancy test, and her friends ask her if she and Yuki have been using rubbers. "What are rubbers?" asks Shigeru. "Candy?"
  • In the English translation of the Black Butler manga, at one point Ciel is asking Sebastian who would teach him how to dance (as there was no time to get his normal dance tutors to), and points out that none of the others there would be able to teach him. Said others are shown drawn in a Chibi style, with "Does waltz taste yummy?" above them.
  • Bleach: In the anime, the Arrancar Dordoni introduces himself to Ichigo, who then replies in confusion that he thought that was a type of pasta. Ichigo then spends the next few minutes making fun of him, ignoring him completely when a rock falls on Nel and she fakes being hurt to mess with Ichigo. After they fight, Ichigo then calls him Don Panini, which causes him to yell "Do I look like a delicious sandwich to you?!"
  • In Buddy Daddies while Kazuki and Rei are looking at a list of items their new daughter Miri needs for pre-school.
    Kazuki: Hey, what's a smock?
    Rei: Some kind of baked good?
  • In Corrector Yui, the impossibly computer-illiterate title character initially mistakes "delete" for "dessert" and wonders where the food is. (Asamiya Kia's rewrite of the manga has her think it's "Doritos", but it leads to the same thing.) This kicks off a Running Gag of her mistaking "delete" for any similar-sounding words.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, this is also a common question coming from Ed. Or when not asking, she's just seen trying to take a bite. No surprise, as she's a Cloudcuckoolander and the heroes are regularly starving.
  • In Date A Live, Tohka kept doing this during her first date with Shido, asking if various things, like the foods they were eating or an Affectionate Gesture to the Head he gives her were the date.
  • A Running Gag in Digimon Adventure tri. involves Agumon asking if anything he's unfamiliar with is tasty, often prompting Gatomon to tell him to shut up if she's present. He even keeps doing it as Koromon after the reboot which erased all the digimon's memories.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • When Chi-Chi offers to be Goku's bride, he readily accepted because he thought she was offering him food.specifically Some years later, when she comes to get Goku to remember the promise he made long ago, they're both embarrassed when he explained what he meant — and so Goku proposes for real.
    • He has also asked this about the eponymous MacGuffins.
    • Also, in the Non-Serial Movies and games, Goten is revealed to have no idea his dad's real name is Kakarott, usually thinking they're talking about some sort of vegetable.
    • Beerus asked the same as Goku of said eponymous MacGuffins when he first learns of them.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Juumonji's uptight father is described as originally thinking that American football (amefuto) was some kind of candy (since ame means "sweet" in Japanese).
  • A little gem from Fairy Tail when Natsu controls Lucy's body with a voodoo doll and over-bends it in various positions that shouldn't be anatomically possible.
    Lucy: Natsu... Do you know what joints are?
    Natsu: What are they? They sound tasty...
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited:
    Fungo: What is a "thief"? Can you... eat it?
  • Ryuichi of Gravitation is quoted as saying "What's talent? Something tasty?"
  • In chapter 19 of Heaven's Lost Property, Nymph acted like this. She kept asking, "Does wrestling taste good?" while licking a candied apple.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    Italy: Traffic laws? I've never eaten that sort of thing.
  • Kamichama Karin. The episode 1 preview has Karin mistaking the resident talking cat's Verbal Tic for a type of soup.
  • The Japanese version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! does this with King Dedede and Escargon (Escargoon) when the Salesman for the Holy Nightmare Co./NightMare Enterprises suggests that Dedede build a school to keep the children of Pupupu Land in line.
    Escargon: A school?
    Dedede: Is it something tasty?
  • The Vision of Escaflowne:
    "A pager isn't something you eat!"
    "That's for me to decide."
  • Yuuji pulls this on Yoshi in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts in the light novel.
    "OK, the real fight starts now."
    "Wait, Yuuji! You never trusted me from the beginning!"
    "Trust? What is that? Is it edible?"
  • Kodomo no Jikan: "What's 'recording'? Is it tasty?"
  • Love Hina:
    • Kaolla Su. At least in the manga, her standard question whenever she hears a new word/phrase/concept is "Can you eat it?" But then Kaolla is the kind of person who will absentmindedly gnaw on someone's limbs in her sleep if she shares a bed with them. She asks whether Tokyo University is a food at one point:
      Kaolla: What's Tokiyo-ewe? Is it a snack?
    • There used to be a Kaolla Su shrine with "Can I eat it?" on its banner, displayed next to a picture of Su in a swimsuit.
  • Elma asks this in the first chapter of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Elma's OL Diary when Tohru accuses Kobayashi of having an affair.
  • In My-HiME, Mikoto demonstrates her upbringing to her classmates.
  • This priceless bit from a Naruto filler:
    Fūka: French or soft. Which do you prefer?
    Naruto: Are you talking about food?
    Fūka: [laughs] Oh Lord. Kissing.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Idiot Lancer Kotarō, in asking What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?
  • In One Piece, Donquixote Doflamingo hints that he has something Luffy would want. Luffy's first assumption is that the 'something' is in fact some super-delicious meat. It's actually the Flare-Flare Fruit that Luffy's dead brother Ace had eaten, now a prize at his Colosseum — and bait for his trap.
    • Later on during Wano, Big Mom breaks into the local prison with all the Beast Pirates (and Luffy) freaking out at the sight of her, calling her title. Big Mom herself is suffering from amnesia and asks if "Big Mom" is something tasty.
  • Alice from PandoraHearts takes this approach to both abstract and physical objects.
  • In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, when Sorata mentions his "pitch" to his little sister, she asks him if it's tasty.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • A variant of this trope is used in Pokémon: The Original Series by Ash, usually asking if something like "aromatherapy" is a Pokémon.
    • It's also played straight in the episode Two Hits and a Miss, when they meet a man named Kenzo who's the shihan of a Pokémon dojo. Ash, however, isn't clear on what the word "shihan" means.
      Ash: I think I had that once at a Chinese restaurant.
      [everyone face-faults]
      Brock: Ash, don't you know anything? A shihan is the master trainer of a dojo!
      Ash: I thought it was chicken in a garlic sauce.
      Kenzo: You're confusing me with General Tso.
  • In episode 179 of Sailor Moon, when Usagi is told that Blake is a famous poet, she asks if a "poet" is a tasty snack.
  • In Slayers, when Martina claims that Gourry is to be her fiancé, Gourry asks, "What's a fiancé? IS IT A PICKLE?! Hmmmm, but is it sweet or sour?"
  • From the manga Sleeper, we have:
    Ryu: What's a mad dog? What's a license? Is it a demon? Can we eat it?
  • In Stepping on Roses, Sumi's adopted little brother Atari asked this about the word "education."
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • From Jorgun and Balinbo: "Atmosphere? What that? Can you eat it?"
    • And from the same characters in Lagann-hen: "We've never had a mission before! Can you eat it?"
  • In Toriko, when the warden of honey prison activates her love pheromones, Zebra isn't affected and asks what are pheromones and if he can eat them.
  • Rak from Tower of God:
    Rak: Irregular? What's that? Food?

    Comic Books 
  • From Archie Comics; not the actual phrase, but same idea:
    Dilton: That Jughead stuffs himself silly.
    Veronica: We can't tolerate this sort of conduct.
    Dilton: Jughead! Have a little decorum!
    Jughead: Okay.
    [looks around the banquet table]
    Jughead: Where is it?
  • Demon Knights: When a small girl tells Exoristos, "You dress like a tart," Exoristos's reaction is, "Again, thanks! Is that some kind of pastry?"
  • Lucky Luke:

    Comic Strips 
  • In Get Fuzzy, Satchel thinks this way about Bucky's "revelation."
  • Peanuts:
    • A variation:
      Peppermint Patty: I know what a Stradivarius is, ma'am! It's a big Dinosaur.
    • In another strip, Lucy notices Frieda reclining on Schroeder's piano. Lucy joins her but then warns her that if she's gonna hang around, she has to like Beethoven. Frieda replies, "All right, but I'll just have a small glass." Schroeder angrily yanks his piano from underneath the both of them.
      Lucy: You blew it, kid.

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter thirteen of Cellar Secrets, when Nui brings home a kitten and tells Ryuko what cats are, she gives the response of, "Eat?" to which Nui gently explains some things they eat, cats not being one of those things.
  • Inner Demons: When Lezard asks the Element bearers if they've ever heard of Reincarnation, Pinkie asks if it's tasty.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged:
    Young Woman: I saw you fall, and I thought to myself O.M.G. is everything going to be OK? Don't worry, I got you a bandage.
    JoJo: [thinking] Band... age? What a strange device. Do... do I eat it? Is it microwaveable?
  • In Magic School Days Discord gives the Cutie Mark Crusaders lockets that change them into humans before unleashing them on Hogwarts. Sweetie Belle's reaction to suddenly becoming an omnivore is to ask whether every animal species she encounters is good to eat.
  • In Tripping Through Time Iris asks a newly-hatched snake if it has a name.
    Snake: Name? What is this name that you speak of? Is it edible?
  • Turnabout Storm: Pinkie Pie overhears Phoenix talking about Rainbow Dash's Psyche-Locks,note  and wonders if "Psyche-Locks" are some kind of breakfast cereal.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: In the Last Church podcast episode, one of the Custodes thinks Jesus is some kind of food at first. Justified, since the Last Church is about Emps removing religion from Earth when he was conquering the planet.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Kaiba: It's a figure of speech, Mokie.
    Mokuba: Oh. Can I eat it?

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Adventures of Milo and Otis:
    • Early in the film, Milo and Otis come across a scary looking crustacean.
      Milo: "Wow, look at this thing Otis! Do you think we can eat it?"
      Otis: "Who would eat something that looks like that!"
      The lobster then pinches Otis's butt, causing him to fall into the river.
    • Later, a lost and hungry Milo sees a fox and wonders if he can eat it. He ends up stealing food from the fox instead.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy does this in one unused take, in the scene where Ed Harken introduces Veronica Corningstone as the station's newest reporter. When Harken mentions that the sponsors have complained about a lack of diversity in the newsroom, Champ asks "What in the hell's 'diversity'?", and Ron responds "I may be wrong, but I believe 'diversity' is a type of mustard." note 
  • Inverted in Captain America: The First Avenger. Howard Stark asks Peggy Carter about having some fondue together, and Rogers mistakes it for a euphemism for sex.
  • From Clue:
    Wadsworth: "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die."
    Prof. Plum: Die?
    Wadsworth: Merely quoting, sir, from Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
    Col. Mustard: Hm, I prefer Kipling myself. "The female of the species is more deadly than the male."
    (Mrs. White glares at him)
    Col. Mustard: You like Kipling, Miss Scarlet?
    Miss Scarlet: Sure, I'll eat anything.
  • In Dark Shadows, when asked if he knows what a psychiatrist is, Barnabas guesses that it is "some species of American delicacy."
  • In Groundhog Day:
    Phil Connors: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
    Mrs. Lancaster: [serving breakfast] I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen.
  • In Help!, there is a scene where George is holding a cymbal. He then takes a bite out of it.
  • Inverted in Highlander. Connor describes haggis to Ramirez, who asks what you do with it. When Connor says that you eat it, Ramirez finds the idea repulsive. What makes it even funnier is that Sean Connery, the actor playing Ramirez, is Scottish, and Christopher Lambert, the actor playing Connor, isn't.
  • In ¡Three Amigos!:
    Flugleman: Tell me, do you know what the word "nada" means? In all those "Mexican" movies you've made, did you ever hear that word?
    Dusty: [thinking] ...Isn't that a light chicken gravy?

  • In The Chronicles of Prydain, Orddu asks "What is a Gurgi? Do you eat it or sit on it?"
  • In Dave Barry Slept Here, Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech "puzzled the average American, who had never even heard of 'malaise,' except on a sandwich."
  • In Mark Twain's "The Death Disk" the main character was telling his young daughter a "true story" and when he stated that the three colonels in the story "committed a breach of discipline" she asked "Is it something good to eat, papa?" When he tried rephrasing it and said that they'd exceeded their orders she started to ask if that was something to eat and he replied "No, it's as inedible as the other."
  • Discworld:
    • It must be repeatedly explained to Archchancellor Ridcully that Rincewind is a wizard, not a type of cheese.
      Ridcully: Sounds a sort of name you'd associate with cheese, I mean, a pound of Mature Rincewind, it rolls off the tongue...
    • A variation in Unseen Academicals:
      Glenda: So you quite liked [the football game], then.
      Nutt: Oh yes! The ambiance was wonderful!
      Glenda: I didn't try those, but the pease pudding is usually good.
  • When Sancho Panza tells Don Quixote's niece that he joined her uncle because he was promised an island, she replies "What are islands? Is it something to eat, glutton and gormandiser that thou art?"
  • The Hobbit features the trolls debating what a hobbit is and if you can eat one. Them being trolls, the answer is yes. Although, they ultimately decide that he's so small and miserable that it would be too much trouble to skin and bone him for the little meat that he has, and throw him away, almost forgetting about him. Now, thirteen dwarves with him, there's an idea for a good meal.
  • Journey to Chaos: This is the case with all victims of mana mutation once they regain their sanity because of their new monster mindset. Basically everything is food, including any clothes they are handed or their own body parts.
  • This also shows up in another Jules Verne work, The Mysterious Island, in which sailor Pencroft's only real interest in fauna and botany was mostly just in terms of edibility and taste.
  • Stock line from Ned Land from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Professor Arronax and Conseil have a keen interest in wildlife, whereas Ned's interest is purely culinary.
  • Vainqueur The Dragon: From the first chapter, when Victor is talking about Character Level, and a dragon wonders about it:
    "Levels?" What was that, some kind of cattle food? That interested Vainqueur. "What is that?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, Big Eater Jethro is threatened with a karate chop. He's looking forward to it because it he thinks it's like a pork chop. He later insists on getting one even though the person he's asking is a highly ranked martial artist who begs him not to ask for it. Jethro also asks for a "judo roll" and a "sumo crush", thinking they're food. Each time he gets exactly what he asked for but doesn't get it and thinks he's being attacked for no good reason.
  • Ghosts (UK): In "Redding Weddy", Pat attempts to explain to Robin that man has walked on the moon:
    Pat: Think about it, Robin. Man has always looked up at the moon, and thought...
    Robin: "Can you eat it?"
    Pat: No, "Can you walk on it?"
  • The Goodies. When Graeme tells Bill he's doing Kung Fu, Bill says he's not eating that because the noodles make him throw up. Ironically the martial art Bill practices involves hitting people with a black pudding, and a flashback shows him and the other students throwing up the first time they ate one.
  • In Good Omens, Aziraphale has a moment of this in the Middle Ages.note 
    Crowley: I'm here spreading foment.
    Aziraphale: What is that, some kind of porridge?
  • After having her memory erased in The Good Place, Eleanor finds the note she left to herself to "Find Chidi." Since she no longer remembers him, she first asks who Chidi is, or even what Chidi is: "A type of soup, maybe?"
  • In one episode of Hancock, Tony Hancock has a bizarre flight of fantasy about his father being friends with Vladimir Lenin, in which he claims that "Len" used to come round to their house for "a great big plateful of samovar".
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: The post-apocalyptic game show. "What was hope?" "Was it a spice?" "What's a spice?"
  • In the My Name Is Earl episode "Sticks and Stones," when talking about the stock market:
    Randy: I'm confused. You own $20,000 worth of Krispy Kremes, but you still have to pay for donuts?
    Paul: I don't get donuts, I get dividends.
    Earl: Mmm, dividends... are they like those little powdered munchkins?
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Pod People: Upon being presented the game Simon, Trumpy gets the riff, "Can I eat it? It looks so good."
    • The Final Sacrifice: Zap Roswdower wonders whether there's beer in the sun.
    • Mitchell: Even his name says, "Is that a beer?"
    • The Day the Earth Froze: Upon being told that "a boat bringing Lemminkäinen" is approaching Louhi's island, Joel and the 'Bots react with hungry "Mmmm!"s.
  • Vanessa's line from the series finale of Small Wonder: "Humans sure are weird. I wonder if they taste good?"

  • In Re:cyc:le's "Odenpa Love Girl", Cirno asks if an abacus tastes yummy and then complains that she can't eat it.

  • Tellie from Sequinox is often asking this because it knows very little about anything, and will eat anything but actual food (we're talking garbage, clothing, vehicles, tootsie rolls). And it usually eats it regardless of the answer.

  • Inverted in The Moon is Blue:
    Patty: Do you like kedgeree?
    David: Never met her.
    Patty: Kedgeree's a dish.
    David: I'll bet she is.
    Patty: It's a dish made of flaked finnan haddie and rice and eggs and stuff.
    David: Oh. I've lost all interest.

    Video Games 
  • In BlazBlue, Taokaka's standard response to anything new is to ask if it's edible, even "black squiggly" Arakune, or an intangible concept:
    Tao: What's "unemployed"? Does it taste good?
  • In Castlevania: Judgment:
  • Chrono Trigger
    Ayla: Pretty! Big! This Rainbow Shell? Can eat?
    • Ayla's first instinct on meeting Frog is also to ask if she can cook him. The party promptly shifts the conversation to asking if she's seen Magus. "Cape one more tasty?"
  • Marco of Ciel Fledge is a fan of soccer (an ancient sport in his time period). When Ciel learns about this, she asks if soccer is a kind of food.
  • The Pufftop children in Densetsu no Stafy have never heard of Ogura, the evil eel sorcerer that attempts to conquer the kingdom. When told about him, one kid thinks that his name refers to a type of candy, while another thinks that it's the name of a toy.
  • In Digimon World, when Tokomon is explaining how time works in the Digital World, he asks if "seasons" are something you can eat.
  • Strong, the super mutant companion in Fallout 4, missed the metaphor and assumes the "milk of human kindness" is something he can consume to gain the strength that made humans successful in the wasteland.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Variation in Final Fantasy X: when your party battles the Dark Flans in Zanarkand, Rikku takes one look and muses, "Hmmm... is that edible?" A Fan Fic even makes a Shout-Out to this, when Rikku jokes that Wakka describes Lulu's cooking as tasting like "burnt Flan". Of course, the joke is in the real world, flan is a type of food.
    • Final Fantasy XII gets rather meta: Flan the food was designed after Flan the monster.
  • Stahl of Fire Emblem: Awakening will say "What's this? Is it edible? I haven't eaten in minutes..." whenever he finds an item. While it makes sense when he finds an item like "Gaius' Confect", it's more questionable when he finds an "Imposing Axe" or a "Tree Branch".
  • Gitaroo Man, upon losing to Panpeus:
    Panpeus: The Gitaroo is mine! Can I eat it?
  • Wild Child Shea from Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness:
    Shea: Marriage? What that? Taste good?
  • Kula to Joe in The King of Fighters XIII, when he calls her an "urchin"—Which he then tells her can be eaten (uni). The joke is that she prefers sweet frozen treats, which urchin is not. She also asks this of Ryo regarding Kyokugen (his fighting style).
  • In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, an NPC says that he heard that, to do a basic game function, you must press a controller button. But he has no idea what a "Y button" is, so he wonders if it's edible.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6:
  • A Running Gag in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has Para-Medic describing the local wildlife and flora, with Snake asking what it tastes like. In his case, though, he can eat it, which seems to reliably Squick out Para-Medic even though Snake has little other choice in the tropical rainforest that is the Russian wilderness.
    • Taken to horrible levels in one of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl Easter egg transmissions where Snake contemplates eating Yoshi.
  • In MySims Kingdom, when Rusty steals a horseshoe, Gabby decides to round up a posse. Just then, you and your assistants walk up. Gabby says he's found his posse. Buddy asks if it's a kind of soup...
  • Teddie in Persona 4: "Proof...? I told you, I don't know what that is. Is it tasty?"
  • In Pokémon X and Y, after your first double-battle (with Twins Faith & Joy, on Route 5 outside Lumiose City), one of the twins will wonder "What's a 'dubbel-battel'? Can you eat it? Is it tasty?"
  • Psychonauts 2
    PSI-King: What's that thing? Do you eat it?
    Raz: Only if you're not careful.
  • In her Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary story, Amitie gets hungry and asks Nasu Grave, an anthropomorphic eggplant, if he's edible. Then she asks if he's from her hometown Primp, and the eggplant thinks Primp "sounds like pudding" ("Primp" or プリンプ has a close spelling to the Japanese word for "pudding", or プリン) and repeats Amitie's question as to if it's edible. Amitie is shocked and refuses to let Nasu Grave eat Primp Town.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, one of the eventual party members is an Extreme Omnivore called Drong. The player character is in the service of Queen Gwendolyn, and wants to return to the palace and report to her. Drong immediately inquires, "What's a Queen Gwendolyn? Can I eat it?" Of course, he can technically eat Queen Gwendolyn.
  • Big Eater Token Mini-Moe Rika/Rosita in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love doesn't know what Santa is and asks if she can eat it.
  • In the Tiny Chao Garden found in the Sonic Advance Trilogy, your Chao will sometimes ask "What is political reform? Is it tasty?"
  • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters:
    Danette: Revowasshun? Wuzzat? Is it food? Does it taste good?
  • A variant in The Space Bar. In the brief (but hilarious) segment playing as... intellectually wanting... alien Thud, you describe most objects by their edibility. For instance the bazooka is "Long. Heavy. Not edible." Despite this description, you can attempt to eat it.
  • The Spider-Man/Juggernaut fight in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions gives us this:
    Spider-Man: OK, laughing boy. Now stand still while I administer the coup-de-grace!
    Juggernaut: I hate French food!
  • In Star Ocean: Second Evolution, a young Arlian boy says this when Claude asks him for information for a way back to his home planet at the beginning of the game:
    Boy: A "spayship"? Is that something you can eat? I don't know what that is.
  • In Street Fighter Alpha 3, Birdie admires Honda's hairstyle, leading the latter to introduce him to the concept of sumo.
    Birdie: Sumo? What's that? Some kind of raw fish dish?
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    Lloyd: Professor, what's a philanderer? Is it something you eat?
  • In Team Sonic Racing, Big asks if a "metaphor" is a type of cookie.
  • Touhou Project:
    • In Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Reimu's normal route, she encounters this twice...
      Rumia: Are you the kind of person I can eat?
      Reimu: Ever heard the phrase... "Good medicine tastes bad"?
      Reimu: I'm a normal shrine maiden.
      Meiling: That's good to hear. Certainly, I've heard that shrine maidens make for good eating...
      Reimu: Don't spread rumors like that!
    • Marisa turns it on its head:
      Patchouli: Then maybe I'll help myself.
      Marisa: I'm really tasty.
      Patchouli: Let's see, how to easily remove unneeded portions of food ...
      Reimila: So, what are you here for? I'm already quite full, but ...
      Marisa: Okay, but y'know, I'm hungry.
      Remilia: ... You can eat me.
      Marisa: You don't say?
    • Justified in that Marisa and Reimu's opponents are youkai, who are said to eat humans.
    • One of Cirno's fanmade theme songs theme song, "Odenpa LOVE GIRL," has lyrics that nicely illustrates her idiocy with gems like "Is an abacus yummy? (I can't eat it!)"
    • This trope is also played with in one of the canon short stories. Marisa shows Reimu a prism, explains what it is, and adds, "You can't eat it," even though there's no reason to think Reimu would try to eat a hunk of glass. Reimu nonchalantly agrees that it seems hard, and the conversation continues.
  • From Undertale, a game in which nearly all of the characters have spent their entire lives underground, we have this line from one of the nameless NPCs:
    "What's a star? Can you touch it? Can you eat it? Can you kill it? ... Are you a star?"

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: In the Last Church podcast episode, one of the Custodes thinks that Jesus is a food at first. Justified since the Last Church is about Emps violently removing religion from Earth when conquering the planet.
  • A Teen Girl Squad issue has three of the girls discussing their prom dresses. Meanwhile, tomboyish What's Her Face wonders aloud whether a "dress" is "a food."

  • In Amy in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter (Sonic) says this when Amy mentions Sonic:
    Mad Hatter: What's a Sonic? Can you eat it? It is delicious? Give me some!
  • In Faux Pas, Cindy often wonders whether something new can be eaten. (Small wonder, as she's surrounded by animals she would normally eat if they would stop befriending her.)
  • Not quite the character himself being confused, but at one point in Girl Genius, Gil describes his father, Klaus, like this. Inaccurately, but the confusion is understandable.
    Gilgamesh: The man who thinks romance is a type of lettuce.
  • An Inky Rickshaw comic has Prometheus giving fire to mankind, one of whom thinks it's food and promptly eats it.
  • The Order of the Stick. The Empress of Blood asks this about Elan. Problem is, since she's a voracious red dragon, he would be perfectly edible for her.
  • A strip of Penny Arcade plays with it (although some people do eat the placenta):
    Gabe: I'll tell you this: the best thing about the placenta is cold placenta sandwiches the next day.
  • Inverted in Poison Ivy Gulch in the 12/7/2020 strip where Lotta asks Ace if he wants Hopping John for dinner. Ace mistakes this as a person's name; Hopping John is actually a dish from the Southern United States made with peas and rice.

  • Inverted in a post from Fail Blog.
    "Tofu. I thought that was like touché. I didn't know it was a food.
  • As found on Not Always Right:
    • Even the word "abbreviation" is not safe.
    • Oh, it gets better than that. One person is adamant she didn't ask for "tax" on her sandwich.
    • A cafe advertises "Free Wifi". And gets a customer asking "The free serving of wifi, how big is it?" In all fairness, it *is* a restaurant!
  • In the Japanese online space, なにそれ、おいしいの? (What’s that, does it taste good?) is a phrase used to humorously feign ignorance or disregard something, probably derived from it and similar phrases being so common in anime.

    Web Videos 
  • Done in Brows Held High's review of the Bollywood film Omkara, where Kyle mocks the Lord Thomas Babington MacCauley's ignorance of Indian literature.
    MacCauley: I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India!
    Heckler: What about the Ramayana?
    MacCauley: No, thank you. I already had lunch.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • The Dragon Ball example is referenced, with Vegeta asking Trunks if marriage is a type of food. Though it turns out Vegeta is just trolling him.
      Vegeta: Oh wow, I'm just f**kin' with you. My God, who doesn't know what marriage is?
    • An earlier episode had Goku asking the same thing about sarcasm, to Piccolo's frustration.
    • Another episode has Bulma describing soap as a "bar of animal fat", which prompts Vegeta to try eating a bar of soap. After a Beat he spits it back out.
      Vegeta: Blah! This tastes nothing like what you just said!
    • In "Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan Abridged", an annoyed Chi-Chi groans "I want a divorce", to which Goku replies "Me too! I'm starving!"
  • Kittisaurus Villains from Kittisaurus: Dodo asks this so often it has become a Running Gag. Lampshaded by Momo.
    Dodo: Netflix? What's that? Is it...?
    Momo: No, it is not food.

    Western Animation 
  • The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas has a variation. At his local airport, Ted E. Bear asks the ticket agent for a ticket to Christmas. He is laughed out of the airport as Ted doesn't understand Christmas isn't a location.
  • Chowder:
    Chowder: Pepper spray*? That sounds delicious! [gets sprayed in the face] AHHH!! I was wrong!! I was horribly wrong!!!
  • Code Lyoko, episode 70 "Skidbladnir":
    Yumi: It's Morse code, turkey!
    Odd: Morse code turkey? Sounds pretty scrumptious...
    [even better in the French version...]
    Yumi: Mais c'est du morse, banane ! Translation
    Odd: Du morse-banane ? Ç'a l'air bon, c'est japonais ? Translation
  • The Critic: When Jay meets Alice's ex-husband Cyrus as he is about to confess his feelings for her:
    Cyrus: I'd like to thank you for helping my wife. It's more than what I did.
    Jay: Well, there are a lot of people in New York who would have done what I did. They're called putzes!
    Cyrus: Hmm... I like pepperoni on my putzes.
    Jay: I'll bet you do.
  • A variation occurs in Dot and Keeto. Dot, shrunk down to the size of a bug and looking for the root that will change her back to normal size, encounters a praying mantis. The mantis asks if she wants anything to eat, and she tells him that what she wants is "like a carrot". The mantis then asks how many legs a "carrot" has.
  • Dragon Tales gives us an example:
    Wheezie: We're so close I can taste it!
    Ord: Oh? What's it taste like?
    Wheezie: It's just an expression, silly!
    Ord: Oh... What's an expression taste like?
  • Family Guy:
    • Lois tells Peter that his idea for a parade float based on an episode of Who's the Boss? is a little esoteric, and we cut to Peter's brain as a meeting room attempts to decipher what "esoteric" means ("Does it mean 'sexy'?" "I think it's a science term.") before concluding that it means "delicious":
      Peter: Oh, Lois, Who's the Boss? is not a food!
      Brian: ...Swing and a miss.
    • Also this:
      Stewie: We are in a sexless marriage! We have yet to have sex!
      Olivia: Do you even know what sex is?!
      Stewie: That's not the poi... don't change the... It's a kind of cake?
  • Futurama:
    • In "A Farewell to Arms", when Bender starts looting as much as possible. A cut line implied that Bender actually was offering it as food:
      Bender: Want a torah?
      Fry: No thanks, I'm not hungry.
    • "Leela and the Genestalk":
      Leela: Listen, Fry. Whatever it was that you and I had together...
      Fry: Goulash?
      Leela: No! ...Well, I don't know. Maybe it was goulash.
  • Inverted in the Gravity Falls episode "Sock Opera":
    Gabe: Maybe later you can join me for a biscotti.
    Mabel: [gasp] You drive a biscotti?
  • In Invader Zim, Zim was asked by Dib whether he had ever had rain on his planet. Zim unsuccessfully guessed that rain was a food and not the water pouring down from outside.
    Zim: Yes, oh such rain we had! It was delicious.
  • Johnny's reaction to Velma's catchphrase in the Johnny Bravo and Scooby-Doo crossover "Bravo Dooby-Doo":
    Johnny: Jinkies... Jinkies? Isn't that a breakfast cereal or somethin'?
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 210, Mr. Cat invites Kaeloo, Stumpy, and Pretty onto a game show where participants earn good karma by doing good deeds. Stumpy, being the resident moron, doesn't know what karma is and asks "What's karma? Can you eat it?"
  • Kamp Koral: In "First and Last Aid", SpongeBob goes to the nurse's office and asks for a glass of "first-ade", believing it to be a drink.
  • In an episode of Mike, Lu & Og, when Mike introduces the islanders to baseball.
    Wendell: Can one eat the ball when one is finished?
    Margery: Indeed.
  • In the Christmas Special O Christmas Tree, a squirrel attempts to explain Christmas lights to a bear.
    Squirrel: You gotta plug 'em in. They're electric.
    Bear: What does that mean?
    Squirrel: Oh, I don't believe this. Don't you know what electricity is?
    Bear: Some kind of fish?
    Squirrel: [facepalm]
  • Inverted in a charity livestream for The Owl House when Hunter learns that his palisman's name is Flapjack, a dish that doesn't exist on the Boiling Isles. The most he's able to gather (thanks to asking his uncle) is that it's a synonym for pancakes, but since he doesn't know that those are either, he ends up convinced that they're some sort of Artifact of Doom responsible for all of his family's suffering.
  • Inverted in an episode of Pinky and the Brain when Brain attempts to win big on Jeopardy!, and practices by having Pinky ask him some questions.
    Pinky: What is pie?
    Brain: The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle.
  • In Play It Again, Charlie Brown, Frieda attempts to take Lucy's place at Schroeder's piano:
    Lucy: Do you like Beethoven?
    Frieda: What?
    Lucy: If you're gonna hang around here, you've gotta like Beethoven!
    Frieda: All right, but I'll just have a small glass.
    [Schroeder kicks them both out]
    Lucy: You blew it, kid.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer does his "mmmm... x" catchphrase with many inedible things:
      Homer: mmmm... Pi...

      Homer: [after spraying his eggs with pepper spray] mmmm... incapacitating... [passes out]

      Judge Harm: Bart Simpson, I declare you emancipated. Further, I hereby garnish Homer's wages until Bart is fully repaid.
      Homer: mmmm... garnish...
    • "Life On the Fast Lane" inverts it:
      Jacques: Mimosa?
      Marge: I'm a married woman. Please don't call me that.

    Real Life 
  • Babies, in what Sigmund Freud called the "oral phase", seem to use "stick it in your mouth" as their default object identification protocol. Especially when teething. This is because babies' eyesight is not all that good, and most of their working touch receptors are on their lips, so "stick it in your mouth" is just a method to feel it better, if not taste it, rather than a legitimate attempt to eat it. This behavior is called "mouthing".note 
  • Dogs: the old joke being a dog's thought process on finding something goes, "If it's moving, chase it. If it's not moving, eat it. If you can't eat it, have sex with it." Similar to babies above; since dogs don't have hands, the best way for a dog to get a feel for something is to put its mouth on it.
  • Several artificial sweeteners were discovered when a chemist either tried whether han experiment was something you can eat, or went to get lunch without stopping to wash their hands.
  • Nitroglycerine was developed as an explosive. Chemists working with it tasted it on occasion and got headaches from the vasodilation effect. It's now been a standard heart medication for 150 years.
  • Strangely enough, sharks are big-time users of this trope. When a shark encounters something unusual, the first thing it will try to do is figure out what it is. Because sharks have no hands, they have to use their mouths. And because they have no lips, in order to touch it they have to bite it. Ouch. This is actually what causes a lot of the unprovoked shark attacks on humans, especially with the Great White. The shark in question either wants to figure out what we are, or thinks we might be a weird seal. Hence the shark attacks where a shark takes one bite or so and leaves. Of course, sometimes they don't.
    • The problem, of course, being that these investigations are made with 2-foot-wide jaws that can exert a 5-ton bite force. This is the rough equivalent of examining an egg by hitting it with a sledgehammer attached to your tongue.
    • This also serves to explain why sharks' stomach contents are so legendarily eclectic.
    • It's actually a well-established fact that most sharks eventually come to discover that humans aren't worth eating (we're too skinny, too filled with bones, and put up too much of a fight when nommed on), so presumably, a shark that has "attacked" a human once won't do it again because it's already "identified" human-shaped things as "not for eating"...that is, if the humans don't kill it and several of its shark-shaped friends in retaliation.
  • The Times columnist Bernard Levin once wrote a column in which he asked, inter alia, "Can you eat quarks?" Sir Alan Cottrell wrote a brief letter in reply:
    Cottrell: Mr Bernard Levin asks "Can you eat quarks?" I estimate that he eats 500,000,000,000,000,000,001 quarks a day.
    • To be fair, they're named after a kind of cheese, and the different types are known as "flavors". Physicists wanted names that could not be confused with existing physics terms.
  • Anyone encountering a new language, specially under strange circumstances like traveling to a foreign land, will ask this question sooner or later.