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In The Big Bang Theory, characters often talk over dinner. Most of the time, it is 4-7 main characters, each with a plateful of food and more on the table. Other times, there are extras having food in Caltech's Canteen.

picture from The Big Bang theory having a talk over dinner.

While they might not be eating all the time while talking, I am curious if they finish it all after shooting?

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Generally...

NO.

To begin with there's no guarantee it's actually real food..it could be a prop.

Secondly, filming takes time and several takes so any actual food is likely to be cold and unpalatable by the end of shooting.

Eating on film can be a trial for actors as they often have to repeat the same scene over and over again for multiple takes.

Related Question

Quite often what you perceive as eating is them moving food towards their mouth, they're usually stopping to continue dialogue. Only in rare events will you see food actually consumed..and then the above points apply.

That's not to say that actors don't eat it afterwards but that will depend on the quality of the food (and craft services are usually pretty good).

An example is Paris Can Wait..where the actress, Diane Lane, explained...

"I was overwhelmed by all the varieties of cheese that I was exposed to, and the vast regions of wine," she tells Bon Appétit. "I would wrap up whatever was on set and put it in my purse to take it home and eat it."

And although Lane admits that she's "not above spitting the food out" during a long day of eating scenes, "that definitely didn't happen on this film—the food was too good." But it is not as simple as enjoying a few bites of food while you're in the middle of a scene. Everything is about continuity so the film can ultimately be edited together in post-production.

"I'll start to notice if there's a ring forming under the glass or if it's sweating and it shouldn't be, or if the ice is melted, or if the glass is half empty versus how it was. You have to maintain things, because you can't go back two bites ago," Lane explains.

[snip]

Lane has another big pet peeve about food scenes.

"I can't stand it when people really never put any food in their mouths in a scene," she says with an exasperated sigh. "Timing when you're gonna speak while you're eating is tricky, but I prefer it when you can dive in and mean it. Some actors chicken out."

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  • I have often seem them eating it, so I am not sure if they use prop all the time or not. – Rahul Nov 3 '17 at 16:45
  • As I said, it's not always a prop but there's no guarantee that what they are eating is as palatable as it might look, It's quite possibly stone cold after a couple of hours and the actors have to eat it anyway. – Paulie_D Nov 3 '17 at 16:47
  • Plus, keep in mind that anything which is actually seen going into their mouths could just as easily be getting spit back out after the cameras stop rolling. – Steve-O Nov 3 '17 at 17:55
  • Insider note: prop food is always real for a given value of 'real'... i.e. it may not be what it's portraying but is edible. That's fine for take 1... or indeed if "your plate remains your plate" for the duration of the scene. SO... if you eat it, make sure you get the same plate back next time, or just pretend from take 2 onwards. [Option 3, which I once had to do... props forget to bring your food back & right as they say 'rolling' you have to find something that looks right from the melee in front of you & just damnwell pretend to enjoy it... for your art, of course ;) – disassociated Nov 3 '17 at 21:15
  • Sometimes you do get lucky... Burnt employed not only real kitchen staff, but an actual Michelin Star chef to make the 'props' live on set... the food was f**** magnificent! – disassociated Nov 3 '17 at 21:20

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