If you love television as much as I do, you often find yourself enveloped in your favorite shows. I want to find out everything I can about my favorite characters, including the food they love to eat and their favorite cocktails. Here are just a handful of food and drinks that gained notoriety from your favorite TV shows.
Starting with the mother of all TV show/food pairings, who can forget El’s obsession with Eggo waffles in Stranger Things? One of the first few scenes where we’re introduced to Eleven (a.k.a. “El”), Mike, one of the boys she befriends, hides her in his basement where he brings her Eggo waffles. She instantly falls in love with the ‘80s processed goodness, later even stealing boxes of Eggos from a grocery store.
Where us ‘80s and ‘90s babies grew up eating Eggos for breakfast, Gen Z took to Eggos quite quickly after El made them popular again. In fact, when Stranger Things Season 2 premiered on Netflix in October 2017, Eggo waffles experienced the most social media mentions in a single month ever. Also, in the last quarter of 2017, Eggo consumption grew 14%, according to Business Insider.
Another nostalgic treat heavily featured in a TV series? Cheesecake. The four ladies of The Golden Girls would sit down together at the end of the night and indulge in a slice of decadent cheesecake. The four lead actresses of the show ate over 100 cheesecakes during the show’s run from 1985 to 1992. Bakeries from around the country would send cheesecakes to be on the show!
Despite it being off the air for 30 years, the show still has influence on the culture of today. According to Deadline, a Golden Girls-themed restaurant and bar pop-up (with an emphasis on desserts, of course) will be debuting in July 2022 in Los Angeles.
Before Sex and the City premiered on HBO in 1998, cupcakes were just little cakes served at children’s birthday parties. The show helped turn a simple cupcake into a phenomenon. When Carrie and Miranda, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon, nibbled on Magnolia cupcakes and chatted about their relationships in Season 3, let’s just say the rest is history. Now more than twenty years on, Magnolia Bakery is a stop on many food tours in the city.
“I think it’s amazing how a TV show can create such a frenzy,” said Byron St. Cyr, former manager of the original Bleecker Street location where Carrie and Miranda grabbed cupcakes, to amNY.com. He said the series was a springboard of sorts that grew Magnolia from a small neighborhood bakery into an international phenomenon.
Don’t forget about Cosmos, either. The Cosmopolitan cocktail, a fruity concoction made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice, has technically been around since the 1930s. It wasn’t until the four ladies of SATC started sipping the beverage that the cocktail became a trend around the globe. The show even made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the popularity of the Cosmo in the 2008 movie: Miranda questions why the friends stopped drinking them, and Carrie responds, “Because everyone else started!”
Arguably one of the best cold opens in the show’s history, The Office’s episode 26 in Season 5 has us feeling for poor Kevin. It begins with the accountant hauling a huge pot of “Kevin’s Famous Chili,” a dish he likes to bring at least once a year to share with his coworkers, into work. Viewers see the elevator is unfortunately out of order, and Kevin must lug his gigantic vat of chili up the stairs. In true Kevin fashion, he drops the entire pot, and we see him struggling to clean it up. All the while, he’s telling camera operators how “the trick is to undercook the onions” and how he’s “up the night before pressing garlic and dicing whole tomatoes.”
The scene became so famous that Peacock hid Kevin’s Malone family recipe in their user agreement. Sometimes, it pays to read the fine print!
Biscuits (a.k.a. cookies in the U.S.) were made popular with the AppleTV+ phenomenon Ted Lasso. The eternally optimistic Coach Ted Lasso brings a small pink box of biscuits to Rebecca, his boss, much to her dismay. She eventually accepts, exclaiming “F*** me!” at how delicious they are.
We do eventually see that Ted, ever the spreader of kindness, bakes the biscuits himself. The show sparked a TikTok trend in which users made Lasso’s famous shortbread biscuits. Luckily, you can make them yourself.
The haunting final scene of The Sopranos is one fans have discussed at length and have grown to love in the fifteen years since it aired. One side dish typically served at diners was prominently featured: onion rings.
According to NJ.com, an “influential diner” called Holsten’s onion rings, what the Soprano family dined on in the last scene of the show, the “best in the state.” Since the last episode aired, Sopranos superfans have been visiting Holsten’s for their onion rings. The diner has since put up a small plaque that reads, “This booth reserved for the Soprano family.”
James Gandolfini’s son Michael even stopped by the diner in 2019.