Gather Around the ‘Blue Bloods’ Family Dinner Table

09/27/2013 at 12:09 PM ET

Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynahan Film Blue Bloods Dinner Scene
Jojo Whilden/CBS

Food brings everyone together—and that’s certainly true for the cast of CBS’s Blue Bloods. 

Each week on the popular police drama, the Reagan family—led by Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes—gather around a large dining table to discuss the issues playing out in the episode …. and eat. A lot. (But we’ll get to that later.)

Watch one episode and it’s clear: the Sunday supper is the heart of each show. “They’re the most fun to film because everyone is telling stories, laughing, sharing their points-of-view,” says Selleck. “It’s like a real family.”

The new season premieres on Friday, but here’s an early taste of things you may not know about the Blue Bloods supper scenes:

1. The cast really likes being at the table together.
Selleck: “You can work on an ensemble series and you may not see a fellow cast mate for a month. But here, once a show, we get to have a family dinner, which we all look forward to. We all like each other and have become close, so it’s like catching up. Sometimes we get talking so much that it gets in the way of the work.”

Sami Gayle: “Before we sat down at the table today, Tom gave me his list of 10 movies that every actor should watch. He really wants to educate me about the great films of all time, which is amazing. Will [Estes] asked me for the list too, and we’re both going to watch them all.”

2. It takes a full day to film one scene.
Selleck: “It’s nice to spend time with the entire cast once an episode, but filming an eating scene is miserable. Well, the eating part is. You have to eat the same foods over and over again to get all the shots. We’ll probably spend eight hours shooting this scene.”

Wahlberg: “The first dinner scene we shot for the new season was really tough because I got off a plane from tour [with New Kids on the Block] and came straight to set. And that scene took over five hours. Between every camera take, I took a nap on the couch. They would literally wake me up a second before the camera started rolling and I would run and take a seat at the table. I was just delirious. I don’t know how I remembered one line.”

3. The food is real—and fake.
Jim Lillis (prop master): “We give them real food on camera, but we try to keep it mildly seasoned because they have to do so many takes. The Reagans are Irish-Catholic New Yorkers, and their menu reflects that. It’s usually a meat or chicken, always some version of potatoes and a vegetable, salad and rolls. I’m Irish-Catholic, and I was halfway through the first season before I realized I was serving my mother’s old menu.”

Wahlberg: “Someone asked me if we get drunk because we have a lot of wine during the dinner scene, but, sadly, it’s just grape juice. Sorry, guys. And ‘Scotch’ is iced tea. I think they give us decaffeinated or we’d be bouncing off the walls.”

4. Everyone has a signature move.
Gayle: “We have to look like we’re eating during every take so we’ve all figured out ways to pretend. Tom always butters his bread, so no one else can use that technique. Bridget [Moynahan] cuts her food a lot. I’ll cut my food, too, and drink water a lot.”

Amy Carlson: “I have my own tricks: Cut food and drink something. Once it become someone’s signature move, you can’t use it and you have to come with your own. Unless you’re Donnie, and then you just eat what’s put in front of you.”

5. There is one eating champion.

Gayle: “It’s the running joke that Donnie doesn’t stop eating. Even during rehearsals. They’ll tell us not to eat the food because we’re just going through the lines. But I’ll look up and see Donnie chewing on something.”

Wahlberg: “Tom just pretends eat, but I’m the only one who really eats. I literally ate 20 pounds of asparagus today. I try to only stick to vegetables, which leads to other problems. Fortunately, we wrapped a little early today so the problems will be personal problems, and won’t be affecting everyone else at the table.”

‘Blue Bloods’ airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. EST on CBS.

—Sonal Dutt

FILED UNDER: Donnie Wahlberg , Food

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Blue Blouds premiered last Friday.