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The Secret of Long Pork Pies

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"[And] as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting, – sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard!"
Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

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, sausages and what have you 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 in some parts of the world, sadly Truth in Television in others, that street vendors use disgusting and/or stray animals to make meat products such as kebabs. Indeed, the phrase "long pork" comes from an 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 mammals 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.

However, chefs who are given sufficient motives by the writers for this behavior are rather rare. If the chef themself is just a cannibal, then it must be asked why they're serving other people the meat they so prize. If the work is operating under the aforementioned rumor that long pork is somehow superior in taste to pig pork, then it must be asked why the chef went with such an illegal and morally repugnant method of improving their dish, rather than, say, looking up some new recipes. Occasionally, it has nothing to do with cannibalism or taste, but is simply a manner of Disposing of a Body.

Not to be confused with Fed to Pigs.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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 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. When the party does end up eating a griffin, Senshi realizes that it doesn't taste like how it did back then, seemingly confirming his fears... only for Laios to realize that the "griffin" that Senshi had eaten back then was actually most likely a hippogriff. Upon using the changelings nearby to turn the meat into hippogriff meat, Senshi breaks down in tears, having finally been able to eat the meal one more time and having his fears put to rest.
  • 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 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...
  • 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. They also gave the mindset to Yamagishi, as when he has to deal with corpse disposal he just pretends it's all pigs to butcher (implying it's not the first time)... And this way he manages to remain oblivious to where his parents have disappeared in spite of handling the bodies himself.
  • In the short story "Greased" from Voices in the Dark, 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 father's bodily fluids have been replaced by grease, which is implied to have been true for the son as well.

    Comic Books 
  • The Dregs: Customers dining at the trendy new restaurant La Mancha are unaware that they're being fed human 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.
  • In Fairest #3, the Snow Queen serves Ali Baba and Briar Rose some delicious meat in tarragon sauce... goblin meat, that is. Briar Rose immediately throws up upon learning what she ate.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 (1993), Tim Drake 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 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).
  • Spider-Man: In a 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.)
  • 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...
  • 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 one X-Men story arc, a man in a Canadian meat packing plant accidentally kills a co-worker and proceeds to cover it up by grinding the corpse in with the beef, leading to nearly the entire population of a rural town being turned into Wendigoes when they unwittingly receive and eat the beef in question.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The 3 Little Pigs: The Movie, it’s heavily implied that Rublad the fox plans to process several different animals into various meat products, then market and sell them as being made from "pork", although since the main cast consists of various animals, it comes across more like a generic shady business practice. He basically gives away the game when trying to stuff Big Boss into his machine during their fight.
    Rublad: "Just wait here my friend, in a few moments, you will be a juicy pork pie!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 31, the remaining carnies find a dinner waiting for them. After eating some of it, it turns out to be the remains of a slain friend.
  • Hinted at in The Book of Eli. The protagonists see an old couple offering out sandwiches of lunch meat that couldn't possibly exist given the nature of the setting. Eli takes note of the fact that their hands are shaking severely and surmises that they're cannibals handing out human meat; the hand-tremors are because they've likely contracted kuru disease from their diet.
  • In Buy Now, Die Later, it's revealed that Ato murdered people and turned them into meat in order to use the recipe book that Santi had given to him.
  • Cadaver (2020): This was Mathias' whole plan from the start, and his means of allowing him and his friends and/or family to survive in the post-war city. Each night, they have one of theirs go out into the city and lure people to the hotel with the promise of dinner and a show. During the show, the actors would lure the guests to private areas and drop them through Trap Doors into catacombs, where large people in white clothes would take them to the kitchen and process them into food so they can eat them. Only Hans and Lars seem in on it, though. The other actors are horrified and disgusted when Leonora reveals the truth at the end of the movie.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dark Maidens: The stew that the members have been eating throughout the movie was made out of Itsumi's organs, which Sayuri made after killing her.
  • 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 ...
  • The inbred bogan Cannibal Clan of Dying Breed turn their victims into pies and sell them to passing travellers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The horror film Ebola Syndrome has a subplot where Kai, running a Chinese restaurant in Johannesburg, kills the owners and turns their meat into human patties for the restaurant's trademark char siew rice.
  • Frank Bennett gets treated this way in Fried Green Tomatoes; the secret's in the sauce.
  • Fresh Meat: Celebrity chef Margaret Crane's famous meat pies, which are available for purchase from her website.
  • The Funhouse Massacre: Jeffery "Animal The Cannibal" Rameses was once a chef who would kill customers of the restaurant he worked at, cut up their corpses, and served them to other customers. One of his Flashbacks shows him cutting up human fingers and putting them in a pan of food.
  • 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.
  • Lillith's "world famous meat pies" in Hansel and Gretel turn out to be this. Gretel continues the tradition in Hansel vs. Gretel.
  • Hoboken Hollow: After they kill their slaves, the staff of the Hoboken Hollow ranch turn their flesh into jerky which Mrs. Broderick sells at her truck stop.
  • 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.
  • The Ghost Granny from the kung-fu film, The Magic Blade, originally appears to be a benevolent old lady running a foodstall, but is actually a serial killer who poisons her customers and collect their bodies for her meat soup.
  • Main Street Meats: The siblings working for Main Street Meats manage to save their business when they start serving people meat. It quickly becomes their most popular product, and gets them to represent the annual meat fest. It's at the meat fest where their secret is discovered when a woman finds her missing daughter's finger in a hot dog. This revelation causes everyone to start puking all over the place and running away.
  • 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.
  • One of the heroes in Monster Man finds out to his horror that he is eating chili made of people.
  • In Motel Hell, Farmer Vincent makes the best smoked meat in the Deep South. It is because he makes them from people.
  • In New Dragon Gate Inn, the innkeeper of the Dragon Gate Inn, the lively Jade, runs a sideline in which she seduces and murders her guests. Jade also keeps whatever money the customer has, then drops them down a chute to the kitchen and have them served as the meat in buns. The cutting up is done by her cook Dao, an expert at stripping meat to the bones.
  • In Parents, a young boy in a Stepford Smiler Fifties discovers that his folks have been serving human flesh as "leftovers" all along.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: A good bit of Foreshadowing about the true nature of the Pelegostos occurs during Will's initial search, when he learns about the location of the Black Pearl beached on an island from a spice trader who also mentions that he trades with the native tribe in exchange for "delicious long pork", hinting at his own culinary "tendencies".
  • In the Michael Palin- and Terry Jones-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...
  • The "gin sung" the main characters are served throughout Shriek Of The Mutilated turns out to be human flesh.
  • "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!
  • 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 standalone sequel, The Untold Story 2, repeats the premise, but with char siew noodles instead.

  • "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!!!"

  • 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.
  • Discworld:
    • 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 abattoir, 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.
  • 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 The Feast of the Goat, Miguel Ángel Baez Díaz is given a stew made from the flesh of his own son. He's even shown the head.
  • 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 ...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Missionary Stew by Ross Thomas features this in the first chapter as part of an Eat the Evidence scheme.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Rex Nihilo with Ubiqorp's original SLOP (Semi-Liquid Organic Provisions) which tasted absolutely disgusting and it's implied that their new plant-based SLOP tastes similarly bad precisely because it tries to mimic the original's flavour.
  • 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"...
  • 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.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: "Wonderful Sausage" has an evil butcher named Samuel Blunt kill people and pets, using their remains to make a special sausage that he sells to unknowing customers.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Inns in the Flea Bottom area of King's Landing serve a distinctive stew known as "brown", that is rumored to sometimes contain people as part of its whole use-anything, Mystery Meat nature. 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 bowls 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, unsold mixed seafood, injured horse, feral pigeon, ancient dried fish, forgotten jerky, dock rat, stray cat, unlucky rabbit and/or random dog you're getting served. Or, just 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 the slaves themselves find out, they're quite appalled.
  • The Stanley Ellin story "Specialty of the House" deals with an exclusive restaurant which occasionally offers kitchen tours to its (fattened) premier customers, who are never seen again. It's implied but not stated outright that they become the titular dish, which the proprietor claims is lamb (rather than pork) sourced from one extremely specific flock of sheep in Afghanistan. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tom Sharpe uses this as a plot-point in two novels. In Wilt, the hero realises he is being interrogated for the supposed murder of his wife by some not very bright policemen, who are determined to get a confession by all possible means, including low-level torture. He realises the only way out is to confess to the murder, but make his confession so far-fetched and ridiculous that any sensible court will throw it out. Fresh from his experience of trying to teach industrial workers on day release, he concocts a story involving the production lines of a local pork pie factory. The police take it seriously and all production is suspended and products recalled whilst the meat is tested for human content. Meanwhile in South Africa, in Riotous Assembly, the hapless Piemberg Police Force have to search the raw material going into the JoJo Abbatoir And Petfoods (and Servant) Meat Canning Factory for exactly the same reason. In African heat.
  • The Year of the Flood: For a time Toby has a job at a fast-food restaurant named "SecretBurgers!" where the "mystery" of the Mystery 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 SecretBurgers! know how horrible the food is, but they simply can't afford to care, underscoring what a Crapsack World the setting is.
  • 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.
  • Rick Hautala's short story Breakfast at Earls takes place in a small town where during deer season, the titular restaurant does a lot of early morning business with Gary the cook's famous Hunter's Stew. If you want to know the twist, just remove the apostrophe.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents adapted the abovementioned "Specialty of the House" as an episode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Blood Drive, the Pixie Swallow motel serves human meat in their diner disguised as hamburgers, steaks, etc. Particular body parts are used for particular meats:
    Arthur: I'm pretty sure that corn-dog was somebody's...
    Grace: Don't say it.
  • 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.
  • Referenced in an episode of Brassic. At a fundraiser to save the community centre, the local eccentric Irish undertaker runs a barbecue stall called "Suspiciously Cheap Meat". When someone points out the inappropriateness of the name he replies "It's a joke. Get it? Because I'm an undertaker".
  • 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.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: After Lilith develops feelings for Mary Wardwell's fiancé Adam, the Dark Lord tricks her into eating his corpse disguised as a roast. She's disgusted and horrified, but he forces her to keep eating it as punishment.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Lucky" has a Satanic unsub who runs a little BBQ restaurant, and even "kindly" provides 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.
  • CSI: In "Appendicitement", the owner of a BBQ restaurant was killed by a disgruntled employee, who then disposed of the body by cooking it up and serving it to the customers. The flashback implies it was very popular.
  • Dead Man's Gun: This becomes the fate of the former poisoner turned arrogant chef in "The Chef".
  • 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".
  • FreakyLinks: The ending of Desert Squid episode suggests that the guy with the tentacle arm served the agents he captured as a lunch in his new diner.
  • In the season six finale of Game of Thrones, Arya recreates one of the most famous scenes from the books, though in the novels she played no part in it. While in the books three minor Freys are fed to a banquet of traitors against the north, in the series, 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Gotham:
    • 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.
  • Hannibal's dinner parties are the toast of Baltimore.
  • 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 Kingdom (2019), the starving villagers are tricked into drinking stew made out of a diseased corpse while thinking it is actually venison. This is also the origin of the outbreak.
  • In The Last of Us (2023), much like in the game, David is the leader of a religious cult that has taken to cannibalism. In a small divergence from the source material, he says to Ellie that only a select few in his flock know that they are substituting animal meat with "venison". It is implied, however, that a fair number of David's following are aware, or at least suspicious, of what they are actually eating, but say nothing to avoid rousing David's ire.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • In the 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 made from a cadaver meat stolen from a local morgue. Well, at least she didn't off them herself.
  • The music video for "Narcissistic Apathy" by Ingested. The band eventually figures this out and confronts the chef over it at the end of the video, but the chef kills the bandmates and griunds their meat to use it for his recipes.
  • 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".
  • Macabre: Georg Grossman would kill prostitutes, butcher them, then feed them to the hungry people of Berlin during a famine.
  • Songs by Tom Lehrer: The druggist's mother-in-law in Tom Lehrer's "My Home Town" ends up as ice cream topping.
  • The video for "The Abortion Song" by Kunt and the Gang ends with Ronald McDonald dragging his pregnant girlfriend to his fast food restaurant and then Kunt finding a baby clown's head amongst his fries.

  • In Dark Dice dwarven bard Rowena has a very vivid dream where she must eat a pot of a rancid meat stew in order to reach a key hidden at the bottom of the pot. Partway through, she comes across a pair of eyes, and later the head of Lady Cavernsfall, the party's cleric, who Rowena had murdered while under the influence of a cursed sword.
  • In the podcast drama The Horror of Dolores Roach, Dolores strangles her landlord while giving him a massage, and her friend Luis, who runs a struggling empanada shop, disposes of the evidence by mixing it into the meat. The "special" proves quite popular.
  • Less is Morgue, a show that already loves and makes liberal use of Black Comedy Cannibalism, introduced The Last Chance Texas Style Barbecue in episode 9, which is revealed to be selling human meat in a hilariously blasé fashion.
    Riley: Oh, speaking of, all this barbecue is human flesh.
    Evelyn: What!?
    Riley: You would think they'd put that on the website for allergy reasons, but apparently that's not the world we live in.
    Evelyn: Are you positive it’s human?
    Riley: Evelyn, you of all people should be aware that I know what human beings taste like. [Chewing] Really, I should have seen this coming, seeing as the delivery guy was wearing a mask made of human skin, but I don't keep up with fashion - I figured it might've just been what was in this season, you know?
  • Brimstone Valley Mall: Misroch runs a hot dog stand in the mall, and uses human flesh in their recipies. They mention getting the supplies from the local morgue, but they're not above killing people who know too much. They are absurdly bad at hiding it; on her first day, Trainee finds a human hand in the fryer. Fortunately, Misroch is a terrible salesperson, so hardly anyone actually eats the food.
  • TomServo3 has a parody of above mentioned "Wonderful Sausage" story in her "Tomservo's Terrifying Tales from the Toaster" series. In this version, Samuel Blunt's sausage is made from his wife, seasoned with salt and shit, adding some childrens and grown-ups and kittens and puppies, added some fat blunts, added some humans with a bit of garlic and named it "Blunt's Special Human Sausage".
  • The Magnus Archives has this as a common feature of accounts involving The Flesh, which represents the fact that all is meat. Some such accounts include a takeaway corrupted by a Flesh cultist where the patrons are pretty sure they weren't eating anybody (despite what the tabloids said), and an account of a cursed meatgrinder that caused a man to keep chopping off his arm and using the grinder to grow a replacement arm, so he could serve the crew of his ship a never-ending supply of fresh meat.

    Print Media 
  • 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).

  • The Price of Fear has an episode adapting the story "Speciality of the House", mentioned in the Literature section above. The special dish the restaurant serves is here referred to as Lamb Amistan (an anagram of "it's a man"), and apparently tastes amazing (to the point where even recounting the story years later after figuring out the truth, Vincent still sounds very enthusiastic about the food and almost seems to miss the taste, though he says he's "never yet dared to attempt" to cook it himself...)

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deadlands: Reverend Grimme and the Cult of Lost Angels take advantage of a food shortage this way.
  • Played with in one of the Grimtooth's Traps books. A butcher shop's offerings have a "mysterious and forbidden flavor". If the adventuring party takes the wrong exit after lunch, they end up on the menu — the unlabeled "meat" is from other dungeon delvers who walked into the processing department.
  • Hunter: The Vigil: One of the sample cults is a Cannibal Clan hidden behind the front of a celebrity chef's gourmet restaurant. The pâté 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.
  • Paranoia: No Troubleshooters have ever fallen into Food Vat #574 due to Commie sabotage of guardrails.
  • Shadowrun: In the Germany sourcebook, one bit of shadowtalk appended to the description of Berlin refers to a restaurant that reputedly serves dishes centering around servings of human (and dwarf, elf, ork and troll) meat. Another shadowtalker immediately posts to deny the place even exists, however. And of course, this being Shadowrun, there are parts of the world that do away with the "secret" part and openly serve metahuman meat to ghouls... with varying degrees of freshness.
  • The Strange: In the Sunny Flakes cereal line in New York Grey, humans are dried, powdered, and processed into an innocuous-looking ingredient that is fed back up to the regular factory floor. Yes, Sunny Flakes is people.
  • Top Secret adventure "Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle'': Anyone who dies in "Sanctuary" (a local hospital) is ground up and sold to the public.

  • 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. The song God, That's Good! in the musical has customers asking what her secret ingredient is...
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Backbone: When Howard gets to the depths of The Bite, he finds out that the operation the place is running is not just a whorehouse, but that they're killing patrons and turning them into meat.
  • In Crusader Kings III, there is one possible event where your character, after some snooping in the kitchen, discovers that their chef is feeding them children. You can choose either to punish the chef, or to let it go since it was just so delicious, netting you a slight health boost and the "cannibal" secret.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II, there is an elven chef in the local tavern who will not sell her 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 her big secret: she's been murdering magisters, and putting their body parts into the stew.
  • Dead Plate: The indie homoerotic-horror point-and-click visual novel-restaurant tycoon hybrid centers on this idea. Subverted, as it's not the customers being served human flesh.
  • Elden Ring: It's rather heavily implied that the Raw Meat Dumplings (healing items that also poison you) are made of human flesh. The description points out that it's not for those who like to know the nature of their meats.
  • 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 various locations in The Elder Scrolls Online, there are laboratories and other facilities in which chunks of meat laying around are implied to be disemboweled humanoid flesh. They are identified upon rollover as pork and can be used as a white meat in provisioning.
  • 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.
  • Fallout:
    • In the original 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 selling meat at unbeatable prices. He stated that people who ate said meat got "the shakes", which he knew you could only get from eating human flesh, but nobody believed him. Sure enough, when the guy died and someone else moved into his now vacant house, they found a bunch of corpses hidden in the crawlspace.
    • 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.
    • Both 3 and New Vegas have an item called "Strange Meat", which is all but stated to be human flesh that gets sold to unwitting customers without telling them what it really is. Eating it notably does not give you the karma loss that you would get from knowingly eating human flesh, nor does it turn any onlookers hostile.
    • 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.
  • Graveyard Keeper: You can harvest flesh from the corpses brought to your graveyard and either sell it at the Dead Horse Inn or make it into burgers and serve them at the Inquisitor's witch-burnings. No one seems to notice, or particularly care.
  • In Hector: Badge of Carnage, the owner of Beefmart implies that this is the fate of any health inspectors who threaten to close him down, and advises Hector not to purchase any meat from a particular bucket of "veal".
  • 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 Little Nightmares, the Maw's food is made using captured children (and, it is implied, previous Guests). The protagonist Six can suffer this fate if she's caught in certain segments- the Chefs will prepare her in a dish, while the Guests will just eat her raw.
  • In Master Detective Archives: Rain Code, the meat buns beloved by everyone in Kanai Ward turn out to be secretly made with the corpses of death row inmates, as part of the dietary needs of the city's populace.
  • 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."‎
  • 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 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.
  • Sally Face: Inverted. The bologna at the school cafeteria is discovered to be human meat because it tastes wrong.
  • 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!
  • In Space Station 13, the surest sign you're dealing with a traitor chef is if most of the meat that comes out of the kitchen is other crew members. Or a non-traitor chef, since there's an even chance that dead bodies will end up dragged into the kitchen instead of the cloning lab.
  • Spellforce III: One sidequest in Everlight has you hunt down some bad guy who chops up orcs and sells their flesh as wyvern meat. To make matters worse: he's an orc himself. He does it because he hates the orcish society and wants to get back at them.
  • The description of the Bio-Reprocessing Plants in Stellaris openly admits that disloyal employees are one of the ingredients in the food produced there. While it makes sense that a Syndicate would stoop to cannibalism, even legitimate Corporations are implied to engage in this; the description of the Fast Food Chain includes a disclamer that the food sold there includes traces of soylent green.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the second episode in Season One of The Walking Dead (Telltale), 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 We Happy Few, one sidequest involves a butcher who's been using human flesh in making V-meat. He justifies himself with the massive food shortage going on in Wellington Wells (people high on Joy aren't very good at running a city). You can either help him or turn him in to the authorities, who do not agree with his reasoning and arrest him.
  • In World of Horror, there is the "Long Pig Steak" you can acquire during a certain event. Eating it gives you the Hunger curse.
  • XCOM 2:
    • One of the few good things about the fascist Advent regime 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?
    • The spinoff XCOM: Chimera Squad explicitly mentions the recipe has been changed to use Artificial Meat for ethical reasons. This means that, during the occupation, it wasn't...

  • 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.
  • Tales of the Unusual: "Cafe" involves a Mean Boss being recommended a coffee cafe which sells some particularly good drinks. The owner claims they just put animal blood in it to make it taste better and offers her a visitation coupon. She manages to fill it and offered to try an exclusive drink. Only to find out that it has an eyeball in it, plus it was likewise poisoned. When her assistant comes for a visit, she sees the boss's name as one of the new drinks.
  • The Bikini Bottom Horror: What's the secret ingredient in Krabby Patties? Patrick Star! Namely, a clone that regenerated from a severed limb, which Mister Krabs keeps restrained and carves up for meat. Everyone who finds out understandably takes it badly, but the original (we think) Patrick takes it worst.
  • Two Guys and Guy leaves it ambiguous.
    Wayne: This is tasty, what is it?
    Frank: Not people.
    Beat Panel, followed by Wayne apprehensively eating the "Not people"
    • In one of the guest comics, Frank hosts a barbecue, and when Wayne and Guy ask about it, there's a flashback to a version of Frank time-traveling from the future and murdering his past counterpart to prevent him conducting an experiment with apparently unfavorable outcome. Wayne has no idea what this story has to do with the barbecue, but Guy is suddenly suspicious of her serving.

    Web Original 
  • A rather mundane example can be found in the titular Blue Monster Brand Cookies, which were designed to have the exact elemental proportions to a human body per cookie.note  While sold to the general public, their recipe was commissioned by a family of rich lunatics to feed a giant Corrupted Character Copy of Cookie Monster they poached a cheap substitute for its preferred meal of choice: people. They taste very lackluster with their very own creator deriding them as "basically dog biscuits for animals that eat humans."
  • In FilmCow'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.
  • French Baguette Intelligence: In Vegan Cannibalism is the Future, Harry suggests solving world hunger by serving human meat to poor and starving people and telling them that it is veal.
    Vegan: That is so SICK! You can't just feed people human flesh without telling them!
    Harry: Yes, you can. In fact, you may realise that it is far easier to feed people human flesh if you don't tell them what it is than it would be if you do.
    Em: Vegan diets are healthy, right?
    Faux Cares: No.
    Vegan: Yes. Very healthy.
    Em: Great! So vegans should be healthier to eat.
    Harry: Excellent. We shall save the world and put an end to world hunger by forcing the best vegan diet onto them: Cannibalism.
  • 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.
  • Obscured Eyes: All of Catherine's pastries contain human flesh. After killing and cannibalizing her own mother, she gained a taste for people's flesh, and started to incorporate the meat into her baked goods.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-4670 is a Greek woman who runs a pulled pork restaurant. When a Foundation-certified cannibal visited her restaurant, he thought it tasted familiar. Turns out she can turn people into pigs through skin-on-skin contact and uses it to run her restaurant and get rid of officers investigating her for drug trafficking and prostitution.
    • SCP-7115 revolves around a factory in the early 1900s where conditions were so bad that in order to survive the workers turned to the help of Klavigar Nadox, who started turning people into pigs and feeding them to the starving workers. While it's mostly defied as the workers knew what they were eating, it's played straight in one scene where a worker confronts Nadox, who serves her cured pork fat and molasses before informing her that the pork used to be another worker who'd confronted him earlier.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Patreon short story "Sweet as Sugar Candy", Leah uses human bone as the secret ingredient in her marshmallows.
  • TomServo3: "A Cannibalistic Butcher Kills His Fatass Wife", one of her "Terrifying Tales from the Toaster" uses the audio from Wonderful Sausage of the previously mentioned Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. This version goes one step further, however, in that Samuel Blunt outright tells everyone he killed his wife and calls his new dish "Blunt's Special Human Sausage". Despite this the people of the town are incapable of linking "Blunt the Murderer" to the dissapearance of people and animals.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs has a variant in the Rita & Runt parody of Les Misérables; Due to meat shortages, Rita's owner can no longer produce his gourmet meat pies and his attempts to make do aren't even palatable to dogs. On the advice of a dog-catcher who's hunting Runt, he decides to start chopping up his cats in a direct allusion to Sweeney Todd. Since the protagonist is a cat, it has the same effect.
  • In the first episode of Bob's Burgers (where the sign in the page image comes from), Bob has to fight allegations that his burgers have human meat. In the show's original pitch this was actually true.
  • 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 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.
    • Played more straightly in Operation F.A.S.T-F.O.O.D. where they discover that a local burger joint's "Kids Meal" was very literal: "The Kids Meal contains 1 drink, 1 toy and 1 kid on a bun". It's not played completely straight in that they are selling them to sharks instead of to other humans, but still...
  • 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.
  • Futurama:
    • 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. It turns out that Fry escaped being ground up but fell into a hole in the ice and discovered a Lost World of Neanderthals. 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, such as in "Fry and the Slurm Factory":
      Fry: Maybe the secret ingredient... is people!
      Leela: No, there's already a soda like that — Soylent Cola.
      Fry: Oh... how's it taste?
      Leela: It varies from person to person.
    • Further alluded to in "My Three Suns", when the gang visits a Neptunian market.
      Fry: Wow! They've got every kind of meat here except human.
      Neptunian Butcher: What, you want human?
  • 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 vitamin-enriched soy cake, which horrifies Johnny even more.
  • Moville Mysteries: The Bait-and-Switch opening of "Scarin' O' The Green" makes it look like Mo and his Granny are harvesting corpses for Granny's recipes, but they're actually just collecting ginger root.
  • Regular Show: In "Every Meat Burritos", one of the meats included in the aforementioned burritos is "long pork" as shown in a blink and you'll miss it moment where the ingredients are listed. Apparently it all Tastes Like Chicken anyway.
  • In Rick and Morty, Morty learns that the delicious spaghetti Rick's been serving the family came from dead Human Aliens. Rick gives a technobabble explanation that when they're Driven to Suicide, the stress and cortisol causes the starch content of their bloodstream to turn their organs into pasta. Morty's Chronic Hero Syndrome kicks in and he confesses everything to not just the family, but the race he ate, causing things to spiral out of control (again) as their planetary government goes to extreme lengths to produce "ethically-sourced" human spaghetti for profit. Rick's solution? Tricking everyone into emotionally connecting to the people they were eating, making them lose taste for it once and for all.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch titled "Krabby Patties" involves a SpongeBob SquarePants parody where SpongeBob finds out that Mr. Krabs was using crab meat as an ingredient for the Krabby Patty. When he tells it to everyone in the Krusty Krab, they beat up Mr. Krabs in absolute anger.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse of Horror V" has 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"?
      Principal Skinner: Oh, relax, kids. I've got a gut feeling Uter's around here somewhere, hahahahaha! After all, isn't there a little Uter in all of us? Hahahaha... Hahaha, in fact, you might even say we just ate Uter, and he's in our stomachs... right now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!... Wait, scratch that one.
    • "Treehouse of Terror XX" has 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.
  • 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.
    • This become even more gruesome and twisted once it was revealed that Scott's father was also Cartman's, effectively meaning that Cartman killed his own dad and served him to his half-brother. Cartman being Cartman, however, is far more shocked at the revelation of him being half-ginger than the heinous crime he committed.
  • 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".

    Real Life 
  • German serial killers Carl Grossmann, Karl Denke and Fritz Haarmann were all accused of having sold the meat of their victims as pork in the early 1900s, although in the latter's case it was more of a rumor.
  • Yì Yá, a cook from the Spring-Autumn Period of China who, after hearing his master say he'd never eaten human flesh, killed and cooked his own son to serve to the master and gain his trust.
  • Canadian serial killer and pig farmer Robert Pickton confessed to the murders of 49 women and was charged with 27 in 2005, making him one of the most prolific killers in Canada's history. He was accused by the government of having ground up the victims' meat and mixed it with the pork he sold, but they later said it was just as likely they were simply Fed to Pigs instead.
  • American Serial Killer and Serial Rapist Joe Metheny confessed to having killed over a dozen Disposable Sex Workers and sold the meat as burgers from his roadside barbecue stand and food truck, but police could only find enough evidence to charge him with two murders. Due to heavy drug abuse, his accounts are likely a case of being Through the Eyes of Madness as he also claimed to have served in The Vietnam War after it had already ended.
  • American murderer, cannibal, and necrophiliac Ed Gein, real-life inspiration for Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs, was known for digging up fresh female corpses, eating parts of them and keeping other... parts as keepsakes. It was rumored but never definitively proven that he took the parts he didn't like, ground them up into sausage, and sold them to his friends and neighbors. They were apparently pretty good for homemade.
  • In Mexico City in 1971, María Trinidad Ramírez Poblano was arrested and confessed to killing her abusive husband, using some of the meat in tamales (a steamed cornbread often stuffed with chicken or, of course, pork) and selling those same tamales to unsuspecting customers. She was convicted and given a 40 year sentence.
  • Victorian Britain-era murderer Kate Webster was accused of selling her victim's fat to neighbours as lard or dripping, although this was never substantiated and was likely made up by the press.
  • Found in the home of serial pedophile and suspected serial killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah were a series of notebooks containing hand-written recipes for cooking children. Notably, after the disappearance of suspected victim Zach Ramsay, Bar-Jonah's financial records show no significant grocery purchases for a month. Also, hair and human tissue was found in a meat grinder owned by Bar-Jonah, specifically hair and human tissue confirmed not to belong to Zach Ramsay. Bar-Jonah was also well known for hosting large barbecues and cookouts, where 'funny tasting meat' was served.
  • An Iraqi couple known only by their first names, Abboud and Khajawa, murdered children during a famine in the early 1900s and sold their remains to members of the public in their restaurant (when they weren't eating them themselves). They killed around a hundred people and were only caught when a customer at their restaurant found a finger bone in the meal he had just eaten.
  • The 1830s French case of the Inn of Peyrebeille had a couple accused of robbing and murdering guests at their inn. One of the ways in which they were alleged to have disposed of the victims was by cooking their dismembered remains and serving them up to other guests, although the court did not take these claims seriously and modern historians have questioned if they actually killed anyone at all.


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How the Sockbats underwent genocide.

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