The other day, someone mentioned that the most foolproof chocolate chip cookie recipe is actually the most basic: The one you find on the back of a Nestlé chocolate morsels bag will always produce perfect cookies.
“Well, duh,” I thought. Everyone knows that.
But do they, though?
After some deep introspection, I realized something: Everything I know about chocolate chip cookies comes from Friends.
WATCH: How to Make the Ultimate Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
An entire (iconic) episode was devoted to how Nestlé Toll House’s recipe was far superior to anything Monica, a chef, could create. I accepted this as fact without hesitation.
That realization got me thinking: How else has my favorite show brainwashed me? Obviously, I know the best furniture comes from Pottery Barn and Ralph Lauren will always hold a special place in my heart.
But this is MyRecipes, so we’ll focus on all the ways Friends shaped how I think about food:
Nestlé Toll House can’t be beat.
Let’s set the scene: The year is 2000. People are settling into a new millenium, the country is reeling from an unprecedented presidential election, and—most importantly—Monica and Chandler are engaged.
For an engagement gift, Monica wants Phoebe’s grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. It turns out the original copy was destroyed in an apartment fire, so they’ll have to recreate the cookies from memory. They try and fail over and over, before Phoebe remembers how her grandmother got the recipe in the first place: from her French friend, Neslée Toulousé.
It turns out grandma invented the story and the answer was on the back of the chocolate chip bag the whole time.
I really hope whoever at Nestlé dreamed up this genius product placement idea got a big fat raise. Let me tell you, it worked.
Toblerone is the best chocolate in the world.
I love Toblerone bars. They’re probably my favorite candy in the world, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups aside. But I would’ve never thought to try the divine Swiss chocolate if it wasn’t for another shining example of strategic product placement in Friends.
Well, I guess it wasn’t exactly strategic because the candy had absolutely nothing to do with the plot—it was just awkwardly inserted into conversation.
Ross follows Emily (ugh) to the airport to tell her he loves her:
Ross: I just, I had to see you one more time before you took-off.
Emily: You are so sweet. (They kiss.)
Ross: That’s, that’s, that’s a big candy bar. (She’s holding a huge Toblerone bar.) I had the most amazing time with you.
But they didn’t stop there! After Emily’s uncomfortable response to his declaration, Ross decides to go to London. Before he leaves, Joey has an inexplicable request:
Joey: Ross! Ross! If you´re going to the airport, could you pick me up another one of those Toblerone bars?
I, an impressionable child, thought to myself, “Hey, maybe there’s something to these Toblerone things.” And a lifelong love affair was born.
Beef belongs in an English trifle.
OK, I know it actually doesn’t. But that doesn’t stop me from imagining a layer of ground beef squeezed between pudding and lady fingers every time I think of one.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you know Monica put Rachel on dessert duty in the season 6 Thanksgiving episode. Unfortunately, the cookbook pages were stuck together and she ends up making a monster: half trifle, half shepherd’s pie.
The “dessert” was comprised of layers of ladyfingers, jam, custard, raspberries, more ladyfingers, beef sauteed with peas and onions, a little more custard, bananas, then whipped cream.
The incomparable Judy Geller summed up the travesty perfectly:
“Rachel, no, you weren't supposed to put beef in the trifle. It did not taste good.”
I’ve never had an English trifle. If I ever have one, though, I imagine it will taste incomplete.