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File:Tastyburger 1937.jpg

This is a tasty burger.

"I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake! [sucking sound] I drink it up!"
Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

A classic tactic of psychological warfare.

You've just met someone. They don't know what to make of you. They happen to be eating at the time. What do you do?

Take their food. It's a step beyond just invading personal space, and it shows who the alpha dog is.

May overlap with The Snack Is More Interesting.


Anime and Manga

  • Parodied to the hilt with the pencil scene from Cromartie High School.
  • Tubby and Willy both do this to Lulu in an episode of the Little Lulu anime, with a tray of sandwiches that Lulu was preparing to have.
  • In Death Note there is L's (cat)fight with Misa. "You can call me whatever you like but I'm still taking your cake."

Comic Book

  • In one Birds of Prey story, Black Canary and Wildcat are having lunch in Singapore while pretending to be drug dealers as part of a plan to prevent a drug shipment from reaching Gotham. A detective, thinking they really are drug dealers since they were seen in the company of a notable suspected (as in everyone knows but there's no concrete evidence) drug dealer, sits down and helps himself to some of Dinah's chili crab and tells them they should leave Singapore immediately and never come back.

Fan Work

  • In Interstitium, Grunt falls in love with the whole concept of flavor and becomes a Big Eater, wanting to taste everything. During their first mission, he tells Garrus he doesn't have any problem with him, but will unless he hands over his rations. Garrus incredulously points out that it's dextro-formulated and will just make Grunt sick, but hands it over anyway to avoid a fight. (Then laughs to himself when he does wind up sick.)


  • The most famous fictional example is probably in Pulp Fiction. When Jules and Vincent bust into the preppies' hideout, Jules asks Brett--in a way that really isn't asking at all--if he can have his burger and soda. Brett and his gang never recover.
    • The best part is that while Jules is drinking Brett's soda, he's staring at Brett the whole time, with this expression on his face that pretty much says "Yes, I am drinking all your soda, and you're not gonna do a damn thing about it."
  • It's a Discussed Trope in True Romance, also written by Quentin Tarantino. When Clarence confronts Drexl, Drexl tells him that he should have grabbed some food and sat down to watch the movie playing in his lair. That way, Drexl would have thought him a badass.
  • The "I drink your milkshake" monologue from There Will Be Blood, although Plainview is speaking metaphorically.
  • In the Disney Channel Original Movie Brink, the main characters find this happening to them all the time. They get revenge, though - they stuff a sandwich full of worms, and when the big bad eats it, he gets a nice mouthful of the little wigglers. Revenge is a dish best served...with worms.
  • Angel Eyes does this to his first victim before killing him and his son in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • When The Joker crashes Bruce Wayne's party in The Dark Knight, he grabs a glass of champagne from a guest and quaffs it with great gusto before tossing the glass, letting it smash.
  • An example from Machete: after capturing the priest, Booth helps himself to sacramental wine and sarcastically remarks that "God's blood tastes like Merlot".
  • Played with in A Fish Called Wanda, where Otto torments K-k-ken by eating a number of his pet fish... alive.
  • A variant of this happens to Timmons, the wagon driver who transports Lieutenant Dunbar to Fort Sedgewick in Dances with Wolves. After he's killed by a Sioux war party, one of the party is seen eating Timmons' beloved pickled eggs.
  • Pan's Labyrinth offers a post mortem example: The Captain does this after killing an innocent hunter and his son.


  • In a discussion of vampire folklore, one author noted a tale in which a bloodsucker invited itself into some villagers' home just as they were sitting down for dinner. It came in, sat at down at their table, ate all of their food off their plates (even sucking the marrow out of the bones) and then left without saying a word.


  • In the Peter Straub story Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff, a rich man hires two eccentric hitmen to kill his wife and her lover. When they arrive at his home, they quickly polish off his lavish breakfast and tell him to make himself some toast.
  • Arthut Dent tells an anecdote about this in So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish, which Adams claimed to have experienced. After purchasing a bag of train station biscuits (cookies), Dent sits down at a table with a stranger and reads a newspaper. The stranger reaches over, opens the bag, and eats one of the cookies without comment. Dent, stunned, can only react by eating one himself. The two men go back and forth eating the cookies without comment until they're all gone, and they exchange meaningful looks before the man leaves. Only when Dent himself prepares to leave does he pick up his newspaper and discover his own unopened bag of biscuits.
    • In The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams claimed this had actually happened to him, and what amused him most about the whole affair is that, somewhere in Britain, there's some guy wandering around who has exactly the same story except that the poor man doesn't have the punchline.
  • One of the first affronts committed to Horatio Hornblower as a midshipman by the senior-most midshipman was his tendency to help himself to pieces of the other midshipman's food - right off of their plates. The antipathy between them eventually reaches the point where Horatio challenges the other man to a duel.
  • Burke advises the nephew of a friend how to survive in prison, as well as paying the prison Big Bad to protect him. When someone tries intimidating the kid during lunch and the Big Bad steps in to stop it, the kid deliberately grabs the cake off the man's plate and eats it.
  • Mass Effect Deception has Kai Leng eating a bowl of Anderson's cereal when he breaks into his apartment. Needless to say, readers quickly immortalized Leng's Crazy Awesome nature into the Fan Nickname, "cereal killer."

Live Action TV

  • Cat does this to a fellow inmate in the hopes that he will be hospitalized for his troubles. Instead, it backfires hilariously and the inmate swears to become Cat's bitch.
  • House does this repeatedly to Wilson - for laughs.
  • Awesomely parodied by Stella, which includes a scene where Michael attempts to psych out his enemy by eating his ice cream cone in an intimidating fashion. Macho posturing and eating ice cream cones do not go well together.
  • One of Michael Westen's signature acts.
  • Saturday Night Live parodied the famous scene in There Will Be Blood by having Daniel Plainview host a Food Network show in which he visited malt shops and literally drank people's milkshakes.
  • In a Chappelle's Show sketch, Wayne Brady acts like a violent psychopath and reduces Dave Chappelle to tears. Then he takes Dave's food after they grab some from a drive thru.
  • Happens frequently on Klingon vessels in the various Star Trek series.
  • Not quite as rude as stealing from someone's plate, but federal flack Twitchell on Tremors: The Series was always taking food and soft drinks from Jodie's store without paying for them, in one of many ways he threw his weight around.
  • Oz. Inmates do this to other inmates they can intimidate, usually leading to much worse things.
  • In one episode of Leverage, Tara walked up to a guy whose invitation to an auction they needed and started eating his sandwich. With a little help from Eliot's Death Glare, she intimidated him so badly he gave her the invitation. Without either Tara or Eliot saying a word.
  • In the live-action A Series of Unfortunate Events series, Count Olaf has a seemingly obsessive need to do this; in between eating the lamb their neighbor cooked and eating the entire contents of a bowl of dumplings Violet had asked for (in front of an actual witness, Uncle Monty, who gives him a "What the hell?" look), he buys half a dozen cupcakes for the apparent sole purpose of 1. claiming he made them for the orphans and 2. eating them.


  • The song "Haunted House" sung by Jumpin' Gene Simmons (not that one):

 In my kitchen my stove was a-blazin' hot.

Coffee was a-boilin' in the pot.

The grease had melted in the pan.

Had a hunk a-meat right in my hand.

From outer space there sat a man

On the hot stove with the pots and pans.

"Say that's hot" I began to shout.

He drank a-hot coffee right from the spout.

He ate the raw meat right from my hand.

Drank the hot grease from the frying pan.

Looked at me said "You better run.

"And don't be here when the mornin' comes."


Newspaper Comics

  • In one Peanuts strip Linus is asking, "Who took my group of grapes?" Lucy corrects him that it's called a "bunch" of she eats his grapes right in front of him. Then she tosses the emptied grape tendril at him as she leaves.


Video Games

  • The Sandvich from Team Fortress 2. Specifically, if a Heavy is carrying his Sandvich when he dies, he will drop it, and anyone who runs it over, even enemies, receives a 50% heal. The Scout has a voice response for this that alludes to the (in)famous milkshake analogy from There Will Be Blood:

  "I! Eat! Your! Sandwiches! I eat 'em up!"

    • He does the same thing in Meet the Scout, when he interrupts a Heavy eating a Sandvich, kills him, and steals it. The Heavy gets vengeance in Meet the Sandvich.

 Scout "Ahhh, my blood! He punched out ALL MY BLOOD!"

      • Because of this, Scouts actually gain a little bit more health than the other classes if they grab a stolen Sandvich.
  • Mid-Boss steals the lunch that Flonne and Jennifer made for a picnic in Episode 10 of the first Disgaea game. When they finally catch up to him, he's eaten it all.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Pinocchio: Honest John takes the apple Pinocchio is bringing to the teacher and eats it as he talks him into becoming an actor instead, then gives him the core.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Big Daddy is eating beignets when Charlotte comes in gushing about Prince Naveen and keeps taking them out of his hands as she plans on how to get the prince to meet her.
  • In an episode of DuckTales, the Beagle Boys torment Doofus by eating his pancakes.
  • In the first episode of Tale Spin, Don Karnage intimidates the customers at Louie's by drinking someone's drink.

Real Life

  • In The American Civil War's Battle of Shiloh, early in the battle, after the Confederate attack had sent Union troops fleeing from their camps in panic, the hungry Confederates stopped to eat the food they found in the camps. This delay actually helped save the Union army.
  • The 'Battle of the Sausages' during the Winter War between Finland and the USSR: the Finnish troops, knowing the poor state of supply of the Red Army, deliberately set up and abandoned a field kitchen, then ambushed the enemy soldiers who inevitably stopped to help themselves.