|Episode no.||Season 3|
Episode 11 (59th overall)
|Directed by||Gene Reynolds|
|Written by||Laurence Marks|
|Original air date||November 26, 1974|
"Adam's Ribs" is the eleventh episode of the third season of M*A*S*H, and fifty-ninth overall. The episode premiered Tuesday, November 26, 1974, on CBS.
Fed up with being offered the same meal choices day after day, Hawkeye snaps and causes a public spectacle in the mess tent. Henry is not happy about the incident, but admits that the food situation has gotten repetitive and is trying to remedy it. However, his attempt to have a frozen turkey shipped to the camp has failed due to a bureaucratic mix-up.
Hawkeye decides that what he wants most is barbecued spareribs. He remembers the delicious ribs he once had at a restaurant in Chicago but cannot recall its name, only that it was near the Dearborn Street train station. Henry gives him the telephone number for the station, and Hawkeye has Radar call in so he can get the restaurant name - "Adam's Ribs." Hawkeye orders 40 pounds of ribs and a gallon of sauce, but he and Trapper find themselves at a loss as to how to have them delivered to the 4077th. After they try unsuccessfully to persuade Klinger to have one of his relatives ship the order, Trapper remembers a woman he once knew in Chicago. He calls her and persuades her to pick up the order and put it on a plane, labeled as medical supplies bound for South Korea.
The order arrives at the supply depot, but regulations prevent it from being delivered to the camp. Hawkeye and Trapper visit the depot and negotiate with a stubborn supply sergeant who lives not far from Chicago and loves the food at Adam's Ribs. Once they tell him what the order is, he agrees to release it in exchange for a portion of the ribs and sauce.
Back at camp, Hawkeye prepares to enjoy his meal of spareribs, but is interrupted by a fresh batch of incoming wounded soldiers. He protests vehemently as Trapper and Henry pull him away from the table to get ready for surgery.
Behind the scenes
The rib restaurant discussed in the episode is not based on any specific Chicago restaurant. As Larry Gelbart explained, "Part of it had to do with the city's 'hog butcher for the world' reputation, but it principally was just a conceit, a loving homage, to a place that I can never forget." While the Dearborn Street station is a real place, the region surrounding it was primarily industrial during the 1950s. Henry Blake also mentions having visited the station frequently owing to his Illinois background, but having grown up in Bloomington he would not have taken the train to Dearborn Station.
One Chicago restaurant, Cy's Crabhouse, did rename itself Adam's Rib and Ale House in 2008 in order to help business.
The man at the station Hawkeye speaks to is Bernard Reznik. In Czech "reznik" means butcher. Hawkeye identifies himself to Bernard as a reporter named Cranston Lamont, which is a play on the name Lamont Cranston, the alter ego of The Shadow.
The Supply Sergeant makes the mistake of pronouncing Joliet as Jolly-et, a mistake a person from Joliet would not make. (An antiquated law, still on the books, actually prohibits such a pronunciation and establishes Joe-lee-ET as the correct pronunciation).
- Douglas J. Gladstone. "In search of Adam's Ribs - 'Mash' fans keep looking for the Chicago restaurant Hawkeye called from Korea, and guess what they find?". Chicago Sun-Times. April 19, 2009. D1. Archived at News Hot Trends.
- "Don't mispronounce 'Joliet' or you're breaking the law," FOX32.com (Nov. 7, 2017).