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"What's 'estrogen'? Can you eat it?"
female orc joke, World of Warcraft

Stock line for an Idiot Hero, Big Eater or Extreme Omnivore. Usually used to convey how out of touch a character is with whatever they are asking to eat.

Related to Sniff Sniff Nom. Also see I Ate What?

Examples of Is It Something You Eat? include:


Anime & Manga

  • Love Hina: Kaolla Su. At least in the manga, her standard question whenever she hears a new word/phrase/concept is "Can you eat it?" But then Kaolla is the kind of person who will absentmindedly gnaw on someone's limbs in her sleep if she share a bed with them.... She asks whether Tokyo University is a food at one point.

 Kaolla: What's Tokiyo-ewe? Is it a snack?

 Italy: Traffic laws? I've never eaten that sort of thing.

  • Also, in The Slayers, when Martina claims that Gourry is to be her fiancé, Gourry asks, "What's a fiancé? IS IT A PICKLE?! Hmmmm, but is it sweet or sour?"
  • This priceless bit from a Naruto filler:

 "French or soft. Which do you prefer?"

"Are you talking about food?"

(laughs) "Oh Lord. Kissing."

 Fungo: What is a "thief"? Can you... eat it?

 "A pager isn't something you eat!"

"That's for me to decide."

 "OK, the real fight starts now."

"Wait, Yuuji! You never trusted me from the beginning!"

"Trust? What is that? Is it edible?"

  • In Corrector Yui, the impossibly computer-illiterate title character initially mistakes "delete" for "dessert" and wonders where the food is. (Asamiya Kia's rewrite of the manga has her think it's "Doritos," but it leads to the same thing.) This kicks off a Running Gag of her mistaking "delete" for any similar-sounding words.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Juumonji's uptight father is described as originally thinking that American football (amefuto) was some kind of candy (since ame means "sweet" in Japanese).
  • In the English translation of the Black Butler manga, at one point Ciel is asking Sebastian who would teach him how to dance (as there was no time to get his normal dance tutors to), and points out that none of the others there would be able to teach him. Said others are shown drawn in a Chibi style, with "Does waltz taste yummy?" above them.
  • In Mai-HiME, Mikoto demonstrates her upbringing to her classmates.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, this is also a common question coming from Ed. Or when not asking, she's just seen trying to take a bite. No surprise, as she's a Cloudcuckoolander and the heroes are regularly starving.
  • Alice from Pandora Hearts takes this approach to both abstract and physical objects.
  • From the manga, Sleeper, we have:

  Ryu: What's a mad dog? What's a license? Is it a demon? Can we eat it?

  • In Toriko, when the warden of honey prison activates her love pheromones, Zebra isn't affected and asks what are pheromones and if he can eat them.
  • A little gem from Fairy Tail when Natsu controls Lucy's body with a voodoo doll and over-bends it in various positions that shouldn't be anatomically possile.

 Lucy: Natsu... Do you know what joints are?

Natsu: What are they? They sound tasty...


Comics -- Books

 Dilton: That Jughead stuffs himself silly.

Veronica: We can't tolerate this sort of conduct.

Dilton: Jughead! Have a little decorum!

Jughead: Okay.

(looks around the banquet table)

Jughead: Where is it?


Fan Works

 Piccolo: It's called sarcasm!

Goku: What's that taste like?

Piccolo: DAMN IT, Goku!

 Kaiba: It's a figure of speech, Mokie.

Mokuba: Oh. Can I eat it?


Films -- Live-Action

 Phil Connors: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?

Mrs. Lancaster: (serving breakfast) I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen.

  • In Help, there is a scene where George is holding a cymbal. He then takes a bite out of it.
  • From Clue:

 Wadsworth: "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die."

Prof. Plum: Die?

Wadsworth: Merely quoting, sir, from Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Col. Mustard: Hm, I prefer Kipling myself. "The female of the species is more deadly than the male." You like Kipling, Miss Scarlet?

Miss Scarlet: Sure, I'll eat anything.


Literature

  • Discworld
    • It must be repeatedly explained to Archchancellor Ridcully that Rincewind is a wizard, not a type of cheese.

 Ridcully: Sounds a sort of name you'd associate with cheese, I mean, a pound of Mature Rincewind, it rolls off the tongue...

    • Also, a variation in Unseen Academicals:

 Glenda: So you quite liked [the football game], then.

Nutt: Oh yes! The ambience was wonderful!

Glenda: I didn't try those, but the pease pudding is usually good.

  • The Hobbit features the trolls debating what a hobbit is and if you can eat one. Them being trolls, the answer is yes. Although, they ultimately decide that he's so small and miserable that it would be too much trouble to skin and bone him for the little meat that he has, and throw him away, almost forgetting about him. Now, thirteen drwarves with him, there's an idea for a good meal.
  • Stock line from Ned Land from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Professor Arronax and Conseil have a keen interest in wildlife, whereas Ned's interest is purely culinary.
  • Oddly, this also shows up in another Jules Verne work, The Mysterious Island, in which sailor Pencroft's only real interest in fauna and botany was mostly just in terms of edibility and taste.
  • In The Chronicles of Prydain, Orddu asks "What is a Gurgi? Do you eat it or sit on it?"


Live-Action TV

  • Vanessa's line from the series finale of Small Wonder: "Humans sure are weird. I wonder if they taste good?"
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Upon being presented with the game Simon, Trumpy gets the riff, "Can I eat it? It looks so good."
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: The post-apocalyptic gameshow. "What was hope?" "Was it a spice?" "What's a spice?"
  • In the My Name Is Earl episode "Sticks and Stones," when talking about the stock market:

 Randy: I'm confused. You own twenty thousand dollars worth of Kripsy Kremes, but you still have to pay for donuts?

Paul: I don't get donuts, I get dividends.

Earl: Mmm, dividends... are they like those little powdered munchkins?

  • In an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, Big Eater Jethro is threatened with a karate chop. He's looking forward to it because it he thinks it's like a pork chop. He later insists on getting one even though the person he's asking is a highly ranked martial artists who begs him not to ask for it. He also asks for a "judo roll" and a "sumo crush," thinking they're food. Each time he gets exactly what he asked for but doesn't get it and thinks he's being attacked for no good reason.


Newspaper Comics


Video Games

 Lloyd: Professor, what's a philanderer? Is it something you eat?

 Danette: Revowasshun? Wuzzat? Is it food? Does it taste good?

  • Touhou
    • In Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Reimu's normal route, she encounters this twice...

 Rumia: Are you the kind of person I can eat?

Reimu: Ever heard the phrase... "Good medicine tastes bad"?

[...]

Reimu: I'm a normal shrine maiden.

Meiling: That's good to hear. Certainly, I've heard that shrine maidens make for good eating ...

Reimu: Don't spread rumors like that!

    • Marisa turns it on its head:

 Patchouli: Then maybe I'll help myself.

Marisa: I'm really tasty.

Patchouli: Let's see, how to easily remove unneeded portions of food ...

[...]

Reimila: So, what are you here for? I'm already quite full, but ...

Marisa: Okay, but y'know, I'm hungry.

Remilia: ... You can eat me.

Marisa: You don't say?

    • One of Cirno's fanmade theme songs theme song, "Odenpa LOVE GIRL," has lyrics that nicely illustrates her idiocy with gems like "Is an abacus yummy? (I can't eat it!)"
    • This trope is also played with in one of the canon short stories. Marisa shows Reimu a prism, explains what it is, and adds, "You can't eat it," even though there's no reason to think Reimu would try to eat a hunk of glass. Reimu nonchalantly agrees that it seems hard, and the conversation continues.
  • In My Sims Kingdom, when Rusty steals a horseshoe, Gabby decides to round up a posse. Just then, you and your assistants walk up. Gabby says he's found his posse. Buddy asks if it's a kind of soup...
  • Chrono Trigger:

 Ayla: Pretty! Big! This Rainbow Shell? Can eat?

    • Ayla's first instinct on meeting Frog is also to ask if she can cook him. The party promptly shifts the conversation to asking if she's seen Magus. "Cape one more tasty?"
  • Wild Child Shea from Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness:

 Shea: Marriage? What that? Taste good?

  • Final Fantasy X
    • Variation: when your party battles the Dark Flans in Zanarkand, Rikku takes one look and muses, "Hmmm... is that edible?" A Fanfic even makes a Shout-Out to this, when Rikku jokes that Wakka describes Lulu's cooking as tasting like "burnt Flan." Of course, the joke is in the real world, flan is a type of food.
      • Final Fantasy XII gets rather meta: Flan the food was designed after Flan the monster.
  • A Running Gag in Metal Gear Solid 3 has Para-Medic describing the local wildlife and flora, with Snake asking what it tastes like. In his case, though, he can eat it, which seems to reliably Squick out Para-Medic even though Snake has little other choice in the tropical rainforest that is the Russian wilderness.
    • Taken to horrible levels in one of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl Easter egg transmissions where Snake contemplates eating Yoshi.
  • In Blaz Blue Taokaka's standard response to anything new is to ask if it's edible, even "black squiggly" Arakune, or an intangible concept:

 Tao: What's "unemployed"? Does it taste good?

  • In Lufia 2, an NPC says that he heard that, to do a basic game function, you must press a controller button. But he has no idea what a "Y button" is, so he wonders if it's edible.
  • In the Tiny Chao Garden found in certain Sonic the Hedgehog games, your Chao will sometimes ask "What is political reform? Is it tasty?"
  • A variant in The Space Bar. In the brief (but hilarious) segment playing as... intellectually wanting... alien Thud, you describe most objects by their edibility. For instance the bazooka is "Long. Heavy. Not edible." Despite this description, you can attempt to eat it.
  • In Castlevania Judgment:
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, one of the eventual party members is an Extreme Omnivore called Drong. The player character is in the service of Queen Gwendolyn, and wants to return to the palace and report to her. Drong immediately inquires, "What's a Queen Gwendolyn? Can I eat it?" Of course, he can technically eat Queen Gwendolyn.
  • Big Eater Token Mini-Moe Rika in Sakura Wars V doesn't know what Santa is and asks if she can eat it.
  • Gitaroo Man, upon losing to Panpeus:

 Panpeus: The Gitaroo is mine! Can I eat it?

  • In Digimon World, when Tokomon is explaining how time works in the Digital World, he asks if "seasons" are something you can eat.
  • In Street Fighter Alpha 3, Birdie admires Honda's hairstyle, leading the latter to introduce him to the concept of sumo.

 Birdie: Sumo? What's that? Some kind of raw fish dish?

  • In Epic Battle Fantasy, Matt comments that the enemies in a beach area don't look particularly tasty.
  • In Star Ocean: Second Evolution, a young Arlian boy says this when Claude asks him for information for a way back to his home planet at the beginning of the game:

 Boy:: A "spayship"? Is that something you can eat? I don't know what that is.


Web Animation

  • A Teen Girl Squad issue has three of the girls discussing their prom dresses. Meanwhile, tomboyish What's Her Face wonders aloud whether a "dress" is "a food."


Web Comics


Web Original


Western Animation

  • Family Guy
    • Lois tells Peter that his idea for a parade float based on an episode of Whos the Boss is a little esoteric, and we cut to Pete's brain as it attempts to decipher what "esoteric" means. "Does it mean 'sexy'?'" "No, no, it means delicious!" so Peter declares to her, "Lois, Who's The Boss? is not a food!"

 Brian: Swing and a miss.

    • Also this:

 Stewie: We are in a sexless marriage! We have yet to have sex!

Olivia: Do you even know what sex is?!

Stewie: That's not the poi... don't change the... It's a kind of cake?

 Yumi: It's Morse code, turkey!

Odd: Morse code turkey? Sounds pretty scrumptious...

(Even better in the French version...)

 Yumi: Mais c'est du morse, banane !

Odd: Du morse-banane ? Ç'a l'air bon, c'est japonais ?

 Chowder: Pepper spray? That sounds delicious! (gets sprayed in the face) AHHH!! I was wrong!! I was horribly wrong!!!

    • Fun fact: Dave's Insanity Sauce, a super-hot habanero extract sauce, has a "private reserve" variety with "twice the heat." In a contest to see which was spicier, Dave's Insanity Sauce weighed in at a higher Scovill rating than self-defense pepper spray. (Which, incidentally, you might be able to cook with.)
  • Taken to its logical extreme in Raggedy Ann and Andy A Musical Adventure. The Greedy, believing that a "sweetheart" is an edible object, attempts to steal Ann's candy heart to cure his own unhappiness.
  • A variation occurs in Dot and Keeto. Dot, shrunk down to the size of a bug and looking for the root that will change her back to normal size, encounters a praying mantis. The mantis asks if she wants anything to eat, and she tells him that what she wants is "like a carrot." The mantis then asks how many legs a "carrot" has.
  • In the Christmas Special O Christmas Tree, a squirrel attempts to explain christmas lights to a bear.

 Squirrel: You gotta plug 'em in. They're electric.

Bear: What does that mean?

Squirrel: Oh, I don't believe this. Don't you know what electricity is?

Bear: Some kind of fish?

Squirrel: (Face Palm)

 Wheezie: We're so close I can taste it!

Ord: Oh? What's it taste like?

Wheezie: It's just an expression, silly!

Ord: Oh... What's an expression taste like?

 mmmm... Pi

(after spraying his eggs with mace) mmmm... incapacitating *passes out*

  • The Critic when Jay meets Alice's ex-husband Cyrus as he was about to confess his feelings for her:

 Cyrus: I'd like to thank you for helping my wife. It's more than what I did.

Jay: Well, there are a lot of people in New York who would of done what I did. They're called putzes!

Cyrus: Hmm... I like pepperoni on my putzes.

Jay: I'll bet you do.

 Lucy: Do you like Beethoven?

Frieda: What?

Lucy: If you're gonna hang around here, you've gotta like Beethoven!

Frieda: All right, but I'll just have a small glass.

Schroeder kicks them both out

Lucy: You blew it, kid.


Real Life

  • Babies, in what Freud called the "oral phase", seem to use "stick it in your mouth" as their default object identification protocol. Especially when teething. This is because babies' eyesight is not all that good, and most of their working touch receptors are on their lips, so "stick it in your mouth" is just a method to feel it better, rather than a legitimate attempt to eat it.
  • Dogs: the old joke being a dog's thought process on finding something goes "If it's moving, chase it. If it's not moving, eat it. If you can't eat it, have sex with it."
    • Similar to babies above; since dogs don't have hands, the best way for them to get a feel for something is to put their mouth on it.
  • Humanity runs on this. How many foods are created by letting something spoil under specific conditions? Pickles, cheese, salami, beer, butter, etc. Basically, the invention of new food goes something like this:

 Step 1: Store something.

Step 2: X in my Y! (It's more likely than you think.)

Step 3: This stuff doesn't smell that bad. It's still good. Om nom nom nom.

Step 4: This is delicious... I'm a genius!

Step 5: ???

Step 6: Profit!

    • Another one: leavened bread was probably the result it being unintentionally left to rest long enough for yeast to cause the dough rising; the first person to eat it would have seem eating a strange new thing.
    • 1853: A customer keeps returning their french fries because they're "too thick" after one time to many, the chef decides to cut them ridiculously thin to see the guest's reaction. Thus potato chips are born.
  • Strangely enough, sharks are big time users of this trope. When a shark encounters something unusual, the first thing it will try to do is figure out what it is. Because sharks have no hands, they have to use their mouths. And because they have no lips, in order to touch it they have to bite it. Ouch. This is actually what causes a lot of the unprovoked shark attacks on humans, especially with the Great White. The shark in question either wants to figure out what we are, or thinks we might be a weird seal. Hence the shark attacks where a shark takes one bite or so and leaves. Of course, sometimes they don't.
    • The problem, of course, being that these investigations are made with two-foot wide jaws that can exert a 5 ton bite force. This is the rough equivalent of examining an egg by hitting it with a sledgehammer attached to your tongue.
    • This also serves to explain why sharks' stomach contents are so legendarily eclectic.
    • Its actually a well established fact that most sharks think humans taste disgusting, so presumably, a shark that has "attacked" a human once won't do it again because they've already "identified" human-shaped things as "not for eating."
  • The Times columnist Bernard Levin once wrote a column in which he asked, inter alia, "Can you eat quarks?" Sir Alan Cottrell wrote a brief letter in reply:

 Sir: Mr Bernard Levin asks 'Can you eat quarks?' I estimate that he eats 500,000,000,000,000,000,001 quarks a day.

  • Anyone encountering a new language, specially under strange circumstances like traveling to foreign land, will ask this question sooner or later.

Notes

  1. And by that we mean she heard his inner monologue
  2. A visual representation of how deeply is someone hidding a secret from him he can see using the Magatama
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