Advisor: But why would there be cookies in the ground, your majesty?
Gus: Are you contradicting me?!?
Advisor: Oh, of course not, your majesty, no!
Mining seems to be a bit romanticized in fiction, from the idea of being able to strike it rich with one lucky stroke, to the horror of thinking that you might have to stay the rest of your life inside a mine working for an evil overlord. Since mining seems to be so interesting, any resource the characters need will be mined from the ground. Any resource.
A Comedy Trope in which an off-beat setting includes mines, wells or springs for substances that do not actually occur naturally in the Earth's crust (but that do exist; Unobtainium mines don't count. Neither do mines that are named after something abnormal, but are still normal mineral mines.) Foodstuffs are particularly common.
If the entire landscape is built of food, it's Level Ate. Compare to Grows on Trees. Also compare All-Natural Gem Polish, where the items are something that you can actually mine for (gems) but they don't come out of the mine looking like they would in reality.
- A TV advert for "Pot Noodle", a British snack food played up a whole bunch of Welsh stereotypes about mining for the noodles that go into it at the "Crumlin Noodle Mine". See it here.
- Digimon Adventure 02: In the episode "Steel Angel, Shakkoumon" ("Stone Soup" in the dub), the soup served at a Chinese restaurant, run by a Digitamamon eventually turns out to come from a spring. The same spring later turns out to contain the last Holy Stone.
- In Ken Dodd's comedy routines about the Diddymen of Knotty Ash, the Diddymen worked in a jam butty (sandwich) mine.
- The merchandise tie-in comic book Air Raiders is set in a world where "air is more valuable than gold." Mention is made of "air mines", "air refinerys", and "air farms"...
Linkara: Which is it, comic? Is air mined or farmed?
- This gag appeared a few times in The Simpsons comics.
- When Bart gets Principle Skinner deported to Canada with fraudulent paperwork, Skinner ends up having to escape forced labor in the Maple Syrup mines.
- When the town splits, with Lower Springfield taking the water supply with them, the affluent Upper Springfielder start deliriously talking about Lower Springfilders enslaving them to work in their water mines.
- The Greek poet Homer (as played by Homer Simpson) claims to have faked blindness to get out of being a slave in the olive mines.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: In a scene that has since been cut from the original television airing, Yukon Cornelius tests the ground around Santa's Workshop with his pickaxe and finds an underground peppermint mine. He then reveals that the peppermint is actually what he's been searching for (not silver and gold like he originally thought), which explains why he licks his pickaxe after testing the ground.
Yukon Cornelius: Peppermint! What I've been searching for all my life! I've struck it rich! I've got me a peppermint mine! Wahoo!
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas are seen mining chunks of chocolate from Cocoa Mountain, a literal mountain of solid chocolate caught in an icy blizzard inside the factory.
- Deconstructed in The Stuff. A man finds a delicious white goo that looks like whipped cream or yoghurt coming out of a geyser and markets it as a low-calorie dessert. It turns out to be an amorphous Puppeteer Parasite.
- Treacle mines and treacle wells are a common concept in English folklore, and may have inspired Lewis Carroll and Terry Pratchett.
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
- When the Dormouse tells a story about three sisters who lived at the bottom of a well and lived on treacle, Alice asks "Why did they live at the bottom of a well?" and he replies "It was a treacle well." This is a play on words: before it meant "molasses," the word "treacle" meant "medicine," so a "treacle well" was a well with allegedly healing waters, but Carroll imagines it here as a well full of treacle instead of water.
- Discussed when Alice asks if mustard is a mineral, the Duchess says that it is and that there's a mustard mine nearby. Upon hearing this, Alice realises that it actually isn't a mineral and tries to correct the Duchess but she won't listen.
"And the moral of that is — 'The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.'"
- The book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory mentions a rock candy mine but it's never seen. Also in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, they go past a chocolate mine and, indeed, strike chocolate.
- Treacle mines are mentioned in several books, and Treacle Mine Road is a location in Ankh-Morpork. Terry Pratchett actually goes into a bit of detail as to how these occurred; the treacle seams are made of fossilised sugar cane. The Discworld Companion says that there were also treacle deposits under Genua, but the heat and moisture transformed them into rum springs.
- Much of The Fifth Elephant revolves around, and takes place in, the "fat mines" of Uberwald. Vimes is sent there to negotiate a trade package for raw fat that has been preserved underground so that Ankh-Morpork can make candles and soap and the like. It's speculated to be either the remains of the titular Fifth Elephant or the result of some cataclysm that buried many shaggy, blubbery megafauna all at once.
- Llamedos (the Disc's equivalent of Wales) apparently has rain mines.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: One of the many things the captain of the Golgafrinchan B-Ark looks forward to is a hot spring to warm his bath with, preferably one in a nice leafy glade with a nearby soap mine. His response to anyone who doesn't think that soap can be mined is that perhaps no-one has looked hard enough, a possibility that is "reluctantly acknowledged".
- Bunbury in the Land of Oz is a place where everything and everyone is made of baked goods. They have wells of milk as well as water, and a mine of butter.
- There's a number mine in The Phantom Tollbooth. (Words, on the other hand, grow on trees.)
- Invoked on The Big Bang Theory. When Penny complains about playing a made-up game, Sheldon counters that "all games are made up. They are not found in nature. No-one digs in the ground and finds a rich vein of Rock'em Sock'em Robots."
- The Goodies episode "Bunfight at the OK Tearooms", in which the Goodies find cream in an old tin mine in Cornwall, leading to a cream rush. They later strike strawberry jam. (It's also suggested that the old tin mine used to produce "old tins".)
- The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of The Final Sacrifice uses this as a riff when a character is rummaging through files and holds up one labeled "Lemon Mine" (a legendary lost gold mine in Canada), prompting Mike to quip "No wonder Dad lost all his money, he invested in lemon mines!"
- The folk song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" by Harry McClintock mentions cigarette trees, lemonade springs, streams of alcohol, a lake of stew, crystal fountains, and handouts that grow on bushes.
- Similar to the Spaghetti Hoax mentioned on Grows on Trees, an NPR economics correspondent once filed a story on cheese mining. It was set at the Lombardi Cheese Mine in Wisconsin, and the Parmesan Mine in Italy. The reporter quoted one miner: "People just have crazy ideas. Some people think cheese comes from cows! There's only one way to get cheese, and that's to dig it out of the ground." The date of the report was April 1.
- Bleak Expectations:
- Underneath St. Bastards is a vast salt and pepper mine, which the unlucky students are forced to work in, overseen by hussars to stop them escaping. Of course, as is a known fact of Victorian science, the salt and pepper must be kept separate, lest they explode and take out the mine and the school above it.
- Harry Biscuit devises a plan to mine for jam and custard, until the logic of Geo-Pavlovoism.
- In a visit to France, it turns out they have cheese mines. Brie, to be precise. Apparently workplace disasters are common, but the foremen don't care, since being swept away by cheese is every Frenchman's dream.
- A side quest in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! in The Claptastic Voyage DLC called "Chip's Data Mining Adventure" has the Vault Hunter going through a mine shaft and mining for embarrassing data relating to Claptrap.
- In Cookie Clicker, you can procure cookies in many absurd ways. Mining is one of the earlier options. Although the game suggests the planet is composed at least partially of cookie dough.
- James Pond 3: Operation StarFI5H is about Dr. Maybe mining cheese from the moon. The whole moon is made of not just cheese, but other dairy products too, but Dr. Maybe wants to mine specific, valuable cheese. The "Cheese Mine" levels are destroyed when James Pond clears them, which creates a Permanently Missable Content situation in one level with a Micro-Map.
- In Kingdom of Loathing and Spin-Off West of Loathing, meat (in the form of sirloin steaks) is both mined and chopped off of monsters. KoL players can also dig up things like cardboard, bubble wrap, and Velcro ore. WoL also has soup wells (presumably from hot springs boiling said meat into stew). While meat is used as money, the soup really is eaten.
- Lucky Tower: In the second game, during the credits from the ending in which Von Wanst becomes king, he can be seen sending slaves to a cake mine to bring him all the cake he wants.
- In Moshi Monsters, all candy sold at the Gross-ery Store is mined in the Candy Cane Caves, where marshmallow, toffee, liquorice, cake and all sort of other sweet treats naturally grow. Chocolate is taken to the Chocolate Refinery to create Chocolate Eggs.
- Scribblenauts Unlimited: in the "Kana Craters" stage, which is set on the moon, Maxwell encounters a mouse who is convinced the moon contains cheese and asks for a tool to mine for it. If Maxwell gives the mouse a useful tool, like a pickaxe, the mouse will indeed strike cheese, earning Maxwell the Moon Gold shard.
- In Transport Tycoon, the Toyland climate features Toffee and Sugar mines.
- World of Warcraft
- In the Beta and early release there were reports of people occasionally mining clam meat from mineral veins.
- In Ice Crown, you can mine Saronite. This contains or possibly is entirely the blood of the Eldritch Abomination Yog-Saron, God of Death, drives people who mine it mad, and naturally forms into the shape of skulls when smelted.
- In Wargroove, one of Cherrystone's natural features are deposits of cinnamon ore. Guess they never heard it grows on trees, too...
- In Freefall, Sam tricked a gullible robot into buying shares in a meat mine. Fortunately he paid with 50 kg of diamonds, which Sam presumably hadn't realized yet were worthless on Jean.
"Sam said he knew where several meaty ores had come down, along with a load of pure balonium."
- One VG Cats strip had Leo, mocking MMORPG players, spout several nonsensical lines including "How I mine for fish?"
- In Questionable Content, back when Faye still drank alcohol, she had a sip of some apparently horrifying bourbon bad enough to make her cough near the end of her shift at the coffee shop. Her ditzy coworker Raven is briefly led to believe it's a case of "bread lung" from Faye's time in the Bread Mines before she notices the booze and puts two and two together.
- The main characters of Breadwinners deliver bread, which they get from mines deep in the planet of Pondgea.
- The Clangers has a "soup well".
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
- In "Operation: P.O.O.L.", the villain often threatens to send people to work in the broccoli mines.
- "Operation N.U.G.G.E.T." is a Cowboy Episode where kids pans a river for chicken nuggets instead of gold nuggets. It may or may not have been a dream.
- In "Operation: R.E.C.E.S.S.", salad oil is discovered under the school playground and so the adults transform the playground into an oil field and force the kids to work there during recess. After the KND sabotage the adult's plans to sell the oil, the playground is returned to normal, but then they strike prune juice.
- And in a similar fashion, "Operation: U.N.D.E.R.C.O.V.E.R." features adults extracting coffee on an off-shore rig as if it were oil.
- The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "The Cold Rush" has Fanboy and Chum Chum's Wild West ancestors Faniel and Chumtholomew mine for Frosty Freezy Freeze (a slushy-like beverage Fanboy and Chum Chum enjoy drinking).
- One Bad Future episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is a parody of God-Emperor of Dune, where Mandy has become an immortal human-worm hybrid God Empress in the style of Emperor Leto. She maintains control of the world by keeping control of the spice equivalent, cinnamon. Her empire gets it from cinnamon mines instead of... you know... growing cinnamon trees.
- The main setting of Jelly Jamm is Planet Jammbo, the source of all the music in the universe. According to the explanation the planet's Queen gives to Bello about how her castle's music factory works, the music is apparently a mineral that is mined from underground and then refined in the factory before eventually being converted into bubbles that float in the sky and off into space.
- Looney Tunes:
- Subverted in "Lumber Jack-Rabbit", Bugs Bunny thinks he found a "carrot mine" and proceeds to dig through. Actually, he stumbled upon Paul Bunyan's garden, and those were just normal-sized carrots to a giant.
- At the end of the "Oily Hare" short, a Texas oilman dynamites Bugs Bunny's rabbit hole in hopes of an oil gusher. But instead it ends up gushing carrots, obviously to Bugs' delight.
- The Muppet Babies (1984) episode "Journey to the Center of the Nursery" has an Imagine Spot where the Muppet Babies were forced to work in "the pepper mills," a parody of a salt mine with walls of rock pepper that makes the kids all sneeze uncontrollably when they try to mine into them.
- Played for Laughs in the Recess episode "King Gus". Gus is made king of the playground while Bob's away, and promptly goes mad with power. His demands include that everyone start mining for cookies (his/Bob's advisors are too afraid to contradict him).
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: The town of Gatorsburg used to mine alligators... until they ran out of alligators and the economy went bust.
- In The Simpsons episode "Deep Space Homer", when Kent Brockman is welcoming Earth's "new insect overlords" he volunteers to help round up slave labour for their "underground sugar caves".
- The page image provider is the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mustard O' Mine", which is about SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward going to the Mustard Mines to get more mustard for the Krusty Krab. Other condiments, like mayonnaise, ketchup, and hot sauce are found in the mine as well.
- The Trolls: TrollsTopia episode "Glitter Rush" is entirely about the trolls digging a mine for glitter due to a shortage. Glitter is explained as coming up from beneath the earth, in the form of magma, to the surface where it cools. It even has a "fool's" variant, discernible by the fact that it doesn't stick to skin at all, unlike authentic glitter which clings for at least three days.
- In Underdog, the home planet of the villain Overcat possesses "milk wells" which are similar to oil wells. One episode is kicked off when the milk wells begin to run dry and he first steals Earth's supply of milking cows and then Sweet Polly Purebred to act as milk maid.
- One U.S. Acres segment on Garfield and Friends had Orson, Roy, and Wade go up to an old mine that their grandfathers had been mining in, which is revealed to contain chocolate. Unlike many instances of the trope, Orson recognizes that chocolate doesn't normally come from mines, but his grandfather's journal actually has an explanation for how it came to be: lightning hit cacao trees, and the charred beans combined with sugars from plants.