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Stock Food Depictions

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I’m sure you know what we’re serving. note 

All you can eat
Lettuce and shells
Cheese and meat
Parry Gripp, "It's Raining Tacos"

When certain food items are depicted in fiction they are almost always drawn or displayed in a particular way. Pizza is almost always pepperoni (which is occasionally paired with mushrooms), ice cream only seems to come in three flavors, and pasta is usually represented by spaghetti and meatballs. One reason for this is that it's easier to go with what is perceived to be the most popular flavor as that makes the food item very easy to recognize. Another reason is that it's easier to stylize or simplify a food's design in animation than to depict it realistically.

One thing to keep in mind is that certain food depictions may vary between different countries and cultures. The work will therefore need to establish an appropriate pattern for how that food is depicted in its setting, even if the trope is being played with.

A Super-Trope to Cartoon Meat, Cartoon Cheese, ISO-Standard Urban Groceries, Every Pizza Is Pepperoni, and Naturally Huskless Coconuts. For a more complete list, see the analysis page.


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    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Etta's sweet tooth allows for rather frequent depictions of sweets, which are quite standardized. Her candies are always a box of milk chocolates, desserts are always pies with a shell crust and small vent holes or elaborate sundaes.

  • In Parry Gripp's song "It's Raining Tacos", the ingredients are described as shells, meat, lettuce, and cheese.

  • Transformers: BotBots:
    • Bunches transforms into a bunch of purple grapes, while Aday transforms into a red apple and Peels transforms into a long yellow banana.
    • Crumbly Yumbly transforms into a chocolate chip cookie.
    • Tangry Tart, Lolly Licks, Cypops and Lolly Mints transform into lollipops, and all of them are flat and circular with bright swirl designs.
    • Subverted with Mocklate and Remorsel, who transform into a white chocolate bar and a dark chocolate bar, respectively.
    • Hawt Diggity transforms into a hot dog with mustard, while Spud Muffin and Brotato transform into French fry cartons complete with typical yellow rectangular fries.
    • Duderoni transforms into a pepperoni pizza. Subverted with Brock Head, who transforms into a broccoli pizza.

    Video Games 
  • Club Penguin: Puffle food includes solid red apples, orange carrots with green tuft, yellow cheese with holes, a slice of cake with pink frosting, and chocolate chip cookies.
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms: Besides having stock depictions of pepperoni pizza slices, burgers, and other such things, the majority of the concessions are topped with the products (food, drink, toy, etc) they sell. Exceptions include:
    • The Face Paint Studio has a painter’s palette, but a given buyer’s face is painted to look like that of one of three different animals.
    • The Pawpsicle Stand, being part of the Zootopia collection and a nod to Nick Wilde's hustle, has a Jumbo-pop slowly melting on its roof. The runoff is collected in the gutter and flows down into a jar. The product being sold is of course the resulting pawpsicles.
  • Fallout: The very few consumable items that haven't mutated tend to fit this trope. Fresh apples are a deep shade of red; fresh carrots are long and bright orange; fresh corn is a nice sunny yellow; wine is always red wine. Fallout 4 even introduces the "perfectly preserved pie", a cheesecake topped with a brightly colored strawberry sauce.
  • Hay Day features two types of cheese, a generic yellow cheese with holes, and goat cheese depicted as a white wheel with a small wedge cut out. Apples and cherries are solid red, oranges are solid orange, bananas are bright yellow, carrots are solid orange with green leaves, grapes are purple bunches with green leaves, wheat is a single yellow stalk. Pumpkins are solid orange, except around Halloween when they turn into Jack-O-Lanterns as they're harvested. Butter is produced in traditional yellow sticks. There are a few types of donuts, all O-shaped with different toppings. The list goes on.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
    • The food items that Link can gather in the wilds include shiny red apples, horn-shaped red peppers, clusters of bright yellow bananas, slender orange carrots, and various kinds of Cartoon Meat. Purchasable items include bright orange carving pumpkins and sticks of yellow butter. Palm fruit (coconuts) are an exception, as unlike typical depictions they're shown still within their green husks.
    • Cooked meals include triangular slices of flaky golden apple pie.
  • Minecraft:
    • All cookies are chocolate chip, which is why feeding them to parrots will kill the parrot since chocolate is poisonous to real-life parrots.
    • Apples are bright red, while carrots are orange with a tuft of green leaves.
  • In Overwatch, Kiriko's introductory animatic starts with her bringing a box of her Trademark Favorite Food of donuts home. All the donuts we see are of the Simpsons-style, pink-frosted variety with sprinkles.
  • Pac-Man: Bonus fruits, such as cherries, are depicted by their stock appearances.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon: Most food and beverage stalls take the shape of the food they sell or otherwise incorporate it into their design. These are always the stock depictions.
  • Scribblenauts: All food is depicted by its stock appearance. While you have a wide range of foods you can summon, they all look like their stereotypes.
  • Stardew Valley: Many of the cooked food items have a "stock" appearance: pancakes are in a stack with butter on top, the burger appears to have red meat and greens (despite being made of eggplants), ice cream is three multicolored scoops, and maki is four identically-sized rolls. Fruits and vegetables are also mostly "stock", with red apples, red tomatoes, long yellow bananas, a pair of red cherries, red jelly, and green pickles.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 3D World: The double cherry power-up, as expected, features two pinkish-red cherries joined at the stem.
    • Mario Party DS: The minigame "Fast Food Frenzy" features pancakes with syrup and butter, burgers with standard ingredients, hot dogs with ketchup and mustard, and yellow rectangular fries.
    • Yoshi's Cookie has you line up a variety of cookies that are either classic checkerboard cookies or have a bright red jam in the center.
    • Yoshi's Story: The fruit that Yoshis can eat include bunches of three yellow bananas, shiny red apples, clusters of bright purple grapes, and long, thin and red spicy peppers.
  • Super Smash Bros.: Food items, in the series since Melee, take on standard appearances, like red apples, purple grapes, and eggs sunny-side up.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Sandvich, half of a sandwich made up of 2 triangular slices of white bread, lettuce, Swiss cheese, ham, and a green pimento-stuffed olive pinned on with a toothpick. This is the favorite food item of the Heavy, who can eat it to restore health. Other food items available to the Heavy include the Second Banana (a generic half-peeled yellow banana), the Dalokohs Bar (a generic half-unwrapped chocolate bar note ), and the Buffalo Steak Sandvich (a generic raw ribeye steak).
  • Terraria: Most of the Fruit, such as red apples, yellow bananas, and red cherries as a single item depicted as a pair.
  • Before there was Roller Coaster Tycoon, there was Theme Park, which also depicted its food stands as buildings shaped like stock foods.


    Web Original 
  • Most of the basic food items on Neopets are kept simplified. For example, while Pizzaroo sells multiple pizzas with odd toppings, the item simply called "Pizza" is a single slice of pepperoni. In general, the more "normal" the food is meant to be, the more likely it is to be depicted as a simplified version of the real-world equivalent, while the "strange" foods have more variety, but are more likely to also be completely fictional dishes or extremely gross (by our standards) as a result.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In Lilo & Stitch, the sunburned tourist Recurring Extra is often shown trying (and failing) to eat a mint chocolate ice cream on a waffle cone.
  • Ready Jet Go! has featured apples, cake, cookies, pancakes, eggs, pizza, sandwiches, and sushi before, and all of them looked like their stock depictions.
  • Rugrats: The cookies the toddlers are usually depicted eating are always chocolate chip cookies. These cookies are also sometimes featured as plot point for certain episodes too.
  • The Simpsons: Donuts are always beige with pink frosting, topped by multicolored sprinkles. The real-life Krispy Kreme even sells these!
    • This one has become so iconic that in some places around the world, pink-glazed donuts with sprinkles are outright sold as "Simpsons' Donuts" or "Homer Donuts".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Krabby Patties are always just depicted as a burger with lettuce on a sesame seed bun. Close-up depictions will also show cheese, tomato, and sauce, with the occasional onion and pickle.