Though Blue Bloods is a thrilling police procedural, it’s also a family drama. The spotlight shined on the relationships between Tom Selleck’s Frank Reagan and the other members of the Reagan family is what sets Blue Bloods apart from similar series. And though the action is certainly an element of what draws fans to the show, many viewers cite the Reagan family dinners as their favorite aspect.
In an interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Tom Selleck shared a few behind-the-scenes secrets about the beloved Blue Bloods scenes. The first surprising fact about the Reagan family dinners is that, although the script reads dinner hours, it’s actually filmed at breakfast time! The Reagans sit down to a hearty dinner at around nine in the morning.
That said, though it begins at 9 a.m., the Reagans’ meal typically stretches well past lunch. “We do real dinners for about eight hours,” Selleck explained. “[The] food gets a little cold.”
The food is prepared by a chef in a restaurant called The BeeHive Oven about 15 minutes from the Blue Bloods set. And though it’s no doubt delicious when it arrives, according to Tom Selleck, it loses its luster pretty quickly.
Aside from the meal’s temperature, eating the same bite of meatloaf over and over again for 8 hours probably is rather taxing. “In film work, you repeat what you do as the camera moves around,” Selleck said. “So whatever you choose to eat at the beginning, you’re just going to have to re-eat it and re-eat it and re-eat it.”
Despite the unpleasant eating experience, however, the Blue Bloods cast thoroughly enjoy their cold, early morning dinners. “But that’s fine,” Selleck added. “I love our cast, we have a family of actors as well as a family of characters. About every eight days we see each other and we have a good time.”
‘Blue Bloods’ Prop Master Explains the Reagan Family Dinner Menu
So, with eight hours around the dinner table, do the cast actually eat any of the food? According to Blue Bloods prop master, Jim Lillis, it depends on the actor. The children of the Reagan family, Tony and Andrew Terraciano never fail to eat “a lot”. The rest of the actors, however, aren’t quite as voracious at the weekly meal.
“All the actors eat to varying degrees,” Lillis explained in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot. “Some are good at faking it. They are very good at making it look like they’re really enjoying a hearty dinner.”
The Blue Bloods set does offer actors a spit bucket, but it’s rarely used. Instead, Tom Selleck and his fellow Blue Bloods actors spend eight hours skillfully mashing their food without eating much at all.
The plot master also revealed that the weekly Reagan family dinner menu is inspired by his real-life childhood meals. “It’s usually a pot roast, maybe meatloaf, roast chicken,” Lillis said. “With some version of potatoes, green vegetables, always dinner rolls. That basically is my mother’s menu, the one I grew up with because I’m also Irish-Catholic.”
The only thing the prop master avoids is salmon, which would be dangerously inedible after hours on a dinner table. “We avoid [salmon],” Lillis said. “That’s because the shoot may take hours. Fish is fragile.”