A bizarre trope wherein the appeal of a meat product turns out to be caused by the addition of human flesh to the mix.
Some small business owners love it when their workers contribute a little extra something to make the food superb. No, not the "love and care" that the packaging promises, but fingers, toes... maybe even a whole leg. Oh, they might shudder at first, but sales numbers don't lie. Delicious, organic long pork, raised free-range on a nearby farm, can turn meat pies and sausages and whatnot from ordinary food to pure delights. Of course, since you can't always count on fortunate happenstance to add a little Stu to your stew, you'll probably have to start 'recruiting,' especially when you get into large-scale production...
This subtrope of I'm a Humanitarian and Human Resources seems to get off on that same impulse as the reveals of Powered by a Forsaken Child machinery or the connotations of Evil Tastes Good: deep down we suspect that all the wrong and taboo things are actually the tastiest—and perhaps They have banned the peons from indulging in them to keep them for Themselves.
A variation is the Urban Legend that street vendors use disgusting and/or stray animals to make meat products such as kabobs. It may be Truth in Television in some parts of the world. Indeed, the phrase "long pork" comes from a euphemism for human flesh in the South Pacific, some areas of which did have cannibalistic traditions. Serial Killers such as Fritz Haarmann, Karl Denke and Robert Pickton have also been accused of doing this with the meat of their victims. There are also rumors that human flesh tastes like pork (pigs are the only meat animals which, like humans, have a genuinely omnivorous diet), except better for some reason.note
If someone unwittingly eats said pork pies and then discovers the secret afterward, it will inevitably lead to a cry of "I Ate WHAT?!" Sometimes functions as the commercialized version of Monstrous Cannibalism, showing how evil an employer is because employees' actual flesh is being marketed. An especially dark variant is Familial Cannibalism Surprise, when a hapless character is tricked into eating their own family member.
Not to be confused with Fed to Pigs.
- In the short story Glyceride by Junji Ito, the protagonist's family runs a barbecue restaurant. When her brother violently attacks her, he's killed by their father, who then serves him to the restaurant patrons. The restaurant briefly becomes hugely popular, but trade dwindles again when the meat runs out, forcing the father to cut off his own leg to serve instead. The first half of the story is exposition, explaining how this all happened; being forced to live above the restaurant and essentially being constantly marinated in the greasy fumes from the grill screwed up the physiology of the son and father, with the daughter managing to mostly insulate her room. As a result, the grease had made the two men especially tasty (and also drove them completely insane). How bad is it? The ending reveals that the fathers bodily fluids have been replaced by grease, which is implied to have been true for the son as well
- In Delicious in Dungeon, Laios tries really hard to test the definition of what is demi-human and what isn't, and puts delicious piscine-type mermaid eggs into his friends' lunch without their knowledge. Chilchuck was horrified and later confronted Laios about this but they both agreed to keep Marcille, who is also strictly against eating anything demi-human, in the dark.
- He got to push that boundary again in Chapter 47 by both milking a minotaur cow and getting a taste of minotaur meat.
- A specific variant of this is later revealed to be a fear of Senshi's as well. He used to be part of a group that got almost entirely killed off by a griffin. One of the other survivors claimed to have killed the griffin, and Senshi was hungry enough to eat it. Later, he started questioning whether it was actually griffin meat or if it came from the corpse of another recently-killed party member. As such, the idea of eating griffin meat terrifies Senshi in the present, since confirming what it tastes like would show him the truth of what happened years ago.
- During the war chapters of Shameless School by Go Nagai, Yamagishi's parents, two butchers, ventured on the battlefield in the night to steal bodies they planned to sell as pork chops. Their own son mistook them for spies and gunned them down, but they were so serious about that that the father's last words to his wife were to sell him.
- In Osomatsu-san's skit "Tell us, Hatabo!" , Hatabo serves the Sextuplets his staff in the form of various meats. At least, we're sure of it...
- After Fango overthrows Don Orco in 91 Days, he celebrates by serving Orco's former men, now his, the don's favorite meal, lasagna. After the first man is made to eat it, proving it's not poisoned, everyone else digs in and compliments on how good it is. After some cryptic words from Fango, one of the diners discovers a human tooth inside his meal, at which point Fango reveals he used Orco's flesh as the meat for his lasagna.
- In one episode of Gregory Horror Show, the main character is offered a bowl of soup by Gregory. He initially refuses, but after being silently threatened by Hell's Chef and being told by Gregory that the last guest to refuse the soup mysteriously disappeared, he decides to try it. After taking a few spoonfuls, he discovers a golden tooth (which Gregory mentioned the missing guest had) within the brew. The guest promptly faints and Chef attempts to kill him using his knife, but Gregory stops him, saying "...fear will make his meat sweeter, sweeter..."
- In Hack/Slash, Delilah Hack mixed the remains of the children she butchered into the food she served in her job as a school lunch lady.
- In The Spider comic "Blazing Lead for the Walking Dead" in Titanic Tales, a wealthy woman runs a restaurant that serves human flesh to New York's upper crust (without them knowing what it is).
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969, the main characters find some of Mrs Lovett's pies in the freezer. They tuck into them without a second thought, and then start debating the rumours in a detached sort of way.
- In a Spider-Man story where Maggia bosses are turning up dead, we're told the cops who were first on the scene at a butcher's won't talk about what they found ... or why they've stopped eating meat. (It turns out that they all faked their deaths ... but this guy used cloning to do so, so there was human tissue involved.)
- Subverted in Transmetropolitan. In a future where eating cloned human meatnote is perfectly legal, fast food chains like Long Pig proudly advertise their practice of serving people to people. Though keep in mind that the fast food chains only sell meat from clones grown without a brainstem, so they were never alive per se.
- In "Mess Call" in Tales from the Crypt #41 a German butcher keeps a shop which—despite rationing—is always curiously well-supplied with meat...
- In a volume of Empowered almost every single one of the attendees of the superhero event the Capeys eats the catered food. Some even comment on how delicious the food is. The villain dWARf, formerly Fleshmaster, has laced every single bit of food with the processed remains of Wet Blanket. Wet Blanket nullified any power in proximity. Even the vegetarian options were laced.
- Inverted by the cannibal tribe of Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire: they've been capturing humans for the chef to cook for their dinner, but he's secretly releasing the captives and substituting forage.
- In a bizarre Cthulhu Mythos inspired arc of Robin Tim learns that the reason a cult commune fell apart is because the cultists discovered that the meat they were eating was being cut from an oblivious man who would then immediately heal over the cut portion of his flesh. When they retaliated the temporary Humanoid Abomination that was giving him his healing abilities dropped the humanoid portion of its description and killed most of them.
- In Eat The Rich, sacked waiter Alex returns to the restaurant "Bastards" with a gang, massacres the staff and customers, and serves them up as mincemeat to the next lot of customers.
- In Motel Hell, Farmer Vincent makes the best smoked meat in the Deep South. It is because he makes them from people. Similarly, the inbred bogan Cannibal Clan of Dying Breed turn their victims into pies and sell them to passing travellers.
- In Parents, a young boy in a Stepford Smiler Fifties discovers that his folks have been serving human flesh as "leftovers" all along.
- The Hong Kong film The Untold Story is Very Loosely Based on a True Story in which an employee in a Macau restaurant kills the proprietor and his family, and cooks them as pork buns.
- The movie Eating Raoul is about a middle-class couple who try to get the money to open their dream restaurant by killing perverts, or at least "perverts" according to their lights. The trope is only played out completely straight once; most of their victims' bodies go to a dog-food company but the ending implies that it may have become a regular occurrence at the restaurant.
James: (taking a second serving of the entree) This is delicious. Is it French?Mary: It's more ...Spanish.James: Well, whatever it is, I do hope you'll have it on the menu at your restaurant.
- "Soylent Green is people!"
- In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, the eldest brother of Leatherface's twisted family is known around the county for his amazing chili.
''T'aint no secret, it's the meat!
- This is done in Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer, loosely based on serial killer Fritz Haarmann, who is believed to have done the same with his victims.
- Ice Cream Man features an ice cream man who mixes parts of people who he has killed into his delicious frozen treats.
- Before he became a killer snowman, Jack Frost baked people into pies.
- Consuming Passions starts with accidental cannibalism (three men die by falling in a vat of chocolate), but the "new recipe" of course turns out immensely popular.
- One of the heroes in Monster Man finds out to his horror that he is eating chili made of people.
- In Microwave Massacre, the main character is a cannibalistic serial killer who at one point shares some of his homemade lunches with his oblivious construction worker buddies. They love them.
- The "gin sung" the main characters are served throughout Shriek of the Mutilated turns out to be human flesh.
- Delicatessen is about a butcher shop that starts serving human meat because of meat shortages. People flock to it, eager for some of the good stuff. The people who live above the shop know what happens if you get behind with the rent ...
- Ultimately averted in The Green Butchers. It was the marinade that made the meat so popular all along, and replacing the human meat with chicken actually improves upon the dish.
- In the Michael Palin-scripted TV movie Secrets, a brand of chocolate that accidentally becomes contaminated with the mashed-up bodies of a pair of unfortunate humans becomes wildly popular with the public, necessitating drastic action on the part of the factory managers to keep stocks up...
- Also mentioned in The Book of Eli. The old couple offering sandwiches of lunch meat that couldn't possibly exist.
- Frank Bennett gets treated this way in Fried Green Tomatoes; the secret's in the sauce.
- Lillith's "world famous meat pies" in Hansel and Gretel (2013) turn out to be this. Gretel continues the tradition in Hansel vs. Gretel.
- Cloud Atlas: The Soap that the Fabricants drink? It's made from them. And if we are also going by the book, the food at Papa-Song's is essentially Soylent Green as well.
- "Did you hear about the butcher who fell into his meat grinder? He got a little behind in his work!"
- Jay Leno, in a monologue, pondered the horror of a commercial jingle for Ekrich brand hot dogs—"Ekrich brings good meats from the heartland—and the secret ingredient is MOM!!!"
- If a normal woman tells you, "I'm gonna get you so baked tonight," you know you're in for a night of stoned, sexy fun. Mrs. Lovett is not a normal woman.
- Roald Dahl's short story "Pig" in the collection Kiss Kiss is about this. Dahl also referenced the trope in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when the Oompa-Loompas gleefully sing about how Augustus Gloop is going to be mixed into Wonka's fudge, though it should be noted that Augustus comes out mostly okay in the end.
- Rumored to have occurred in Chicago meat packing industry in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, which currently provides the page quote. While conditions in the factories were horrid enough to cause the Pure Food and Drug Act, this specific allegation was never substantiated by Federal investigations, which is why it is not listed under the Real Life section.
- There's a story somewhere in the Historia Regum Britanniae of a King wounded and stranded on a deserted island. In desparation, his loyal servant and nephew Brian cuts a slice out of his own leg and serves it to the King as pork, and the King finds it to be the most delicious meat he's ever tasted, and totally revitalizing to boot.
- The Stanley Ellin story "Specialty of the House" deals with an exclusive restaurant which offers kitchen tours to its (fattened) premier customers, who are never seen again. It's implied but not stated outright that they become food, and that at least some of the meals they formerly enjoyed were also human flesh. Kind of an unusual example in that there is no indication of this trope being in play because of financial difficulties- it's more to the effect that humans taste good.
- Run into a restaurant in the middle of nowhere in Water Margin, odds are it serves the guests by, well, serving the guests. This is not actually depicted as a particularly big deal, and the heroic bandits of Liangshan Marsh run several inns that operate on this principle—if you're a mighty warrior, they recruit you, and if you're not, the mighty warriors have something special for their larders.
- In Maskerade, cheesemaker Mr Bucket recalls the day two of his workers were having an argument, and one of them "slipped" and fell in the vat, concluding "That was some of the finest Farmhouse Nutty we ever made." Bucket also recollects the time an employee minced his own thumb in one of the mixing machines, but that particular batch of dairy didn't have to be discarded because they were mixing strawberry yogurt.
- In The Truth, Dibbler is trying to sell sausages to Mr. Tulip, who seems to actually want a bad sausage. So he says "When someone cut their finger off in the abbatoir, they didn't even stop the grinder." Since it's Dibbler, this is probably true, but doesn't actually make his sausages any better, even for Mr. Tulip, who says they're -ing awful.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, inns in the Flea Bottom area of Kings Landing are known for serving a distinctive stew known as "brown", that is rumored to sometimes contain people as part of its whole use-anything, Mystery Meat nature. On a related note: even while King's Landing is under siege and supplies of just about everything fresh start running dangerously low, the production of bread in the poorer parts does come to a grinding halt; yet, the bowels o' brown somehow don't stop coming (even if they do also become rather more expensive and served in smaller portions). In short... it could be bits of iffy chicken, goose, beef, lamb, goat, pork, injured horse, feral pigeon, ancient dried fish, dock rat, stray cat, unlucky rabbit and/or random dog you're getting served. Or, maybe, You Really, Really Shouldn't Ask. For instance, when Tyrion has his hired sword Bronn kill an attempted blackmailer in the area, Bronn comments that the man will end up as stew. Tyrion is later squicked out when he meets a mercenary for whom brown is a Trademark Favorite Food. In the prequel novella "The Mystery Knight", Dunk remembers an incident in his childhood in Flea Bottom wherein he and some other kids played with a severed head taken from the site of executions. After a while, the head became very decomposed, so they disposed of it by throwing it in a cooking pot.
- Also present in the setting's myths. The Rat Cook, a cook of the Night's Watch, served a king a pie made of bacon and, unbeknownst to him, the king's son in response to having been wronged by the king. The gods punished the cook for slaying a guest beneath his roof and transformed him into a giant rat that was unable to eat anything besides his own young.
- In A Dance with Dragons, Wyman Manderly, an incredibly fat lord, is called to Winterfell to attend a wedding, bringing along a large amount of food with him. It is strongly hinted that he had three Freys, who disappeared while travelling with him, cooked into pies as revenge for the Red Wedding, where one of his sons and his King were murdered while guests of the Freys. He eats a large amount of pie at the wedding feast all while he has his bard sing the tale of the aforementioned Rat Cook.
- There just aren't the human resources on Dagobah for anything like a store or restaurant, but in Galaxy of Fear: The Hunger Zak finds that the meat from a dead starving cannibal, offered to him by another starving cannibal, to look and smell disgusting. Later he finds the stew made from a healthier and better fed human to smell amazing, though he does admit that by then it's been over a day since his last meal. ...Of course, he didn't know this meat was people.
- In the 1964 Arthur C. Clarke short story "Food of the Gods", we have stopped killing animals for meat and started to grow tissue in vats instead (to help support our even-more-massive population). People actually retch at the thought of eating animal flesh, although the vast majority of the various manufactured foods replicate the characteristics of various meats exactly. Several companies manufacture the stuff and get into a competition about who can make the best. Eventually, one company makes one that apparently tastes delicious and is perfectly tailored to human needs, calling it "Ambrosia Plus". The competition goes before a Senate subcommittee to explain why this might be a problem:
Yes, Triplanitary's chemists have done a superb technical job. Now you have to resolve the moral and philosophical issues. When I began my evidence, I used the archaic word 'carnivore'. Now I must introduce you to another: I'll spell it out the first time: C-A-N-N-I-B-A-L ...
- In Bill Pronzini's short story "The Same Old Grind", this is how the German deli owner Giftholz is able to get away with charging two dollars for a full course sausage hero sandwich meal.
- Catalan novelist Jaume Roig's fifteenth-century novel Espill tells the story of a Parisian inn that serves human flesh instead of meat, predating Sweeney Todd by over 300 years.
- In Space Marine Battles, it should be little surprise to the reader that villainous, efficient Iron Warriors have linked their slave morgue to the food production plant, but when slaves themselves find out, they're quite appalled.
- In the short story You Have Arrived by Anthony Horowitz, an old lady uses a sat-nav to lure delinquents to her factory where she makes them into meat puddings to sell. It's implied this is an extremely profitable business.
- In the Joe Pickett novel Stone Cold it turns out that a ranch owner named Critchfield has been using the bodies of people he wanted to get rid of to make sausage that he sells at the ranch, which conveniently leaves no remains left to identify. When Joe and Nate discover this Nate even references how human meat is supposed to taste kind of like pork, and admits he kind of liked those sausages.
- The anthology Campfire Ghost Stories features a story called Man Burger, it takes place in a diner known for the eponymous hamburger and has a small town sheriff wanting to start an investigation into the disappearance of numerous drifters and vagrants, but the mayor tells him to wait until a major development project breaks ground and construction is well under way.
- George Thompson's Venus In Boston has Mark Simpson, who is ordered to kill a fellow servant to hide the infidelities of his mistress. He does so and hides the body of the servant in a large barrel of their favorite wine. When he serves it to them again, they keep saying how much better it tastes and are understandably horrified when the truth is revealed.
- Missionary Stew by Ross Thomas features this in the first chapter as part of an Eat the Evidence scheme.
- One of the Labyrinths of Echo stories involved a chef famous for his irresistible meat pâtés, who raised the LSIF suspicions after the police general developed an inexplicable addiction to them, and another enterprizing cook trying to steal the recipe turned into a pâté himself. Turned out the chef invented a magical recipe that made rich gourmets addicted to the dish, while each dose slowly turned them into a pâté themselves.
- A highly unusual example occurs in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in an (entirely fictional) story meant to demonstrate Liu Bei's incredible character. He stops at the home of Liu An (a hunter, and one of his relatives). Liu An doesn't have enough meat to feed his lord and his retinue, to he kills, butchers, cooks and serves *his own wife* so that Liu Bei and company wouldn't be under-served. When Liu Bei finds out this he is shocked, but not outraged, at having been unknowingly fed human flesh. He is, instead, amazed at Liu An's devotion to hospitality (to the point of *feeding his lord his own wife*), and instead praises him as a model citizen. And this is a story the author inserted to make Liu Bei sound more virtuous and heroic than he was in actual history! Liu Bei then further responds by sending Liu An "the proper amount of money to get a new wife". Then again, this *is* the same guy who famously threw his own infant child at a rock after one of his generals risked his life to save the baby (in yet another fictional account intended to talk up Liu Bei as incredibly virtuous), and chastised the general for risking his life over something as frivolous as his lord's wife and son, declaring that "losing a (sworn) brother is like losing an arm, but wives and children can be replaced as easily as clothing"...
- The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. For a time Toby has a job at a fast-food restaurant named "Secret Burgers!" where the "mystery" of the meat is upheld as a selling point. The advertisements promise that no two burgers are the same, and that each patty might be an unexpected exotic delicacy. Toby, having seen the kitchens, knows this is a lie: much of the meat is ground-up rats, stray cats and other vermin. Incidentally, the area is rife with crime, and occasionally people targeted by the MegaCorps and gangs go missing. Their bodies are conveniently never found by police, but Toby knows where the pieces are. The patrons at Secret Burgers! know how horrible the food is, but they simply can't afford to care, underscoring what a Crapsack World the setting is.
- The Criminal Minds episode "Lucky" had a Satanic unsub who ran a little BBQ restaurant, and even "kindly" provided the people searching for a missing girl with chili...
Priest: God is in all of us, son...Unsub: So is Tracy Lambert...
- Worse? This was based on Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, who very likely had served his victims to friends and neighbors.
- Tales from the Crypt episode "What's Cookin'". The owners of a failing restaurant find success when they begin to use meat supplied by a drifter.
- Although this may appear to be the specialty of the sinister butcher in The League of Gentlemen, Word of God is the "special stuff" is not human flesh. It's much, much worse.
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents adapted the abovementioned "Specialty of the House" as an episode.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Doublemeat Palace" Buffy suspects that the local fast food outlet's High Turnover Rate is due to it using its employees as the Secret Ingredient in their burgers. Subverted when it turns out a demon is eating the workers because they taste good, and the secret ingredient is that the burgers don't have any meat in them, only a soy product with beef flavouing.
- A variation is used in an Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode. A fashionable new restaurant serves a delicious and world famous soup which is eventually found out to require human lives to make, but not in the way the protagonists expect. Instead, they investigate the rear areas of the restaurant and see rooms where people are kept prisoner and subject to terrors beyond belief. Their fear is physically collected by the chef into liquid form and used to season the soup.
- The Ben Stiller Show has a sketch featuring T.J. O'Pootertoot's, a restaurant serving burgers that taste "oddly familiar." One of the employees learns that the original O'Pootertoot was stuck in a Donner party-esque situation and later turned his newfound taste for human meat into a franchise.
- CSI: In "Appendicitement", the owner of a BBQ restaurant was killed by his wife and the cook, who then disposed of the body by cooking it up and serving it to the customers. The flashback implies it was very popular.
- Sons of Anarchy has an episode where the cartel attempts to intimidate the gang by pulling a drive-by on the garage and throwing some severed heads into the driveway. When the cops show up soon after, Chucky is left holding the bag on where to stow the heads, and he ends up shoving them into some pots of chili that Gemma had cooking. The cops ask for a few bowls, and love it.
- Hannibal's dinner parties are the toast of Baltimore.
- The Good Eats episode "Oh My, Meat Pie" has Alton's Identical Ancestor stumbling upon Mrs. Lovett's pie shop and teaching her how to make dishes like shepherd's pie using the ..."lamb" provided by her friend, Mr. Todd. The episode ends by revealing that Mrs. Lovett ended up marrying Alton's ancestor, and some time after they arrived in America he disappeared under mysterious circumstances...
- In one Bones Cold Open two homeless men smell a dinner which someone threw out: one thinks it's chicken while the other is sure it's pork. Turns out it's the Victim of the Week set on fire and cooking in a 55 gallon drum.
- The Goodies: In "Animals", Graeme runs out of animals to serve in his restaurant and concocts a scheme to farm humans and sell their meat for human consumption.
- Not the Nine O'Clock News has a sketch where a woman from an employment scheme goes to visit the owner of a pie factory, to whom she sends a large number of school leavers for work experience. It turns out they're the secret of his success, although not quite in the way she expects.
- Doctor Who: In ''Revelation of the Daleks'' Davros is running a funeral business which also places the near-dead in suspended animation. In reality he turns some into Daleks and the rest into protein as the Galaxy is facing starvation. Which leads to these words when he meets the Doctor:
The Doctor: But did you bother to tell anyone that they might be eating their own relatives?
Davros: Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... "consumer resistance".
- An episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Dee and Charlie eating Frank's meat from the fridge, which he tells them is human flesh. They start disturbed, but then realize they're addicted to it and nothing else satisfies them, and plan to eat more. Subverted in the end, it was just raccoon flesh and the reason nothing else satisfies their hunger is likely thanks to tapeworms.
- In the season six finale of Game of Thrones, Arya finally recreates one of the most famous scenes from the books, except instead of three minor Freys being fed to a banquet of traitors against the north, it's Walder Frey being fed his two oldest sons. Arya reveals this to Walder right before she kills him for murdering her brother and mother, telling him that the last thing he'll ever see is a Stark smiling down at him.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Tikka to Ride" when the crew winds up in an alternate Earth (where JFK's survival leads to an After the End situation in American cities), they run across a random corpse, which a guilt-chip-free Kryten later cooks for Lister and Cat.
Kryten: Did I do wrong? I didn't get any error commands... Obviously I thought about it, because without my guilt chip or moral imperatives, I have nothing to guide me. But it seemed to me that if humanoids eat chicken then obviously they'd eat their own species; otherwise they'd just be picking on the chicken.Rimmer: One minute you're down, the next you're right back up again.Lister: I said I was enjoying that!Cat: I knew it didn't smell right! Oh my god...
- When Penguin finally snaps and goes back to being a villain due to learning his stepmother and her kids killed his father, he kills the kids, cooks them, and serves them to the mother before killing her as well.
- In the fourth season, in an ironic twist, Penguin is forced to eat pies made from homeless people by Professor Pyg.
- Babylon Berlin: In the Armenian's first scene, he suggests that the food being served to a criminal contact is made from that contact's co-conspirator. The man immediately begins gagging. The Armenian later stores Charlotte in his club's meat locker and threatens to butcher her.
- Vikings: Bjorn and his viking companions travel to the Middle East and get in the middle of a feud between two nobles. One noble invites them all to a feast and then reveals that the meat is one of the feuding nobles. The vikings spit out the food in disgust.
- Songs by Tom Lehrer: The druggist's mother-in-law in Tom Lehrer's "My Home Town" ends up as ice cream topping.
- In the folk song "Johnny Verbeck/Trebek/Quebec", the eponymous character, a butcher, makes a sausage machine and feeds the neighborhood animals into it until it breaks, and he climbs inside for repairs. His sleepwalking wife pulls the crank and "Johnny Trebek was meat".
- Russian pop-punk band The Belomors has a song imaginatively called "Dead Pies" about a granny selling meat pies on a railway station, which turned out to be mage from a cadaver meat stolen from a local morgue. Well, at least she didn't off them herself.
- This is one of the jokes in MAD magazine's spoof of horror movies, "Arbor Day." It even involves a pie (a pizza pie, that is).
- In Call of Cthulhu, many of the tcho-tcho (a race of cannibal pygmies from southeast Asia from some of August Derleth's Cthulhu mythos stories) have immigrated to the United States, where some run restaurants that serve "bak bon dzhow"—human nerve-cell paste—which induces dreams of cannibalism in people who eat it. They do this for no apparent reason other than to be evil.
- Top Secret adventure "Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle''. Anyone who dies in "Sanctuary" (a local hospital) is ground up and sold to the public.
- In the Shadowrun Germany sourcebook, one bit of shadowtalk appended to the description of Berlin refers to a restaurant that reputedly plays this trope straight. Another shadowtalker immediately posts to deny the place even exists, however.
- Deadlands: Reverend Grimme and the Cult of Lost Angels take advantage of a food shortage this way.
- Paranoia: No Troubleshooters have ever fallen into Food Vat #574 due to Commie sabotage of guardrails.
- One of the sample cults from Hunter: The Vigil is a Cannibal Cult hidden behind the front of a celebrity chef's gourmet restaurant. The pate is apparently to die for... and made at a farm on the city's outskirts, where children are force-fed like geese to produce a rich and fatty liver.
- In The Apocalypse Stone, Moloch, an arch-devil trapped in the world by the Stone's displacement, visits torments on the PCs. The first one is while they are stopped at an apparently warm and cozy inn featuring delicious "pork" buns. Only the next morning do the players find out that two of Moloch's underlings slaughtered the staff and served them as dinner. The DM is supposed to give the players a chance to realize something's not right with the food, but a sidebar suggests letting them go ahead and chow down with no warning if the DM really wants to up the horror-factor.
- This is the second guaranteed fixture of Sweeney Todd tellings after "throat slashing barber"—the bodies are then used to make Mrs. Lovett's meat pies, initially just for body disposal but often it then turns out that this just increases the flavor.
- Done for vengeance, rather than savings, in Titus Andronicus, when Titus murders the two brothers who raped and disfigured his daughter, bakes them into a pie, and feeds them to their unknowing mother.
- In Fallout, the player can discover that a kabob vendor is being supplied with Mystery Meat courtesy the local Back-Alley Doctor.
- In Fallout 3: the town of Andale, "the greatest town in Virginia". Surprisingly, they're quite civilized for raiders, and won't attack or backstab you unless you threaten them; they make good soylent pie and you're invited to stay for dinner every evening. You can end up befriending them if you're a cannibal or have a high enough speech stat, or just kill everyone except the two children and a crazy old man.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, a man who has worked many different jobs in his life talks about how back when he was a butcher, his family's business was beat out by a competitor. He stated that people who ate said meat got "the shakes", which he knew you could only get from eating human flesh. Sure enough, when the person died, they uncovered corpses hidden underneath his home.
- New Vegas also features the White Glove Society, formerly a tribe of savage cannibals. Now they have reinvented themselves as the ultra-genteel operators of the most exclusive casino, hotel, and restaurant on the Strip, and the consumption of human flesh is strictly banned. The quest "Beyond the Beef" centers on one member who wants to return the Society to their roots, and he plans to do it by tricking the entire group into eating long pork, with the subsequent reveal putting them all in the same boat. Ironically, his "sacrificial lamb" happens to be the son of the beef baron who supplies meat to the whole Strip. As with most major quests in New Vegas, the player can influence the outcome in wildly different ways, from substituting an experimental long pork taste-alike recipe in the dish to absolve the Society's moral dilemma, re-swapping the meal so there is only one cannibal, to serving bloody justice to the entire Society, to freeing the son while offering one of your own companions as a replacement.
- In Fallout 4, Theodore Collins, the owner of the Longneck Lukowski's Cannery, has been using meat from ghouls, alongside mole rats, in his canned meat. If the encounter with the settler who puts the Cannery on your map is any indication, it's enough to make anyone who eats it quite violently ill.
- The EVE Online chronicle Lost Stars has it that a beverage once in development by the Quafe company owed its addictive properties to human biomass.
- The entire premise of Abe's Oddysee. Working as a cleaning slave in the main RuptureFarms Slaughterhouse, Abe spies into a boardroom meeting where the executives are up in arms about cattle running thin; much to Abe's horror, head exec Mullock then reveals his plan to make up for low cattle numbers by releasing a "New N' Tasty" product made out of the slaves. It continues in the sequel, where they make beer out of the bones of their ancestors...
- Nigel himself is very strongly implied to be doing this in Surgeon Simulator 2013, as one caller praises the tripe he made, and another asks about the mystery meat he gave him.
- Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs: As Mandus' diary entries first hint at and then ultimately confirm, the Machine is processing human flesh which Mandus is then distributing as pork. It's unclear if all the meat he produced was human, or if he was offering a mixture of human flesh and real pork. Several late-game diary notes reveal that Mandus took a particular cruel delight in first feeding human meat to oblivious wealthy individuals at parties held at his estate, and then abducting as many of those people as he could without generating panic to feed them to the next party's guests.
Professor: My dear Mr. Mandus, I admire your vision, I truly do—but there are surely not enough pigs in the whole of London to feed the appetite of such a machine.
Mandus: That all rather depends, Professor, on what one considers to be a pig.
- Not exactly flesh, but in OFF sugar is made from the vapors of burning dead bodies.
- Played for Laughs in Portal 2 in the ARG tests:
"Cave Johnson here. Just wanna let the cafeteria staff know to lay off the soylent green. I'm holding a memo from the President, and it turns out that soylent green is let's see here... doubling in price. Now listen up: I don't care how good people tastes. This stuff's costing me more than lobster, so we're going back to fishsticks."
- In the second episode in Season One of The Walking Dead, Lee's group are invited to come to a farmhouse which the occupants seem to have plenty of food on hand. However, suspiciously they don't have any cattle seen on their land. Lee and Kenny decide to investigate the farm and find a slaughterhouse in the back fresh with blood. However, again, no cattle or pigs. Eventually, further investigation reveals the farmers have turned to cannibalism and the meal they served to the group have been human flesh (which at the current was the legs of one of their group) all along.
- In Sunless Sea you can find a creepy temple called the Chapel of Lights when out exploring. The people there offer to feed you. If you take them up on it, there's a chance that the description will talk about "dripping red meat" and the game will inform you that you now carry "the cannibal taint". Aside from that, it's an excellent way to keep your crew fed, especially given that you don't have to pay.
- Also, the exact term is called "Unaccountably Peckish", which confirms that Seeking Mister Eaten's Name is associated with cannibalism, one of the least disturbing things about that quest. Also, demons will serve you human flesh at their parties, but what else is new?
- Subverted with Mutton Island. While one of the four outcomes for Mutton Island, chosen randomly, involves discovering a cannibal cult on the island, there's never anything to hint that the meals you've eaten there contain human flesh, and you don't get Unaccountably Peckish (although if you already have UP, you can join in the cannibal feast if that's the outcome it gives). While the random event that leads to eating the original Rubbery Lumps, a mysterious foodstuff of unknown origins, has a villager talk about the "Drowned Man" and how they "treat the well right", references to Mister Eaten, Rubbery Lumps are not made from human flesh. They're made from Lorn-Fluke meat, and the wrong batch will turn you into a Drownie when you die.
- XCOM 2: one of the few good things about the fascist Advent is their burgers. It's the one thing your Advent defectors miss... and is produced by Advent because most livestock in the world has been banned / regulated. The description for one item in Enemy Unknown mentioned alien food stocks with humans remains in them, so it's not like they have any ethical restraints about it.
Shen: When was the last time anyone saw a cow?
- Subverted in The Secret World at the Dimir farm. At first it's heavily implied that they're using human meat ... they aren't, and they're offended you'd even suggest it. The meat is indeed from thinking, talking creatures; they're just not humans. The very idea!
- One of the factions you meet in Rebuild: Gangs of Deadsville is the Pig Farmers, whose primary trade good, naturally, is food. However, it soon becomes obvious that there are no longer any actual pigs on their farm.
- In The Elder Scrolls, the In-Game Novel "The Red Kitchen Reader" describes the most delicious meal that a world-renowned chef ever experienced: a roast that he found in a hidden kitchen under an abandoned house as a child, which taught him "that food can and should be sublime". The description matches an assassin cult lair that has a vampire on staff, so the trope is strongly implied.
- In the RuneScape quest, "Broken Home" the player can find a healing item called Mystery Meat which completely heals the player, but cannot be taken outside of the mansion that the quest takes place in. One of the rewards for the quest is a ring that, when worn, causes certain enemies to drop an item called undercooked mystery meat, which heals the player by 15% of max health. Almost all of the enemies that drop this item either are or were human.
- In Divinity: Original Sin II, there is a bar owner who will not sell his meaty stew to elves, instead trying to convince them to eat something else. This isn't fantastic racism or a dietary restriction, but knowledge that elves can see the memories of the dead when they eat them, which would allow them to reveal his big secret: he and his cook have been murdering magisters, and putting their body parts into the stew.
- In Hitman 2, you can encounter a random NPC who's heavily implied to have murdered the previous owner of her house and did this with his remains. Interestingly, she's otherwise not related to the game's plot, and it's very easy to go through the mission without knowing anything is amiss.
- In Drowtales Vaelia, a human living among a society of drow that not only use her kind as slaves, but often view them as a food source, is jokingly told the meat she is being served is human meat. Despite it being a joke, the fact it could be human meat anyway is enough to make Vaelia eat a loaf of bread instead.
- In Homestuck Gamzee shows up out of the blue in Act 6 to sell "potions" to Jane that suspiciously have the same (blood) color and promised properties as each of the dead trolls whose bodies he had hidden away. You can try to turn him down, But Thou Must! buy them from him either way.
- A mind controlled/corrupted Jane continues the tradition by reselling the "potions" to Kanaya. They don't even bother hiding what they are since the the buyer is a a vampire and thus wouldn't mind (and in fact killed one of them). She seems to lack any control and buys THOUSANDS of bottles.
- Two Guys and Guy leaves it ambiguous.
Wayne: This is tasty, what is it?*Beat Panel, followed by Wayne apprehensively eating the "Not people"*
- In the dystopian Alternate History story For All Time, the government of France (led by Jean-Bedel Bokassa) begins to supply "Equatorial Pork" - made from executed dissidents - to the French people to alleviate a famine.
- In Film Cow's "The Walrus Song", the singer reveals that he has been feeding the walrus the meat of other walruses, and rubs it in her face for the rest of the song.
- The Simpsons:
- A "Treehouse of Horror" episode had the school cook butchering random children and feeding the students with the cooked meat.
Lisa: Bart, does it strike you as odd that Uter disappeared and suddenly they're serving us this mysterious food called "Uterbraten"?
- Another "Treehouse of Terror" episode had a segment sending up Sweeney Todd. Homer falls in Moe's microbrewery still and the beer gets infused with his blood. Moe serves the pink brew to Marge, which reminds her of her husband for some reason. Moe keeps the truth secret in an attempt to get Marge all to himself.
- A "Treehouse of Horror" episode had the school cook butchering random children and feeding the students with the cooked meat.
- In the first episode of Bob's Burgers, Bob has to fight allegations that his burgers have human meat. In the show's original pitch this was actually true.
- Animaniacs has a variant in the Rita & Runt parody of Les Misérables, where Rita's owner's meat pies are not selling, so he starts secretly using the cats he shelters for the pies. Since the protagonist is a cat, it has the same effect.
Fry: Maybe the secret ingredient... is people!
- In the episode "Fun on a Bun", Fry is helping Bender make sausage from frozen mammoth meat when he gets caught in the grinder. When Leela bites into a link and finds scraps of Fry's hair and clothes, she assumes the worst. Turns out Fry escaped being ground up, but fell into a hole in the ice and discovered a Lost World of Neanderthals. While the sausage was just good because it was "aged" for 30,000 years.
- Soylent Green often appears in a variety of episodes and is treated very casually.
Leela: No, there's already a soda like that—Soylent Cola.
Fry: Oh... how's it taste?
Leela: It varies from person to person.
Fry: Wow! They've got every kind of meat here except human.
- Further alluded to in "My Three Suns", when the gang visits a Neptunian market.
Neptunian Butcher: What, you want human?
- Played with in SpongeBob SquarePants where Plankton (with the help of his entire family) seemingly finally discovers the secret recipe for the Krabby Patty, only to learn that the main ingredient is four heaping pounds of freshly ground plankton. Turns out it was a fake recipe Mr. Krabs had to dupe him.
- Teen Titans Go!: This is apparently the secret ingredient in Mother May Eye's pies (and not love) as she attempts to bake Robin, Raven and Starfire into pies in "Pie Bros".
- Gus from The Cleveland Show serves "hairy turkey sandwiches" that contain slices of flesh stolen from graveyards.
- Codename: Kids Next Door used a non-lethal but nonetheless disgusting version on an episode about a pinkeye epidemic at the local school. Turns out the school nurse was been spreading the disease so she could scrape the crust off students' eyes and use it as crust for a pastry (the ending implied she also made the filling out of snot). That same nurse turned up in another episode making cereal from shredded up Rainbow Monkeys (at the time they were merely plush toys, but were being treated as living things nonetheless). When Numbuh 3 and Numbuh 5 discover her secret, she tries to use them as ingredients too.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: Subverted in "Heads of Beef". When Eustace takes Courage to a new fast food restaurant, Courage looks around, and notices many strange things that lead him to assume that the restaurant's owner, a Pig Man named Jean Bon, is making his hamburgers out of human flesh. It turns out that everything Courage saw was just an unfortunate coincidence. Jean Bon's burgers really are made of beef that's sculpted to resemble customers as a marketing gimmick, and he doesn't mean to hurt anyone.
- A Robot Chicken short involved a SpongeBob SquarePants parody where Mr. Krabs was using fish meat as an ingredient for the Krabby Patty.
- Subverted and parodied on Johnny Bravo when Johnny and Pops get to take a tour of the factory where Johnny's favorite jerky is made. At one point Johnny believes that Pops got made into jerky, but when he finds him alive Pops reveals that the jerky's primary ingredient is soy cake, which horrifies Johnny even more.
- In the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", the chili that Cartman prepares for a cookoff is made from a teenager's parents, whom Cartman murdered. The teen breaks down crying after seeing his mother's ring finger in the chili, and Cartman mocks the teen for eating his parents.