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This Instagram Account Documents the Food Porn of 'The Simpsons'

"It allows Simpsons fans to have small nostalgia trips whilst gazing at Springfield’s finest dishes."

Nick Rose

Nick Rose

Food can be a straight line to your childhood, an edible time machine that brings you right back to the kitchen table of your youth.

For many Millennials, watching an episode of The Simpsons from its pre-2000 "Golden Era" can have the same effect, transporting them back to the TV rooms adjacent to the kitchen tables of their youths. But for UK-based graphic design student Ross Norman, both of these portals have come together in a kind of cultural synaesthesia, fusing his childhood memories with the flavours of Springfield.

We spoke to Norman about his carefully curated and increasingly popular Springfield Cuisine Instagram account to try and understand why The Simpsons' portrayal of food so enchanting and comforting.

MUNCHIES: How did you get into The Simpsons in the first place?
Ross Norman: I had always watched Simpsons. When I was younger, it used to be aired at around 6 PM. I'd race to eat my dinner and run to the television to watch it. It's always great re-watching the episodes now as I begin to realise more inside jokes and humour than I did in the past.

What made you dedicate an entire Instagram account to the food of Springfield?
I had already been following a few accounts that are dedicated to certain things within The Simpsons, such as cars and backgrounds, and was shocked to not find one dedicated to food. I took it upon myself to produce an Instagram account dedicated to the best, worst, and most questionable dishes throughout Springfield.

Are there any unifying threads in representations of food on The Simpsons?
The dishes are normally always subliminal and overlooked by the watcher, yet so much detail and thought have gone into the dishes, from both Marge and the writers. I wanted to highlight them and bring them to the forefront. It allows Simpsons fans to remember forgotten moments and have small nostalgia trips whilst gazing at Springfield's finest dishes.

Do you think that the writers of the Simpsons were making a commentary about American
culture through food?
In The Simpsons, there is the generic food that the average American would eat compared to any other continent, so I think a lot of thought went into making sure that the residents of Springfield ate the correct dishes. Meatloaf night, a large turkey for Thanksgiving, Khlav Kalash food stall, etc.

Why provide detailed descriptions of each dish?
In the UK there is a luxury food chain called Marks and Spencer who are always recognised for their descriptive food-porn adverts, so I decided to do a spin-off of that and incorporate it within Springfield Cuisine. It also allows the uploads on Springfield Cuisine to have more depth and understanding of the dish than if it was to just have the name.

Why did you focus on the early seasons?
Seasons 1–10, also known as the "The Golden Era," were the times that were most memorable to me as a child. The illustrative style kept a consistency and authenticity throughout all ten seasons and each storyline was comical, emotive, and entertaining to watch.

Food is illustrated in a really simplistic way on The Simpsons, but it also always looked appetising for some reason. How would you describe the way food is illustrated on those early seasons?
Organic and consistent.

As a graphic designer, do these representations of food inspire you at all?
I think as a designer, it's nice to see how much effort and detail has gone into such small features from an episode. For example, Seymore Skinner's "Steamed Ham" upload was one of three frames from the episode.

What's your favourite food moment from The Simpsons?
The 16-pound steak, also known as Sir Loin-A-Lot.

Why?
Homer's expressions says it all.

Mountain Dew or crab juice?
BLEUGH, EUGH. I'll take a crab juice.

Fair enough. Thanks, Ross.