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September 23, 2008

The food in your favorite TV show



I was noticing that people were still posting comments under my last TV post. That got me thinking about food and TV, and the fact that except for sit-coms where families sit around the dinner table, people don't eat much on TV shows.

It used to drive me crazy that Jack never ate on 24. I mean, I know he went to the bathroom during the commercial breaks, but that wouldn't have given him time to make and eat a sandwich or even gulp down a granola bar. ...

One exception is the boys on Entourage (I don't have HBO; I watch it on DVD). They are always eating at Urth Caffe, which makes me very happy, and other LA restaurants that I sometimes recognize and sometimes don't. The show wouldn't be as true to life if they didn't, because everyone eats out in LA.

Everyone eats, for that matter, and I think TV ought to make better use of that fact. Now I've started watching to see if anyone ever eats anything on the other shows I like. Last night as far as I could tell, although I fell asleep by the end of the first hour (don't give away any plot points; I TiVoed), in the season premiere of Heroes the kitchen was used only for scalping Claire.

However, on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sarah fixed plates of spaghetti for her family after an action-packed day tracking down a robot from the future, rescuing her ex-boyfriend's wife and shooting a lot of semi-automatics.

I suggest everyone start watching for food and restaurants in their favorite TV shows for, say, a week; and report back here when you have a sighting.

I'll bet we find there isn't much.

(Photo by Anthony Mandler/Fox) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:28 PM | | Comments (41)


I know the women on Sex and the City used to eat out at NYC restaurants. I know this because I always found it ludicrous; clearly the actresses themselves don't eat like regular people. They must all be on the Ornish diet.

How I met your mother. best commedy sitcom out there. And they're always gulping down some alcohol in their episodes. Dates are common, so restaurants/food is too.

Psych freakin hilarious show. And Shawn baked a pineapple upsidedown cake in an ez-bake oven for 19 hours.

Monk is also pretty hilarious (though quality has gone down lately), and he always is separating out food, counting the number of peas, or just cleaning his kitchen.

other shows i watch are all on food network, so, yeah... no food there =P

On The Big Bang Theory (I love italicizing. Have I worn it out yet?) they eat all of the time. Blonde Neighbor works at The Cheesecake Factory. I used to be married to a scientist. He was nowhere near this amusing.

I always watch Kitchen Nightmares to know where not to eat.

I sometimes watched Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC. At least I didn't have to worry about eating at any of those places, either before or after.

Eve, I am still married to a scientist, but I didn't marry him for the yucks.

I am an adult, but I can't help loving the Nickelodeon show iCarly.

This show also does an amazing job demonstrating good eating habits. The kids on the show are always shown snacking on fruits and veggies, cooking dinner with their families, and their big "treat" is to go to the Groovy Smoothy across the street. There was also an episode where they made fun of the enormous portions served at the Cheesecake Factory (No dessert should weigh more than you!).

If you have kids, this is a great show to have them watch.

I want Jack Bauer's cel phone battery. That thing is unbelievable.

Jack doesn't need food; he eats fear for breakfast.

My favorite food scene is dinner for the Ricky Bobby clan in Talladega Nights. KFC and Taco Bell and of course, Gatorade. And of course, Will Farrell (as Ricky Bobby) saying the blessing over the food was to me the funniest part of maybe Will's weakest movie.

I remember one meal of Popeye's chicken in Weeds. Which is weird because they should be eating, and often because of the nature of the show.

Strange that my tv show people eat crap!

Oh, and the worst show for food? Those skinny girls on 90210. When they are at lunch, the most they eat is a TINY bowl of iceberg lettuce sans any dressing. Very disturbing.

Nobody ate more thoroughly and specifically than Doug on the King of Queens. It was like snack porn. Oh yeah Little Debbie, that's the way ... (too far?).

Let's not forget all of the pies in Pushing Daisies. Mmmm, pie.

The folks in Friday Night Lights are often seen in either the local burger joint where some of the players work, or in the Product-Placement Applebees in town.

On Two and a Half Men there's at least one meal scene in pretty much every show.

But, Dottie, watching Two and a Half men requires watching Charlie Sheen, who seems to have only one expression.

Claude- Ever seen the movie Waitress? Now that will get you in the mood for pie!

Dahlink, check out Bruce Jenner (on Keeping up with the Kardashians). He must have had an eye job or something and always looks surprised.

Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson is famous for her addiction to junk sweets (think Twinkies) on [i]The Closer[/i].

The Sopranos always seemed to have food in their episodes, either at the restaurant or in Tony's house.

By the way, is/was Satriale's the only Pork Store in the country? Never heard of a Pork Store before.

As far as Sex and the City, they never ordered fattening food. Always egg whites, salads, etc. More than once, Samantha ordered hot water with lemon instead of food.

Pork store? Don't get me started.

PCB Rob -- a quick Google search showed quite a few pork stores out there, mostly in the New York area. From what I can tell, a pork store originally dealt exclusively in sausages and other pork products (although it will probably sell other meat and poultry products nowadays).

I don't think that I've ever seen anyone eat on House. Drink, yes, eat no. That can't be good for your liver, come think of it...

Seinfeld had a lot of eating. They were always in the restauant with the sign that just said restaurant. Jerry had the date with the "man hands" woman who tore apart lobster and there was something about a woman who ate peas one at a time if I'm remembering correctly. Of course, the soup episode and one where in a Chinese restaurant.

Though I agree that quite a few shows have scenes in restaurants, it's striking how little eating goes on. Also, there's seem to be a discrepancy in the eating between comedies and dramas.

Veal Prince Orloff

Sue Ann Nivens: Mary dear, do you have any idea what happens if you let veal Prince Orloff sit in an oven too long?
Mary Richards: No, what?
Sue Ann Nivens: He dies.

Yes, I lifted that quote from IMDb, but I was the one who put it in IMDb in the first place.


There's always a few cafeteria scenes in House. Just last night House went to go find his new Wilson there, as one of the requirements for new Wilson was he had to pay for House's lunch.

Grey's Anatomy usually has a scene where they all are sitting around at lunch.

yeah, I watch that show.

And while I'm on the medical shows, Scrubs usually does too.

You're right Dahlink, but I don't watch it for the men, I watch it for Conchata Farrell. Her character (Berta) never fails to crack me up. I just love her, and have for years!


Yes, Berta's wisecracks are great. Especially when she rags on the kid.

okay, pretty much all of her comments are funny.

Oh, and "Ugly Betty" returns tonight. They do a lot of cooking and eating on that show--nice to see "papi" back in the kitchen.

My earlier post missed this point's thread. So, my current favorite eater on prime time television is Mariska Hargitay. She eats real food.

I think we've all proved you wrong. There is LOTS of food on tv. it's just not always the focus, so, the casual observer may miss it.

My idea was a little different. It was to see how or if over the course of a week, food was part of your current favorite shows in a casual way, not an integral part of a character, as with Brenda Leigh and her sweet tooth. But nobody took me up on it. Or haven't so far. EL

El, have you started watching Mad Men yet? Nearly every episode includes at least one scene taking place in one or another swanky New York restaurant. And last week, one of the main characters hosted a dinner party in her home by offering "a little trip around the world. Starting in Spain with gazpacho, followed by Japan: rumaki, and then we'll stop by Duchess County for a leg of lamb, mint jelly, accompanied by egg noodles the way my grandmother made them from Germany. And we have a choice of Burgundy from France or a frosty glass of beer from Holland."

It's at the top of my Netflix queue, but it's also at the top of everyone else's Netflix queue, so they keep sending me the next DVD down. EL

There's always the world famous coconut cream pies conssumed on just about every episode of Gilliagn's Island.

Donny - bringing to mind the eternal question of why could the professor make a radio out of coconut shells but couldn't figure out how to fix the stupid boat?

why could the professor make a radio out of coconut shells but couldn't figure out how to fix the stupid boat?

It wasn't his fault. The scriptwriter made him do it.

Well, duh, Joyce W.--if the boat was fixed, they would sail away from the island and there's the end of the show!

House took the last of the french fries in the cafeteria once...I think Wilson had and egg salad sandwich once too. Never saw Cameron eat. Saving Grace, she makes sandwiches on occasion, and feeds her dog dry cereal so he will wash the kitchen floor. Doctor Who never eats he's too busy saving the world.

Last night I watched the old movie “What’s New Pussycat” on the local PBS station. The scene below seemed to be included in food related viewing and what not to eat on a first date. Skakapopulis has managed to get his secret love, Carole, to his apartment for the first time:

Romy Schneider as Carole and Woody Allen as Victor
Carole Werner: You got something to eat?
Victor Skakapopulis: [Looking around his messy kitchen] Some, uh, some Fig Newtons and some Hershey bars and some cough drops.
Carole Werner: You got any tuna fish?
Victor Skakapopulis: [Searching cupboard] Tuna fish... tuna fish... I have some salmon salad left.
Carole Werner: What do you mean, left? When did you make it?
Victor Skakapopulis: In April, but if you smother it with pepper it's fine.

LEC's mention of Woody Allen brings to mind the lobster scene in Annie Hall.

I don't watch much TV anymore but an old show that not only had great food moments but also wine moments was Northern Exposure.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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