Ree Drummond Was 'Very Emotional' Cooking for the Brady Bunch: 'I Felt Like I Was Meeting Family'
She cooked up a nostalgic, 70s-inspired dinner with the cast for A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition
Ree Drummond is having a very Brady Christmas.
For a very special holiday episode of HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation, the Pioneer Woman star was invited to cook a ’70s-inspired holiday dinner with the six Brady siblings at their famous TV home.
As a huge fan of the show growing up, Drummond says that when she was approached to be a part of the show, it took her a “millisecond” to say yes. “I didn’t even check my calendar. The idea of meeting the kids I pretty much grew up with was the source of my excitement,” she tells PEOPLE.
Drummond says it was a “very emotional experience,” meeting the cast for the first time on set. “I felt like I was meeting family — like a long lost group of siblings.” She had the opportunity to bond with each of the stars as they took turns cooking a nostalgic Christmas meal in the newly restored home’s iconic orange kitchen.
Everyone in the Brady cast was a pretty good cook too, according to Drummond, but two of the stars shined brightest: “Christopher Knight (Peter) and Maureen McCormick (Marcia) were very good in the kitchen,” she says. “I didn’t have to tell them too much about what to do. I tried to step back and let them do most of the work.”
For the special, which airs on December 16, Drummond developed “timeless comfort food classics” including a giant turkey (that almost didn’t fit in the Brady’s oven) rubbed with french onion soup mix, a classic Jello mold with a creamy center, and cheesy fondue mashed potatoes. But the menu doesn’t just look good on TV — each recipe was designed for the at-home chef.
Though being able to interact with the cast was a highlight for Drummond, she revealed that she especially enjoyed watching how the actors interacted with one another. “They really are family,” she says. “They’re all different in many ways, but they take care of each other and are very tender with one another.”
Throughout the filming process Drummond caught herself calling the actors by their character names instead of their actual names. “I just couldn’t help myself,” she says. “I had to stop and apologize.” In addition to Knight and McCormick, the Brady kids include Barry Williams (Greg), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby) and Susan Olsen (Cindy).
Drummond connected with all of the cast members in different ways, but says she bonded most with Maureen McCormick. “We have brothers with developmental disabilities, and we shared stories about our brothers. It was a special little side note to the day.” All-in-all Drummond says she “didn’t want the experience to end.”
On the holiday special, the stars will also be creating DIY Christmas decorations with Jasmine Roth, star of HGTV’s Hidden Potential before sitting down to enjoy the meal they all cooked.
The 6-episode run of A Very Brady Renovation, which aired this fall and reunited the cast for the first time in 15 years, followed the six actors and a roster of HGTV pros as they transformed the iconic home that was used as the establishing exterior shot of the Brady family house on the show from 1969 to 1974. The interiors of the TV home were filmed on a separate sound stage, so the rooms behind the famous facade didn’t match the show at all.
After extensive renovations and a helping hand from Roth, Property Brothers’ Drew and Jonathan Scott, Good Bones’ Mina Starsiak and Karen E. Laine and Flea Market Flip’s Lara Spencer, the inside of the property appears exactly as it did on the beloved sitcom.
A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition airs on on Monday, December 16, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.