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Put Off Their Food

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Dr. Melinda Warner: Lab finished analyzing the vomit from the crime scene.
Det. Olivia Benson: Am I gonna want to stop eating before I hear this?
Law & Order: SVU, "Juvenile"

Alice and Bob are sitting down at a restaurant to eat. Alice orders spaghetti. Then Bob, who is a doctor, starts talking about how he operated on a patient with flatworms today, and describes in graphic detail how he pulled out the long, thin, white, worms from the patient's intestines...

...And on second thought, Alice decides she'll have a salad instead.

This trope is when a character had planned to eat a certain food, but changes their mind based on a conversation or experience that causes them to make a mental association between it and something nasty. The character doesn't lose their appetite entirely, they just can no longer stand the thought of eating that particular thing. The opposite is Inappropriate Hunger, where something you'd think would be gross enough to do this instead causes or increases hunger.

This is Truth in Television.


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    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes
    • In one strip, Mom tells Calvin that the icky stuff on his plate is monkey brains in order to get him to eat it. But now Dad can't eat it because it Squicks him out. There's a few other strips with the same theme, such as Mom telling him there's maggots in the soup instead of rice, or they're having spiders for lunch. Invariably, Dad will be too disgusted to eat while Calvin enthusiastically devours his food.
    • In another strip, it's played with. Calvin doesn't want to eat dinner, but Dad tells him it's a good idea, since it's a plate of toxic waste that will turn him into a mutant. Calvin eagerly gobbles it down.
    • Once Mom brought home some jelly doughnuts, but Calvin didn't want one because they resembled giant bugs: "You bite into them and all their purple guts spill out the other end." Mom then pushes away the bag:
      "...And my friends keep asking me how I stay thin."
  • FoxTrot:
    • Jason ties the ends of his spaghetti noodles together so he can eat them all in one long, unending slurp. Andy adds spaghetti to the list of things she can no longer make for dinner.
    • Paige just dissected a frog in Bio class and she thought it was really cool. She tells her family about the intestines and they stare in horror at the spaghetti they're eating. Except Roger, who keeps on eating.
  • In Zits, Hector has been nauseated by blueberry muffins ever since he learned that he was conceived while a batch of blueberry muffins burned in the oven.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in the early going of The Fly (1986) when Seth, who has taken reporter Veronica out to a fast food place to discuss his teleportation project with her, finds himself having to explain why he isn't ready for the world to find out about his work.
    Seth: I can only teleport inanimate objects.
    Veronica: So, what happens when you try to teleport living things?
    (His eyes flick to the burger in her hands, and he grimaces)
    Veronica: It can't be worse than this!
  • In Rear Window, Stella's musing over murder methods put Jeff off his breakfast.
    "Now just where do you suppose he cut her up?"
    (Jeff stops just before putting some bacon in his mouth)
    "Oh — of course! In the bathtub. That's the only place he could wash away the blood."
    (Jeff puts down the bacon)
  • At the end of Spaceballs, when a diner patron who ate the special starts moaning in pain, Barf, who ordered the same thing, quickly changes his order to the soup... and then a Chest Burster comes out of the customer.
    Diner patron (played by John Hurt): Oh no... not again!

  • Adrian Mole: In The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, after Adrian's father announces at breakfast that he is getting a vasectomy, Adrian passes up his sausages.
  • Animorphs: In The Android, Marco's dad tries to serve him chicken for dinner after he was nearly killed by a bird while in spider morph (and only escaped by demorphing, exploding the poor crow). Marco opts out.
  • Blubber: Plus-sized Linda has been dieting and wants one of her classmate’s chocolates. Wendy tells Linda it’s a chocolate-covered ant and force-feeds it to her, causing her to barf all over the place. It then comes to light that Wendy was lying/joking — it wasn’t an ant at all. Wendy just said it was an ant so Linda wouldn’t want it. The confection in question was, in reality, a regular, non-insect-based chocolate truffle candy.
  • The Canterbury Tales has an example in the description of The Cook in the prologue. While the Cook is a Supreme Chef, Chaucer unfortunately can't enjoy a dish of his because its appearance reminds him too much of a nasty running sore the Cook has on his leg.
  • Tally from Can You See Me? stopped eating bananas after she saw a video of a spider emerging from a banana after it was opened.
  • During Dr. Franklin's Island, Semi "chooses" to become a fish, Miranda "chooses" to become a bird. They're locked in a small suite and delivered meals while they wait for the changes to start, and Semi starts refusing seafood, but Miranda still eats chicken. Appropriately, Semi becomes a manta ray-like creature that eats only plankton, and Miranda becomes an ambiguous hooked-beak bird which is repeatedly compared to a Giant Flyer.
  • Mermaids of Eriana Kwai: In Ice Massacre, Dani catches a mermaid toddler in a fishing net. Meela tells her to throw it back in, but Dani slits its throat with an iron dagger. The girls eat dinner a few minutes later, but Meela feels too sick to eat anything.
  • Ant from Peta Lyre's Rating Normal likes to tell anecdotes from her job at the pharmacy during dinner. When she launches into a story about an old man's dentures, Peta eats quickly so she can finish before the story gets gross.
  • During the dinner at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur initially orders a steak, changes to a salad when he finds out what the steak comes from, and eventually settles for a glass of water.
  • Rubbernecker: While Patrick eats Christmas dinner with his mother Sarah, he tells her all the gross details of dissecting cadavers, like the partially-digested food found in some stomachs. The conversation reminds her that the chicken on the table is another dead body and makes eating it seem disgusting. When Patrick describes the smell from a cadaver's bowels, Sarah slaps the table and yells, 'Oh for God's sake, Patrick! We're eating!'
  • Slayers: In the light novel The Battle of Saillune, Lina and Gourry are attacked by a number of lesser demons that possessed items of food, including a nasty tentacle monster that emerges from their squid stew. After the fight, they order more food, and Gourry requests they skip the squid stew — though Lina disagrees, saying it'll take more than that to make her lose her appetite.
  • Charlie from The Someday Birds gets up early and sees two vultures start to eat a deer. After that, he loses his appetite for breakfast and considers becoming a vegetarian.
  • Happens to Jessie and Cooper in Shotgun Sorceress when they discover that, as a side-effect of some necromantic magic they performed, they can feel the death of each item of food they taste. They regretfully pass up the rib-eye steak in favor of a salad.
  • Tour of the Merrimack: In The Myriad, Captain Farragut describes over dinner how gorgons melt into caustic brown slime when they die, then tells his chef to skip the French onion soup.
  • Wild Orchid: In The White Bicycle, Penny takes a cooking class in France and prepares a large meal for herself and Taylor. Taylor starts eating the foie gras, but when Penny tells her that it's the liver of a goose that was force-fed through a tube, Taylor feels queasy and stops eating.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Body of Proof. When Dr. Megan Hunter complains about the food at the restaurant her date has taken her to, he teasingly suggests that she has a weak stomach. She proceeds to go into graphic detail about one of her more gruesome autopsies (which makes sense. As an ME, she's unlikely to be grossed out by anything), leading him to put down his hamburger and declare, "Well played".
  • Broad City:
    • In "Hashtag FOMO," Ilana tells Lincoln that cornichons look like micropenises, "all lumpy and shit." Lincoln says, "Come on, don't ruin cornichons for me." Ilana says, "Okay, don't ruin micropenises for me."
    • In "Jews on a Plane," Ilana asks a man for his pita so Abbi can use it as a makeshift tampon. He's so disgusted by her description that he gives her the pita.
  • In one episode of Cheers, the patrons have a contest to see who can come up with something gross enough to put Norm off his beer. No one succeeds, until...
    Woody: Well, how about when someone's been out working in the field on a hot day, then they take their shirt off and their chest hair is all sweaty and matted?
    Cliff: Well, that's kinda gross, Woody, but it's not that bad.
    Woody: Yeah... but you guys never met my grandma!
    (patrons get looks of horror, Norm slowly puts down his beer)
  • Criminal Minds: The UnSub of "Rabid" kills his victims by infecting them with rabies. When a report comes in about a woman who is frothing at the mouth, Rossi mournfully looks down at his fresh coffee with extra foam and then throws it away.
  • CSI: NY: On Lindsay's first day on the job, she assists Mac with an experiment that involves stabbing a pig to determine what the murder weapon was. When they're done she replies, "Well, I'm off bacon for life."
  • In the Doctor Who serial The Two Doctors, the events of the story make the Doctor and Peri turn vegetarian. This holds until Christopher Eccleston's tenure.
  • Forever: In "Fountain of Youth," when Henry describes what tuberculosis can do to healthy lung tissue, Jo complains that she had just ordered Chinese, with the implication that she doesn't think she'll want to eat now.
  • Inverted with Dr. Walter Bishop in Fringe; he frequently requests or discusses food while performing surgery or autopsy, to the mild discomfort of his colleagues.
  • Leverage: Parker's attempt at social skills in "The Juror #6 Job". When told to convince Eliot to eat an orange instead of an apple, she chooses this tactic.
  • On Married... with Children, Al discovers that the reason he couldn't buy Peg an anniversary gift is because everyone else in the family used his credit card to make preparations for the anniversary dinner (ironically, Peg goes all out because she heard he was getting her something very nice and wanted to make sure her gift measured up). Al angrily declares that "the card got so full that when I tried to use it, it threw up!", then proceeds to make vomiting noises and gestures. At this, everyone promptly puts down their forks.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, there was the episode "Twins at the Tipton" where Maddie and London double date with twins and Maddie goes out with the nerdy twin. He starts saying all of this gross trivia at the dinner table, including that it takes "3 hours for meat to move through your intestines so the bile can churn up the gastric acid." Maddie then replies that she'll have a salad.
  • In Zoey 101, the gang goes to eat at a fancy restaurant and Quinn tells them some interesting facts about lobsters, like how they practice cannibalism and their unusual diet. A few people push away their lobsters. Later she tries to educate them about asparagus but they cut her off before the punchline (it makes your urine smellier).

    Video Games 
  • One of the skits in Tales of Vesperia has this happen to Rita and Raven, who were enjoying their croquettes... until Raven asks Yuri about the recipe, and Yuri reveals his "secret ingredient". Rita and Raven's reaction say it all.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: One way to ensure LaCroix gets a suitably bad review of a restaurant whose property he wants to buy is to approach a restaurant critic eating there and squick him out. As a Nosferatu, this can be done by simply letting him see you (and ask him to check if the boil behind your shoulder is still leaking). Alternatively, a Malkavian can hallucinate him into thinking he's eating maggots.

  • Drowtales: In chapter 14, when the group of protagonists sits down for dinner, the drow Kyo'nne tells the human Vaelia that the preserved meat they're eating is human meat. She was just joking — but since they don't actually know what kind of meat it is, and since drow do eat human meat, Vaelia decides to play it safe and have bread instead.
  • Ménage à 3: Hilariously invoked by Yuki, Zii, and DiDi, when the three sit down to enjoy a meal of Yuki's okonomiyaki, only minutes after being caught spanking DiDi with the spatula. Which prompts Zii to ask if Yuki remembered to wash it. The looks on Yuki and DiDi's faces are priceless.
  • In Homestuck, resident Prankster John Egbert takes an opportune moment to remind Dave of the scene in Little Monsters when a kid's apple juice gets doctored with urine. 300 pages later, it turns out that he put Dave off his apple juice.
    All you can think about is Mandel's gross monster piss. Damn you, Egbert!

    Web Animation 
  • Mameshiba: In all of the episodes on the website, when a certain bean appears on the screen and tells the person who is about to eat it some random fact, they immediately stop eating their food or say "I'm done now."
  • A Running Gag in After Hours is that any time bodily functions are discussed, someone will be just about to take a bite of their food, and stop with it halfway to their mouths.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! has an episode where Stan finds out Hailey has been having an affair with Deputy Director Bullock, but when Hailey breaks it off, Bullock attempts to kill her boyfriend Jeff. At one point, he has Stan carry him around like a horse, until they track Jeff and Hailey down to a diner.
    Stan: Hang on honey, I'm ordering some food, I'm starving. Bullock rode me like an animal for three hours, you have no idea what that's like.
    *Hailey raises her eyebrows*
    Stan: Aaaand now I'm not hungry. *puts the menu down*
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Dawn of the Peck", a Thanksgiving event goes awry, leading to dozens of angry turkeys attacking the town. Thanks to the entire experience everyone went through, when Bob served turkey to everyone for Thanksgiving dinner, everyone did not feel like eating and Linda decides to make spaghetti instead.
  • Little Princess has an episode entitled "I Don't Like Worms". When Princess discovers worms, she refuses to eat her spaghetti as it reminds her of worms.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode where Homer becomes a food critic, some chefs plan to assassinate him with a lethal éclair. After other attempts to stop Homer from eating it fail, Lisa tells him that it's low-fat, causing him to throw it away in disgust.
    • In another episode, Homer is put off eating after hearing something disgusting and Lisa follows suit. Then Homer's appetite immediately returns and he eats from both of their plates.
    • The episode where Bart skips school and witnesses the true events behind Mayor Quimby's nephew being accused of assault, he watches a detective show called "McGarnagle" where the title character is wrongfully accused, but the only witness is scared to come forward. Eventually, he agrees to testify, only to be brutally murdered. The detective's reaction?
      McGarnagle: Hey, I'm trying to eat lunch here!
  • Steven Universe: The episode "Together Breakfast" centers around Steven trying to get the gems to enjoy the titular meal, but everyone else is too busy. His antics to get their attention wind up with him entering the Temple for the first time, and the chaotic magic Garnet is trying to destroy winds up possessing the breakfast, which grows to gigantic size and attacks them. At the end of the episode, after they've learned the importance of togetherness, Steven and the gems recreate the breakfast. Then they look at it for a few seconds and decide it's probably not the best idea.
    Garnet: It did try to kill us.

Det. Olivia Benson: Yeah, I'm done.


Video Example(s):


Inside My Mind Nose

After dealing with the horror of the birds, no one wants to eat turkey ever again.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PutOffTheirFood

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