Big-Screen Cuisine

Published in Gourmet Live 10.17.12
We're focusing on food and film to learn which cuisine scenes get the highest ratings from movie critics, what's on the menu at top movie theaters, and what dish actress Julia Stiles craves
Big-Screen Cuisine

Stéphane Audran plays the title character in one of the foodiest films of recent decades, Babette's Feast. A hit from Denmark, it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988.

There are no reports as to whether there were munchies served at the first-ever public screening of a movie, but we reckon that back then, in 1894, some of the viewers at the groundbreaking showing of Jean Aimé LeRoy's Marvellous Cinematograph in New York City would have wished for some roasted chestnuts to nibble on. Indeed, ever since penny-candy vendors began peddling their wares on the doorstep of nickelodeons over a century ago, food and film—to say nothing of food in film—have been inexorably intertwined. And to this day, the classic formula of "dinner and a movie"—a recipe for romance for many a decade—still sells tickets. We celebrate all these intersections of cinema and cuisine in this issue of Gourmet Live.

Move over, Milk Duds, stand aside, day-old hot dogs: Movie theaters are jumping into the restaurant business by serving up some pretty exceptional food. In Dinner at the Movies, Sara Bonisteel reports on this trend and spotlights the best meals available at chains and indie theaters. She discovers that dishes like braised short ribs and meatball sliders—and even a splash of Veuve Clicquot—can be had at the touch of a button or preordered before heading into Taken 2 or Frankenweenie this weekend.

It's not just what we eat while watching but what's consumed on screen that intrigues us. Megan O. Steintrager polled some top film critics, from The New Yorker's David Denby to the Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey, to learn their favorite food scenes of all time. Read the results in Food on Film: The Best Bites—these critics' picks may surprise you.

One thing that's not so surprising is that the majority of screen actresses these days try to consume as little as possible, on and off camera. Julia Stiles, whose new flick, Silver Linings Playbook, debuts next month, is an exception. In our current installment of 10 Questions for…, Stiles tells Carolina Santos-Neves that she treasures both cooking at home and dining out while globe-trotting on location. She also adores kale salad but wouldn't say no to steak, and reveals that her attitude toward food has evolved over the years: "When I was younger, I thought about food as an indulgence I needed to restrict, or didn't have time for. Now I make time."

We know what you're thinking now: "Gee, I could really go for some popcorn." We've got you covered, and have popped up some unusual recipes: Chili, Parmesan Pepper, and Maple Pecan Popcorn—all from the Gourmet magazine archives, and all easy to make and delicious to munch.

What's your favorite food scene on film? Let us know via Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog.

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