With mouthwatering meals and bizarre banquets, authors’ and directors’ intricate descriptions of foods in their books and movies are a crucial part of their world-building. When a story introduces us to its cuisine, it is really introducing us to the character’s customs and culture. What are the kinds of popular dishes these individuals enjoy? Do they see food as a means of expressing creativity, or is it solely for sustenance?
These questions become even more fascinating within the sci-fi and fantasy genre, where creative minds can run wild with the possibilities of unique treats. Maybe it’s a make-believe alcoholic beverage or a newly discovered fruit on a faraway planet. Regardless, these storytellers make us want to share a meal with their characters. Here is a list of the oddest foods and beverages from sci-fi and fantasy tales we’d want to sample for ourselves!
Food From Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books
The Book Eaters
Sci-fi/fantasy food: Books
Voracious readers are often described as “devouring books,” but this fantasy novel takes the saying to a whole new level. It follows a family of book eaters, or people who can retain information from books by consuming their pages. Unable to read or write, these characters rely on their magical tasting abilities to learn new information from literature. But not everyone is encouraged to taste the same types of books—Devon’s brothers grew up on daring adventure novels, while she and other book eater women were encouraged to eat sweet fairy tales.
The author provides wonderful descriptions of various books’ tastes and entices with details like “crisp gold bindings” or describes stories that are similar to “aromatic wine.” It’s a novel that explores the idea of who gets access to various types of information and who is prohibited while tempting readers to imagine how delightful ripping a page from a book and taking a nibble might be.
The Sol Majestic
Sci-fi/fantasy food: Everything from The Sol Majestic
This sci-fi story follows Kenna, a teen who has only ever heard of the finer delicacies the rich enjoy while he merely eats processed food like vending machine jerky to sustain him. However, this finally changes when he wins a free dinner at the galaxy’s most renowned restaurant—The Sol Majestic—where every meal is a grand experience, and he is introduced to new flavors he’s never fathomed prior.
The first meal that is presented to him is a soup that is “worth more than everything his family owns” and is described as containing “little globules of fat…glimmering like holograms.” Although it may initially appear like merely a standard chicken broth to readers, Kenna appears to have an other-worldly experience as he slurps down this scrumptious dish. The way Kenna becomes transfixed by this meal causes readers to become as intrigued as he is by The Sol Majestic’s popularity and makes us wonder how each of the renowned chefs’ dishes taste.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sci-fi/fantasy food: The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster cocktail
Definitely not for the faint of heart, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster cocktail featured in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy created by the president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, is said to be the “Best Drink in Existence.” If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will! Well, actually, maybe the description of its side effects will intrigue you. Apparently it’ll make you feel similar to “having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a gold brick.” I know this drink technically isn’t a food, but I couldn’t keep it off the list because it sounds quite frankly like the greatest and worst decision you might ever make, and if I ever had the opportunity, I would eagerly take a sip.
Food From Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movies
Sci-fi/fantasy food: Spartan fruit
This epic science fiction film by James Cameron takes viewers to the captivating world of Pandora, inhabited by the Na’vi tribe. Here, its inhabitants can ride on large flying Lenopteryx and observe magical glowing plants like the sacred Tree of Souls. Corporal Jake Sully, a disabled former Marine, travels here as a part of the Avatar Program and is awe-struck as he learns about the daily lives of these blue-skinned humanoids.
During his first venture into this unfamiliar land, Jake Sully is tossed a fruit by his mentor and head of the program, Dr. Grace Augustine. She does so mainly to test the skills of his newly inhabited body, but when he takes a bite of the purplish Spartan fruit, it’s no secret how delicious it must taste. As he bites into the fruit’s soft flesh and the juice of the fruit trickles down his chin, he lets out a joyful moan, making the audience want to experience the deliciousness of this new treat for themselves!
Sci-fi/fantasy food: The Lost Boys' make-believe meal
A food scene that perfectly captures playfulness and depicts the special sense of community that can only be experienced around a dinner table can be found in Steven Spielberg’s 1991 film Hook, inspired by J.M. Barrie’s 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. In the feast scene, Peter Banning, played by the masterful Robin Williams, is finding it impossible to feast on the make-believe delicacies the Lost Boys are devouring—that is until after a bit of provocation from the Lost Boys’ leader, Rufio, and encouragement from Tinker Bell, Peter Banning is able to unlock his childlike imagination and see the mouthwatering dishes the group had been wolfing down!
Some of these dishes look delicious, like the huge plate of steaming chicken and fresh fruit, while others are perhaps a bit less enticing, like pies that appear to be made solely of frosting the color of vibrant playdough. Let’s also not forget the large wedge of cheese with a face carved into it! Regardless of whether you would want to eat all of the whimsical items on the table, the ultimate food fight that commences will surely make you want to jump into the film and join in on the Lost Boys’ crew shenanigans.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Sci-fi/fantasy food: Root-leaf stew
Unlike the other foods on this list, I think people would want to try this one not because it seems appetizing but merely to fulfill their morbid curiosity about the awful taste (no offense, Yoda!). In the second film of the Star Wars film series, during Yoda and Luke Skywalker’s first meeting, Jedi Master Yoda is cooking a root-leaf stew seen boiling over an open fire. Boiled for 10 minutes and consisting of roots and swamp weed, it may be Yoda’s go-to meal on Dagobah, but by the looks of Luke Skywalker’s face when he takes his first sip of the sour soup—it’s far from his favorite!
Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Sci-fi/fantasy food: All the things
I’ll admit it if no one else will, but ever since watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I haven’t just been dreaming of trying the Everlasting Gobstopper, that’s never supposed to get smaller no matter how long you suck on it, or the Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum that mimics the taste of tomato soup, then roast beef and baked potato, with blueberry pie and ice cream for dessert (even if it’ll turn me into a blueberry like Violet Beauregarde!); I’ve always wanted to lick the Lickable Wallpaper made to taste like fresh fruit! I hope I’m not the only one who got very excited at the prospect that this could one day exist. Oranges, pineapples and strawberries are just a few of the fruits plastered on this wallpaper that offers both a tasty snack and a charming adornment for your house!