This past weekend, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs showed us how even the most well-intentioned culinary devices can go awry. We look at other foodie technologies that prove deadly, dangerous, or will at least wreck your appetite.
Replicators (Star Trek): Despite their ability to replicate everything from heavy machinery to caviar, the replicators actually malfunction far less often than their holodeck cousins. But leave it to the Cardassians to recognize replicators can be programmed for evil, whether by transmitting an aphasia virus or delivering a bomb in lieu of Captain Sisko's morning Raktajino.
Wonka's Inventions (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl): As much as Wonka claims that everything in his factory is edible, it's best to keep your mitts (and teeth) off his more experimental works, such as Three-Course Bubblegum or Television Chocolate.
Nuka-Cola (Fallout): Unlike Slurm, which is less an invention than the product of a Slurm Queen's behind, Nuka-Cola has multiple ingredients — some of them radioactive. While marketing claims the radiation in Nuka-Cola Quantum is harmless, no drink that makes your pee glow can be healthy, and even consuming Nuka-Cola Classic comes with a 10% chance of addiction.
Allied Mastercomputer ("I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison): When the godlike computer AM destroys nearly all of humanity, it decides to keep a few around for its own amusement. To keep the survivors from dying, it manufactures manna from heaven. To keep them from enjoying it, the computer makes it all taste terrible.
Coffee Engine (Girl Genius): The Coffee Engine could give your favorite barista a run for their money. It's capable of creating the perfect cup of coffee, which would be great if any person who drank said cup didn't become instantly obsessed with its perfection. To keep all of humanity from degrading into coffee-addled zombies (as if it weren't already too late), the machine had to be tweaked to produce only an excellent cup of coffee.
Matrix Food (The Matrix): Virtual food in the Matrix isn't inherently evil, aside from it being another way the machines trick your brain into believing you're in the physical world. But when compared with the uniform slop served outside the Matrix, the promise of nightly steak dinners is enough to convince Cypher to betray Neo.
Soylent Processing (Soylent Green): The problem with over-processed foodstuffs is that no one recognizes what they're eating any more. That isn't such a huge problem when it's just (tasteless) soy and lentil wafers, but far more sinister when your latest ingredient is tasty, human meat.
Dehydrated Pizza (Back to the Future, Part II): The height of 21st Century convenience, the dehydrated pizza stores easily and cooks in a few seconds. But even though it's the shape of a cookie when dehydrated, don't devour the thing whole. Reexpansion in the stomach can be hazardous to your health, not to mention painful.
Bologna Virus (Invader Zim): When Dib hits Zim with a slice of bologna, Zim has a lunchmeat-inspired idea for taking out his nemesis once and for all. He overwrites Dib's DNA with bologna DNA, gradually turning him in to a delicious tube of pressed meat. Naturally, of course, the plan backfires and he's got to find...a cure.
Killer Tomatoes (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes): Professor Gangreen finds a way to turn Earth's most devious fruit into a weapon of mass destruction. In the second film, he transforms tomatoes into humanoid spies, even as giant man-eating tomatoes splat through the streets.
The Chocolate Dispenser (Red Dwarf): Unlike the Talkie Toaster, which is mostly annoying with its obsession with toast, the Chocolate Dispenser has declared itself Rimmer's actual nemesis, once going so far as to attack Rimmer by firing soda cans at his head.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Gun (Meet the Robinsons): Aspiring young inventor Lewis is always inventing things, and often showing his gadgets off to less that appreciative prospective parents. The PB&J gun would have been less of a disaster if that one potential father hadn't had a deathly peanut allergy.
Kandyman (Doctor Who "The Happiness Patrol"): Don't let his bridge mix exterior fool you; the Kandyman is not an automaton to be trifled with. People who fail to smile and aren't happy all the time must deal with the Kandyman's sweet brand of law enforcement — drowning in sugary goop, otherwise known as the "fondant surprise."
Dish of the Day (The Restaurant at the End of the World by Douglas Adams): At Milliways, you get to meet your meat before you eat, thanks to a brand of sentient animal specially bred to want to be eaten. Granted, it's probably not going to hurt you, but you'll probably lose your appetite.