You’ve seen it on Adam Richman’s Man V. Food, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and countless brunch menus across the land that boast a double cheeseburger served between two donuts. So-called dude food—over-the-top, in-your-face culinary creations with no concern for moderation or decency—is one of the most pervasive trends (or epidemics) in the food world today. Financial Times critic Tim Hayward calls it an “international phenomenon,” while Men’s Health has even issued an impassioned defense of the stuff.
The dude food ethos manifests itself everywhere, from fast-food chains (let’s not beat around the bush, the KFC Double Down is a bro’s wet dream) all the way to the kitchens of respected chefs like Heston Blumental and Martin Picard, who play on notions of testosterone-driven gluttony and indulgence with their cooking.
We’re of two minds about the ascendance of dude food. There are some obvious problems, like the term itself (women love 47-layer dip too) and the potential for both overeating and waste. But we also kind of like the playfulness of the genre, and the willingness to cut through the preciousness and pretension food world with ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck grub.
To try to put the evolution of bro-ish cooking into perspective, we’ve rounded up 25 of the most balls-out dishes we could find, from ancient Rome to the modern day.