The line between Nick Offerman the man and his character Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation is hilariously, carnivorously blurry. They both love animal protein and see woodworking as the path to manly enlightenment.
Interview by Hugh Garvey
Your character on Parks and Rec, Ron Swanson, is a vocal libertarian. What’s on his Thanksgiving menu?
A large land fowl that he killed and prepared himself. An array of tubers that were grown in his garden. Freedom Fries. A single-malt Scotch and a gallon or two of home-brewed beer—followed by a cigar for dessert.
Sounds enticing. Which dish do you look forward to in real life?
Mashed potatoes. They’re mostly butter and cream and Parmesan and garlic—with a little bit of potato mixed in.
As an Illinois native, what’s your stance on Chicago-style vs. New York-style pizza?
If properly dried and trimmed, New York-style pizza could be used to make a box for Chicago-style pizza. I love a slice when I’m in NYC, but it’s like eating a Slim Jim compared with a filet mignon. One slice of Gino’s East stuffed sausage pizza is a bigger meal than an entire New York pie.
You own a woodshop in L.A. where they build furniture out of reclaimed wood. Ever make dining room tables?
I used to build scenery in the Chicago theater community, and I knew that every piece I built, at some point, somebody would have sex on that piece of scenery. So I make furniture that can withstand a lot—family dinners, homework, card games, drinking sessions—and, on occasion, it can take coitus.
We’ll take your word for it. What about tools in the kitchen. Any go-tos?
I have a corn creamer that I love. It extracts pulp and juice from kernels, and I simmer that down into a creamed corn that has an almost mashed potato-like consistency. I add butter and hit it with chopped fresh chives at the end for an accent of color. It’s my signature dish—it’s called “Corn…My Way.” There are ellipses in that. It’s so sweet and delicious you could serve it for dessert.
Let’s talk burgers. We saw you make a Ron Swanson burger—a burger stuffed with a turkey leg—on Jimmy Fallon. What’s the Nick Offerman burger?
Really thick and meaty, with a little lamb or a little sirloin. I mix in a couple of eggs to bind it, and sometimes I’ll grate in Gruyÿre or Parmesan.
And your wife [actress Megan Mullally]? What do you cook for her?
She loves my lamb chops. I marinate them in oil and throw some fresh rosemary and thyme on the meat as I’m grilling. A couple of those chops, a garden salad, and a steaming pile of “Corn…My Way,” and you’ll be heading up for seconds yourself.