As we look towards our own Thanksgiving celebrations with friends and family, we’ve gotten thinking about food in pop culture. Thanksgiving has a huge presence in pop culture, and TV all weekend will be focused on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football games, and marathons of cheesy movies leading into the holiday season. We love all of these aspects of Thanksgiving-y pop culture, but as we prepare for our own Thanksgiving feasts and try to motivate ourselves to plan ambitious menus, we wanted to look at at pop culture that makes us hungry! Here, then, are ten things that are making us want to cook and eat this holiday season:
1. Pushing Daisies
Ned can bring the dead back to life (temporarily, at least) by touching them. He’s also a pie-maker and runs The Pie-Hole, the twee-est of all the twee restaurants in the history of television. Although episodes of Pushing Daisies inevitably pull Ned away from his pie shop so that he can solve weirdly quirky crimes with an eccentric cast of supporting characters, it’s easy to forget about the mystery and just get distracted by the utter gorgeousness of those pies.
2. If You Give A Moose a Muffin
“If you give a moose a muffin,” Laura Numeroff notes, “he’ll want some jam to go with it.” Thus begins Numeroff’s circular tale of a distractible moose and his quest for dessert. One of many in a series (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, etc.), If You Give a Moose a Muffin is particularly hard to resist with Felicia Bond’s cozy autumnal illustrations.
Ratatouille is, in so many ways, a love-letter to good cooking. The climactic scene, in which dour restaurant critic Anton Ego is transported back to fond memories of his childhood by a simple dish of ratatouille, is just so incredibly happy-making. Throughout, with scenes of busy restaurant life and with Remy fantasizing about good food as bursts of color and light, the Pixar team presents an incredibly sensory and gorgeous depiction of both cooking and eating.
A community of woodland creatures lives in an abbey in the midst of Mossflower Woods in Brian Jacques’s long-running series. Each book involves heroic journeys, quests, kidnappings, and sieges as the abbey-dwellers inevitably come into conflict with rogue vermin. Each book, however, also includes a number of woodland feasts, with food so lovingly described that it inspired a cookbook. With Deeper’n’Ever Turnip’n’Tater’n’Beetroot Pie, a bowl of Hotroot Soup, and a nice glass of Dandelion Cordial, who wouldn’t want to sit down to a Redwall feast?
5. Parks and Recreation
“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third,” Leslie Knope states. That Leslie Knope – who prides herself in caring about her friends over all other things – can waffle (see what I did there?) between friends and breakfast food shows her dedication to delicious meals. The love that characters on Parks and Rec feel for food knows no bounds, whether it’s Leslie’s passion for waffles and whipped cream, Ron’s obsession with meat, or Ben’s adoration for calzones.
6. Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling’s descriptions of meals that spring up in the Great Hall, butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, and Mrs. Weasley’s home-cooked meals have no rival.
Although we’ve talked about Relish before, this list would be incomplete without another shout-out to Lucy Knisley’s food memoir. Knisley’s descriptions of meals and her beautifully illustrated recipes are sure to make any reader head to the kitchen.
8. Gilmore Girls – A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving
Rory and Lorelai Gilmore are notorious for their eating habits. A huge amount of the action of the show centers around food-related locations: Luke’s Diner, Lorelai’s parents’ house for Friday Night dinners (so much drama!), or Sookie’s kitchen at the Inn. Although the Gilmore girls may be able to consume inhuman amounts of food in virtually every episode, far and away the most impressive episode is “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” in which the Gilmore girls navigate the tricky world of Thanksgiving dinner-hopping. It’s impossible not get hungry while watching this (or any other) episode!
9. The Lord of the Rings
Sam Gamgee is often figured as the comic-relief-with-a-heart-of-gold in The Lord of the Rings (both Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s films). But there’s something so incredibly noble about his determination to cook crispy bacon on Weathertop and to find some nice conies outside of Mordor. After all, what’s the point of going on a world-saving quest if you can’t still plan to make a nice dinner?
10. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
When the Peanuts gang is left alone to fend for themselves for Thanksgiving dinner, Charlie Brown makes a feast of toast, pretzels, popcorn, and jelly beans. Once we get over our ambition to make cakes worthy of Gilmore Girls’s Sookie St. James, waffles worthy of Parks and Rec’s Leslie Knope, and French comfort food worthy of Ratatouille’s Remy the rat, it’s nice to at least assure ourselves of our ability to make a feast equal to that of Charlie Brown and his friends.