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Made from Real Girl Scouts

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Malcolm Tucker: Right, I'm off to deal with the fate of the planet. Be gentle with them.
Jamie MacDonald: Oh, you know me, Malc, kid gloves — but made from real kids.

Sometimes it really is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, only it really shouldn't be. This is when you find out that innocuously named product is in fact Powered by a Forsaken Child, or the strange man who just ordered a Black Russian in a bar is a vampire with very specific tastes. See also Human Resources. Most commonly played for horror or a kind of shock-comedy. The term comes from a children's joke popular around the girl scouts/bake sale/fund-raising circuit. Most famously referenced in The Addams Family.

Sub-Trope of Ambiguous Syntax. See also Having a Heart. For actual cannibalism, see I'm a Humanitarian. The title of To Serve Man invokes it, but is not related. A subtrope of Literal Metaphor.


    open/close all folders 
  • An unintentional example comes to mind in the slogan "The eggs are from real chickens. The milk is from real cows. The sausage is from Jimmy Dean."
  • In a commercial for Wonka's Loompas (the same company that makes Nerds, named after the candy maker in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Wonka gives credit to the Oompa Loompas for inventing these fruit snacks, and ends by saying, "There's a little Oompa in every Loompa." This almost becomes literal in the commercial, as one of them is caught in the machine that makes them and turned into one. He turns out okay, however.

    Anime and Manga 

  • Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard told of how, when his second wife divorced him, "She took my naugahyde couch. We had to kill over 150 little naugas to get that much hide." The company that created Naugahyde, in fact, had a whole mythos about the Naugas and their hides (removed from them only to grow back, much as sheep are shorn). note 
  • Steve Martin had a similar joke in one of his routines — "How many polyesters died to make that suit?"
  • Bill Engvall mentions the Jimmy Dean ad listed above and cites it as the reason he can now no longer eat sausage.
  • Bill Hicks had a bit about eating at a Vietnamese restaurant:
    Bill: Hey, can I get a doggy bag?
    Waiter: You want another one?
    Bill: [Beat] What the fuck did I just eat?

    Comic Books 
  • One of the many, many things The Joker does after getting Mr. Mxyzptlk's power in Emperor Joker is to make Chinese food from the entire population of China.
    The Joker: I guess someone should have yelled, "Peking... duck!" [burp]
  • Shriek made an evil parody of Wednesday's joke during the Maximum Carnage storyline in the Spider-Man comics, cuddling up to Carnage and then asking if he'd like some Girl Scout cookies, then saying, "Of course, we'll have to kill a few dozen Girl Scouts first. I hate to bake without fresh ingredients!" And for all we know, she may have done it if she found any.
  • Superdickery presents: Squirrel Lamp ads. Yes, sir, out of a real squirrel! Not from squirrel fur, just a stuffed one.

    Comic Strips 
  • There's a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin asks his mom if hamburgers are made out of people from Hamburg.
    Mom: Of course not! It's ground beef.
    Calvin: I'm eating a cow?
    Mom: Right.
    Calvin: I don't think I can finish this.
  • Liō ripped off the trope-naming joke once, and has had other jokes based on the same general idea.

    Films - Animation 
  • In The Addams Family (2019), Morticia once believed that "Girl Scout campfires" were campfires you cooked Girl Scouts over, not campfires used by Girl Scouts to cook food.
  • A mild example appears in A Bug's Life, where a mosquito at an insect bar orders a "Bloody Mary, O-Positive." A moment later, the waiter produces a big, red drop of blood.
  • In Rugrats in Paris, Coco LaBouche's boss tells her that the person he wants running his theme parks must have the heart of a child. Coco mutters (too quietly for him to hear—but Angelica hears it as she's currently hiding under Coco's desk) that she thinks she has one in a jar somewhere...

    Films - Live-Action 
  • The trope first entered the mass media in The Addams Family movie, in a gag involving Girl Scout cookies.
    Girl Scout: Is this made from real lemons?
    Wednesday: Yes.
    Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they're real lemons?
    Pugsley: Yes.
    Girl Scout: Well, I'll tell you what. I'll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
    Wednesday: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?
  • In Eating Raoul, a couple wishes to open a restaurant, but has nothing to offer the potential backer except the title character, whom they have just killed (for unrelated reasons). "This is delicious. Italian?" "No, Mexican."
  • In a trailer for Hitchcock, a biopic about the making of Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock announces at a dinner party, "Try the finger sandwiches. Made with real fingers."
  • Playfully mentioned in In the Loop:
    Malcolm Tucker: gentle with them.
    Jamie MacDonald: Oh, you know me, Malc. Kid gloves... but made from real kids.
    An example (no doubt unintentional) of Exactly What It Says on the Tin, since kid gloves ARE, or historically were, made from real kid: the leather from young goats, which is very soft.
  • A non-cannibalistic version appears in Lethal Weapon 4, after Riggs goes up against a Chinese mobster:
    Riggs: Had some bad Chinese, really disagreed with me.
  • Played with in one of the The Naked Gun movies, when Frank Drebin just goes "give me the strongest thing you got." The barkeep brings in a burly man. "On second thought, give me a Black Russian." The barkeep has a "not-gonna-go-there" expression.
  • In Sky High (2005), the students' gym class involves a game called "Save the Citizen", which involves saving a mannequin that's being dropped into a shredder. Mr. Boy offers this reminiscence to Mr. Medulla: "Remember when we used to use real citizens?"
  • Part of a Fridge Brilliance moment in Trick 'r Treat.
    "I ate some bad Mexican."
  • The exact same joke occurs in Vampire in Brooklyn.

  • A false urban legend tells of a company selling baby food in Africa that horrified the illiterate locals because they saw a picture of a baby on the front and assumed it to be the main ingredient. Or in a slightly different version: In a famine-stricken region of Africa, relief supplies were mostly in the form of canned or jarred goods with pictures of the contents on the labels. Then the baby food jars showed up, and the natives were utterly baffled.
  • A similar urban legend tells of a Chinese (or sometimes Korean) student in London who complains that he is unable to buy fresh dog in the supermarkets, only tinned. The tinned dog doesn't taste right so he has started catching his own.

  • This is a common joke all around the world.
    • It is traditional to assert that the shepherd's pie in school/military canteens tastes of real shepherds.
    • A similar joke is made about "Sailor beef" in Swedish canteens.
    • And in England, "Manchester Tart".
    • And, you know, Girl Scout cookies.
    • Canada also makes a related joke about "Brownies", which are a junior branch of Girl Guides (who also sell cookies). There's also the joke about getting thrown out of the Boy Scouts for eating brownies.
    • Canadian recipe for Eskimo Pie: find an Eskimo, and dig in. Note: Eskimo Pies have been renamed, but not for that reason- "Eskimo" is considered offensive.
    • The German "Hunter Steak". Or "Zigeunerschnitzel."note 
  • A similar joke is this:
    • "If beef sausage is made out of beef, and pork sausage is made out of pork, what is Mennonite sausage made of?" You can replace Mennonite with Ukrainian or any other group that has a type of sausage named after them. This example is generally used more as a sexual Double Entendre, with German and Italian being the most used.
    • "You know where they make mineral oil and olive oil? If you're not quiet, I'll take you where they make baby oil!" The same joke can be made with "baby powder".
  • "Crime fighters fight crime, firefighters fight fire - so what do freedom fighters fight?"
  • A man in a restaurant complains that his shrimp salad does not have any shrimp in it. The waiter points out that there are no Italians in the Italian salad either. (So the salad was invented by shrimp?)
  • A German joke goes like this: A man comes into a bakery and complains: "Your apple cakes don't contain any apples!" The baker then replies sharply: "Yes, and? Dog biscuits don't contain dogs either." So they're supposed to be cakes that only apples eat?
  • "I tried a vegan diet once. Turns out vegans are harder to catch than cows."
  • "Are hot dogs made of real dogs?"
  • If they make tomato sauce/ketchup out of tomatoes, what do they make BBQ sauce out of?
  • There is one where a Chinese person visits America, and upon being offered a hot dog, answers, "Interesting... That's the only part of the dog we don't eat".
  • Similarly, a non-Jewish person eats a bowl of matzo ball soup, pronounces it delicious, and asks if any other parts of a matzo are edible. note 
  • Starbucks used to sell monster cookies — a type of oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips, M&Ms (or Smarties), raisins, and occasionally other things.
  • Should you eat your pizza with your fingers? No, you should eat your fingers separately.
  • Another old chestnut involves a judge questioning three people in a disturbance at the zoo. The first two said, "We were just throwing peanuts at the elephants." When the judge questioned the third person (who had a cast on his arm and was on crutches), he answered, "I'm Peanuts!"
  • An old Yakov Smirnoff line:
    Yakov Smirnoff: On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk — you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice — you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, "What a country!"
  • Not food-related, but the denouement also relies on the double meaning: Coaches stop at bus terminals. Ferries stop at ferry terminals. My office computer is a work terminal.
  • A half-translatable sketch from German comedians Badesalz has a man sitting in the restaurant trying to cut his steak, but whenever he moves the knife, the steak says "Mommy". He calls the waiter and complains about the steak, but the waiter answers: "I don't know what the problem is; didn't you order Kinderschnitzel (children schnitzel)?" In a rare example of a double punchline, the guest then replies: "I know, but why isn't it tender?"
  • Have you heard the one about the cannibal who dumped his girlfriend? Think about it.
  • Similarly, there are jokes about budget LPs of "Greatest Hits" compilations claiming that they're "Produced By the Original Artists" or something along those lines, in that "The Original Artists" refers to the name of the band producing soundalike covers of the songs.
  • Inverted by a popular meme where a character expresses disbelief that "a shrimp fried this rice".

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Dooper chain of concession stands in The Amanda Show serves snacks that are exactly what they say on the tin — including Electric Zaps and Oatmeal Del Fuego.
  • A wardrobe variant in an episode of Angel. Artode, a demon guest at Wolfram & Hart's Halloween party, is wearing what appears to be a green leather jacket.
    Lorne: Love the jacket, by the way.
    Artode: It's Pylean.
    Lorne: Oh, made in Pylea, my home dimension.
    Artode: Not made in, made from. I skinned it myself. [pause] Anybody you know?
  • In the short-lived series CafĂ© Americain, one of the regulars is the widow of a deposed third-world dictator, constantly scheming for money with which to raise an army and retake her country. One of her plots involves getting into the ice cream business. She tries a number of disgusting flavor combinations before hitting on one everyone likes: Mint Chocolate Chip. Offhandedly, she mentions that it's made from all natural ingredients: mint, chocolate, and Chip.
    Diner: Wait a minute. Who's Chip?
  • A futuristic reality-TV fashion show in Doctor Who features a face-off section. No, it's not a section comparing how well two different people carry off the same outfit, it's when they move from clothes into plastic surgery.
  • There's a background joke in the Firefly pilot: As Book approaches the ship, you can see a food stand's sign behind him advertising "Good Dogs!" No, they were not selling hot dogs. Actually, It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Joked about in an episode of Home Improvement when Jill is trying to cheer up Mark: "Would you like a piece of angel food cake? I made it myself... It was real hard to find fresh angels this time of year."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • The famous "Crunchy Frog" sketch.
      Milton: We use only the finest baby frogs, dew picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.
      Praline: That's as maybe, it's still a frog.
      Milton: What else?
      Praline: Well, don't you even take the bones out?
      Milton: If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?
    • A better example from the same sketch is the Spring Surprise, which is a chocolate containing a coiled spring which gives the person eating it free facial piercings. It fits this example perfectly, since the ingredients are clearly printed on the box. If you don't read them, that's your own fault.
  • On QI, Sandi tells the panelists about the aptly named Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, which specializes in very greasy food.
    Sandi: They do have a vegan option...
    Sara Pascoe: It's a vegan.
  • Russel Howard on Room 101 claimed that when his sister asked his dad what "Angel Delight" pudding was made of, his dad replied "dead angels".

  • The Alphabet of Manliness uses this and Insane Troll Logic: What makes beef jerky so awesome? It's made from little girls. Beef jerky is made from the highest quality ingredients, and girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. So "highest quality ingredients" can be seen as a subset of "everything nice", so beef jerky is made out of little girls. QED. This is not quite how logic works.
  • Discworld:
    • From the novel The Fifth Elephant, a conversation between a teetotaler and a vampire:
      Margolotta: Do you fancy a Bull's Blood?
      Vimes: Is that the drink with the vodka? Because—
      Margolotta: No. This, I'm afraid, is the other kind.
    • Similar to a line from Hogfather:
      Biers was where the undead drank. And when Igor the barman was asked for a Bloody Mary, he didn't mix a metaphor.
    • On the merits of dwarf baking:
      When they make "rock cakes," no metaphor is intended.
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Sky Pirates!, when Benny wants a drink to fortify her against the cold, the Doctor offers her something called Bartle and Critchlowe's Patented And Very Efficacious Horse Oil Lineament, made from genuine horses. She declines.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Averted. Harry is sufficiently squicked by the name "Chocolate Frog" that he hesitates to eat one until he's reassured that it's only chocolate in the shape of a frog, and not an actual chocolate-covered frog. This is a reference to the Monty Python sketch, as is another Wizarding candy, Cockroach Clusters. However, the chocolate frogs, being the product of a magical world, do in fact act like real frogs, though only in the movies. The real thing (brought to you by Defictionalization) sadly does not try to escape while you eat it, but it does happen to be deliciously crunchy.
    • Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, on the other hand, really are "every flavour". There's a reason people don't try to eat most things... The defictionalized Every Flavour Beans (made by candy mad scientists Jelly Belly) delivered on many fronts as well. Some flavors were surprisingly good (spinach, black pepper, grass, sardine); some (dirt, vomit) were even worse than they sounded. That's right, fans, the vomit-flavored jelly beans were worse than expected. The real-life vomit flavor was made from a rejected "Pepperoni Pizza" flavor with citric acid added. They were rejected for being gross in the first place before the citric acid was added.
  • Nightside:
    • In the corner, a vampire was drinking a bloody Mary, and going by the look on her face Mary was really getting into it.
    • In Hell to Pay, John Taylor buys a particularly sleazy informant a glass of Angel's Urine (not a trade name) and an order of Pork Balls (serving size: 2).
  • The Vorkosigan Saga has the galactic standard military ration colloquially known as the rat bar. These were widely rumored to be made with real rats, and, given the state of agriculture on most of the planets, they probably were. Though Sergeant Taurra, who has eaten raw rats, would like to point out that rat bars taste better than rats.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's "Mad Amos" short story, "Witchen Woes", Amos makes a concoction called "chimera chili". Then remarks about the difficulty of finding chimera meat.

  • Lonnie Donegan's "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour" raises an interesting question.
    If tin whistles are made of tin
    What do they make fog horns out of

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Atmosfear: In Khufu, the mummy mentions his Shepherd's Pie, made from real (and fresh) shepherds.
  • Munchkin:
    • The original Munchkin game (or one of its expansions, at least) had the item "Baby Oil", depicted as a baby in a blender.
    • The Munchkin Cthulhu expansion The Unspeakable Vault has a Cultist T-Shirt item, made from the skin of an actual cultist.


    Video Games 
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has hurthling (halfling/hobbit equivalent) cakes — cursed ones contain real hurthling and stun non-troll characters.
  • In Cookie Clicker, the "ladyfingers" flavor upgrade (normally a kind of biscuits) are "cleaned and sanitized so well, you'd think they're actual biscuits!"
  • Alluded to in Escape from Monkey Island. Guybrush examines a bottle of "baby seal oil" and says "I'm assuming that this oil is meant to be used on baby seals, rather than..."
  • In Kindergarten, the secret ingredient of the Biscuit Balls the janitor sells in the cafeteria is Cindy's missing dog Biscuit.
  • Planescape: Torment:
    • Vrishika describes the nature of the "Baby Oil" she's selling:
      Vrishika: Interested? It's the real thing, of course. Thousands of mewling, mortal babies went into the making of the stuff.
    • Vrischka also sells a chocolate mephit, which is a real mephit magically transformed into pure chocolate.
  • One quest item in The Surge 2 is a pack of vegan hot dogs, made with real vegans.
  • In Undertale, there are certain places in the game where you can shop at a fundraising "spider bake sale" that shows no shame in telling you that their products are made "by spiders, for spiders, of spiders". If you buy the items, the descriptions back this up — the Spider Donut is made with Spider Cider in the batter, which sounds innocent, but then you check the Cider and see it's made with "whole spiders, not just the juice". And the spiders won't like it if you don't buy... Though this actually makes more sense than it sounds, as many species of spider are, in fact, cannibalistic. Later on you can fight Muffet, who'll be seriously cross with you for not contributing with their cause. Which is to sell spider pastries to raise enough money to... rescue the spiders back in the ruins... who are... Yyyyeeeeaaah...


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Beetlejuice cartoon once had BJ bragging that his mohair jacket was made "from a thousand mos!"
  • An episode of Codename: Kids Next Door has the heroes discover that the "kids meals" at the new burger joint include an actual kid. Their customers are sharks, you see. Most of the team read the description of it including "1 kid on a bun" and take too long figuring it out.
    Numbuh 2: Maybe... it's goat meat.
  • In Futurama: Bender's Big Score, "Torgo's Executive Powder" is ground-up network executives. It's ever so useful...
  • In a "Hansel and Gretel" episode of Johnny Bravo, Carl finds a cook book for German Chocolate Cake in the Witch's house. The recipe is chocolate, cake, and Germans.
  • In an episode of Johnny Test, a kid on tour in an ice cream factory keeps asking whether the factory uses real monkeys in their "Banana Monkey Chunk" flavor. The guide keeps telling him no, but unfortunately Johnny let monkeys loose in the factory, leading him to conclude that they really do use real monkeys.
  • In the animated spinoff of MAD, there is a phony advertisement for a new bubblegum for Pokémon fans, particularly fans of Pikachu. In light of this, the product is dubbed "Pika-Chew", but we soon discover that this name is appropriate in more ways than one when the announcer states that it is actually made with shredded-up Pikachu.
  • One episode of Mission Hill has the gang trying to cut back on expenses, which includes buying discount dog food. The can's label is in a foreign language, but has a picture of a dog. Judging from their pet dog's reaction, the meat isn't so much intended for dogs as made from them.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features a relatively benign version, rock candy made with real rocks.
  • Inverted in The Owl House episode "Witches Before Wizards", where it's revealed that Eda sells literal snake oil. As in she sells oil that's meant to be used for snakes rather than made from them.
    Eda: No one wants an un-oiled snake.
  • A dinner scene in Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf has Dracula mention one of the menu items, finger sandwiches made with real fingers.
  • Inverted in a Halloween episode of The Simpsons. A pumpkin is brought to life, and when Milhouse offers him some pumpkin bread, he assumes that it's bread made especially for a pumpkin. When Milhouse tells him that it's made out of pumpkins, he goes on a murderous rampage of revenge.
  • Referenced in Sponge Bob Square Pants. Plankton is looking for the final ingredient to his Goo-Goo Gas (which should make anyone a baby). He then finds baby powder in the shopping market, and asks another customer:
  • Referenced in the Teen Titans Go! episode "Business Ethics Wink Wink", where Starfire thinks Ranger cookies (a Bland-Name Product version of Girl Scout cookies) are made from real rangers and implores the other Titans not to eat them before they correct her.
  • Inverted in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, where Elmyra thinks whale oil is made by whales rather than from whales.

I'd prefer to have a Brownie Sunday.