Food writers have been stoked this week about the The Simpsons' upcoming episode on gastro culture. Our own Margy Rochlin interviewed Simpsons Executive Producer Matt Selman, who admits he's a big fan of Jonathan Gold. “We kind of make fun of foodies,” he says, “but in real life we actually love them.”
Over the years The Simpsons writers have lampooned pretty much everything in popular culture. (In the words of South Park's General Disarray: “Simpsons did it!”) This Sunday's episode won't be the first or last time the eight-fingered yellow family sets its sights on food culture, and this isn't even the first time Squid Ink has looked at the subject, but we just had to use the excuse to reminisce on ten of our favorite Simpsons food episodes and moments.
10. “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”
In this 1999 episode Homer, looking mighty Southern in his tan suit, invents a hybrid, highly addictive plant after fertilizing his tomato and tobacco plants with plutonium. The scary part about the whole thing: Tomacco is real. You can actually graft a tomato plant onto tobacco roots, no plutonium required. The children! Won't someone think of the children?
9. “Flaming Moe's”
Pity Moe Szyslak. He's probably the loneliest, ugliest guy in Springfield. He's also kind of a dick, like the time in 1991 when he stole Homer's idea and got famous off the Flaming Moe. Next thing you know he's partying with Aerosmith, who were the first band of many to make a guest appearance on the show. Moe would up right back where he started by the end of the episode (go figure), but what a ride.
8. “Treehouse Of Horror IV: The Devil and Homer Simpson”
From the 1993 episode that launched a million utterances of Mmmm, forbidden donut, this Halloween tale sees Homer's feet and nose turned into hot dog meat before he is given the Dante-like punishment of having to eat donut after donut after donut in Hell. The irony is lost on the big guy.
7. “Lisa the Vegetarian”
This 1995 episode is chock-full of food jokes, but the highlight just might be “Meat and You: Partners in Freedom,” the propaganda video starring Troy McClure. “Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about.”
6. “Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?”
The popular notion of food criticism in 1999 seems quaint when compared to the upcoming episode's promise of molecular gastronomy and Sriracha sauce. Homer gets a job as a newspaper food critic because he loves to eat, and after he doles out bad reviews, Springfield's chefs plot to kill him. They would've gotten away with it too, if weren't for Lisa at the last second telling Homer his poisoned eclair was low-fat.
5. “Treehouse of Horror VI: Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores”
All hail the Lard Lad Donuts mascot. This love-child of Bob's Big Boy and Randy's Donuts wasn't too pleased in 1995 when Homer stole his colossal doughnut. He might be the only guy in town who loves fried dough more than Homer. Maybe.
4. “Bart Star”
This 1999 episode is all about football and featured a cameo from Joe Namath, but the choice food scene happens at the Kwik-E-Mart. Homer: “I'm feeling kind of low, Apu. Got any of that beer that has candy floating in it? You know, Skittlebrau.” Apu: “Such a product does not exist, sir. I think you must have dreamed it.” Homer: “Oh … well, then just give me a six-pack and a couple of bags of Skittles.”
3. “King-Size Homer”
Exercise? Why exercise when you can gain 61 pounds and score disabled status? That was Homer's plan in 1995, and it worked, although his obesity eventually caused a Three Mile Island scenario. Good thing he was fat enough to block the explosion.
2. “I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can”
Spelling bee, schmelling bee. The star of this 2003 episode is the Ribwich, an obvious nod to Mickey D's McRib. Upon finding out the local Krusty Burger is all out of the sandwich, Homer hits the road with a bunch of groovy Ribheads who are following the limited-time-only delight. “We start with authentic, letter-graded meat, and process the hell out of it,” says Krusty's commercial. Mmmmm.
1. “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)”
Also known as the one where Homer totally trips out and sees Johnny Cash as a space coyote, this 1997 episode takes Homer on a fantastical voyage to find his soul mate. The long, strange trip begins when our protagonist covers his tongue in candle wax so he can down one of Chief Wiggum's Guatemalan insanity peppers. Along the way his spirit guide chews on his leg. “Sorry,” says Johnny Cash, “I am a coyote.”