April 3, 2008

Pick a movie to design a meal around.

That was the challenge last night on "Top Chef," which this post won't spoil, but there are spoilers at here, where I read about it. (I haven't watched this season of "Top Chef." Maybe I'll catch up with it later. Is it good this time around?) Anyway, Jim Hu, at the link, thinks the contestants made pretty lame movie choices. They should have been less literal, more creative, and more cleverly knowing about the content of a good movie. His choices:
Wizard of Oz: Rainbow trout with artichoke hearts and a poppy seed crackers.
Spartacus. Escargot... and oysters.
Duck Soup. Perhaps an exception to the obviousness rule, but how can you not do this?
The Godfather: Fish baked in parchment.
The main entree could be Dances with Wolves Buffalo steaks. Or you could do Silence of the Lambs, but only if you serve the lamb with fava beans
Citizen Kane Rose sorbet
Commenters, surely you have some ideas! Me? Well, my favorite movie already is about dinner: "My Dinner With Andre." To be creative and knowing, we'd have to get past the potato soup and squab and come up with something from inside the stories Andre tells. Maybe something covered in coarse salt to represent sand — Andre eats sand in the Sahara Desert (and laughs). [ADDED: Actually, he doesn't laugh: "We weren't trying to be funny. I started, and then he started, and we just ate sand, and threw up. That was — that was how desperate we were."]

Let me go on to the rest of the favorite movies I list in my Blogger profile:

"Aguirre the Wrath of God." This should not be an opportunity to serve Spanish or Brazilian food. I'd be all about the seaweed. (When they're really hungry they pull algae out from between the logs of the raft.)

"Crumb." The first thing I think of here is a drawing of a can labeled "[unwritable word] Hearts." Next, I think of Maxon Crumb ingesting a long strip of cloth dipped in water (to clean out his innards). Let's skip this movie.

"Grey Gardens." Paté on crackers! [ADDED December 20, 2014, after watching this movie again: ice cream right out of the container, Wonder Bread, cat chow, and corn on the cob.]

"32 Short Films About Glenn Gould." Pills!

"Limelight." Hmmm. Limes? No, the lime in limelight is not the fruit.

"It's a Gift." Kumquats!

"Dr. Strangelove." To drink: nothing but distilled water. [AND: Pure grain alcohol!] Food: a big buffet table. And every night: a food fight. That's our restaurant gimmick: We encourage the patrons to throw food. "The Grave of the Fireflies." In this movie, a Japanese animation, children starve. Must skip. "The Nights of Cabiria." Too easy of an excuse to make Italian food. Nothing specific comes to mind. "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control." Well, we can't serve lions or mole rats. Robots are not edible. We'd have to come up with some way to make topiary shapes out of things. "Slacker." Sorting through my memories of this movie, I'm just seeing a lot of coffee. IN THE COMMENTS: The name Ted Turner comes up, and there's a suggestion that his movie would be "Soylent Green."


rhhardin said...

We encourage the patrons to throw food.

Thurber The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Guide to Modern English Usage has the food fight as one of the drawbacks of the split infinitive.

It starts with

This is of a piece with the sentimental and outworn notion that it is always wrong to strike a lady.

and naturally leads to

There is nothing more deplorable than the spectacle of a formal dinner party ending in a brawl. And yet it is surprising how even the most cultured and charming people can go utterly to pieces when something is unexpectedly thrown at table. They instantly have an overwhleming desire to "join in." Everybody has, at one time or another, experienced the urge to throw a plate of jelly or a half grapefruit, an urge comparable to the inclination that suddenly assails one to leap from high places.

Bob said...

For Crumb, perhaps a huge rump roast?

By the way, I found this story about Maxon Crumb after I read this, it's a damned interesting article.

AllenS said...

Lunch With Ted Turner: Arms and legs, raw.

Sofa King said...

Surely a Dr. Stranglelove meal would have to include both distilled rainwater and pure grain alcohol?

Drew W said...

I suppose Hu’s prohibition on obviousness would have to extend not only to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” but also to that veritable “Babette’s Feast” of the dystopia, “Soylent Green.” So how about:

“The Producers”: Bialy, (chicken) stock and Bloom(in’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse).

“Brokeback Mountain”: beef jerky. (Okay, that was just wrong. My apologies.)

PS: I always thought that the seal from the kids’ movie “Andre” should team up with the orca Willy from the “Free Willy” series to produce the brief, violent marine mammal movie “My Dinner Of Andre.”

Sofa King said...

Demolition Man: Ratburgers and unsalted Taco Bell.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Just lots and lots of drugs, with booze to drink.

Harold and Khumar Go To White Castle: Kosher hot dogs.

Ghostbusters: Marshmallow omelettes.

Soylet Green: People, of course.

Swifty Quick said...

Food: a big buffet table. And every night: a food fight. That's our restaurant gimmick: We encourage the patrons to throw food.

Which conjures up mashed potatoes and Animal House.

ricpic said...

I guess we're all supposed to chuckle appreciatively at every word Thurber has written but what does the urge to throw a plate of jelly or a half grapefruit have in common with the urge to leap from high places?

Anonymous said...

American Splendor: A can of Spagetti-os.

Bissage said...

For your dining pleasure: Veal sausages and dates en casserole with brown rice, dressed with a shot of red beet sauce. Lemonade.

Give up?

Here's a clue. Link.

Peter V. Bella said...

One of the Hannibal Lecter movies;

"I'm having an Italian for dinner."

Bissage said...

Giveaway clue: Link.

bill said...

Here's a list I did a couple years ago:

Bambi. Served with Venison Noisette on Wild Rice with Savoy Cabbage and Braised Rabbit

Finding Nemo. Served with Asian Seafood Paella in Plugrá Butter and Red Curry Essence and a starter of turtle soup

Veggie Tales. Served with Zucchini and hominy soup and a Vegetarian Haggis

Chicken Run. Served with Coq au Vin and a Banana Souffle

Babe. Served with a Charcuterie platter and 5 Spice Pork Ribs with Ginger, Soy and Sesame

City Slickers. Served with Veal Oscar and Pickled Veal Tongue

Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill. Served with Oxtail Stew and an Herbed Oxtail Terrine

Electric Horseman. Served with Shuzhuk and Pastissada De Caval

Whale Rider. Served with Joint of Whale Meat Steeped in Red Wine Marinade and Hari-hari-nabe

Howard the Duck. Served with Braised duck and Crispy Duck

Where the Red Fern Grows. Served with Bosintang and Swiss Dried Dog Meat

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Blazing Saddles: Chuck wagon syle barbeque beans with steaks, bread and salad.

Chinatown: 1950's style American Chinese meals. Chung King in a can.

Remains of the Day: leftovers from all the other movies.

AllenS said...

Want a snack late at night? Midnight Cowboy.

bill said...

For cannibalism movies, it's unfortunate that HuFu wasn't a real product.

LutherM said...

TOM JONES - oysters, of course, on the half shell, Rockefeller, fried - and for dessert, ripe peaches.
THE THIRD MAN - Wienerschnitzel, Sacher-Torte
BODY HEAT - (who needs food)

Triangle Man said...

I propose dessert based on "Monty Python's the Meaning of Life". A wafer-thin mint.

Anonymous said...


Menu: mashed potatoes, washed down with sour mash whiskey, a true Irishman's meal. Of course, Radar O'Reilly would have to be included on the guest list.

Chip Ahoy said...

Boys in the Band, sausages.

Alice in Wonderland, rabbit finished with tea and cake. Aaaaand Through the Looking Glass, turtle soup.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, grouper.

Titanic, sunken chocolate cake.

Apollo 13, mooncakes and Tang™.

Rosemary's Baby, deviled eggs finished with devil food cupcakes.

It's a Wonderful Life, angel food cake.

American Graffiti, hamburgers and shakes.

My Own Private Idaho, mashed potatoes with vichyssoise and a side of baked potato and potato cakes with scalloped potatoes and hashed browns.

The Longest Day, souffle and French Fries

Inconvenient Truth, baked Alaska.

Fahrenheit 911, falafel with Moors and Christians.

Leona Helmsley -- Queen of Mean, crab.

Mash, kimchi

Tora Tora Tora, sushi.

Blazing Saddles, chuck wagon steak with baked beans.

Que Viva Mexico, enchilada pie, tacos, burritos, whatever.

From Russia with Love, borscht.

Grapes of Wrath, pauper's pie.

A Charlie Brown Christmas, peanut butter sandwiches.

The Great Escape, sweet potato, turnip, beet, rutabaga, radish, carrot, parsnip and daikon salad with ginger dressing.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, tossed mixed nuts.

Blizzard, snow cones and ice cream.

This could go on forever. Must. Stop. Now. Ta.

Edgehopper said...

On Blazing Saddles: Don't forget cream pies, thrown directly at the face, for dessert.

ak said...

Miller's Crossing: Whiskey, cigarettes, and cold compresses.

The Jewel in the Crown: Gin fizzes and chicken tandoori.

The Godfather, Pt 2: Banana daiquiris.

Henry V: Lancashire hotpot, braised leeks, gratin dauphinois.

Trooper York said...

Last Tango in Paris: Buttered rump roast.

Trooper York said...

Life Is Beautiful: Oven baked Italian ham.

MadisonMan said...

Young Frankenstein: Ovaltine.

Trooper York said...

Thelma and Louise: two month old sushi.

Silas said...

(I haven't watched this season of "Top Chef." Maybe I'll catch up with it later. Is it good this time around?)

Not really. On one hand, many of the contestants look and act oddly like people from the previous seasons; on the other, they're much more annoying. Hopefully it will improve when they start eliminating the colorfully annoying contestants in the middle rounds after ditching the boring ones early on.

Trooper York said...

Bambi: Venison.

TMink said...

Apocalypse Now: two crab claws.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

Windbag: What about Radar's armpit sandwiches? Or the SPAM lamb?

Edgehoppers: Lili Von Shtupp wabbit...[hasenpfeffer]...and don't forget the schnitzengruben [No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben]...and Howard Johnson ice cream for dessert...[black raspberry?]

Ralph L said...

Saturday Night Fever: ice cream with a Nyquil flambe.

Unknown said...

Just spinning through the AFI Top 100:

The Searchers: Homemade doughnuts and coffee. Followed by punch.

Star Wars: Milk with blue food coloring

2001: A Space Odyssey: Tang

Annie Hall: Steamed lobster, butter, guilt about it being trayf

Philadelphia Story: Champagne, Caviar, Orange Juice

The Shawshank Redemption: Cherry pie

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Dates (poison optional)

blake said...

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Meatloaf (again)

The Big Lebowski: In 'n' Out Burgers with White Russians

Someone did Charlie Brown Christmas, but Charlie Brown Thanksgiving had the memorable toast, popcorn and jelly beans dinner.

Speaking of hot buttered toast, that would work for "101 Dalmations" (but only the book, I think).

The Gold Rush: Why, the Oceania Roll, of course.

Ralph L said...

Rocky Horror: and frankfurters, of course.

Trooper York said...

The Lady and the Tramp: Spaghetti and meatballs, but no and I repeat no Korean Barbeque

Ralph L said...

The 7% Solution: Earth, Wind, Fire, & Water, with Vienna Sausage made from venison and an IV of 7Up.

Peter V. Bella said...

Bobby: I'd like a plain omelet. No potatoes, tomatoes instead. A cup of coffee and wheat toast.

Waitress: No substitutions.

Bobby: What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?

Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two — a plain omelet. It comes with cottage fries, and rolls.

Bobby: Yea, I know what it comes with, but it's not what I want.

Waitress: Well I'll come back when you make up your mind.

Bobby: Wait a minute, I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes on the plate. A cup of coffee and a side order of wheat toast.

Waitress: I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of toast. I'll give you an English muffin or a coffee roll.

Bobby: What do you mean "you don't make side orders of toast"? You make sandwiches, don't you?

Waitress: Would you like to talk to the manager?

Bobby: You've got bread. And a toaster of some kind?

Waitress: I don't make the rules.

Bobby: OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.

Waitress: A number two, chicken sal san. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?

Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.

Waitress(sarcastically): You want me to hold the chicken, huh?

Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.

Five Easy Pieces

Jim Hu said...

Thanks for the linkage. Some good suggestions here.

I thought that Five Easy Pieces scene was amusing when I saw it way back when. Then I heard Studs Terkel talk about it. Quoted at the end of this site

Remember that scene, oh God, in which the waitress is the virago? She refuses to serve Jack Nicholson and his companions toast or something.“It’s not on the menu,” the cold bitch says. Talk about a cheap shot. Nicholson, righteous, humiliates the waitress. The audience, our eighteen-to-thirty market, applauds and cheers. The young shits.

What were we told of this nasty woman? Was it afternoon? Was it near the end of a long day for her? And how were her varicose veins? And what happened behind those swinging doors? Did she and the chef have words? And why was she waiting on tables? Was her old man sick? Was her daughter in trouble? And how many Bufferins did she just take? Perhaps she was indeed a Nogood Girlo. We’ll never know. We knew more than we needed to about Nicholson; nothing about her. Yet there she was, Medusa. Why didn’t I have the guts top stand up in that darkened house and holler, “You fucking young solipsists!”?

I felt guilty when I heard him say this (or a less profane version, anyway) on the radio many years ago. Totally changed the way I thought about it, and other movies since then.

hdhouse said...

hmmmmm easy.


menu: baby back ribs

Cedarford said...

When I think food in the movies, I always think of Tom Jones and the smoking hot Susannah York and the food play.
I would have done a Tom Jones where to get the proper food combo, diners would be limited in utensils and selections on their plate and have to share with a "stranger" diner of the opposite sex. Of course, Gay Ted was at the table, but they could figure it out.

Adding, the classic Mexican novel and movie Like Water for Chocolate would have elevated the cooks, whose film knowledge and the role of cuisine in food seems horibly stunted.

American Graffitti for a whole retro but upgraded "drive-in" dish, breadfruit and tropical fare stuff from Mutiny on the Bounty, Tales of the S Pacific?

Maybe to burn Tom Coliccio's nasty ass, a "Dr. Strangelove" meal where they make some "atomic chicken" up then when he rips them at judges table, disclose that the meal was enhanced by added various "precious bodily fluids"
of the Cheftestants to Cold-Dickios's portion. A tribute, they tell him, of Jack D. Ripper and Tom's own impotency, homoerotic fears..

Good bunch of contestants this year, but no true babes or manly, manly men...