Pop Culture

All the TV Families I Want to Have Dinner With

June 27, 2018

Recently I started a new Netflix series, which is such a commonplace occurrence in this day and age, it's like the equivalent of eating a banana. Yet, unlike bananas, TV shows have plot lines, characters, sets, and narratives into which you’re invited to fall down and emerge hours later, sedated, stuck to your couch, two seasons in and none the wiser.

Either way, the banana I’ve been eating TV show I’ve been lobbing myself at for the past week is United States of Tara, a late, late aughts family drama about a mom (played by a truly electric Toni Colette) living with dissociative identity disorder and all the family tomfoolery, and difficulty, that comes along with that reality.

Keeping UP with the cloud eggs

Then I read this dispatch from Vulture about feasting with the cast of Jersey Shore. It’s one thing to watch the gang calling/waiting/shouting for caaabs and a whole other to sit down with them for some homemade chicken cutlets. The scenario really got me thinking: How fun would it be to sit down with the family from United States of Tara for dinner? Which made me think: So fun!

Shop the Story

But who else? What other TV families, or casts of characters, am I hungry to dine with? Well, I thought of a few. And my coworkers helped. And we put together this list.

The Sopranos

This one kind of feels like a gimme. I mean, all of the crime and bloodshed aside, the Soprano family knows how to have a good time. Tony has an appetite that lasts for days, and there's rarely a family gathering that doesn't involve something soaked in sauce and cheese. Let's face it—all those Italian-American feasts are half the reason to watch the show anyway.

That's so raven

Here's a big throwback: I've always thought eating with Raven and the Baxter family would be pretty awesome. Her dad owns a restaurant (The Chill Grill, remember?) so you just know the food's got to be good. Plus, Raven could probably predict what you're going to order before you even decide. There was also that time Raven put on a costume and called herself Liz Ania, and if that's not the funniest thing I've ever heard...

Arrested Development

The editorial team pretty much unanimously agreed that this would be the best family to eat with. There are soooo many moving parts that it sounds a bit chaotic, but boring it would not be. Personally, sit me next to either Lucille and I won't complain.

The Office

Joanna, my Managing Editor, suggested The Office, which I honestly can't even comprehend. Please, do not invite me to that painfully awkward dinner party. I'll just leave this here...

Sex and the CIty

Sure, this isn't a nuclear family, per se. But friends can totally be family, right? Right. Also, if there have ever been more professional brunchers, then I don't know them. This is definitely the table I'd want to sit at come Saturday morning.

Downton Abbey

I've never seen this show, but I can only imagine how lavish the meals are. Did someone say Cornish game hen? A pudding that's not a pudding but a cake? Tiny tea sandwiches stuffed with cucumber? I'm there.

The Addams Family

Eating doesn't always have to be fun. Sometimes, it can be spooky. Actually: Sometimes, it should be spooky. Also, Lurch is probably the coolest butler around. Catch me pulling up a chair at the this family table. Snap, snap.

Jane the virgin

Our Associate Editor Nikkitha, hands down, wants to eat with the family from Jane the Virgin. Here's why: "Any mention on Jane the Virgin of Abuela's famous grilled cheese—1/3 white cheddar, 1/3 yellow cheddar, 1/3 grated American—makes me want to knock on the TV and beg them to let me in. I wouldn't mind some of those Venezuelan arepas, too. At the warm-hearted Villanueva table, personalities are loud, conversations criss-cross, and each action suggests a wildly imaginative story. They remind me of my own family dinners, but a telenovela version."

What TV family would you want to sit down and eat with? Tell us whom and what you'd eat with them in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Hollis Ramsey
    Hollis Ramsey
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Lori Farris
    Lori Farris
  • BerryBaby
  • FrugalCat
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Hollis R. June 30, 2018
i'd love to cook for and sit down with Archie and Edith Bunker, and Meathead and Gloria. i'd cook them my special Baked Greek Salad, which Edith would politely pick at, Meathead and Gloria would love, and Archie would spend half an hour bitching about, segueing into how horrible the Greeks are, then expanding to all of the EU ... it would be like having a chance to dump on Trump, but a Trump with a smidgeon of empathy and the capacity to bear being wrong. occasionally. and damn, that Baked Greek Salad is mighty good!
Eric K. June 29, 2018
Since I like to eat alone, I'd love to have dinner w/ the 13 Ghosts from 13 Ghosts (the 1960 version, NOT 2001).
Lori F. June 29, 2018
I literally dreamed of being part of the Walker family in Brothers & Sisters. Not only did they over indulge in wine and the food was amazing but their political banter over meals at Sally Field's table was hilarious!
Valerio F. June 29, 2018
I almost included this one, but thought maybe it wasn't popular enough. Good choice, though!
BerryBaby June 28, 2018
Blue Bloods! Their dinners always look amazing.
FrugalCat June 27, 2018
The Simpsons?
Joanna S. June 27, 2018
But I, too, like to dunk my osso buco in red wine, so it's really perfect!