“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
Foods with magical properties is hardly unique to Greek mythology. Most mythologies have some kind of forbidden food that has a less than desirable impact on humans. Here’s a few examples from my childhood.
The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
This book was the first time I’d heard of fairy food, magical food that trapped humans within the fairy realm (very Persephone) or caused them to starve to death by making all human food forever taste like dust. The Moorchild was an amazing book. Everyone should read it.
Tithe by Holly Black
And because I literally cannot think about the Moorchild without marveling at the wonderful job Holly Black did modernizing the concept of Changelings for the YA set, Tithe comes next in this list. Fairy Food in Tithe is either a trick or something that makes humans very very sick. Magical properties vary.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
I mention the Moorchild as the first time I’d heard of magical food because while I read Narnia first, the concept didn’t click. I thought the witch just cast a spell, not that the Turkish Delights were actually magic, which, I mean, I wasn’t far off. Magical food also comes up later in the series with the forbidden fruit.
This really plays the trope more on the Persephone level (eating the food can trap you in the spirit realm) but later in the movie when Chihiro is offered the food instead of taking it, it helps her. So with that food the intent matters as much as the consumption.
Lord of the Rings
Elf Bread. It’s filling and super helpful. It’s basically ambrosia without terrible side effects.
Food has an interesting place in our stories. It’s a basic necessity to live but most of the time if we include food or drink in a story, there’s a very specific reason. Nine times out of ten, it’s not a good one. Can you think of any magical food I may have missed?