'Mmmm, junk food!'

Simpsons' diet: Pink doughnuts to dog food

Posted: July 26, 2007

DON'T HAVE A COW, man!

But it's OK if you eat one, and wash it down with a supersized Squishee.

After 18 seasons on TV, Matt Groening's lovable cartoon gang comes to the big screen tomorrow in "The Simpsons Movie." As much as social commentary figures prominently in the show - over the years it's lampooned everything from illegal immigration and video-game addiction to the rapture - the family's love affair with food, if you can call it that, is a huge part of the Simpson charm.

When it comes to eating a balanced diet, Homer Simpson and his dysfunctional brood wrote the book on what not to do.

Like the time Homer passed up sex with Marge because he ate too many enchiladas. Or the time he ordered a doughnut burger with cheese at Krusty Burger.

Then there was the episode where he got a pizza delivered to a courtroom. And the time he was tempted by a commercial for a Worcestershire soft drink, "Mmmmmmm, steaky!"

"Homer tends to combine foods in disgusting ways," agreed Collingswood, N.J., resident David Hodges, a devoted Simpsons fan and ardent home cook. "They have an abysmally poor diet."

Hodges' favorite food image from the show comes from the "Treehouse of Horrors" time-travel episode: Homer turns a toaster into a time machine, and the next thing he knows, his family has forked tongues and neon-colored doughnuts are raining from the sky.

Not so bad, all things considered.

The smacking sounds around the family table are brilliant, said Greg Salisbury, owner of Rx restaurant in West Philly. "They just crack me up. I love that Homer likes to eat butter on a stick. The writing is so incisive. It's biting social commentary that makes you laugh at yourself. You recognize your own family foibles in theirs."

When Louis Mosca, chef at Vesuvio restaurant in Center City, was growing up, he identified with Bart Simpson. "He ate junk food, skateboarded, got into trouble all the time - all the things I did," said the Bridesburg native. "It was the only cartoon I ever watched."

Jeff Alberti, chef/co-owner of Plantation restaurant in Harvey Cedars, N.J., remembers the time Homer didn't get his money's worth at an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and sued the owner for false advertising.

"If Homer came to my restaurant, I'd keep feeding him seafood. And lots and lots of Duff Beer," said Alberti. "He'd probably bankrupt me."*

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