"Business is great at the all-squid diner now that meat is on the menu. One question: where's the meat come from?"
-- DVD description for the episode
Married couple Fred and Erma's restaurant has seen better days. But things change once a stranger walks in, with a rather unique steak recipe...
The story begins in the failing restaurant owned by Fred (Christopher Reeve) and his wife Erma (Besstrong). The restaurant is failing because, his theme of squid only menus doesn't sit well with the rest of the town. Erma is exhausted and tired of the business failing to the point where she contemplates cleaving him, a motion that doesn't go unnoticed by Fred. A drifter and part time bus boy, Gaston (Judd Nelson) suggests a BBQ menu from his own recipe to get some customers, which Fred stubbornly denies. As if business wasn't bad enough, Fred is in deep debt with the ruthless landlord Chumley (Meat Loaf). Fred's temper flares after Chumley threatens to evict him and tells him he's a lousy cook. Fred then, in a fit of anger attacks Chumley with a knife prompting him to threaten to go to the cops. An act that goes noticed by most of the town, including Gaston.The next morning Erma and Fred prepare to close down, when local cop Phil Farley (Art LaFleur) informs them that Chumley is missing. When he asks for something to eat, even willing to eat squid, Erma checks and sees two fresh steaks in the freezer. Gaston claims that he wanted to surprise them with his BBQ recipe he told them about. Farley tries the steaks and enjoys them to their surprise. To make things even better, customers come in to smell the new cooking and want to have some. Fred notices that Gaston has Chumley's handkerchief and suspects he may have been involved in Chumley's missing report. When Fred accuses him of it, Gaston claims not to, even going as far as saying he did him a favor with those steaks. When Fred apologizes, he and Gaston open the freezer to get more meat. Fred discovers, much to his horror, that Chumley's corpse is in there and to make matters worse, Gaston is harvesting it for meat. Fred at first wanted to tell Farley and the others, but after seeing them enjoy the food from his restaurant and even making a profit from it, he doesn't.
After raking in $1500 on their first night of success, Gaston blackmails Fred for his silence and 50/50 of the profits, claiming he'll say that Fred killed Chumley and Erma cooked him if he doesn't. Fred narrowly hides the truth from Erma, when she comes out with Champagne to celebrate. The next day, business is booming as more customers fly in for the meat, including a famous food critic, who asked for seconds. Out of curiousity, Fred tries a piece of the meat and finds he actually enjoys the taste as much as his customers do, but still feels guilty about the murder. Farley comes in, mostly for steak, but also to inform them, that the police found an alloy from the scene of Chumley's disappearance saying it's from a knife very few use anymore and he's checking purchase records of who would buy that. This prompts some fear in Fred, because he's the only one that uses knives like that in his restaurant. After they rake in $7857, Erma thinks about expanding. When she goes to tell Fred, Gaston steals her gun from her purse. When she tells him the good news, Fred, racked with guilt; is indifferent causing her to go home. Fred tells Gaston that Phil may be on to them. Gaston not swayed, thinks they should just kill and cook him next, which Fred strongly disagrees, mainly due to the consequences of killing a cop.Gaston goes to Erma to confess to the killings, but pins the whole thing on Fred. He claims that Fred is gonna kill himself with Erma's gun. Erma goes to check her purse to find her gun missing and Gaston claims he's gonna try to talk Fred out of it and she should call Farley. Gaston enters the restaurant armed, but Fred gets the drop on him. After a struggle Gaston gains the upperhand until someone walks in. It's Erma and she's armed with a cleaver ready to defend Fred. Gaston tries to shoot her, intending to make it look like a murder/suicide, but finds the gun out of bullets. Erma was onto him the second he mentioned her gun, as Fred never lets her load her gun. They corner him and prepare to kill him, when Farley arrives. Gaston thinks he's off the hook and tries to have them arrested. However Farley instead said he developed a taste and that this business will help him with the early retirement. The episode ends with Farley, Fred and Erma cooking Gaston alive as his screams are being heard from outside the restaurant. Outside Gaston's name on the neon sign burns out.
Opening Segment Edit"Next time I book a table for 8 o'clock, Wolfgang, I expect to be seated at 8 o'clock! Yes, a good whine. Not a great whine, but locally groan, that's for sure. A pleasant enough boo-que. Almost reminds me of a good scream sherry! I hope you brought your appetites, kiddies, because tonight's tasteless tidbit is something I'm sure you'll savor. It's a real epi-gorian delight about a nice young couple who find the restaurant business a little hard to swallow. I call this adventure in fine dying "What's Cookin."
Closing Segment Edit"I suppose it's a little too late for Gaston to save face! Talk about a flesh in the pan. I guess that's what happens when you butcher money where your mouth is. As for me, kiddies, I say it's time for taps. Mmmm. 'Til next time, restaurateur in peace."
- Fred's wife Erma mentions "The Daily Bugle" to her husband. The fictional newspaper is the one Peter Parker worked for in the Spider Man comic book series.
- The highest-rated episode of the series on IMDb.
- Fred 'N Erma's neon sign has seen better days. Letters are burnt out, so that all that's left is __E_ N E_MAS.