I want to experiment with dishes that fool the senses. Dishes that look like one thing but taste completely different from what was visually expected (e.g. Heston's parsnip cereal)

I want to google for these kinds of recipies, but what seach terms should I use? Is there a term of art or word which describes these dishes?

  • A now-legendary SCA event based on this idea was called the Feast of Illusion, if I recall correctly. It was an entire medieval-style dinner where nothing was as it seemed: the sweet dishes looked savory and vice versa, the hard-boiled eggs were actually eggshells stuffed with custard, and so on.
    – Marti
    Aug 13, 2013 at 21:16
  • I think any SCA event that is legendary is legendary within a pretty small community :-) Perhaps a fun and exciting one, but not a widely known one.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Aug 13, 2013 at 22:31
  • what's the SCA ...?
    – Ken
    Aug 13, 2013 at 22:39
  • Society for Creative Anachronism. They recreate historical events the way they wish they had been. That is my best understanding, anyway.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Aug 13, 2013 at 22:56

3 Answers 3


I believe the most common term, especially for foods that just visually look like another food, is Trompe-l'œil. While the Wikipedia article linked focuses on other forms of art, the word is still applied to foods.

If you google "Trompe l'œil food", you will find many examples of the term in use.

Note that Google seems smart enough to handle either "œ" or "oe".

  • I suspected that term might be used, but a search of this site of the word "trompe" retuned no results, so I assumed it wasn't widely used in cooking.
    – Ken
    Aug 13, 2013 at 22:41

The term seems to be illusion foods.

They seemed to have been very popular in the middle ages: Here's a description of the medieval feast I mentioned in a comment. There's also a chapter on such foods in an online medieval cookbook. But a quick search also finds pinterest boards and lists on general-interest websites.


They may under a few terms:

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