Sammy Nickalls
November 25, 2015 6:08 am

Guys, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and though we’re dreaming of stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie, there’s one dish we have to recognize. A dish that isn’t exactly a part of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but one that everyone knows nonetheless. A dish that we can all imagine the taste of, but none of us have ever put on the table. . . except for Rachel Green, that is.

That’s right: I’m talking about the beef trifle from Friends. It’s been 16 years to the day since “The One Where Ross Got High” aired on TV, but we’ve officially renamed the episode “The One With Rachel’s Beef Trifle,” because let’s be real, Rachel’s cooking attempts (and failures) totally MADE that 1999 Thanksgiving episode.

If you’re having trouble remembering the exact plot of that episode, here’s a refresher: Monica lets Rachel make dessert. Which, as we all know, is totally wild, because Monica’s generally the head honcho of the kitchen. Rachel is thrilled (albeit a bit nervous), but unfortunately doesn’t realize that the pages of the cookbook she’s using are stuck together, and she ends up making a trifle that’s half trifle, half shepherd’s pie: ladyfingers, jam, custard, raspberries, more ladyfingers, beef sauteed with peas and onions, a little more custard, bananas, then whipped cream. Yuuuuum.

Even though it’s, admittedly, a totally nasty dessert concept, we can’t help but love the beef trifle in all its glory. Here are all the reasons why it’s the single most important Thanksgiving dish in TV history.

The beef trifle was actually a really awesome symbol of Monica’s trust in Rachel.

Anyone who’s an avid Friends watcher knows how difficult it was for Monica to put her full faith in Rachel. Not because Rachel is untrustworthy (even though she’s not *exactly* the best in the kitchen), but Monica is the ultimate host and perfectionist, and it’s hard for her to fully let go of the reins. But she knew how much this meant to her best friend, and she decided to let Rachel be in charge of dessert — without any backup dish.

Everyone was willing to actually TRY this concoction . . . 

Eating a fruit-custard-beef-and-peas concoction for the sake of your friend’s feelings? Let’s be real, that’s true friendship. (Well, OK, maybe Joey and Ross had different motives, but still.)

. . . but the beef trifle also led to an important truth-telling session.

Although Ross may have been indignant about this fact, the Friends Thanksgiving of 1999 was Truth Day: Monica’s parents learned that Ross had been the one smoking, which led them to love Chandler; they also finally found out that Monica and Chandler are living together, which made them so wonderfully happy. And Rachel learned that she wasn’t supposed to put beef in the trifle, and it did not taste good — but now she knows for any future trifles. Hey, the truth is always better, man.

Beef trifle is a reminder that we all start somewhere.

Sure, maybe it should have been obvious to Rachel that peas and meat do not pair nicely with custard and jam, but hey, we all start out as beginners, and we’ve all had a debacle equivalent to the beef trifle, because we’re all human. OK, maybe not as bad as the beef trifle, but STILL.

It reminded us that food isn’t the most important part of Thanksgiving.

The thought of concocting a big Thanksgiving feast can be totally overwhelming, even if you’ve got all of Mom’s recipes handy. Of course, you’re going to want to make everyone happy and full and content, and it can feel like the food must be perfect if you want the evening to go perfectly. However, the beef trifle was a reminder that food isn’t *really* the most important thing — friendship and family is. (And if you ever do totally mess up a Thanksgiving dish, you can rest assured that you didn’t mess it up as much as Rachel did.)

Happy Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving, one and all! And please, don’t make a beef trifle at home. Unless you have plenty of antacids handy, that is.

(Image via Warner Bros.)

Related:

Everything I need to know I learned from the best Friends Thanksgiving episode ever

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