After I started to seriously watch anime, going from "hey, nice art and story style" to "okay, this character is definitely a tsundere archetype, and that one fits more into gothloli", I quickly picked up an essential lesson, which is that I should, never, ever, on pain of intense and unending depression, watch any anime while hungry. This is because I tend to watch anime at night, when all the stores are closed, and I tend to eat a lot at one go (with my strangely high metabolism even with a sedentary lifestyle, I've not yet gotten remotely plump; in fact, I'm downright skinny). This usually means that when the part where the characters start chowing down on some tasty-looking food happens, I start feeling a bit peckish, and raid the fridge, but find out that I'm out of snacks and other midnight meals, and it is too late to buy any more. Too tired to cook, too poor to order in, and I end up trying to sleep with my stomach not really that empty, but my brain drooling at visions of huge bento sets, made with a smile.
Now, I'm not sure why food seems to be a prominent feature in anime. I might guess that it may have something to do with culture, and one's innate pride in it. To showcase a culture, I would, in my ignorance about how such things are really done, first look at the language, followed by the mode of dress, any observances (religious or secular), and quite importantly, the cuisine. And it's not just what the food is, but also how it is presented and prepared. It's the difference between scrambled eggs and tamagoyaki, between spaghetti and ramen, between pizza and okonomiyaki.
Or I could be wrong, and it's all just some very common form of Dischism. The animators were hungry, and so they drew lots of food.
The preparation and consumption of food is fairly well-represented in many anime, especially harem comedies. Keeping that in mind (ie no pointing out some random MANLY ANIME that has the characters EAT MANLY THINGS like snakes and rats and light bulbs), we'll have a look at the various types of food that seem to pop up time and time again in anime.