By: Brennan Carley, Charlotte Parish
As the winter winds pick up speed, college students grow increasingly more reluctant to leave their dorm rooms on the chilly nights. It’s always an easy and cheap way to relax by spending evenings in common rooms with food and movies at ones’ disposal, but perhaps now is the time to take a second look at the age-old tradition. For those with kitchens, one of the biggest joys about movie nights is cooking food in unison with the films on screen. It’s impossible to watch flicks like Julie and Julia and Babette’s Feast without craving some home cooked French delicacies.
Use the following recipes and film suggestions to create mouth-watering feasts that will leave your friends wondering how you found the time to whip it all together. It’ll definitely be better than that stale slice of Dominos you have sitting in your fridge.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
In Greek culture, food is the combination of an art, an experience, a religion, and a celebration. Family revolves around the dinner table and for holidays the menu is of the upmost importance. When in doubt, the answer is always—without fail—more food, even when the question has nothing to do with cuisine. While spanikopita and lamb (which is not always roasted in the front yard, honestly) are traditional Grecian dishes, you occasionally have to make room for the Xeno, or foreigners, who do not know how to bake correctly. After all, who puts a hole in their cake?
Putting aside the fact that a rat (Remy, played charmingly by Patton Oswalt) cooked most of the movie’s food, viewers spent hours ogling the startlingly realistic CGI dishes served up onscreen. It looks so good that one can almost smell it, from mushrooms freshly plucked after a summer rain, to the titular dish. Interestingly enough, the ratatouille served to Paris’ most eminent food critic (the droll Peter O’Toole, fantastic and crusty here) was inspired by wildly acclaimed chef Thomas Keller (he of Per Se and the French Laundry) and his famed “confit byaldi.”
Comfort food: it is useful for so many things, from exam week to feeling sick to basically any large group meal a set of 20 is most easily fed with a heaping vat of breadcrumb topped macaroni and cheese. Of course, the Celia and the other ladies of The Help would not be caught dead actually doing work in a kitchen, but they were more than happy to take credit for the hard work of their undervalued maids, Aibileen or Minny, while sitting on the porch, sipping some Vermontucky lemonades at three in the afternoon while a classic Southern comfort dinner was in the oven.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Always dressed to the nines, Holly Golightly was concerned with looking fabulous and fabulously wealthy in every aspect of her life. From the milk poured into champagne glasses to Cat’s silk bed, Holly was the inventor of elegance for cheap (or rather, for however much powder room money her lucky lad du jour provided). With Holly’s habit of sprucing up the ordinary, a White Chocolate Chantilly Cloud is the perfect disguise for a simple mousse recipe with cocoa topping. Then there is the iconic frame of Holly stalling outside Tiffany’s in the morning, Danish and coffee in hand as she ogles at the shiny gems. But, Paul “Fred” Varjack, the only one who will buy her anything from this shop of dreams, can only afford to engrave a ring from a Cracker Jack box. Holly at least could appreciate the simplicity of both the ring, and the easy way that a common nut snack could be made spicy and ornate for a party.
EXPLANATION: While Jamal and Latika’s lives yo-yoed up and down, from poverty to wealth and back again in Slumdog, they each experienced moments of extreme hunger and periods of plenty. Alongside the vibrancy and color of India’s cultural backdrop for this film, the cuisine of India has spread world wide because of its unique flavor and fantastic variation. Naan bread is a staple at any meal, but the truly mouthwatering dishes involve the curry, sumin, and peppers for which this region became famous and wealthy.
Julie & Julia
Julie Powell’s book and movie sent throngs of fans flocking to their stoves in hopes of replicating even just one of Julia Child’s mouthwatering dishes. It reintroduced countless Americans to the joys of bouef bourguignon, a flaky pastry wrapped hunk of beef. The film also paid homage to Child’s unwavering defense of butter and cheese, both staples in typical French cooking that get some serious flack by foodies today. The food is framed and filmed with a craftsman’s touch; every time Powell (Amy Adams) slices a tomato, you can hear its crunch and see its glistening, juicy innards. No wonder so many people picked up Mastering the Art of French Cooking afterward.
In this indie darling, Keri Russell stars as a waitress at a local eatery who makes the best darn pies you’ve ever laid your eyes on. The movie digs deeper than just piecrusts and blueberry crumbles, illuminating the woman’s blue-collar marriage and ensuing pregnancy, which in turn lends itself to a dish called “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie.” Subsequent pies include the “Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie” (for which you smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust) and the “Pregnant Miserable Self Pitying Loser Pie” (lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in, flambeed).