Every year, October 3 is the same lineup of Mean Girls GIFs and memes on social media as we endlessly rewatch the movie. It's the time-honored tradition that is Mean Girls. But this year, one of our favorite cast members has given us a little something more to celebrate.
This week, Jonathan Bennett (AKA Aaron Samuels) released The Burn Cookbook. Co-written with Chef Nikki Martin, it features recipes inspired by the film that will make any Mean Girls fan hungry. From the Fetch-uccini Alfredo to Gretchen's Wieners, it's full of treats that will make you laugh.
We recently caught up with Bennett, 14 years after the movie graced our lives. The host of Cake Wars and Halloween Wars is still fond of the movie's loyal fandom. And being the passionate fans we are, he gave us all the details on the new cookbook, that straight-to-DVD sequel, and his issue with mean gays.
Next year will be 15 years since Mean Girls premiered. How does it feel to be part of a movie that still has such a passionate fandom?
You know, it’s really exciting to be part of a movie that so many people love and care about. There aren’t many movies like Mean Girls where people have the same emotional connection to it.
How often do people come up to you and quote the movie to you?
Every single day for the past 14 years. And when I say every single day, I literally mean every single day. Whether it’s someone at Starbucks writing “Aaron Samuels” on a coffee cup instead of my name or if it’s someone on the street, driving by and screaming, “You go, Glen Coco!” It’s literally been every single day. It’s crazy.
Does it get old or are you just kind of used to it?
What I like to say is, don’t be worried when people want to quote your movie and take a picture with you. Get worried when they stop. The thing about Mean Girls is, it’s never not going to be a part of people’s lives.
When my dad was sick with brain cancer, we went to Applebee’s once, and these girls wanted to take a photo. My dad encouraged it, so I took the photo. But I stormed off to the car and said, “Dad, you’re sick. Can we just have dinner together? I don’t want to take photos with people.”
He looked at me and said, “I know you’re upset. But look through the window.” When I looked in, I saw these girls crowded around a phone. One was crying, one was calling her mother. They were just so full of joy. And he said, “John, when was the last time you saw people that happy?”
And that’s when it clicked. Mean Girls isn’t just a movie. It’s a part of people’s lives. The have an emotional connection to it, they quote it every day. So, if I can make people happy just by doing simple things like making a parody cookbook or taking pictures with people or letting them push my hair back in a selfie, then so be it. There’s enough shit going on in the world, and there’s enough negativity, that if something like this makes them happy, then I’m happy to do it.
Are you still in touch with the cast?
Well, like I say in the first sentence of The Burn Cookbook, no I don’t talk to Lindsay Lohan every day. Because after 14 years, everyone’s asked the same five questions. But I talk to Lacey Chabert and Daniel Franzese the most. I keep in touch with Lacey a lot. She actually wrote the foreward for The Burn Cookbook.
I know you probably get this all the time, but what is it looking like for a potential sequel?
That’s all up to Tina Fey. I know a lot of us would do one, but I don’t know what her take is on it.
Did you ever see the sequel that went straight to DVD?
No, I never saw it. Because it was like, “Good try.” (LAUGHS)
What’s worse: mean girls or mean gays?
I think there’s nothing worse than mean gays. I think mean gays are worse than mean girls. Because there’s so much hate in the world, the last thing minorities need to do is divide themselves further. And I think if there’s something Mean Girls taught us, it’s like when Tina Fey says, “You’ve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.” That’s the thing. The gay community is so quick to rip each other apart when that doesn’t help anything. It’s just making it worse.
How do you like to celebrateMean Girls Day?
I always say that on October 2, I know what the Times Square ball feels like on New Year’s Eve. Because on New Year’s Eve, the entire world turns to the ball and watches it sparkle and shine and do its thing. And on October 3, the entire world turns to me and wants me to ask what day it is. So, I get it. I kind of feel the same way.
How did the idea for The Burn Cookbook come about?
I’ve always been around food, and I host so many shows on the Food Network with amazing chefs like Halloween Wars. And I grew up with my mom cooking, and I grew up in the kitchen space. So, I’ve always wanted to make a cookbook. I just didn’t know how or what. And when my mom passed away, she had all these recipes that I wanted to make sure lived on. So, it was really important for me to make a book. And as I’ve worked more and more on the Food Network, I’ve found that I fall in love with cooking more and more every day.
I was making guacamole with a friend of mine in the kitchen, and I put pomegranate seeds and apples in it. When we tried it, she turns to me and says, “It’s not regular guac, it’s cool guac.” And then I just turned to her and said, “Fetch-uccini Alfredo.” So, I called up my friend, Chef Nikki Martin from Food Network, and I said, “We need to make a Mean Girls parody cookbook.” And she totally got it, so we came up with amazing puns and worked backwards from there to create dishes based around them. And with the help of Nikki Martin’s genius, we created a really fun book for Mean Girls fans to enjoy.
Have you gotten a chance to share any of the recipes with your friends and entertain?
Yea, what I love about this book is that you don’t have to be a chef to love the book. The book is written from front to back hysterically. It’s just a fun book to read. If you don’t have any plans to cook but you love Mean Girls, you’re gonna love every single line in this book, because it’s so funny. And on top of that, whether you’re a chef or you just started out cooking, you can be basic as fuck and still be able to cook stuff from this book. We made it with the basic bitch factor. Every recipe we created, we would stop and check if a basic bitch could make it, and every single one can.
The recipes were made for one reason, to bring people together. Because the movie had all the cliques separated and sitting at different tables. So, we wanted to turn it around and say, “You cansit with us.”
Some of my favorite recipes are the Fetch-uccini Alfredo, the Too Gay to Function Cosmo, It’s Not Regular Guac, It’s Cool Guac, and the Gretchen’s Wieners.
What else can we expect on the food front?
Halloween Wars is airing right now on the Food Network. It’s one of the best seasons we’ve ever had. The show is so fun. It combines some of the best cake artists and sugar artists in the country, along with pumpkin carvers, to create mind-blowing spooky displays.
The Burn Cookbook is now available online.