Things That Look Like Food But Aren’t

By Jhoana C

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, food belongs at the bottom of the pyramid. Hunger has to be satiated first before a person can aspire for other things, things that are far better and greater than just making sure your stomach is full. The truth is when you’re hungry, all you think about is food and nothing else. However, there are culinary delights that you need to avoid. There are plenty of objects and animals out there that are very good at masquerading as food. We have compiled some pictures from the Internet that look like they are mouth-watering. They can easily fool anyone into wanting to eat them. However, you need to keep them away from your mouth because, in truth, they aren’t edible at all.

#1 Feeding potatoes to animals look like potatoes

Did you know that each American eats approximately 124 pounds of potatoes per year? Bet you didn’t. Potatoes are some of the most well-liked food in the world. How else would we satisfy our cravings for fries without potatoes?

Image courtesy of chompthecake/Reddit

It turns out that manatees are also fond of potatoes. Here they are being fed their favorite food. We didn’t even know that there were animals present in the photo because, honestly, they looked like giant potatoes or barrels themselves.

#2 A yummy forbidden steak

Steak is one of those things we ought to treat ourselves with after a hard week at the office. Unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian. Some of the things you should look for in a good steak are marbling or the milky white fat running through and rich pink color.

Image courtesy of DisclosedIntent/Reddit

Just look at that marbling and the color right there. Even Gordon Ramsay himself would say that it’s a fine piece of meat. This steak is going to make an excellent dinner.  We’d love to have it medium-rare. However, it’s not edible because it’s a rock.

#3 Keep your hands off the Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. The thought either delights people or makes them sick. Although turkey has long been considered one of the highlights of the Thanksgiving holiday, many people steer clear of it because oftentimes, it’s dry and bland.

mage courtesy of theegoofball/Reddit

Although the outcome of any turkey dish highly depends on how it is cooked and the skills of the one doing the cooking, it has lost some of its appeal over years. This turkey is one you should avoid at all costs because it’s not even edible. It’s a hairless cat licking itself. Take a closer look.

#4 An avocado with a beak

Avocadoes! Who doesn’t love them? We know we do—guacamole, avocado salad, avocado toast, and in sushi. We can go on and on. Avocados come from the same family as cinnamon and were first used as tributes to royals in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago.

Image courtesy of migraine_boy/Reddit

This bowl of fresh avocados has a catch, though. One of them has a beak and may bite you. If you look a little closer, you’ll see that camouflaged between the avo’s is a little bird. Without a second glance, you wouldn’t even notice him sitting there.

#5 We’d love to take a bite of this bread

Bread is a food source that’s found in various forms all over the world. During the medieval period, bread was used as a plate that was absorbent and called a trencher. After the meal was done, it could be eaten, fed to the dogs, or even given to the needy.

Image courtesy of GamerLobster/Reddit

This bread looks yummy, especially for someone who’s famished. As much as we are ready to sink our teeth into it, we don’t want to risk chipping our teeth or worse. Why, you ask? Because it’s a rock. It could easily fool anyone.

#6 This croissant got burned in the oven

What’s one thing that would make a great breakfast? Croissant! With its distinct crescent shape, this delicious French pastry is made with dough layered with butter and rolled several times. Originally, the croissant was called a Kipfel, and it didn’t originate in France but Austria.

Image courtesy of Rosie RJ/Facebook

This croissant maybe a little overbaked and is darker than it’s supposed to be, but we’d still have a go at it, except that we don’t eat dogs. Yup, you heard that right. That is a dog and not a croissant. This is one #lookalike challenge done right.

#7 Giant bowl of crème brulee

What do you do after eating your dinner? Have some dessert, of course! There’s always room for dessert, and one of the yummiest is crème Brulee. Francois Massialot’s 1691 cookbook was the first known reference of this well-loved dessert.

mage courtesy of HPVD Photos/Flicker

If a small bowl of crème Brulee isn’t satisfying enough, you should get this one. This can feed a whole village. Seriously though, this is molten slag which is the output of steelmaking. It’s being transported to a dump area and not to a restaurant near you.

#8 Slithering ice cream

The average American eats at least 23 pounds of ice cream annually. There are many flavors of ice cream, and everyone has their own favorite. Although, it has been stated that the most popular flavor is actually chocolate among American adults.

Image courtesy of JohnCenaAMA/Reddit

Close to one in five Americans say chocolate is their flavor, followed by vanilla and strawberry. This strawberry curiously has a tail and what looks like scales. Please keep it away from your mouth because it’s dangerous. But, what’s up with that funky-looking fingernail, though?

#9 Caramel shrooms

Mushrooms are made up of 90% water. No wonder they release a lot of moisture when you cook them. Unlike plants, mushrooms are fungus, and they don’t require sunlight to generate energy. Mushrooms are not only popular in cooking, having many medicinal uses as well.

Image courtesy of Mr_PoodlePants/Reddit

This mushroom looks like it’s covered in caramel. We’re not sure if we should consider it a dessert mushroom or not. What’s more important is that we’re not even sure if it’s edible. After all, there are some mushrooms out there that are poisonous.

#10 Soda for cleaning

One in every four beverages consumed in the US today is a soft drink. The average child consumes more than 500 cans of soda a year. Saying that soda is popular is an understatement. Drinking too much sweetened soda can have severe health risks, including tooth decay and diabetes.

Image courtesy of McBeardedson/Reddit

This right here is a different kind of soda, the kind of soda used in cleaning. One Japanese exchange student thought that it was the edible kind and wanted to drink it. Fortunately for him, his classmate stopped him in time.

#11 The egg soap dish

What do you see when you look at the photo? We see a yummy egg cooked sunny side up and ready for us to devour. No, we’re not hungry; it just looks like a sunny-side-up egg. You might be tempted to taste it, but you should stop yourself.

Image courtesy of ronin_cse/Reddit

What you’re seeing is not an egg but a bar of soap on top of a soap dish. We are loving this fun soap dish. If you want to prank someone, this is the way to go. It won’t take so much to convince people that this is food.

#12 Have yourself some fried chicken

Ah, fried chicken! Another food that belongs on everyone’s favorite list. Before World War II, it was only a dish served for special occasions. Although it’s closely associated with the United States, there are fried chicken variations around the world.

Image courtesy of ebelraf/Reddit

For instance, in South Korea, it’s fried two times and dunked in a sweet and spicy sauce. If you want your chicken to be moist and tender, you shouldn’t skip brining the chicken in a buttermilk mixture. Have we already whetted your appetite yet? Just look at the photo. See a huge portion of fried chicken? Nope, It’s actually a piece of calcite.

#13 Who wants pomegranate

Pomegranates! Lucky are those who live in places where they are readily available and affordable. The word pomegranate means apple with many seeds. The fruit does have a color similar to apple, but it doesn’t taste anything like an apple.

Image courtesy of oldernan/Reddit

The pomegranate belongs to the berry family and does not contain any saturated fat or cholesterol. Its trees can live up to 200 years. The number of seeds in the fruit can vary from 200 to 1,400, and if you want to see what the seeds look like, look at the photo, but be warned, these are pins and not juicy pomegranate seeds at all.

#14 It’s raining and flooding coffee

Some people need a cup of joe to wake them up in the morning. There’s nothing like a jolt of caffeine in the system. According to legend, goat herders in the 9th century noticed the effect caffeine had on their goats. They appeared to dance after consuming the fruit of the coffee plant.

Image courtesy of Faith_SC/Reddit

Although caffeine most probably doesn’t make people dance nowadays, it makes them energetic and more awake. If you find yourself always reaching for a cup throughout the day, you might want to move to this place. It’s raining and flooding coffee here, and there’s plenty for everyone.

#15 That’s one huge burrito

Did you know that burritos were named after donkeys? Bet you didn’t. In Spanish, burrito means little donkey. The Mexican dish consists of a tortilla with several other ingredients. Meat and refried beans are frequently the main fillings.

Image courtesy of [deleted user]/Reddit

If you’ve been craving a burrito, we’ve got a big one for you. This is surely going to last a few meals. However, looking at this twice, we can see it’s not really food at all. It’s most likely a rust-stained tarp. Darn it!

#16 The stone-cold half-eaten potato

The first known people to grow potatoes were the Incas. Despite its appearance, it’s made up of only 20% solid and 80% water. Nowadays, there are over 100 varieties of potatoes to choose from. Seeing that a potato has roughly only 100 calories or so, it is a good option for people on a diet, as long as they don’t eat them deep-fried or smothered in sour cream.

Image courtesy of classicjondor/Reddit

Currently, the world’s largest producer of potatoes is China. Some people may not know that potatoes are used to make alcoholic drinks as well- fun fact! This half-eaten potato makes a great snack, except that it will leave you with broken teeth because it’s made of stone.

#17 Tortilla up on the roof

The Tortilla is an import from Mexico that is well-loved by people from all around the world. According to legend, the tortilla was invented by a Mayan peasant for his hungry king. For the uninitiated, tortilla is made from yellow, white, blue, or red corn or wheat.

Image courtesy of Panzer_Man/Reddit

Salsa and tortilla chips were so popular in the state of Texas that in 2003, they were designated as the official state snack. This is one huge tortilla that we’d like to get our hands-on, but we’re wondering how it ended up on the ceiling, maybe because it isn’t a tortilla at all — look closer.

#18 Sunny-side up in the sea?

What is it with sunny-side-up eggs that they seem to be all over the place? Also called dippy eggs by the Pennsylvania Dutch and Canadians, who had the practice of dipping sticks of toast into the yolk while eating.

Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast BC Canada/Facebook

We’re wondering what this sunny-side-up egg is doing underwater. Well, it’s not an egg but a giant jellyfish found in Sechelt Inlet in Canada. We’re not sure exactly what kind of jellyfish -as there are many, but perhaps it’s an uncommon species.

#19 A ravioli deep in the ocean

If you’re not a fan of Italian food, you probably haven’t heard of ravioli yet. This small-filled pasta is served with a beef or cheese filling and often drenched in a delicious sauce. The earliest mention of ravioli was in the 14th century by a merchant in Venice.

Image courtesy of Chris Mah/Ocean Explorer

The ravioli is traditionally served in broth or pasta sauce. We’re wondering how this ravioli ended up in the water. Did it get tired of the pasta sauce? In actuality, this is a species of starfish, Plinthaster dentatus. That name is a mouthful!

#20 Soapy cheese anyone?

Imagine burgers and sandwiches without any cheese? Horrifying right? What kind of twilight zone world is that? More than a quarter of the cheese produced in the United States today is made in Wisconsin. The rest of the cheese comes from New York, California, and Idaho.

Image courtesy of Tasmith49/Reddit

Believe it or not, the FDA has banned some types of cheese from entering the US because of food safety concerns related to bacteria. This cheese found its way to someone’s kitchen because it isn’t even cheese. The woman who submitted the photo was trying to make laundry detergent and had to remind herself not to grab a pinch of the shredded soap.

#21 Pancakes on the dirt?

Nothing makes for a better morning than waking up to freshly cooked pancakes with a generous amount of maple syrup. Yum yum! Historians say that the Romans invented the first version of the modern pancake, and the dish was called Alita Dolcia.

Image courtesy of leaf_of_lettuce/Reddit

The first company to sell the ready-to-cook pancake mix was Aunt Jemima. These perfectly round pancakes were found on the ground most probably because they’re not even pancakes but mushrooms. There are several pancake-looking mushrooms and we’re not sure which one this is.

#22 Fresh meat on the grill

What’s the perfect summer weekend? Family and friends gathering in the backyard with some fresh meat sizzling on the grill and cold drinks. People started grilling food back in the 17th century by the Arawak tribe of South America and the Caribbean.

Image courtesy of succrose/Reddit

The barbecue grill didn’t come to attention until the late 1940s. it was also during this time that more families started grilling at home in the yard. Just look at these slabs of meat ready to cook over charcoal briquettes. At first glance, you’d think it’s normal meat, but those are really stones.

#23 French toast for breakfast?

French Toast is known by a variety of names, including gypsy toast and eggy bread. It’s made from sliced bread that has been dipped in a beaten egg mixture and then fried. Sometimes the eggs are mixed with milk and some spices, usually cinnamon.

Image courtesy of kimcaal/Reddit

This user found a pebble that looks just like French toast. It looks like the bread crusts which some people prefer not to eat. If you were hungry and looked at it the first time, you’d surely reach out for it and take a bite. That’s how much it looks like real bread.

#24 Strawberry sorbet anyone?

On a blistering hot sunny day, the first thing you’d reach for is something cold, plus points if it’s also sweet and tastes great. What’s something that ticks all of those boxes? Sorbet! Low-fat and dairy-free, it’s an excellent choice for people who can’t tolerate lactose well.

Image courtesy of aclassymess/Reddit

Strawberry is one of the top five ice creams and sorbet flavors in the world, and this photo wants us to order a gallon of strawberry sorbet ASAP. Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t sorbet, and it isn’t even cold. It’s DAP DryDex Spackling.

#25 Get your pork slabs here

One of the most important questions we want to be answered is if pork belly is healthy. Don’t laugh; it’s a valid concern, especially for those who love grilled pork belly. Fortunately, approximately 50% of the fat in pork belly is the same heart-healthy fat that offers the same benefits as the “Mediterranean Diet.”

Image courtesy of SailorPuffles/Reddit

Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can all go about our day and get some pork belly from the market, just like those you see in the photo. The only problem is these are not real pork meat. Rather, they are pork stones. We bet they’d make an excellent paperweight.

#26 More meat than you can handle

Let’s continue with the list with more meat. According to statistics, nearly one in four people in the United States has cut back on eating meat. However, the vast majority say that they continue to eat the same amount of meat as before.

Image courtesy of The Geography/Facebook

There are many reasons why some people decide not to consume meat, and one is the growing concern for the environment. This picture looks rather offputting, to say the least, and might be of use to people looking to get turned off meat a bit. However, what you see are not slabs of meat but marble called Rosso Levanto, red marble from Turkey.

#27 We love ham!

Again with meat but this time we are talking about ham. Ham is one of the most consumed meat products in the world today. According to legend, it was the Chinese who were the first to mention the production of cured ham.

Image courtesy of MTPROJECTS/Reddit

What you see in the photo looks like fancy ham that came from a golden pig. It almost makes us want to grab a few slices of bread, some cheese, and a few veggies. Although this looks totally edible, we are pretty sure it isn’t; in fact, on closer inspection, it looks like marble coasters.

#28 Honey for your hair

Name one food that doesn’t expire, and one of the first things that come to mind is honey. Made of 20% water and 80% sugars, honey is the only food in the world that includes all substances needed to sustain life.

Image courtesy of jasminelg16/Twitter

However, the bottle of honey in the photo is not one that you eat or put in your food. It’s a leave-in hair conditioner which is meant to uhm, condition your hair. It looks so much like the edible variety.

#29 Want to try some tree pasta?

One of the most popular kinds of pasta is spaghetti. It’s become a classic dish which you see and can order everywhere. Outside of Italy, it can be prepared in a variety of ways, but the thin spaghetti in tomato sauce originated from Naples in the 19th century.

Image courtesy of AwayState/Reddit

Places all over the world have their local versions of spaghetti, and it seems that this tree also wants to submit its take on the famous spaghetti. What you see is a tree trunk that has suffered the effects of being burned in a forest fire.

#30 Banana anyone?

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits eaten globally. Surprisingly classified as a berry, the banana can enhance your mood because it contains substances that produce serotonin. The bananas we eat today are called Cavendish and are different from the bananas before the 1960s that were wiped out by the “Panama disease.”

Image courtesy of danruse/Reddit

Make sure that you eat a banana every single day, but before you reach out for the bananas in this bowl, please take a good look first. Be careful because something else is in there aside from the friendly bananas.

#31 Hungry? Have some salad

The word salad comes from the Latin word herba salta which means salted herbs. The greens were usually seasoned with lots of salt and a variety of dressings. Salads are often considered bland, but it depends on how you prepare them and what ingredients you include.

Image courtesy of DirgeofElliot/Reddit

This salad may be many things, but it can never be described as bland. Just look at that one crunchy ingredient there! Nope, that’s not a veggie but a praying mantis. It could fool anyone who’s not paying attention to their food. Luckily for this lady, she was able to spot it before putting it in her mouth.

#32 Now that’s a giant broccoli

Broccoli is divisive; you either hate it or love it. Broccoli is a great addition to your diet because it has a lot of anti-cancer compounds. The broccoli is a big bundle of unopened flowers, although it looks like a miniature tree.

Image courtesy of kaigaradotcom/Twitter

If you look at the photo, what’s the first thing you see? A giant broccoli, right? Enough to feed an entire village. This tree could have fooled anyone. It sure fooled us at first glance, and we almost wanted to steam it.

#33 Fancy some grapes?

Grapes belong to the berry family. Each fruit comes from a single flower on the grapevine. Most people assume that grapes made into wine and those sold in your local groceries are the same; however, they are not. Table grapes or those eaten and sold in groceries have thin skin and have often been bred to be seedless.

Image courtesy of Trolivia/Reddit

What you see in the photo are not green table grapes. Its green onyx gemstones carved to look like grapes. You have to give props to the artists because the grapes look very convincing. It makes us want to reach out and pluck one of the “juicy” grapes and pop it into our mouths.

#34 Canine ramen just for you

One of Japan’s greatest imports is ramen. Where would we all be without it? Although the dish originated from China, it’s often associated with the land of the rising sun. Go to any Japanese restaurant, and one of the most popular dishes is sure to be ramen.

Image courtesy of British-/Reddit

However, this type of ramen is something that we want to steer clear of mostly because we see dogs as pets and not as food. Seriously though, it must have been scorching hot for that the pooch to want to cool himself down in that bath.

#35 Now that’s some luscious grapes

Now, this is another bunch of grapes that we’d like to try. However, this isn’t a fruit at all either. It’s agape from Indonesia, a relatively new gemstone. Although its trade name is grape agape, it’s actually Botryoidal Purple Chalcedony.

Image courtesy of Yulinka17/Reddit

It’s a form of quartz that features a waxy luster, and sometimes it may be translucent. Although what you see in the photo is some kind of purplish color, it is commonly seen in brown, white, gray, and sometimes pearly black.

#36 Furry mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is another of the most divisive foods out there. On the one side of the spectrum are people who can’t live without it, and on the other end are those who can hardly stand the sight of mayonnaise. Just for clarification, we belong to the former group.

Image courtesy of MrFluffytheLion/Reddit

However, this is one time we won’t be eating mayonnaise because, well, it’s a white cat lying on its bed that looks exactly like a slice of bread. The cat honestly looks like cream cheese on bread waiting to be devoured.

#37 Candy made of sea glass

Sea glass hard candy brings back many fond childhood memories. Who doesn’t enjoy them? We sure did and honestly still do. You can buy sea glass hard candy or make them yourself if you have the time and the patience.

Image courtesy of E-catherine/Reddit

But what you see in the photo is not edible candy but sea glass. These are used soda bottles that were dumped at the beach. Rolled and softened by the waves, they turn into colored pieces of stone that are a sight to behold.

#38 Do you want a ball of cheese?

Cheese has been in existence even before written language was. This is supported by ancient cheese strainers found in Poland that date as far back as 7,500 years ago. Murals in Egypt also show people engaged in the art of making cheese.

Image course of hrm326/Reddit

There are hundreds of different kinds of cheese, but this isn’t one of them. It might look like a ball of cheesy goodness, but it’s a bowling ball with the upper part broken off. No wonder it looked super dry.

#39 A warm bowl of soup

Americans eat over 10 billion bowls of soup every year, and the most popular variety in the country is chicken noodle soup. Soups can be consumed hot or cold, depending on the region where it’s served, but we prefer the hot type. There are two classifications of soups, clear and thick soups.

Image courtesy of Littleredsavior/Reddit

This soup probably belongs to the thick group because we can hardly see through it. No, it isn’t French onion soup. It’s most likely frog onion soup. Seriously though, the frog looks right at home in his little pod.

#40 Sweets for my sweet

Invented in 1922, gummer bears have continued to delight children for many generations. The gummy bear’s original name was dancing bears treat, and it was inspired by real live bear shows that saw the adorable creatures doing a lot of tricks.

Image courtesy of RogueOrange/Reddit

This isn’t a gummy bear; rather, it’s a gummy hippo. However, this is the type that you shouldn’t eat. As appealing as it may look, its soap formed into the shape of a hippopotamus with some crystallization on it.

#41 I’d like some honey buns, please

Honeybuns are one of the greatest things invented, in our opinion. Believe it or not, honey buns are used as currency in prison. Inmates in the state of Florida purchase almost 300,000 honey buns in a month. That’s how good they are!

Image courtesy of Aussie_Red/Reddit

However, if you have high blood sugar, you might want to avoid them. If you need help, look at this photo, and it makes honey buns look less appealing. This perfectly coiled snake looks like a giant honey bun minus the scales and the bite.

#42 Illegal Oreo cookies

Illegal substance smugglers are becoming more creative to avoid authorities and not get caught. They have clever ways of concealing their products. Crystal or speed is one of the most powerful and highly addictive narcotics today.

Image courtesy of Department of Homeland Security

If you think these look like large Oreo cookies, the type that you get from specialty shops, think again. These are meant to look like decorative Aztec calendar wheels but they have large amounts of banned substances concealed inside.

#43 Is that candy or medicine?

Some medicines look a lot like the everyday candy that you buy from shops. Perhaps medicine was made to look that way so people, especially kids, would have no qualms taking them. Medicine, after all, has the reputation of not tasting good.

Image courtesy of LinkDude80/Reddit

If you put candy and medicine side by side without labels, adults wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. How much more can we expect children to tell the difference? This is why you should always keep medicine out of reach of children.

#44 A feast for everyone

All you can eat buffets are always a hit no matter where you are in the world. Who wouldn’t want to pay a flat fee and eat whatever they want to eat? Buffets are how restaurants and hotels attract plenty of customers.

Image courtesy of JPL_Reader/Twitter

This buffet spread is inviting and makes you want to sit right down and start eating. The only problem with this spread is that it’s not even edible. This is just a “food” table of ironically non-edible things prepared by a local mineral show.

#45 Cheese sandwich on a calendar

How often have you seen, heard, or read something so many times that you ended up wanting that thing? This is called the power of suggestion. The person who submitted this photo suddenly felt like eating a cheese sandwich, and he wondered why.

Image courtesy of scroopiedoopie/Reddit

The answer was in front of him, his calendar! Look at the calendar, and you’ll see that it looks like a grilled cheese sandwich. However, that’s not food but a geological formation. The calendar succeeds in making people hungry, though.