Tastes Like Friendship
"Ahhhh! Ruth! Ruth! Ruth! Baby! Ruth!"
—Sloth, The Goonies
Two characters who come from very different places meet for the first time. They don't speak the same language? They have totally different backgrounds? No matter how different their culture and origins, they will always become friends if they go through an almost ritual exchange of food the first time they meet - doubly so if the food is chocolate based.
Truth in Television: it's considered good manners in many cultures to offer food to people when you meet them, and sharing bread or salt created a real bond between people in the olden days. Several languages even have words for "friend" based around the concept of sharing bread. There's actually scientific evidence to back this cultural practice up, as the part of the brain that responds to food is the same part that responds to social interaction.
The trope generally occurs when the hero is in a Fish Out of Water situation, and very often when they meet a character whose language they can't understand. After sharing food, the character helps them become familiar with their surroundings.
- There's a tendency for the hero to give chocolate, probably because chocolate is awesome.
- The hero can also make friends with animals that way. (But use something other than chocolate. It's poisonous to many animals, especially dogs).
- When food is given to the heroes, it will look absolutely horrible. Two possible outcomes:
Part of Sacred Hospitality.
- In School Rumble, Harima first got to know Karasuma at the school's watering area because neither of them ever bring lunch. Harima offers Karasuma friendship in the form of treating his fellow curry-fan to lunch at his next paycheck. Needless to say, seeing as this never happened, the two never became friends; Harima saw Karasuma eating with the girl he loves (Tenma) at the end of the chapter.
- Inversion. Goku and Krillin's first (one-sided) meal together involved Krillin preventing Goku from eating (He cheated at a contest in which the winner got dinner). Turns out Launch cooked untreated puffer fish that night.
- In Negima, Kotaro is first greeted by Chizuru and Natsumi with a homecooked meal (after an appetizer of Marshmallow Hell); his constant complimenting of Chizuru's cooking pretty much seals it.
- Subverted in an episode of Pokémon, when Jessie fails to lure Maylene's Lucario to her by offering chocolate. The offer itself is a reference to Pokémon: Lucario and The Mystery of Mew, where Max succeeded in making friends with Aaron's Lucario—who was untrusting of humans—this way (so the movie is a straight example).
- Not as great a cultural barrier as in other examples, but when Shima from Stellvia of the Universe goes to study into space, she takes a can of confections with her, which play an integral part in her making-friends process. Given the tone of the show (and despite her own nature), Shima's can is empty before the series reaches its mid-point (and is then refilled).
- The scenes showing Hayate's attempts to connect with the Wolkenritter in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's included one where Hayate cooks their first meal together, with Vita hesitantly tasting her share, finding it delicious, then asking for seconds in a Tsundere-like way.
- One Piece: even after Nami betrays Luffy and lets him get captured by Buggy early on, the audience knows she's gonna stick with the crew when she feeds Luffy while he's tied up and caged. Apparently, you can do anything to Luffy and he'll still wind up liking you if you give him some food and nice treatment.
- Also happens between Hiriluk and Chopper; this being the first time anyone's been compassionate and kind to him, the poor little reindeer boy cries tears of joy on the bread he's eating.
- In Sora no Otoshimono, Tomoki does this twice. First with Nymph and a candied apple then later with Astraea and a full dinner at his house, along with a offer to feed her whenever she was hungry. Both instances of kindness eventually influenced their decisions to betray Synapse. Nymph also developed a Sweet Tooth.
- In Monster, Tenma makes a traditional Japanese meal for his shooting instructor and his adopted daughter, whom he dragged home from Myanmar after killing her mother in self-defense. The girl shows nothing but icy hatred for him until his piss-poor skill with chopsticks makes her smile. The last we saw of them, she was happy as they walked hand in hand.
- This trope goes in the other direction quite often, as well- Tenma Forgets to Eat, so a number of the good guys wind up feeding him (Maurer, Reichwein, and Grimmer, just off the top of my head).
- SD Gundam Force episode 'Tears of Cobramaru' ends Cobramaru- once-again thrashed by the good guys, and abandoned by his once-allies- all but losing his will to live. Bratty Half-Pint Genkimaru tries to cheer him up with some riceballs, and the last scene is Cobramaru- tearfully- eating as the sun sets. This pays off as Cobramaru shows up as an ally.
"I've come to pay you back...for the riceballs you gave me."
- Hellboy: sort of. One of the shorter stories is about Hellboy being given pancakes by someone from the army. He doesn't want to eat them, then tries... and it's good! Meanwhile, in Hell, demons scream that he's lost to them forever.
- In BPRD: Killing Ground, Liz Sherman offers the mummy queen Panya a fruit smoothie to make her feel welcome. They hit it off pretty quickly afterwards.
- Green Lantern Sodam Yat found an alien who crash landed in the woods near his house and help him as he recovered from his wounds. They shared meals together, learned from each other (even though they couldn't understand the other), and became friends. Unfortunately, Sodam lived on Daxam, a notoriously xenophobic planet who proceeded to kill and stuff the alien and try to Mind Rape Sodam into fearing everything concerning space. It didn't take and pissed Sodam off so much, he had to be convinced his people were worth saving when Mongul conquered Daxam years later.
- Cartoon History of the Universe posits that offering scraps was how the first proto-humans befriended the first proto-dogs.
- In one of the Wild Hunt arcs of Elf Quest, Ember tries to convince a human to work with the elves rather than against them, which involves offering him food, pointing out "We don't share meat with enemies".
- Brutally subverted in Tiberium Wars; Corporal Goodman actually gives a captive Sandra Telfair some food, and along with it he treats her quite nicely, even trying to apologize for the rape attempt on her in the previous chapter. The subversion comes a few minutes later, when Sandra cuts his throat with a ripped-up aluminum soda can. You know what they say, War Is Hell....
- If you feed Vienya, she will love you forever and ever—food is Serious Business for her.
- Stargate: Daniel gives Shau'ri's dad a chocolate bar. He later is offered roasted dinosaur, which turns out to taste like chicken.
- Daniel also tried to share a candy bar with the yak type creature at the beginning- he likes trying that one out.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Indy and Willie are given food in the village. He makes her eat it even though it tastes awful because he knows the villagers gave them all they had.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: in the Tim Burton movie, Willy Wonka gives the chief a cocoa bean and is then offered a plate of mashed worms, which he pretends to like so the tribe will come work for him.
- Lawrence of Arabia: Lawrence gives his gun to his guide who answers by giving him some of his food. Lawrence tries to not let his horror show when he tastes it (but fails completely).
- Star Wars: Leia befriends the Ewoks this way.
- Yoda plays the reverse of this when he first meets Luke, deliberately swiping Luke's chocolate bar.
Luke "Hey! That was going to be my dinner!"
- The lesson here being that Luke, if he wanted to be a true Jedi needed to be not only a warrior, but an unselfish diplomat as well - extending friendship and generosity even to some half-crazy goblin muppet he stumbles across in a swamp.
- King Kong (2005): Subverted with a horrible aftermath involving cannibal natives.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Elliot makes friends with the alien by offering it Reese's Pieces. Interestingly enough, this led to Reese's Pieces sales rising as much as 65% in 1982.
- Considering the whole inclusion of the candy was pure Product Placement, I should hope so.
- The Goonies: Chunk befriends Sloth with a Baby Ruth.
- In Surf's Up, a tribe of native (cannibal?) penguins try to eat Chicken Joe, until Joe offers them roasted squid on a stick. Finding that it "tastes like chicken", they make him their leader instead.
- Eowyn offers Aragorn stew during the journey to Helm's Deep in the extended edition of The Two Towers. Though it's clearly awful, he tells her he likes it, and when she turns away, he goes to pour it out - but she turns back with a question, and he spills a bit on his hand, visibly attempting to prevent a grimace of pain at the presumably hot stew.
- In Up, Russel wins over Kevin the "snipe" with a chocolate bar.
- The Film of the Series Lost in Space Don offers The Blarp a "Banana Beef" bar (what?) The little guy gobbles it up wrapper and all and sticks around for the rest of the movie.
- What Dreams May Come has the main character and his future wife share sandwiches the day they meet in the beginning and when they're reincarnated at the end.
- In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup starts to make friends with Toothless by giving him a fish. Toothless responds in kind, by regurgitating half of the fish for Hiccup to eat.
- Partially subverted in Empire of the Sun
- "Hey, Jim, do you want a Hershey bar?" - "Yes please." - "So would I kid, ya got one?"
- "He gave me a mango!" - "I'll give you a whole d____ fruit salad. There are Frigidaire's falling from the sky. Kingdom come." - "He was my friend!" - "He was a J__."
- Subverted in Enemy at the Gates, where the German Cold Sniper was paying a child spy in Chocolate bars (to be fair to the kid, it was German Chocolate.) The kid was actually a Double Agent, working with the Soviets to feed false information to the German sniper to try and put him in The Hero's scope. It ends badly for him.
- In Hellboy, young HB is won over by Product Placement—I mean, Baby Ruth bars. Much later, when the new guy shows up with some in his possession, Hellboy knows that "Dad" has dropped by to visit him.
- In Aliens, Ripley gets Newt to start talking again by giving her a cup of hot chocolate.
- Harry and Ron in their first year on the train to Hogwarts. Though the fact Harry bought every single kind of candy that was for sale on the cart certainty didn't mitigate anything.
- Another Harry Potter example would be in the third book where Lupin gives Harry chocolate after the Dementors attack.
- Though in this case, the chocolate does more than just introduce the two. Chocolate in the Potterverse is apparently the actually remedy for the effects a Dementor has on people.
- When Hagrid first arrives, he give Harry a birthday cake. JK Rowling LOVES this trope!
- Hagrid feeds Ron when they are being introduced as well.
- Another Harry Potter example would be in the third book where Lupin gives Harry chocolate after the Dementors attack.
- In the Elizabeth Moon novel The Legacy Of Gird, a fellow from the Evil Wizard Class tries to make friends with Gird by offering him food, only to be rebuffed because in Gird's culture providing for someone establishes your superiority to them. They realize that their two cultures have been misunderstanding each other literally from first contact, as the EWC had always thought of Gird's people as natural servants because they were so eager to provide for the new impressive strangers.
- Averted, subverted and played semi-straight in Nation. Daphne first sees Mau when he's dragging the bodies of all the Nation's people into the sea; recognising his numb grief, she leaves him mangoes when he finally goes to sleep. When she wants to make a proper introduction, she decides that tea and scones will surely overcome the communication barrier; unfortunately, she's trying to have a civilised English tea party in a grounded and listing shipwreck, and her terrible (first-time) attempts to make scones taste like rotten lobster, as the rather odd captain kept one in the flour barrel to eat the weevils; Mau comes away from the whole experience bemused and horrified by the foul taste, but recognising that the poor, strange Ghost Girl is making an effort. The third time, Mau makes a fish stew on the beach, which is much better; though they still can't talk to each other, their nervousness (and ridiculous attempts at table-manners given the circumstances) makes them crack up laughing, and they become proper friends.
- In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, after a tense Friend or Foe meeting, Trainor offers Ragnor a flask. They both drink.
- In Gav Thorpe's Warhammer 40,000 Last Chancers novel, Kill Team, the kroot offer Kage a human brain to eat and he forces himself to do so. Afterwards, the kroot admits it was a test.
- In one Doctor Who Television Tie in Novel, it's mentioned that the Doctor's companion Fitz Kreiner, who had a really crappy childhood due to being half-German during World War II, doesn't think too badly of military-type people because his most prominent memory of them was meeting some American GIs when he was about nine, who played with him and gave him a candy bar. He doubts they'd have been as nice if they'd known his surname, though.
- Stranger in A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. The entire Martian society is based on the ritual sharing of water (a rarity on Mars). "Water brother" is the equivalent to the human "blood brother."
- Also, the greatest complement you can pay the dead is to consume them.
- Subverted in Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell. CIA chief Elliot befriends the protagonists as orphaned children by offering them candy bars. Later, when they're adult hitmen working for the CIA, Elliot continues to give them candy bars when briefing them on a mission, which they naturally assume is done out of sentimentality. It turns out that Elliot has been manipulating them from Day One; the candy bars are only to subconsciously remind the protagonists of their love for their surrogate father figure.
- Subverted in Jingo; Carrot warns Vimes that not to accept food from the D'regs would be seen as a terrible insult. But in fact, Vimes and the D'reg leader bond when Vimes becomes the first visitor not to fall for the old sheep's eyeball gag.
- Subverted in the Goosebumps book Deep Trouble, in which the main character tries to befriend a captured mermaid by dropping a chocolate chip cookie into her tank. She is not impressed.
- Daniel offers Betty half of a bagel as a peace offering in Ugly Betty, but when Betty says she had already forgiven him, he takes the bagel back.
- Stargate SG-1: Daniel exchanges food with an Unas who captured him. Daniel goes from being an intended sacrifice to a valued friend. He even hangs a lampshade on this with a Continuity Nod, mentioning he met his father-in-law the same way.
- Which would make Daniel's third use of the trope, and that's just the ones noted so far on this page. He'd already used it several times on earlier SG1 episodes. You might as well call it "The Daniel Jackson Method".
- Subverted in Stargate Universe - Scott gives one of the Ursini a piece of fruit. It seems as if they might be able to bond... but the alien then spits the fruit out in disgust.
- Subversion: In Desperate Housewives, Susan welcomes her new next-door neighbours with cookies that she buys and pretends to have made herself. One of them turns out to have nut allergies, so she has to confess to her deception and just drives them further away.
- In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina uses a spell to make Friendship Bread to get Harvey and Josh to stop fighting over her. It works a little too well.
- Early on in the pilot episode for The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John offers Cameron a bag of chips, before remembering that she's not human. To his surprise, Cameron then accepts his offer and eats some chips anyway.
- Dane Cook had a bit were he offered a candy bar to a co-worker and in an Androcles' Lion moment repays Dane by not killing him during his later homicidal rage.
"...and as he's going from stall to stall, <kaboom-chk> <kaboom-cchk>, he's gonna reach me and go <sharp intake of breath> "..Thanks for the candy."
- In Bones, when Booth shoots an ice cream truck and is pulled out for psychiatric evaluation, his temporary replacement Sully offers numerous delicious sandwiches to Brennan in the spirit of this trope. (It...doesn't help that much)
- Would you like a jelly baby?
- The philosophy of Andrew Zimmerman of Bizarre Foods is that sharing food is the greatest way to break down barriers between different cultures.
- NCIS. In "Kill Ari, Part II" Tony DiNozzo is tailing Mossad officer Ziva David. As he stands under an awning outside her hotel trying to keep out of the rain, she brings him coffee, and Tony gives her a slice of his pizza in return. The exchange lampshades their future partnership—though as they haven't reached that level of trust yet, Tony makes sure to take her coffee rather than the one she's offering him.
- In Band of Brothers, during operation Market Garden, a couple of soldiers from Easy Company come across a Dutch farmer and his son and share some of their chocolate with them. The father then reveals to the soldiers that this is the very first time that his son tasted chocolate.
- Subverted in the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Giles picks up one of the Potentials, and since they share no common language, he takes her out for ice cream as a way to show friendship. Unfortunately, like most Asians, she's lactose intolerant...
Mythology and Folklore
- Grimm's Tales are full of stories where The Fair Folk (or other supernatural creatures) respond to acts of hospitality with random boons (often, the Ugly Stepsibling then tries to replicate the event, but their stinginess gets them cursed instead).
- In the tale of Momotaro, he gains animal companions by offering them his rice balls.
- In the Dragon Quest Monsters series of games, you make monsters your friends by feeding them. If you give them enough food (or good enough food), they'll gladly become your friends.
- In the roguelike game Nethack, tossing food at some monsters will make them friendly towards you, or even make them your pet. With the right foods, you can even train pets to steal things for you.
- In Pokémon, several Pokémon in the Safari Zone can only be caught if you leave food out for them.
- In Sonic Unleashed, Small Annoying Creature Chip often tries to offer a bar of chocolate to any character he meets.
- In BlazBlue, Ragna sharing food with Taokaka in both his and her story paths prompts Taokaka to call him "Good Guy". Of course in his story path he makes her pay for the meal.
- In Deus Ex, giving a candy bar to a kid early in the game will prompt him to give you some valuable information about how to get into the terrorist's hideout.
- Played with in Dragon Age: Origins. If you attempt to have your dog be your champion against Loghain at the Landsmeet. Arl Eamon will have a "No. Just... No" Reaction based on this trope.
Arl Eamon: Ah, Warden... No. I'm afraid we can't leave the fate of all Ferelden up to your dog. Anyone with a leftover ham bone could buy his allegiance.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja subverts the "eats the awful food given anyway", when Gordito is forced to visit the McNinjas. The pickled beets turns out to be horrible, but he chokes them down and then spits them out. It turns out to be a Secret Test of Character - they were poisoned.
- You warm yourselves in the glow of this human emotion called friendship.
- Bob and George: The offer presages the Heel Face Turn.
- In the animated Transformers movie, The Universal Greeting (Bah Wheep Granna Wheep Ni Ni Bong) is supposed to be accompanied by the offering of Energon (Which transformers uses as food/fuel). It works with the Junkions, but earlier the Allicons only ate all their snacks, then got mad when they ran out.
- John Smith befriends Pocahontas's raccoon Meeko by offering him a biscuit.
- Parodied in one episode of The Simpsons, when Marge decides to take care of Nelson because her children don't want her to take care of them. The first thing she does is offer him a sandwich and he approaches it like a frightened squirrel.
- Both Applejack with a pile of apple products, and Pinkie Pie with all manner of sweets in her party try this with Twilight Sparkle when she first comes to Ponyville in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Then it's subverted, in that she considers it a waste of her time; it isn't until they trek through the Everfree Forest to stop Nightmare Moon that she warms up to them.
- During World War Two, American soldiers came over to the UK with chocolate, unobtainable in Britain. Let's just say the women were very grateful.
- After the war (and after relaxation of their non-fraternization policies), they did this in occupied West Germany too. This situation did also lead to many German kids of that era being introduced for the first time to American Pop Culture. (Even stronger examples may be the CARE-packages and the Berlin Airlift, or the Marshall Plan, which helped kick-starting the West German Wirtschaftswunder.)
- After WWII during the reconstruction of Japan and through the end of the Korean war American troops often shared chocolate and other goodies sent to them with the Japanese people and showed them how to make other western foods like hamburgers and hot dogs (the latter would become a staple of many Bento lunchboxes) while the Japanese introduced the Americans to sushi in all its different forms (many of which would become very popular back home). This had the dual effect of re-introducing the Japanese to western concepts and ideas as well as forging a lasting partnership between the two nations that persists to this day..
- The word "Companion" may come from "cum paene" which in Latin means "with bread," making a companion someone you share bread with.
- Hell, "companion" even has the word "pan" (meaning "bread" in many Romance languages) in it.
- In the Arab world saying that two people "shared bread and salt" signifies a bond between them.
- This can include a warrior taking service with a noble as witness the title of this game:http://www.oocities.org/cdferree/history/cawnpore/Mutiny1.htm
- In many places in the world, showing hospitality to a stranger is still commonplace, and it's very bad manners to refuse anything offered to you, even if you're only doing it out of a desire not to impose.
- This can cut both ways: in Mongolia (and some other countries), it's traditional to leave a small amount of food on your plate to show you've finished. In British & American society, it's generally considered rude not to finish everything you're given. Whoops...
- And if that's not complicated enough for you, in Tibet your cup/bowl/plate will be refilled as soon as you're done eating. Every time. The only way to be polite is to eat most of the food, and finish eating/drinking precisely upon leaving.
- The first time you meet a dog, give them some nice food (a piece of meat will do fine.) They will love you forever from that moment on.
- Unless that dog is in your yard, and hostile. Then it will only tell that dog that your yard is his territory and threatening you gets him food, and if you don't comply after that you can be attacked or mauled. Speaking from personal experience here, folks; be careful how you use this trope.
- When this troper's family adopted two dogs, the male one was initially hostile to him. That is, until it learned this troper was responsible for feeding him. They've been best mates ever since.
- This is a bad idea when it comes to dealing with wild animals. "Do Not Feed the Bears" signs exist for a reason.
- In parts of Asia jewel merchants close a business deal with a toast. In some places they use tea which of course has a great tradition. In other places for some inscrutably prosaic reason they use Pepsi.
- In Slavic countries, it is traditional to welcome guests (nowadays, mostly important guests like foreign heads of state) with bread and salt.
- Considering how similar this is to Arab tradition, this probably dates to Ottoman domination of southeast Europe.
- Not necessarily. Bread and salt (in one form or the other) was the staple foodstuffs for a very long time in many parts of teh world. For instance, in Lapland it's tradition to leave the three basic neccessities in the cabins that are used by hikers and hunters alike: Firewood, matches and salt. Not leaving enough for people who might drop by later (for example, taking shelter from a storm) is considered rude to the point of taboo (since you could in fact actually endanger someone's life if you don't).
- Considering how similar this is to Arab tradition, this probably dates to Ottoman domination of southeast Europe.
- To "break bread" with someone is a commonly used phrase to signify a friendship. Or at least tolerance.
- Want to win a horse's loyalty for good? Feed it.
- Tea and Tea Culture points at several ways in which the serving and sharing of tea serves this role around the world.