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14 Things Parks & Recreation Taught Us about Food

February 23, 2015

Tomorrow night, we say goodbye to the goobers at the parks department of Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie Knope will probably cope with the season finale by eating a nonreligious number of waffles smothered in whipped cream. Ron Swanson will likely top his with a variety of pork products and dunk it in whiskey. And Chris Traeger's waffle will presumably be made of kamut or kale.

We won't get to eat waffles with Leslie (like Madeleine Albright did), we will never get to dine at JJ's Diner or shop at Food and Stuff -- but we are indebted to Parks and Rec for some valuable food lessons that only its quirky, food-loving crew of characters could've taught us.

We say farewell to Pawnee by looking back at 14 things we learned about food from Parks and Recreation:

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1. First and foremost: Treat yo self.
If this is news to you, start at Season 1 and get binge-watching.

2. Always push the boundaries of the food lexicon.
Strive to make “trée-trées” (entrées), “long-ass rice” (noodles), and “bean blankets” (tortillas) the new “foodie.”

3. Never settle for a given serving size. 
More is always more.

4. It’s totally acceptable to bring a dish to a party for yourself only.

5. “Turkey can never beat cow.” -- Ron Swanson

More: Make Ron proud with these 7 superlative steaks.

6. “Your favorite kind of cake can’t be birthday cake. That’s like saying your favorite kind of cereal is breakfast cereal.” -- Tom Haverford

7. Sandwich a Skittle between two Starbursts. 
It’s called Andy’s Mouth Surprise: “It's nice because the flavor of the Starbursts really bring out a similar flavor in the Skittles.”

More: Other ingenius uses for your candy.

8. "Alcohol is fun and delicious." -- April Ludgate

9. Raisins are nature’s candy.
Watch out for that sugar rush.

10. Hybridize your food; mash it up.
Strive to invent brilliant things like JJ’s Diner’s Four Horse-Meals of the Egg-Pork-alypse (twelve-egg scramble, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, chicken-fried steak, and a giant tower of buttermilk pancakes) -- or the biscidonut.

11. Remember we live in America, the land of the free. 
Therefore, turf ‘n turf (a 16-ounce T-bone and a 24-ounce porterhouse) can be eaten while simultaneously drinking whiskey and smoking a cigar. (And therefore, via the transitive property, steak can be dunked in bourbon).

12. Breaking news: Food becomes energy.

13. Skim milk is not milk -- it’s a lie.
Just imagine what Ron would say about nut milks.

14. And above all: “We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third.” -- Leslie Knope

More: Make Leslie proud and make these 6 waffle recipes all at once to share with friends. 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lauren Kodiak
    Lauren Kodiak
  • luvcookbooks
  • Caitlyn
  • bookjunky
  • Millie | Add A Little
    Millie | Add A Little
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Lauren K. February 24, 2015
I love this so much
luvcookbooks February 24, 2015
Soo funny!!
Caitlyn February 23, 2015
This article is everything!
bookjunky February 23, 2015
Waffles are a thing that always sounds better in theory than it tastes to me in real life.
Millie |. February 23, 2015
More is more - PREACH!
C February 23, 2015
scgoble February 23, 2015
IKR? I love everything about it.