Admit it: You watch television while you eat.
We all do it.
Not, you? Really?
I don't believe you. Your pants are on fire.
This is the country where you can buy a refrigerator with a television screen on the door. We invented the TV dinner and the TV tray to eat it on. Television and eating go back as far as television, literally.
Recently, while I was baby-sitting my 5-year-old niece, she informed me that her mother lets her watch television while she's eating.
I told her that we didn't do that at my house and that she should count her blessings that she has such a nice mommy at home.
I was trying to set a good example, although I did bend the rules and allow cartoons with cereal the next morning.
I was lying through my teeth.
We watch television nearly every night with dinner in my house. ("I'd like to buy an "A," Pat, and please pass the peas.")
So even though I am an expert on the combination of food and television, even I was not prepared for the question one of my co-workers presented me with the other day: "What kind of food would you serve at a Honey Boo Boo party?" she asked.
For those of you who haven't had the experience, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is a new reality show on the TLC network about a Georgia family, whose youngest daughter — a perennial toddler beauty queen contestant — is nicknamed Honey Boo Boo.
While I have never actually watched this show, I know plenty about it from its frequent commercials and promotions.
"Opossum," I told her, "On white bread with mayonnaise. You could consult the 'White Trash Cookbook.' " (Yes, it is a real cook book, I am not making this up.) Another co-worker chimed in, "SPAM."
Oh go ahead, call me a Northern snob. I'm not judging, but this show is clearly designed to show off the Boo Boo family's Southern redneck lifestyle, so if you are planning to entertain to it, embrace the theme.
OK maybe I am judging.
Honestly, if anything, I'm jealous. With their own reality show, I'm sure the Boo Boos are now earning way more than me, so I have a reason for feeling bitter, right?
But the Honey Boo Boo question did get me thinking about eating and television viewing and themes, and before I knew it I had created a whole what-to-eat-with-what-you-will-be watching list for the new television offerings, which is perfect to help kick off the new season.
"666 Park Avenue": Set to air at 9 p.m. Sundays on ABC, this show is about a young couple that gets hired to manage a luxury hotel controlled by Satan. Clearly, devil's food cake is in order; or perhaps angel food cake, if you prefer to root for good over evil. Other dishes that come to mind: hot wings, shrimp diavolo, deviled eggs, deviled ham, Tabasco sauce — you get the idea. The show is rated TV-14.
"Guys With Kids": An NBC show already airing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, it's about three friends living in the same apartment building and learning how to be dads. Mac and cheese will keep both men and babies satisfied. Rated TV-PG.
"Nashville": An ABC offering, this show (9 p.m. on Wednesdays as of Oct. 10) will trace the lives of an aging country singing star along with an up-and-coming young one. Country music always makes me think of Elvis, so I'd serve fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. Rated TV-PG.
"Elementary": CBS is giving us a contemporary update of Sherlock Holmes, complete with a female Watson. The show, scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Thursdays starting Sept. 27, is set in New York, which is a bummer because any Sherlock Holmes show really calls for British food. Fish and chips for everyone. Rated TV-14.
"Go On": NBC has brought Matthew Perry back in this show that is already on at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Perry plays a sportscaster who enters group counseling after the death of his wife. His character is clearly grieving. There's a reason why we all deliver food when someone dies. Grieving calls for large amounts of eating, especially pie and cake. But I'd stick with pie, it's so comforting. Rated TV-PG.
"Animal Practice": Another NBC offering, this show (7 p.m. Wednesdays) is about a veterinarian. Be sensitive and serve meatless. Rated TV-PG.
"Chicago Fire": Also on NBC, this show (9 p.m. Wednesdays starting Oct. 10) has been described as "Law & Order," but with fire instead of murder. Any show about a firehouse calls for a pot of three-alarm chili. Rated TV-14.
"Emily Owens, MD": Scheduled to be on at 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Oct. 16 on the CW, it's about a new medical school graduate learning the ropes of hospital life. I'd serve cafeteria food, green gelatin and lots of coffee. Rated TV-PG.
"Vegas": Set to air on CBS at 9 p.m. Tuesdays starting this week, "Vegas" is about a sheriff who tries to maintain law and order in 1960s Las Vegas. Hmmm, I don't care what year it is, any show about Vegas requires a buffet. Fill up the coffee table with all of your favorites, and since this was the 1960s, make sure there is shrimp cocktail. Rated TV-14.
"The Mindy Project": From Fox, the show (8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, also starting this week) stars actress Mindy Kaling as a single obstetrician who has a great career, but no luck in her love life. Lots of women out there will be able to relate to this one, so let's just all reach for that pint of Ben & Jerry's. TV-14.