Rachel's Trifle Mistake On Friends Explained

Ancient recipes are the beloved possessions of all families regardless of how useful they are or how tasty they actually turn out to be. The instructions to make granny's cookies from centuries ago are always fantastically simple (and let's be honest— they usually include more than a few bottles of whiskey, too).

Cooking is not a skill that everyone is perfect at, however. (That's why we need so many pizza restaurants.) This was clearly something that was recognized by the writers of "Friends" for the revered episode "The One Where Ross Got High," where Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel tries her hardest to succeed at creating an English trifle, only to end up committing a crime against food.

In the episode (rated as one of the show's best, according to Bustle), Rachel decides to make a trifle for a Thanksgiving meal being hosted at Monica's flat. Despite Rachel's best efforts, disaster strikes when she mistakenly piles the trifle full of meat, forming an abomination of cream, jelly, peas, and beef. But how did the writers come up with such a bizarre dish?

Confusion in the writers' room sparked Rachel's trifle mistake

Entertainment Weekly reports that the meaty trifle concept was a result of the writers being completely baffled by what a trifle actually was. While some believed the sweet treat to be a hybrid of a pudding, others confused it with tripe — an edible part of the stomachs of certain animals, such as cows (via The Spruce Eats).

This strange debate led to the development of Rachel's trifle (even though, as noted by EW, it was originally considered too weird to broadcast). It was decided that the final monstrosity would be a combination of trifle and shepherd's pie, mixing together cream, jam, custard, bananas, ladyfingers, raspberries, peas, onions, and beef (via Bustle).

Rachel's trifle predicament proved a mighty achievement for "Friends," arguably making it one of the most hilarious scenes of the series. In fact, its popularity sparked inspiration for a real-life version of the meat trifle, which briefly became available to buy (via Today). As revolting as that might seem, it's safe to say we have all had the misfortune of eating much worse.