Is Craig Claiborne in “The Goonies”?


For those of us who grew up with “The Goonies,” re-watching the film as an adult affords many joys. “Aw,” you might say, “look at young Corey Feldman, all before the trouble began–look how witty and innocent.” Or you might say: “Hey, look at young Sean Astin, who would’ve guessed he’d grow up to play a hobbit?” Or: “I like Martha Plimpton, why wasn’t she more famous?”

One reaction you don’t expect to have, especially if you’re a food enthusiast and a fan of The United States of Arugula, is: “Hey, is that Craig Claiborne?”

That’s the reaction I had a few weeks ago when “The Goonies” was on TV and that scene came on that I’d seen a million times before where Chunk and Sloth are chained in the basement and Chunk offers Sloth a Baby Ruth. He throws it at Sloth and hits Sloth in the head. They both scream.

But who’s that on the TV in the background?

“That looks like Craig Claiborne,” I said to Craig who shrugged as if I’d said: “That looks like Shmoopy McShmooperton.”

But Craig Claiborne is one of the great-grandfathers of American gastronomy, he’s one of the three leading figures, according to David Kamp, along with Julia Child and James Beard who shaped the way we eat in America today. Plus: I recently read his autobiography (see here). Could it be that this man, one of the most important figures in food history, is part of what is probably my favorite movie from childhood next to “The Phantom Tollbooth” and “Mary Poppins”?

Here’s some illegal video I took just now and you be the judge:

All my instincts tell me that it’s him and after doing some hard, exacting research–ok, I Googled “Craig Claiborne Goonies” and came up with this weird Goonies message board where someone else identifies the man in the video as Craig Claiborne–I feel pretty confident that it’s him.

What does this mean for the future of American film and the future of American gastronomy?

Nothing: I just thought it was cool.

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