Mario: What else is there?
Food is important. Without the many things it provides, (not just nutrition, but culture, comfort and, ...well, just gives life more flavour) people would just keel over and die (...literally). Of course, this makes being hungry a big deal.
With this in mind, it's hardly a surprise that some people just can't get it off their mind. Not just in the sense that they don't want to starve, but that they can't stop thinking about eating. They might constantly crave their Trademark Favorite Food, or just food in general. Either way, they will pay more attention to food than anything else. Expect another character to ask them "How can you think about food at a time like this!?" at some point or another. Inevitably, given their obsession, they're likely to slip into a Delicious Daydream.
These characters in many cases tend to be though are not always the Big Eater, are prone to a Delicious Distraction, easily give in to Food as Bribe, think The Snack Is More Interesting, and may suffer from Meat-O-Vision or sing an Ode to Food. When the character is so relentlessly desperate for food that it's the key motivator for every action they may take, that's the Sub-Trope, One-Track-Minded Hunger.
Compare Inappropriate Hunger; which is very often overlapped with this when Played for Laughs. Contrast Forgets to Eat, which is where someone's obviously not thinking about food at all. Both compare and contrast Weight Woe, which on the surface looks like someone's trying to ignore food, but psychologically, it in fact often overlaps with this trope.
- Attack on Titan: Sasha is this. Justified because there are major food shortages and she may not have the discipline to deal with hunger as well as the other soldiers. She lived in the wilderness with a survivalist father, but wild game became scarcer as she grew up. She developed her food obsession shortly before leaving to join the military.
- Both Senshi and Laios from Delicious in Dungeon. Senshi because he's a Supreme Chef who loves to hone his craft and Laios because he's a Nightmare Fetishist who loves monsters (Team Touden uses the monsters they kill as their main source of sustenance as they dungeon crawl).
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Goku, especially as a child where almost every other word out of his mouth was about eating. Justified in that he weakens a lot if he's hungry. This was how he almost lost to Yamcha when the first met, got captured by Pilaf, and nearly died from Tambourine.
- Again naturally, there was a one-hour Crossover special that saw the casts of One Piece, Toriko, and DBZ competing in a giant foot race; since the prize was the tastiest meat in the world, of course, Goku, Luffy and Toriko were the most motivated runners.
- Fushigi Yuugi: Miaka Yuuki frequently daydreams about food, and easily becomes distracted by it. This is exploited by the bad guys (and by Taiitsukun) more than once.
- Gourmet Girl Graffiti: Kirin is not only a Big Eater, but she tends to buy a lot of food-themed accessories, putting her into this trope.
- Happiness Charge Pretty Cure: Yuuko Oomori/Cure Honey works at her family's bento shop, and thus food is pretty much her life. Though she doesn't necessarily think about eating all the time, she makes a lot of analogies involving food, always tries to comfort people by offering them candy, and her battle song as Cure Honey is about how good rice is.
- Jewelpet Happiness: Kousuke Sanada is constantly carrying food around and thinking about it. When he gives life advice to his friends it's in the form of nonsensical allegories about food. Oddly, his advice works.
- Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Elma loves food (especially sweets) and has very poor impulse control when it comes to buying snacks. It's deconstructed, since it ended up destroying both her friendship with Tohru and her attempts to bring peace to humans in the other world (not to mention the fact that it makes her susceptible to bribes).
- Naruto: Choji Akimichi. Justified, since he can turn his pounds into power whenever he needs it.
- One Piece:
- Luffy gets hungry real easily to where he will try to eat the nearest thing as a Running Gag. He particularly likes meat (of any sort) but will eat anything that tastes good. After a few hours without eating, he will start to complain to anyone nearby. After several hours, it substantially affects his ability to fight—normally Played for Laughs but becomes a major plot point when he fails to stop the CP9 agents from trying to assassinate Iceburg, burning down his mansion, and kidnapping Franky.
- Big Mom took it to extreme and horrifying levels: On occasions, she will be obsessed with a particular kind of food and if she doesn't get to eat it, she'll go crazy and all hell break loose.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyouko Sakura is rarely seen without chewing some kind of food. Normally, something like that doesn't qualify her for this trope, but it's revealed that it's almost entirely psychological, due to her upbringing as a poor child and the fact that magical girls actually don't need to eat. That's an obsession if there is ever one.
- 3-gatsu no Lion: All Akari's cats can think about most of the time is food, who's going to give it to them, and when it's going to come.
- Toriko: The titular character doesn't think about anything but eating (justified since he has a Hyperactive Metabolism which means he'll starve in hours rather than days and gathering ingredients and cooking's kind of a Serious Business in his world). Naturally the anime adaptation has crossed over with One Piece.
- He's far from the only one. There's a reason the current time period is called "The Gourmet Age". All of civilization revolves around finding and eating delicious food. Justified since the Gourmet Age came right after and is immediately followed by a worldwide famine.
- Trinity Blood: Played for Laughs with Father Nightroad at the start of the first episode of the Anime, who hasn't eaten in 22 hours due to not being able to pay for a sandwich. Later, it's Played for Drama with Ion, who is a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire afraid of losing his self-control. However, when they're able to eat normally, neither is obsessed with food.
- Wakako in Wakako Zake is an understated example: she's portrayed as a normal lady, but she does have moments showing how food takes up quite a bit of her headspace — namely, when she spends a friend's wedding thinking mostly about food and drink.
- Paddi from Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is a notorious Big Eater and is shown to hide snacks so that he can find and eat them later, such as having a huge Secret Snack Stash hidden in a cave. Episode 13 of Joys of Seasons shows that he became so fond of eating and sleeping because his parents were too lazy to play with him and his mother offered him a cake, giving Paddi the impression that sleeping and eating are fun.
- In Archie Comics and the animated series thereof, Jughead Jones would often become distracted if the subject of food came up in the middle of him talking about something else.
- Greedy in any incarnation of The Smurfs.
- Maggy from Monica's Gang. Not only she's a Big Eater, if she's in any comic, even if she's not the protagonist, she's bound to make a comment about food. This is especially noticeable in Flanderization-heavy stories, but even when not in those, it's obvious that she's thinking about food nearly all the time when she's not eating.
- Averell Dalton in Lucky Luke spend most of the stories asking when the next meal is. He also express distress whenever he's in the risk of missing a meal, such as when evading prison.
- Obélix in Asterix is a Big Eater, whose two main interests are hitting people and eating. Asking about his opinion invariably results in him suggesting hitting someone or eating something (whichever is closest).
- Wonder Woman: While Etta has a clear and vocal preference for sweets anytime she encounters a new culture, many of which are extraterrestrial she will go out of her way to try their cuisine and has even been distracted from an obvious villainous plot by being offered a new alien food.
- Garfield is like this every time Jon puts him on a diet. He's often like this even when he isn't on a diet.
- In Taft 2012, the protagonist lampshades this, describing his interest in politics as a "hunger for values".
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
- Augustus Gloop, finder of the first Golden Ticket, who is constantly eating. Possibly the inspiration for The Simpsons' Uter.
- Charlie Bucket and his family are also preoccupied with food but for a different reason: they're so poor that they're starving.
- In The Hobbit Bilbo is constantly thinking about where he'd rather be and what he'd rather be eating (usually cake). This is also pretty much the Shire's hat.
- Each of the Children in Galaxy of Fear: The Hunger are this to some extent, because there's just not much they can find that's edible on Dagobah. They're all pretty malnourished.
"Eat." Galt whispered the word as if it were a secret, magic spell. His eyes bored into Zak but seemed to look through him. "We eat what we can. We eat when we can. Always hungry. Always. Mostly we eat fungus."
- Lock In: Some Hadens develop this after years of being locked in for a while. Vann, a former Integrator (someone who can let a Haden "borrow" her body for a time), couldn't even look at a bacon cheeseburger for years after she quit Integrating, because of the number of them her body ate for Haden clients.
- Mr. Men: Mr. Greedy and Little Miss Greedy both fit this trope to a T.
- Nero Wolfe is an obese gourmet whose thoughts are never very far away from his next meal and will not allow even a major criminal investigation to interrupt his strictly regimented meal times, including giving himself time for digestion. Although he does play with the trope, since while food is a pretty big part of his life he's not a glutton or a slob; he eats big, but he eats good food well and with refinement.
- Living Dead Girl: Alice is a very tragic example. She was kidnapped by Ray, a pedophile who took her away from her family when she was only 10. At 15, she is starting to develop into a woman, which the pedophiliac Ray is very much not okay with. As a result, he starves her so her body will stay stunted and not have enough nutrients to develop. Because of this, Alice is in a perpetual state of hunger and obsesses over food. Large portions of her narration are dedicated to thinking about the food she wants to eat or savoring what she does get to eat.
- The senior wizards in Discworld sometimes come across like this. In Unseen Academicals, they become involved in football to fulfil the conditions of a bequest, since the alternative would be to reduce the cheeseboard ("Three cheeses isn't a choice, it's a penance!"), and Ponder institutes the concept of half-time to allow for the inability of the faculty to go more than an hour without a meal.
- The Stormlight Archive: Not only is Lift almost always seen either eating or trying to obtain food; she's first introduced breaking into a royal palace just to steal the ruler's lunch, and in Edgedancer, she walks to another city to try its signature pancakes. She has the unique trait that her Radiant powers are Cast from Calories, requiring her to be a Big Eater, but her sheer love of food goes well beyond that.
- Jake on Two and a Half Men. He can be easily pissed off if someone else eats his food, would often hold food in his pockets, eat food that dripped on his shirt and in one episode has a pie in his nightstand drawer. He even mentioned having eaten a snail at least once. When he's injured, he prefers to be driven to a fast food restaurant instead of the hospital. If he says he doesn't want to eat, it's usually a case of Out-of-Character Is Serious Business.
- The eponymous protagonist of El Chavo del ocho, mainly because he's very poor and is always hungry. Most episodes have at least one gag about him trying to eat something (and failing) or distracted by food.
- Out Of This World (1987): It's a comedy, and every single scene with Beano in it, at least in Season 1 is, in some way, about his weight and how much he loves to eat. It's noticeably rare to hear him utter a line that's not about food.
- Psych: Shawn and Gus are often distracted from cases when they run off to get snacks (often at the worst possible time).
- Kasumi of Samurai Gourmet isn't quite obsessed with food, but it's fair to say the show makes it look that way. Any given episode has him either seeking out a specific food, or happening upon one and really, really enjoying it.
- On the first series of Skins, Cassie thinks about food a lot. She has an eating disorder, she organizes tinned food in other people's homes, has set strategies for pushing food around her plate to make it look like she's been eating, and believes someone is sending her secret messages telling her to "EAT!"
- In an episode of The X-Files told from the Monster of the Week's POV, said monster is consumed with eating people's brains. He tries to control it by going to Overeaters Anonymous, but ends up killing and eating his landlady (who he bonded with when he discovered she was also in OA).
- On Schitt's Creek David Rose loves to eat and constantly thinks about food. Not only does he have a tendency to shame eat and thus struggles with his weight, he talks about how much he eats all the time. He also cares far more about the post-game barbecue than his boyfriend's team's championship baseball game, even going to snag some chips before he's up to bat. When planning his wedding, he tells his father that the food is the only thing at the wedding he wants people to care about and really enjoys all the samples at the tasting.
- Banica Conchita in "Repulsive Food Eater Conchita", to an extreme degree.
- Played for laughs in the song "But Now I'm Back" by Pink Martini. Lorenzo can't even focus on reconciling with his very peeved girlfriend, Maria — he interrupts his own plea for forgiveness by saying he needs to get a bite of grub with the boys.
- British Newspapers aimed at the affluent middle classes often manifest their own food obsessions. Count how many pages in the Sunday magazine supplements are given over to trendy or pernickety fad-food, where one meal might call for exotic ingredients, that in terms of price could pay for a whole family's food for a week. Or indeed reviews of the sort of trendy London eateries where a meal for two might cost £100 per head - before wine.note The emphasis seems to be about being on the cutting edge of food trends, or else advertising that you can afford to pay these prices, more than it is about good food or nutrition.
- In Nomine. Not surprisingly, this is true of Haagenti the Demon Prince of Gluttony.
- Soul Calibur V has Xiba, a character who is shown eating in his promo art and is so concerned about getting his next meal that his opening battle lines include, "If food is on the line, I'd better win this!" and "So if I beat you, you'll give me some food?" He will even yell "Food!" when knocked out.
- Bud from Mega Man Star Force is obsessed with food to the point that him entering an eating contest is a plot point. Obviously, Played for Laughs.
- Taokaka from BlazBlue's always looking for food (this seems to be a trait of Kaka in general, but Tao's definitely the most obsessive). She even nicknames Ragna the Bloodedge "Good Guy" (even though she was supposed to capture him for a bounty) because he fed her. Similarly to Xiba (from Soul Calibur, mentioned above) he battle quotes often reference food (up to and including the possibility of eating her opponent).
- Ace Combat 7 has one of the player character's AWACS units, AWACS Long Caster. During missions supporting the pilots of the Osean LRSSG, he often makes many analogies of situations to food, his official description stating that he often brings his meals onboard the AWACS plane he flies on, and his insignia is a hamburger with an Osean Flag on a toothpick on top. Despite his bottomless appetite, he is also able to fulfill his role as Mission Control for the LRSSG's Cyclops and Strider Squadrons.
AWACS Long Caster: Give me Strider Squadron's ID's! Oh, and uh, hand me that sandwich!
- The Gaping Dragon of Dark Souls was originally a normal stone dragon that became so obsessed with eating its rib cage turned into a giant maw.
- Ilyana from the Fire Emblem Tellius series. Strangely enough, this is barely noticeable in the main plot of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance outside of the epilogue despite all of her support conversations being about wanting to eat—at least by level A. This was made more obvious in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, with practically every line she has being about food, and her ending plaque says "somewhere, right now, she is hungry."
- The Pokémon Munchlax. According to its Pokédex entry, it is so desperate to eat that it often forgets it has food stashed away in its fur. This also applies to its evolved form Snorlax, who is stated in a Pokedex entry that it has no interest in anything other than eating.
- Appears to be a low-key Running Gag in the Golden Sun series. Looking in ovens in various towns will get reaction commentary apparently from the Heroic Mime protagonist du jour, Garet and Tyrell are mentioned to be Big Eaters, and Kraden's main concern about being set adrift at sea is lunch. To be fair, what we see of the oven contents is pretty dang enticing.
- Manpuku from Ōkamiden clearly has some sort of eating disorder. He eats so much that there is never any food in the house and his mother skips meals often; and while he is with you, if you take the time to talk to the NPCs, most of his responses have him mention food from nowhere.
- Jones in Criminal Case. He's asked by at least two other characters whether he ever thinks about anything besides eating.
- Jayjay Falcon accuses his assistant Sparrowson of this, since food and puns are the two things he talks about incessantly.
- Pikmin 2: Louie has a disturbing obsession with food. It's disturbing because he ate an entire CRATE of golden pikpik carrots for lunch, bankrupting the company, and was still hungry for more.
- Downplayed with Zaalbar in Knights of the Old Republic. His Establishing Character Moment is complaining about helping his best friend fend off a couple thugs because "Mission, they just brought my food!" And he is the first to notice when someone other than him is raiding the emergency rations. Justified as he is a very large Wookiee adolescent, so not just The Big Guy, but a Big Guy even by the standards of a whole species of Big Guys and still growing.
- In most franchise installments based off the Tamagotchi virtual pets, Kuchipatchi is depicted as loving food and eating it often. In the Yume Kira Dream Story Arc of the TV show, the cooking class at Dream School appeals to him for this reason.
- Saber from Fate/stay night. Food is just very important to her. Not just any food, mind you. She likes good food. Remembering the highly inadequate skills of the chefs of her era has her briefly lets off a killing aura.
Saber: This is your last warning, Shirou... Please make me lunch right now!
- The Nostalgia Critic is a skinny bugger, but can be bribed with sweets and sees nothing wrong with a side order of liposuction fat for a hot-pocket.
- In the absurdly strange parody video of Sonic the Hedgehog, known as "Saunich Der Hejhaug", Saunich finds eating a much more immediate task than facing Doctor Contingency, who happens to be attacking the city at that very time. Oh, and he eats everything. It is worth noting, for the sake of clarification, that Saunich eats and drinks with both his nose and his mouth, each of which have developed certain insectoid qualities. Does it make sense in context? No.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "The Bus Boy" when the fat German kid is telling his story about the creature at the back of the bus, he keeps distracting himself whenever he mentions food.
- In the Hey Arnold! episode "Best Friends" when Arnold and Gerald are trying to find out why Rhonda and Nadine split up and they question Harold, he can only remember what they were eating and anything they said that was related to food.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer Simpson. Whenever he hears (or thinks he hears) any mention of food, he responds with the Catch Phrase "Mmm, [food/thing that vaguely sounds like food]", then spaces out and drools.
- Uter the exchange student from Germany. Always seen eating chocolate bars.
- South Park: Eric Cartman is obsessed with cheesy poofs and fried chicken.
- In Scooby-Doo, Played for Laughs with Shaggy and Scooby. Both of them are slender, cowardly Big Eaters who are only not hungry when they've stuffed themselves with more food than would normally feed a dozen people, and are only not thinking about food when they're fleeing in terror from the Monster of the Week... which they were only willing to get within 100 miles of because they were bribed with food.
- In Wallace & Gromit, the main content of Wallace's life is cheese. Incidentally, the series has gone as far as even saving a rare type of cheese.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has Sokka, especially with meat. This is played up by Player Sokka in "The Ember Island Players," who, as part of his act, exaggerates Sokka's obsession with food by constantly having him mention food and that he is starving. It's lampshaded by the following line he says at one point.
Player Sokka: Don't go, Yue! You're the only woman who's ever taken my mind off of food!
- In the Woody Woodpecker short 'A Fine Feathered Frenzy' Woody reads a personal ad about a Gorgeous Gal who is rich, has lots of food and wants to marry a young man. Woody fantasizes about the food more than anything else. The woman had a sexy voice but turned out to be an old and overweight boy crazy bird. Upon meeting her, Woody didn't want her but she wanted to jump his bones and used his food obsession to her advantage. When the Woodpecker goes to sit at a huge table of food he winds up on her lap. She pulls the turkey legs he is about to eat away from him and tries to grab him. Woody runs to the other end of the table, but with a push of a button marked 'Cozy' she transforms it into a small romantic table for two. The Woodpecker runs before taking a bite of food. "Gorgeous Gal" also attaches a huge roasted turkey to a long string like a worm on a fishing hook to lure him into a make-out session. Gorgeous uses the turkey on a string again to lure him into a submarine where she traps him and somehow arranges for a priest to marry them.
- The titular character of Chowder. Not surprisingly, he's an apprentice cook.
- Gary and Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants.
- Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons, who would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
- The Tasmanian Devil, whose menu fills up the whole page of a reference book. To say nothing of "...And especially rabbits!" in bold red print.
- Slimer from The Real Ghostbusters often got in trouble because of his massive appetite.
- The Laughing Hyenas from Western Animation/The Lion King and Timon & Pumbaa are perpetually on the edge of starvation and will go to any length for a square meal.
- In The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, mainly in the Super Mario Bros. 2 season, Mario obsesses over food, mostly Italian food. Luigi as well but to a lesser extent than Mario.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks has Theodore, and to a lesser extent his Distaff Counterpart Eleanor.
- Krumm of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is an Extreme Omnivore to boot. When Ickis asked whether he thought about anything besides food, he thought for a moment and offered, "Beverages?"
- The Beatles, from the episode "It Won't Be Long":
George Harrison: When are we going to stop for our picnic, Ringo? I'm so hungry I could eat my guitar!
Ringo Starr: Guitars taste terrible, George. Try a drumstick. [Ringo pulls out his own instrument drumstick; George shoves it into Ringo's mouth]
John Lennon: Don't you two ever think of anything but food? It's positively disgusting! Isn't it, Paul?
Paul McCartney: Revolting!
[pan out to reveal the huge meal John and Paul are eating in the back of the car]
- Angel's Friends: This is one of Gas' defining traits.
- Mr. Bogus often showed shades of this most of the time, because of his Big Eater status.
- Tummi Gummi from Adventures of the Gummi Bears. Even mentioning the name of a food makes him want to eat (like when he and Cubbi escaped a Descending Ceiling trap and Cubbi said they "could have been "flattened like pancakes", it made Tummi want to go home for breakfast). And in one episode:
Tummi: But, Grammi, iding the Quick Cars makes me hungry.
Gruffi: [under his breath] Breathing makes him hungry.
- Miraculous Ladybug: Plagg is obsessed with cheese.
- People suffering from Prader-Willi syndrome. These people think about food 24/7 because full signals never reach the brain, and as a result, they feel hungry perpetually. Families often have to resort to locking their refrigerators and pantries, and people with the disease typically have to live in group homes as adults, lest they eat themselves to death.
- King Louis XVI seemed more interested in food than his wife.
- People who have been through famines are often obsessed with food, even long after the crisis is over.
- Similar to those suffering from famine, this happens to people suffering eating disorders as well. Men and women diagnosed with Anorexia often end up developing distinct food-related rituals (playing with their food, cutting their meals into tiny pieces, eating in a specific little nook of the house, etc) that others find strange. Even though the person may not be eating the food themselves, many become obsessed with meal planning and cooking food for other people. Eating disorder survivors also tend to stash food or even fish leftovers out of trashcans. This sort starvation-driven obsessive behavior leads the victim to feel further out of control, complicating or even sabotaging recovery efforts.
- In Singaporean culture, talking about food is a national pastime and "Have you eaten yet?" is a common greeting. Put two Singaporeans in a room together and they'll inevitably get into a heated argument over which hawker centre produces the best chili crab.