TV-Inspired Food

Published in Gourmet Live 10.19.11
Thanks to popular demand—and modern marketing strategies—our experience of television shows doesn’t have to stop at a billion static pixels. We can now taste products invented for some of our favorite programs. What follows are our favorite TV-inspired foods, including eats from The Simpsons, South Park, and True Blood.

Schweddy Balls
Earlier this year, Ben & Jerry’s came out with the latest of its TV-inspired ice creams: One of them was the controversial Schweddy Balls, based on the Saturday Night Live sketch “Delicious Dish,” which parodies such NPR food shows as The Splendid Table. Guest host Alec Baldwin plays Pete Schweddy, the owner of the fictional Season’s Eatings bakery whose signature item is Schweddy Balls. B & J’s limited edition take on Schweddy Balls: rum-flavored vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered rum and chocolate malt balls.

Cheesy Poofs
To celebrate the show’s 15th year on TV, South Park character Eric Cartman’s favorite food became a reality earlier this year, when Comedy Central joined forces with Frito-Lay to produce a limited run of Cheesy Poofs (cheese-flavored puffs).

Scooby Snacks
Jinkies! Kellogg’s Keebler brand makes Scooby-Doo Graham-Cracker Sticks, treats shaped like dog biscuits, but these goodies are meant for those of us who walk on two paws. General Mills’ Betty Crocker brand also offers fruit-flavored gummy snacks based on the favorite food of the famous mystery- solving Great Dane Scooby-Doo.

AmeriCone Dream
The brain-freeze child of Stephen Colbert and Ben & Jerry’s, this patriotic treat was created in 2007. The proceeds from the sale of the ice cream (vanilla with a caramel swirl and fudge-covered waffle pieces) go to the Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund, which supports various charities that provide food and medical assistance for disadvantaged children, assist veterans and their families, and benefit environmental causes.

Tru Blood
On the HBO hit series True Blood, the vampires drink a bewitching orange-flavored beverage to quench their thirst for blood. And now the unbitten can buy the bloody libation in its universal flavor, O Positive.

Buzz Cola
In 2007, when The Simpsons came out with a movie after 20 years on TV, everyone had a cow, man. To celebrate the event, 7-Eleven sold a number of products that the Simpsons had been eating for years, including Frosted KrustyO’s cereal, Buzz Cola, Duff Energy Drink, and Squishees.

Spaghetti Tacos
An unexpected—and unmarketed—sensation, spaghetti tacos took the nation by storm in 2007. The main character on Nickelodeon’s hit iCarly asks her wacky brother to make dinner. His solution: taco shells stuffed with spaghetti. Kids across the country were soon requesting spaghetti tacos for dinner.

Popeye Spinach
Well, blow me down! Want to be as pumped up as Popeye himself? Cans of Popeye Spinach, now produced by Allens, have been available since the 1950s.

Late Night Snack
Nighttime TV meets nighttime snacking in Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack, introduced in March of 2011. The combination of vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered potato chips and caramel was created after Jimmy Fallon sang about his love of the brand’s ice cream on his show.

Our final entry isn’t a product, but it puts the place in product placement: The long-running Cheers was inspired by Boston’s Bull & Finch Pub, but the show was so popular that the bar was renamed Cheers (the better to be found by TV-loving tourists); a second outpost opened in Faneuil Hall. Both locations serve show-inspired fare, including the Giant Norm Burger, Carla’s Pasta Primavera, Rebecca’s Fish & Chips, Sam’s Turkey Sandwich, and Cliff’s More-Than-A-Grilled-Cheese. No guarantees that everyone will know your name…

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