Don’s hungry.

 Posted by on April 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Characters, Mad Men, Season 4, Season 7
Apr 172014

Maybe I just need a “Brooklyn Avenue” from Canter’s, but what stuck out to me in last Sunday’s Mad Men episode, Time Zones was Don taking healthy bites of food, not once but twice.

Sorry, I couldn't find one of him taking a bite :)

Sorry, I couldn’t find one of him taking a bite

First meeting with Pete for the aforementioned pastrami where they put coleslaw right on the sandwich.  Unemployed Don takes a huge bite.

Later in his drafty living room, Freddie Rumsen brings the food and he attacks what looks like another sandwich as they talk.

Food for Don is typically a functional element of life – let me eat so I don’t actually die.  He’d never be considered a foodie, not that such a thing existed in his day.

Remember his housekeeper commenting that he never eats, way back in Public Relations (Ep. 4.01)? Back then, he was spiraling downward, post-divorce, and imitating a slow-motion train-wreck.

In January 1969, he’s disconnected once again, from his firm, his wife, his marriage … but he’s also hungry.

I think working anonymously through Freddie is the right approach for him right now. He’s obviously still sharp, and keeping active through his friend in the business. (We could also comment that he was shining his shoes, which is a sign of humility – we won’t go that far.)

With 13 episodes left over two seasons (by the way, if you make me wait 10 months between episodes, fuck you that’s two seasons), we know it won’t be a straight line upward for Don—his fortunes will wax and wane repeatedly.

However I take his huge appetite as a sign that the motor is running, and it’s getting the fuel it needs.


  48 Responses to “Don’s hungry.”

  1. or its just a distraction from drink

    • It’s actually I think. Result if his not drinking as much.

      Don rarely ate much the entire show. He takes. Bite here and there. He eats a LOT of oysters but that was for revenge on Roger…

      Alcoholics have low appetites.

      Actually the sandwiches and orange soda with Freddy reminded me of his sandwiches and soda with Faye. One of his few “lunches” that he actually did also get something to eat. So it feels like he’s getting actual nourishment from Freddy, like he did with Faye.

      • I apologize. Autocorrect and bad typing.

        • My brother “died from thirst” at 42 years old.. he never ate.. ever…also if I may make a point..The bottle Don was grasping in the final scene before he walked onto the balcony had an INTACT seal.. so he is trying to get sober…

      • Why do alcoholics have low appetites? Does alcohol impact taste-buds? I’ve heard of smoking reducing the sensitivity of taste-buds, but never alcohol.

        • Ah, but what if Don is really terribly depressed and is eating to escape? Maybe if he keeps this up, he’ll get big like Betty did! Now wouldn’t that be the ultimate fall from the irresistible Don of 1960?

        • I’m not sure why. I think it happens to addicts too.

          I guess the signals for hunger and being full get messed with.

        • I believe it’s because the sugar in alcohol works to suppress a healthy appetite.

  2. He’s tasting things again, his tongue is waking up, his liver thankful. Let the battle of the bulge begin.

  3. Yes, the increase in his eating is certainly an indication that he’s on the wagon, or at least closer to being on the wagon than he has been before. In season 4, when we first learned that Freddy has stopped drinking, he was usually shown eating something. Also in S4, when Don’s maid commented that he never eats, that’s when Don’s drinking was kicking into high gear.

    • But I also remember him eating the French toast that Sally made for him (with rum instead of syrup).
      Splitting hairs, I know.

  4. I agree that the second half should be considered a separate season since we have to wait until next year to see it. This split-season nonsense benefits the network only, and completely screws the fans.

    • I agree with you, it is really annoying. This is just going to feel like a short season.

  5. I think everyone is agreed that his rediscovered appetite is a result of his weaning off the bottle. Next comes the actually feeling better part, the higher energy part, ( which he will need to burn off all that nice deli food) all of which will result in a better, stronger, faster Don. But oh god the mileage. My dad had his first heart attack a week or two after his 50th, at the end of a three week vacation. He had quit his 3 (at least) pack a day habit over a year before, had lost some 30 or so pounds, was playing racquetball a couple of times a week and was in awesome shape. He looked way better than everyone else in the cardiac care unit, but he earned that fucker. He had been a type A personality all of his life, and that takes a toll. Had he had that heart attack a year or two earlier, it likely would have killed him. I sense a similar fate for Don.

  6. Perhaps he doesn’t eat too much when he wants to get drunk because having a full stomach slows intoxication down. I know from watching The Wire some hard-core alcoholics eat extra greasy noodles which they can then easily regurgitate so they will have empty stomachs. (I guess they get just enough nutrition to keep them alive?)

    There was an episode where the poor kid of one such alcoholic goes into a cheap Chinese place with his friend and orders this dish — not because he’s an alcoholic — but because that’s what his mother does and he doesn’t know any better. Does anyone remember this besides me?

    • Being a heavy drinker myself, I tend to crave greasy food AFTER I’ve been drinking. Many a time I’ve woken up with hangover, and the only thing I felt bad about was having eaten a fattening slice of pizza.

    • When I was a wild young thing, we used to eat bready things like subs so we could drink more and not get sick. But then I wasn’t an alcoholic. There’s still time, tho.

  7. That (Waverly Street) housekeeper hid Don’s shoeshine kit the closet – because he’d left it “in the middle of the floor”. He was near the bottom then too – shiny shoes as purposeful therapy.

    No doubt many who worked through Julia’s Art of French Cooking were foodies (“gourmets”) back then – but a smaller minority than now.

    • What’s a foodie? Is it just someone who likes to eat a lot, or is the definition more specific than that?

      • Meaning someone that appreciates food, cooking, and all things culinary … especially fine food.

        • Correct. And there have always been foodies in that sense – just not as a trend, not a “movement”, and not the name (which was probably bestowed by some element in the media trying to make a fuss about it while mocking it).

      • It’s a food snob.

        • Often, yes. Also adventurous eaters.

        • I wonder if Christina Hendricks, self-described foodie (along with her hubby), would embrace the snob part?

          • Professor Spouse also describes herself as a foodie. Nonetheless, there’s a real backlash going on about the foodies who have to have the next new thing, and who’s food is “curated” and “artisanal.” Gag me.

            • Food and wine are supposed to be fun – not a “competetion”. I suppose there are Type A’s in all avocations.

              I used to enjoy wine – attended tastings, took the Spectator, saved corks (the corks let me know, before I tossed them, that I’d drunk a lot of long-forgotten good wine).

              This was all BC (before children). I still like wine – but with nothing like that attention. I’ve heard of wine snobs but never met any – even at those tastings (lucky?).

              Now, post-marriage, I cook a lot more. I find that cooking the same dishes my mother made brings a lot of memories.

              BTW – who is Professor Spouse?

            • When Pete ordered that Pastrami sandwich I wanted one. Does that make me a foodie?
              miss nyc deli food.
              especially the huge pickles

              Don knew what it was like to be hungry as a kid…ate horse and stuff so I think food is nourishment to him nothing more.

            • @ susan:

              If you insist that restaurant coleslaw should be made in house the same day (too rare), does that make you a foodie?

              (we have a burger joint that does – with a trace of pineapple – they are so on top of it that they almost bring your food before you order it – the french fries burn your fingers)

            • No, fresh coleslaw is simply a necessity if you want to stay in business.

            • Not competition. You just like the good stuff. It would be easier and cheaper not to. Applebee’s would taste great and is so much cheaper. But gross. Mr Bunny says I’m now becoming a “drinkie” because I try and recreate craft cocktails at home.

      • Right, well however we want to define Foodie, Don’s not one.

        • He’s certainly not snobbish about food. Remember him getting excited about a ham garnished with pineapple?

          • I still like that. Maybe I’m a foodork.

          • I don’t remember the ham and pineapple but regardless of how much or how little he eats, he’s hardly skin and bones. Canadian Club has plenty of calories after all.

          • I think it was spam with pineapple, a wonderful combination for people who have little money but want the taste of ham….actually it’s not bad.

    • I was thinking about the shoe shine kit in the other threads about returning images.

      His has only appeared in season 4 and now, and then Rogers shoe shine kit bequeathed to him by the shoe shine guy last year. 🙁

    • Great get Coop!!

      Notice that Don shined his shoes ‘after’ knocking back Lee Cabot (Neve Campbell) – definite sign of humility and it is a great contrast to his time at Waverley St (hookers, booze, and his lack of food including Mrs Butterworths pancake syrup disguised as – booze. Poor Sally trying her best!).

      Again this confirms to me that the Freddy relationship is ‘duplicitous’ (what again another double MW!?!) and he is helping Don with work and his drinking

  8. I wonder if we don’t see Don taking a bite is because he hasn’t quite accepted fully accepting help (nutrition) from Pete?

    But he can dig in with Freddy…

    • Maybe Pete’s outfit turned his stomach there for a moment but he does take a bite of his sandwich.

  9. Nicotine is the great appetite suppressant; so maybe he’s laying off the Lucky Strikes.

  10. Remember the dame on the plane talk about her dead husband.
    She said he was thirsty.
    He went away and I thought he was getting better but he died….

    Was he a drunk that went to a Hazelton kind a place?

    The talk of Pebble beach and Disney eclipsed the conversation for me. But maybe there is something there you guys can explain to me.

    • I interpreted “thirsty” to be a euphemism for alcoholic. I’m not sure what Hazelton is but, yes, my impression was he went to rehab but died of an alcoholic related problem (cirrhosis of the liver or something like that).

      • Thirsty has more than one meaning in AA including about to fall off the wagon( back to drinking) or it can mean an alcoholic needing a drink. Hazelden is located in Center City Minnesota northeast of St Paul and has existed since 1949. Its recovery program includes the AA 12 step program.

        Twelve step programs have euphemisms that allow twelve steppers to communicate with each other among them are; Are you a friend of Bill W, the name of the co-founder of AA. There are many others. Doing step 13 is having sex with another person in AA or Alanon.

        There is also the mistaken belief that once a person quits drinking that their health improves; many people’s bodies are already damaged so much a years of heavy drinking that even when they stop drinking their health is not restored. That may have happened to the husband of Don’s seatmate on the plane.

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