From Our Readers

TV Characters I Want to Chow Down With

I am a pretty big fan of food and an even bigger fan of people who enjoy a good meal. I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when out to dinner with someone who just doesn’t eat (And I’m not talking about people dealing with debilitating eating disorders or other illnesses, because that is something different entirely.) We all have that one friend that order an appetizer size portion or a side salad at every meal and then picks at it the entire time. Heaven forbid you suggest the dessert menu for the loo of horror they give you. That just doesn’t fly with me. I agree with “all things in moderation” and don’t condone eating a huge entrée and dessert at every meal (because that’s just unhealthy) but I simply can’t stomach someone who is so … uninterested in food.  I do have a few friends who fit the bill of the ideal dinner companion but there are also plenty of fictional characters that I would love to grab some grub with.

Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

“We need to remember what’s important in life: Friends, Waffles, Work. Or Waffles, Friends, Work. It doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

If that doesn’t tell you the kind of girl Leslie is, let me break it down for you. She spent $1,000 on waffles in one year at one restaurant. I can easily see this happening to me. Sugar and whipped cream are their own distinct food groups for Leslie. She tops her coffee off with chocolate syrup. She completely disagrees with salad (who doesn’t?) and once ate so many sugar-laden “health bars” that she stayed up over 24-hours. Her boyfriend even bought her a waffle shaped necklace for Valentine’s Day — if that’s not love, I don’t know what is. Like Leslie, I believe that breakfast foods are the best foods (Why would anyone ever eat anything other than breakfast foods? Because people are idiots, Leslie) and there is nowhere I’d rather eat than a good old fashioned diner. I can’t think of a better companion to sit across a vinyl booth from, hashing out our thoughts on feminism and maybe laying down an old Will Smith rap or two.

Ethel Mertz – I Love Lucy

“Gee, this high altitude sure gives me an appetite.” “What’s your excuse at sea level?”

A recurring theme throughout this series is that Ethel isn’t afraid to pack it in, much to the chagrin of her tubby husband Fred, who insists that she is growing sideways every day. One of my favorite scenes in the series is one where the foursome are eating dinner and Lucy slides all of the leftovers onto Ethel’s plate without even having to ask. She consistently sits herself down at the Ricardo’s breakfast island and pours herself a cup of coffee, dips a donut in it and butters Ricky’s oft-forgotten toast. Before their famous run-in with the candy conveyor belt, Ethel was kicked out of the boxing department for pinching the chocolates to see what kind they were. Only a true food lover would risk being fired to find out if a truffle is coconut or caramel. She lets the comments about her weight and robust eating habits roll off her back as she reaches for another helping, which is something I think we could all afford to do every once in a while.

Ron Swanson – Parks and Recreation

“When I eat, it is the food that is scared.”

Yes, I am spotlighting another citizen of Pawnee but how could you not want to eat with this man after hearing that? Ron Swanson is the kind of man who goes to a strip club for their breakfast buffet. The kind of man for whom a burrito called The Meat Tornado (which literally killed a guy last year) causes immediate salivation. For Ron Swanson, two dozen eggs are never enough, the only way to eat a burger is a ground beef on a bun (add ketchup, he couldn’t care less.) When his favorite steak place was boarded up, his reaction was on the verge of a serious breakdown. He had a turkey leg wrapped in bacon named after him — having any type of food named after you is the mark of a true eater, but a meat on meat confection? That’s serious business. Eating a burger with Ron Swanson would be an experience I’d never forget, guaranteed

Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)

“Oh I can’t stop drinking the coffee. I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and walking and the words putting into sentence doing.”

When the Gilmore Girls have a movie night, they do it up right. Forget one measly bowl of popcorn and a can of coke each. We’re talking about mounds of candy, popcorn, chips, assorted beverages, cookies, cakes … it’s a veritable concession stand of delicious foods. Then they order pizza. Now, these are my kind of girls. They eat cheeseburgers like they’re going out of style, never turn down a short stack for breakfast and drink coffee with a religious fervor. These are the type of girls who bring their own tacos to a diner, who get one of everything when they order Chinese takeout. The kind of girls you give the brownies made from the mixture that three times the amount of cocoa was accidentally dropped into. Lorelai and Rory are the only people who could ever have three Thanksgiving dinners and not only live to tell the tale, but ask for leftover rolls to bring home. That is a dedication and appreciation for food that I have yet to see surpassed. When the Gilmores add a fourth dinner to their holiday festivities, I definitely want to be there to hold the leftovers.

Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia – The Golden Girls

“Here we are in the middle of a crisis and there’s no cheesecake!”

My dream dessert bar would have to be the Golden Girls kitchen. Where else can you always find a fridge stocked with one amazing flavor of cheesecake after another, chased down with one of Rose’s St. Olaf tales, some of Dorothy’s biting wit, Sophia’s sarcasm and the details of Blanche’s raunchy escapades? Sweet treats are best when you can share in the decadence with people that you love (in my mind, sharing brings the guilt factor down to a zero) and the Golden Girls have got it down to a science. At midnight when they can’t sleep, during a crisis that they need to hash out, during some serious girl talk … all of these things can be done alone but with cheesecake? With cheesecake these women can conquer the world.

Fran Fine – The Nanny

“Can you give me a rough idea of what you’ve had to eat today?” “Well, I had a couple of eggs for breakfast and some toast, cantaloupe, cocoa puffs, a Scooter Pie. Then Ma came over and we had some tea with Rugelach and a few strawberries and just a bite of cinnamon Babka, it was very dry. Oh, and I was at the park … I had a hot dog there and some chips, a Yoo Hoo and gummi bears … and a pickle.”

There are many things to love about Fran Fine — her bouncy hair-do, her incredible fashion sense, her witty retorts, her laugh (yes, I really do love her laugh) but I love nothing more than her ability to eat everyone under the table and still wear a size 4. Fran comes from a long line of marathon eaters, which means that you could always count on dinners with her family to include an amazing assortment of New York Jewish delicacies. For the mom whose “medicine” is a bottle of chocolate syrup, you can also be pretty sure that dessert is never a question. I appreciate a fashionista who is equally concerned with what she’s wearing as she is with where her next meal is coming from, rather than how she’s going to avoid it. Besides, with all the effort it takes to be an independent working woman (on the hunt for a rich doctor to marry) who has to time to take food so seriously?

What TV Characters would you love to have a meal with? Leave a comment!

By Kerri Jarema

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