You ate it, you recovered health. Health dropped to zero, you died. That was the appeal, because it's how we wish real life worked -- punch a bad person and a roasted ham appears. That screengrab is from Castlevania. If you play the critically acclaimed spiritual reboot that just came out (the excellent Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night), something very different happens.
In that game, you'll kill an enemy and find that it doesn't drop a turkey, or a healing potion, or even coins. You will instead win some nonsense words that sound like ingredients in a witch's cauldron ("Webbing," "Ectoplasm", "Hemp"). "What the shit is this?" you'll exclaim. You can't eat these objects, or attack with them, or even sell them for any meaningful amount of money. That's because they are among the 350 different fucking items that are mostly ingredients for a complex crafting and cooking system -- things you must accumulate in order to make the proverbial turkey hours down the line.
And of course, the most useful and fun upgrades require multiple rare ingredients, and that means grinding -- standing in the same room and killing the same creatures over and over for hours. If you play mainstream games these days, you know this is all standard. When I killed my very first enemy in The Witcher 3, I received "Dog Tallow" as a reward, a crafting ingredient that sat unused in my Costco-sized backpack until I beat the game 50 hours later. I can't imagine how it smelled.
You can say that the grind is optional, that you don't have to do any of that stuff to beat the game. That's true, but it's also most of the available gameplay. The primary action-reward loop becomes meaningless if you don't plan on doing the crafting. You heroically kill a room full of enemies, and you'll feel nothing when your reward is "chitinous shell," "cockatrice stomach," and "fiend dung." None of those are made up, by the way.