America’s favorite animated TV family has a lot to say about many things in life: parenting, America’s public education, politics and, of course, eating shorts. No subject is safe from The Simpsons‘ writers, especially food, a topic that seems to pop up a lot in just about every episode of the show.
What’s Homer’s favorite food? Probably doughnuts (though pork chops are a close second). What’s his favorite beer? Duff, of course! Bart’s favorite snack? Bloody arrowhead cookies (no, not shorts… sheesh!). What about Barney’s signature dish? Omelets! Marge’s secret ingredient? Salt! (Well, sometimes love…)
The Simpsons features food a lot, but only a few can be truly iconic. These are my picks.
15. Don’t piss off the lunch lady
You ever seen a pissed-off lunch lady? Well, you have now, and those egg beaters look sharp. Seriously though, the lunch lady is one person you don’t want to anger ever, because the ones who like you tend to slip you extra fries.
Of course, in the Halloween episode, Lunch Lady Doris ends up cooking the children and serving them to Principal Skinner and the teachers. So, you really don’t want to upset her.
14. Selling your soul for a doughnut
In this clip, Homer shows he’s (almost) smarter than the devil when he sells his soul for a doughnut that he almost doesn’t eat. Then does. Then almost has to stay in hell. Then doesn’t.
13. A message in the mash
In this case, the message is an epiphany Homer receives, that family has kept him from going to clown college long enough. From there, he goes on to be a moderately successful miserable clown. What does your mashed potato sculpture tell you about your life?
12. April Fools’ Day disaster
It’s a can of beer, which is kind of a food, that puts Homer in the hospital in this unforgettable, roof-raising April Fools’ episode.
11. The all-syrup squishy
Such a thing has never been tried before for good reason. The end result is the same: Milhouse and Bart take the controlled substance and go hog wild. This leads to a musical review of some of Springfield’s most colorful characters and even makes one of their albums.
10. Jetpacks: Being drunk beats being sober
OK, in all seriousness, the writers of The Simpsons probably think they’re promoting a lifestyle that carefully moderates alcohol intake. Homer has been arrested, kicked out of his house, beaten up and generally humiliated because of his drinking. Then again, The Simpsons can’t help but make all that drinking look fun. C’mon, Barney’s riding a jetpack, for crying out loud. You think he’s doing that sober? No way!
9. Homer on disability
It’s hard to point to one food that causes Homer to bulk up (any that turn paper clear with grease will do), but for one episode, Homer puts on enough weight to qualify for disability. This allows him to wear a mumu, work from home and eventually stop up a nuclear gas leak.
8. Trapped in a vending machine
Homer’s love of snack foods is a common theme in The Simpsons. However, rarely does it get him into this much trouble. Refusing to give up his precious bounty, Homer’s hand remained trapped in a vending machine.
7. Never cook with butter
You might think this is a health thing, but really, The Simpsons has taught us that butter is best consumed raw, on a stick, covered in a waffle. Agree or disagree?
No, those don’t sound like the actions of a man who had all he could eat. Homer would go on to win his trial against the seafood buffet that kicked him out. His reward: as much seafood as he could stick down his gullet.
5. Lisa goes vegetarian
With the help of a cute little lamb, Lisa decides to go vegetarian. Later, Homer learns that pork and bacon come from the same magical animal, and we learn that Apu was the fifth Beatle. Not too shabby for one episode.
OK, really it’s the creepy forbidden-wish-granting doll that Homer buys, but hey, it comes with a free frogurt! Of course, the creepy doll is cursed (bad), but the frogurt is free (good). The frogurt is also cursed (bad), but it comes with your choice of toppings (good). And so it goes. Anyway, yay frogurt!
3. Power Sauce bars!
Yes, powered by Power Sauce bars (which — spoiler alert! — are really just shredded newspaper), Homer climbs the most terrifying mountain in Springfield: the Murderhorn. He couldn’t have done it without the boost he thought he got from the bars, and to his surprise, he finds out what his father ate when he too once climbed to the top of the mountain.
(Second spoiler alert: It was the frozen body of another climber. Fun!)
2. Guatemalan insanity peppers are either very good or very bad
OK, mainly the Merciless Peppers of Quetzalacatenango are a bad thing. Grown in the jungle primeval by inmates of an insane asylum, one touch of these little peppers is enough to make even the most ardent pepper lover run for the bucket. Still, somewhere our inner chili-head is secretly wishing we could find one of these things and test our iron stomachs against it, and as much as we’d like to call that a good thing, it’s really still bad.
1. Food and politics don’t mix
No, we’re not saying you should eat a three-eyed fish, but few Simpsons fans will ever forget that Montgomery Burns’ political career was killed when Marge served him a three-eyed fish from the very stream he helped to pollute.