Food is a big part of many sitcoms. It has the power to bring people together, such as for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners; it can cause arguments, such as when Ross’ coworker eats his sandwich; and it can be the source of embarrassment, like when Kevin spills his famous chili in The Office.
For some characters, food is life as TV chefs Monica from Friends and Sookie from Gilmore Girls get immense joy from cooking and sharing their food with the people they care about. And often, the food that appears in sitcoms can look so good that it can leave fans watering at the mouth.
10 Rum Ham (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia)
When the gang goes on vacation to the Jersey Shore, Frank marinades a ham joint in rum so that he can get intoxicated while eating on the beach. Later, when Frank and Mac get stranded in a dinghy at sea, their only companion is Rum Ham, who takes on a role similar to Wilson in Cast Away. The Rum Ham ends up getting separated from Frank and Mac and floating off while Frank cries, “I’m sorry!”
Rum Ham is undoubtedly one of the most memorable sitcom foods because of the high-stakes events surrounding its consumption, i.e. being stranded at sea, and because of what an unusual concoction it is.
9 Krabby Patty (SpongeBob SquarePants)
This treasured animated sitcom’s eponymous sponge works at the Krusty Krab, Bikini Bottom’s premier fast food outlet. The eatery’s signature dish is the Krabby Patty, a meatless patty sandwiched between two seaweed buns, with pickles, “chopped love,” and, most importantly, the secret formula.
No food on this list is as integral to a show’s plot as the Krabby Patty. One of the funniest running gags in SpongeBob SquarePants sees Plankton, the owner of the rival Chum Bucket restaurant, try to steal the secret formula, which Mr. Krabs keeps locked away in a corked bottle in the safe in his office.
8 Homer’s 10-Foot Hoagie Sandwich (The Simpsons)
When Homer takes home a 10-foot hoagie from his company picnic, he treats it like it’s his child or pet, even bringing it to bed. However, he is unable to finish it before it starts getting moldy. “You’ve been eating that thing for a week,” Marge tells him, suggesting that he throw it out, a suggestion that he says is noted but nevertheless ignores.
Homer and food go hand-in-hand. The pink donut is an iconic symbol of the series, and he has also been known to stay up all night eating slices of cheese. His 10-foot-long hoagie is one of the most memorable food-related scenes of the show though. He loves it so much that he keeps eating it, despite his body turning green and passing out.
7 JJ’s Diner Waffles (Parks & Recreation)
The protagonist of Parks & Rec, Leslie Knope, reveals that there are three important things in life: “friends, waffles, work.” She loves them so much that she wears a waffle necklace around her neck, measures time in waffles (“two hours worth of waffles”), and even has her own brand of waffles. Her favorite waffles, though, are those from JJ’s Diner.
Someone who works as hard as Leslie does needs to reserve a few treats to indulge in, so she can’t be blamed for her waffle obsession, even if it does set her back financially. It was revealed on the show she spends around $1000 per year on JJ’s waffles!
6 Kevin’s Famous Chili (The Office)
One of The Office‘s funniest cold opens is when Kevin brings a huge saucepan of his famous chili into the office. His voiceover reveals that he stayed up all night making it and that it’s one of the things he does best. However, in typical clumsy Kevin fashion, he trips and spills it all over the carpet, proceeding to scoop it up with a clipboard and getting it all over himself in the process.
Kevin may not be the sharpest tack in the office, but he has proven his talents on many occasions, including his musical chops and his adeptness at gambling in the “Casino Night” episode. Even though his chili didn’t get to be enjoyed by characters in the show, there are numerous websites that set out the recipe so that fans can make it at home. The chili certainly lives up to its “famous” claim, too, as it is one of Kevin’s funniest moments from The Office.
5 Moist Maker (Friends)
Friends has featured some culinary catastrophes over the years, especially Rachel’s beef trifle. But Ross’ Thanksgiving sandwich actually sounds rather delicious. It must be pretty good as it causes him to go into a fit of rage after someone at work eats it.
What makes the sandwich so great is that he adds an extra piece of gravy-soaked bread into the middle, which he dubs the “moist maker,” a gross name but a good idea. His workplace conduct, which involved leaving threatening notes in the fridge to keep people away from his food, was also one of the many times Ross should have been fired in Friends.
4 Ted’s Homemade Shortbread Biscuits (Ted Lasso)
When Ted Lasso starts his tenure as the coach for Richmond F.C., one of the ways he tries to win over the club’s uptight owner is with shortbread biscuits, which he brings to her every morning in a little pink box. She is initially hesitant to accept, but when she does, confirms that they are one of the best things she has ever tasted.
The biscuits are one of the best sitcom foods because they feature throughout the series– for example, Ted also tries to bribe the psychologist with some, before she reveals that she doesn’t eat sugar. And they are another example of how thoughtful Ted is: after Rebecca repeatedly asks where he gets them from, the audience eventually learns that he bakes them himself.
3 The Soup Nazi’s Soup (Seinfeld)
One of the most legendary side characters in Seinfeld is the Soup Nazi, the aggressively strict owner of a new soup restaurant that the whole neighborhood is raving about. There’s a specific, rigid way one must order their soup, and if not, they get reprimanded with a terse “No soup for you!”
Despite the terrible service, the soup proves to be delicious, “the best in the city” in fact. The board lists several different flavors, including crab bisque, mulligatawny, and cream of sweet potato. However, George orders the turkey chili and is disappointed that he doesn’t receive any bread. His relationship with food is notoriously fussy, one of Seinfeld’s best running gags. Any food that can engender such fear and yet such pleasure is undoubtedly deserving of a spot in the top ten sitcom foods.
2 Jalapeno-Chipotle Mac & Cheese (Gilmore Girls)
Sookie St. James is one of the greatest fictional chefs. The head chef at the Independence Inn, and later the Dragonfly Inn, is always coming up with unique dishes, which are sometimes too left-of-center. That’s the case with her jalapeno-chipotle macaroni and cheese, a fare that she makes for a children’s Lord of the Rings party.
Although the meal is inappropriate for a kids’ birthday party– they all refuse to try it– it sounds extremely delicious, as the dozens of online recipes attest. Her culinary prowess and willingness to cook for Lorelai and Rory is also one of the things fans love most about Sookie.
1 Frozen Banana (Arrested Development)
At the beginning of the Arrested Development, the timid and awkward George Michael works at his family-owned frozen banana stand with his cousin Maeby. The original recipe comprises a frozen banana, dipped in hot fudge, and sprinkled with nuts, and has been served by the stand since it opened in 1953.
The Bluth Company has had its share of financial trouble over the years, but its frozen banana stand is always a reliable earner, despite being frequently destroyed by local youths. Such a long-revered food item deserves to make the list of best sitcom foods, especially considering the numerous variations on the recipe and how notably it features in the series’ first season.