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Old 08-09-2018, 11:32 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Fictional characters who are talented amateur cooks

For various reasons I see no reason to expand upon, I was thinking about this today and thought it might make for an interesting thread.

So we are clear, I am only interested in characters who are NOT professional chefs but whose culinary acumen is nonetheless a frequent story point. So no character who cooks for a living is eligible.

The first character who comes to mind is Robert B Parker's Spenser. He is the reason I used the word "cook" rather than "chef" in the subject line, by the way, as he notes in an early novel that his cooking is really on the level of a skilled housewife and says that calling him a gourmet chef is sexist.

Speaking of Spenser brings to mind Avery Brooks, who played Hawk in the TV series. While that character could not cook, Brooks's starring role in Star Trek: DS9 , Captain Sisko, was easily as good or better a cook as the aforementioned detective. (Incidentally, Sisko's father does not qualify for this thread, as he was an actual professional chef.)

Anybody want to name some names?
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:43 PM
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Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta character. There's also a cookbook.
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:45 PM
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Dr. Watson could cook up a spoonful.

Last edited by Gatopescado; 08-09-2018 at 11:46 PM. Reason: I don't think I understand a word of this OP.
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:56 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
Dr. Watson could cook up a spoonful.
I can't recall any of the original Holmes stories in which cooking is ever mentioned. And I have read them all. Do you perhaps mean a pastiche done by a later writer or on film/TV?
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:05 AM
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Almost everyone on The Sopranos. I don't think I've ever seen a show that featured food so much, that wasn't an outright cooking show.
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:13 AM
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Jessica Fletcher could cook up a pie. It was a recurring event in the show. Nero Wolfe was an able cook verging on chef.
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Jessica Fletcher could cook up a pie. It was a recurring event in the show. Nero Wolfe was an able cook verging on chef.
in fact her cooking was figured in the murder of the week …

the first sheriff had a sister who was married to an ass who was always high.....she took off. showed up in Maine with hubby and family following ….


well after some rigamarole Jessica throws a diner party and the hubbys half brother poisioned the seafood stew she made and killed him with an over dose


and since she was a noted cook in town people were shocked …
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:28 AM
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Reese in Malcolm in the Middle was a savant level cook and it often figured into the plot.

The Australian show Please Like Me had a dish as the title of almost every episode and the characters within were quite serious cooks and it was integrated quite organically into their character motivations.

Almost every character in Brian Jacques Redwall series who wasn't a talented professional cook was a talented amateur cook (except the baddies which is how you knew they were bad!).
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:01 AM
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SpongeBob is an employed crabby patty cook.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:15 AM
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Lars Barriga of Steven Universe is a very good cook, and baker...something he wants none of the other characters to know, because he's afraid the Cool Kids won't take him seriously if they know he can cook.

(He worked in a donut shop, but until shortly before his situation changed, they weren't allowed to cook the donuts, due to an accident the donut cook had...)
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:28 AM
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Kinsey Millhone's landlord Henry was a professional baker before he retired, and he's always making nice things.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:40 AM
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Dr. Hannibal Lecter
  #13  
Old 08-10-2018, 05:36 AM
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Ironside used to cook melsd for his three assistants at the end of some episodes, iirc.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:45 AM
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Harry Palmer (Ipcress File etc) was a good cook. Granted the author, Len Deighton, was an accomplished and published cook himself.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:52 AM
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Ironside used to cook melsd for his three assistants at the end of some episodes, iirc.
I can confirm that you are right, because I was just watching an episode last night (I have the DVDs) where he made chilli which seemed to be pretty hot and then he put more spice in it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:10 AM
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The Eternal Emperor in the Sten series is a very good cook, and likes to cook various ancient & exotic (to them) meals for people he's discussing issues with. He does so several times with the protagonist of the series.

His original motivation was pretty straightforward; he's thousands of years old and wanted the food he grew up eating.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:26 AM
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7 of 9


Tuvix.

(Hey! Same show!)
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Meurglys View Post
Ironside used to cook melsd for his three assistants at the end of some episodes, iirc.
Chili was his go-to meal, but he also won a prize in one episode for a roast lamb with (orange?) glaze recipe.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:59 AM
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Felix Ungar in both movie and TV's Odd Couple.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
I can't recall any of the original Holmes stories in which cooking is ever mentioned. And I have read them all. Do you perhaps mean a pastiche done by a later writer or on film/TV?
I'm pretty sure it was part of the 7% solution.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:43 AM
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It's almost universal in Harry Potter fanfiction that Harry is a spectacular cook - all those years cooking for the Dursley's apparently taught him a thing or two.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:23 AM
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Criminal Minds's David Rossi is known for his Italian cooking.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:42 AM
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Mary Ann Summers could not only bake a great coconut cream pie, but she could do so on a desert island without most of the standard ingredients.

Samwise Gamgee was a professional servant, but his primary job is consistently given as gardener, not cook. But he still cooks well.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:43 AM
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Eliot Spencer on Leverage. It's a plot point in a couple of episodes that he's as good with a knife in the kitchen as he is in a fight. Almost doesn't count as amateur, though; he was trained by a professional chef, he uses "professional chef" as a cover in a couple episodes, and in the last season he's apparently running the kitchen in the (apparently successful) pub the team uses as a cover.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:44 AM
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Belkar Bitterleaf

Oots represent!
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:47 AM
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Oh, and speaking of hobbits, Belkar Bitterleaf (Order of the Stick) is a professional murderhobo, but has impressed other characters with his cooking ability multiple times (some are harder to impress than others).

EDIT: Gah, he's supposed to be a ranger, not a ninja!

Last edited by Chronos; 08-10-2018 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:48 AM
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Ruth in Fried Green Tomatoes .

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Old 08-10-2018, 09:52 AM
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Frank Lorenzo on All in the Family. His bit on the show was that his wife Irene was good at mechanical stuff and drove a forklift for a living, and he stayed home and cared for the house and the cooking. He was especially proud of his vichyssoise, and he introduced the Bunkers to horsemeat, which the whole family loved, until they found out what it was.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 08-10-2018 at 09:54 AM.
  #29  
Old 08-10-2018, 10:12 AM
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Columbo got shown cooking a number of times: he would, for example, whip up an omelet if someone he was talking with seemed too overwhelmed to fix themselves a bite to eat — which, yes, proves nothing by itself, but consider it in light of another example, where he’s trying to prove a gourmet is guilty of murder and makes that suspect a meal while (a) explaining what evidence he’s found so far, and also (b) explaining why he’s cooking it one way instead of another: using some olive oil to prevent butter from burning, and soaking mushrooms before applying heat; but everything’s alongside him noting discrepancies in the suspect’s story, see.

The gourmet eats up and, doubly impressed, says, “I wish you had been a chef.”
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:29 AM
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Poirot was both a cook and a gourmand.

Jake The Dog in Adventure Time makes a great everything burrito and of course, bacon pancakes.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:55 AM
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Henry Hill from Good fellows? I know he's not a fictional character but he wrote a darn good cookbook. The recipe details were a big part of the characters like-a-bility.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:05 AM
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Riker in ST: TNG served omelettes with Romulan ale.

Stuart in LA Law was an accomplished cook.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:11 AM
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Asuna from the anime Sword Art Online is a great cook.

Granted, it's "video game great cook" so she's a great cook in the same way your Sims character is, but still
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  #34  
Old 08-10-2018, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
The first character who comes to mind is Robert B Parker's Spenser.
Yeah, Spenser was the first character who came to my mind when I read the thread title.

Beckdawrek already mentioned Nero Wolfe. Fritz did most of the cooking for him, but I seem to remember Wolfe himself cooking on occasion, and Wikipedia confirms my recollection:
Quote:
Wolfe appears to know his way around the kitchen; in Too Many Cooks (chapter 17), he tells Jerome Berin, "I spend quite a little time in the kitchen myself." In The Doorbell Rang, he offers to cook Yorkshire Buck and, in "Immune to Murder", the State Department asks him to prepare trout Montbarry for a visiting dignitary.
  #35  
Old 08-10-2018, 11:45 AM
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Clemenza could cook up a helluva spaghetti sauce...
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:56 PM
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Hard to believe that there are only two mentions of Nero Wolfe in this thread, and that it took until post #6 to mention him. He's easily the first one who came to mind. Wolfe himself was no mean cook -- he discussed recipes at great length with the formally-trained Fritz Brenner and was associated with the Ten for Aristology. He is depicted as exceptionally discerning in detecting spices in more than one story. Besides the examples cited by Thudlow, Wolfe shows himself capable of whipping up gourmet meals on his own and when away from his kitchen in The Black Mountain and The Mother Hunt.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:05 PM
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The chief French detective in the "Transporter" series of movies is a fine cook.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Riker in ST: TNG served omelettes with Romulan ale.
Didn't he blame the ingredient for the way it turned out? I'm not sure if we ever saw any evidence he was a good cook.

Benjamin Sisko was probably a better cook.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:29 PM
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I think both Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme acted in movies where they were Cooks who saved the day with their karate skills.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:42 PM
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Nero Wolfe is an excellent cook. He often relies on his chef Felix. But Wolfe cooks in situations when he & Archie are outside the house.

Spenser cooked routinely in the Robert Parker books. There's a funny moment when he has his first date with Susan. He creates a great meal including ham. Then remembers she's Jewish. Fortunately that wasn't a problem for her.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-10-2018 at 01:47 PM.
  #41  
Old 08-10-2018, 01:55 PM
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Hard to believe that there are only two mentions of Nero Wolfe in this thread
Before this thread I'd never heard of him, and I suspect the same is true of many.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:57 PM
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Didn't he blame the ingredient for the way it turned out? I'm not sure if we ever saw any evidence he was a good cook.
The eggs he cooked were not to human tastes, but Worf loved them. Dr Pulaski was apparently impressed with his earlier efforts as well.

Come to think of it, Captain Kirk cooked omelettes too (with dill, I think).
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:11 PM
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Didn't he blame the ingredient for the way it turned out? I'm not sure if we ever saw any evidence he was a good cook.
Well, Worf is a fan.
  #44  
Old 08-10-2018, 02:12 PM
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Before this thread I'd never heard of him, and I suspect the same is true of many.
Seriously?
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:10 PM
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I seen to recall Cannon could cook - he certainly could eat
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:25 PM
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No mention of Marie Barone yet?
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
Asuna from the anime Sword Art Online is a great cook.

Granted, it's "video game great cook" so she's a great cook in the same way your Sims character is, but still
I'd argue she still counts, since, given the game's full immersion nature, the food actually has flavour, and, while the mechanics of cooking are likely at least partially abstracted she was highly skilled at mixing those flavours, which is a big part of cooking. (She was even able to recreate real-world foods, even though the in-game ingredients weren't designed to do that.)

Last edited by Kamino Neko; 08-10-2018 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:40 PM
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. . . Nero Wolfe was an able cook verging on chef.
There's a Nero Wolfe cookbook out there. It includes little summaries of where in which story the dish can be found.

I haven't seen a Spencer cookbook, but there's a fan recipe site online - or there was. It's been awhile since I went looking.
  #49  
Old 08-10-2018, 06:29 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Mary Ann Summers could not only bake a great coconut cream pie, but she could do so on a desert island without most of the standard ingredients.

Samwise Gamgee was a professional servant, but his primary job is consistently given as gardener, not cook. But he still cooks well.
Cinderella the Rhymer says that there is a picture of an hourglass next to your name. Is this new?
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  #50  
Old 08-10-2018, 06:35 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Eliot Spencer on Leverage. It's a plot point in a couple of episodes that he's as good with a knife in the kitchen as he is in a fight. Almost doesn't count as amateur, though; he was trained by a professional chef, he uses "professional chef" as a cover in a couple episodes, and in the last season he's apparently running the kitchen in the (apparently successful) pub the team uses as a cover.
Given that the series started off in Boston, where Elliot apparently lived, I always took it that he was the child of the gumshoe mentioned in the OP.

Elliot is more like a comic book character than a hardboiled detective. His super power is apparently to do anything he puts his mind to. Which would make him Bruce Wayne's kid (if we pretend that Batman is heterosexual).
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