Try to name a more iconic woman than Betty White, we’ll wait. Can’t come up with anyone? That’s because when it comes to charisma, humor and talent, White can’t be beat. She is a legend and today is that legend’s 98th birthday. Betty White has been in showbiz for over 80 years — a record-breaking career — and one of her most famous roles was as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. Whether you watched The Golden Girls during the show’s original run on NBC in 1985 or caught it in reruns, you’re probably familiar with everyone’s favorite mature women from Miami. Along with discussing their extremely active love lives, the ladies also have something else in common: their love of food. So what better way to celebrate the show, Betty White’s birthday, your friends, and of course, delicious food, than to have a Golden Girls dinner party? Here’s everything you need to throw the ultimate GG-inspired dinner your friends will rave about until you’re retired.
Blanche’s sloe gin fizz
In the Season 1 episode “The Triangle,” Dorothy (played by Bea Arthur) has a fancy doctor boyfriend, who ends up hitting on Blanche (played by Rue McClanahan). In one scene, the doctor makes a pass at Blanche after she offers him a cocktail: specifically, a sloe gin fizz. He may be despicable, but the drink is pretty delicious.
Here’s a recipe from The Kitchen Magpie to help get the party started.
The women were frequent entertainers and had people over for dinner pretty often. Here are two appetizers they served to guests on the show.
In another episode from the first season, Dorothy’s daughter Kate is getting married, and naturally, the nuptials are taking place at the girls’ house. Rose (played by Betty White) made one of her famous cheeseballs for the occasion.
Here’s a recipe for a classic cheeseball from Cooking Classy that you’re going to want to make today (and not wait for a party).
Blanche’s shrimp cocktail
Rose ends up dating a variety of men throughout the show’s seven seasons, but one of her most memorable boyfriends was Dr. Jonathan Newman — who happens to be a psychiatrist and also on the shorter side. Blanche and Dorothy invite him over for dinner without Rose’s permission and of course, hilarity ensues. One of the most iconic moments of the episode (and the show overall) is when Blanche enters the living room to offer appetizers to their guest: shrimp. Shrimp cocktail is another timeless — and easy — appetizer.
Sophia’s lasagna al forno
Dorothy’s mother Sophia (played by Estelle Getty) grew up in Sicily, but had an accent that sounded straight out of Brooklyn. Of course, her speciality was Italian food, and over the course of the show, she made marinara sauce, baked ziti, sabayon and this lasagna al forno, which she makes for her brother Angelo in a Season 3 episode. If you’re having a group of friends over for dinner, this is the perfect option. If you have vegetarians in the mix, you can leave out the meat and make a veggie lasagna instead.
No Golden Girls dinner party (or any party, for that matter) would be complete without a cheesecake. This was the girls’ favorite dessert (and probably food) and they ate it in several different episodes — sometimes with ice cream, sometimes with chocolate sauce, and always with a bit of gossip or friendly support.
There are so many amazing cheesecake recipes, so here’s a plain version from Cookies and Cups, which you can customize however you want.
So gather your pals and have them over for a nice meal — after this dinner, they will definitely thank you for being a friend.
A version of this story was originally published September 2019.