Illustration | Melissa Avalos
How great meals made movies better
As the first month of 2018 ends, now is a good time to look back to the past. What follows is a list of some of the better foods to have made their way into film. Ranging from the simple to the extravagant, these are five great films and the noteworthy meals in them.
The Big Lebowski – The White Russian
Though not a meal, the first entry to this list can certainly accompany one. The favoured drink of The Dude (Jeff Bridges) in the classic 1998 Coen brothers’ comedy, the White Russian is to some an alcoholic milkshake and to others a gateway into the world of cocktails. In either case, the mix of Kahlua, vodka, and cream reflect what defines the The Dude’s laid-back character as he bumbles through one misadventure to the next. A White Russian is the easiest aperitif for any cash-strapped college student (over 19).
Pulp Fiction – The Big Kahuna Burger
Writer-Director Quentin Tarantino’s trope-ridden take on mob movies and crime novels, Pulp Fiction (1994) is a film awash with cuisine. Though often cited for its diner scene, the truly appetizing moment, both cinematically and culinarily, is when Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) eats Brett’s (Frank Whaley) Big Kahuna Burger in a display of aggression. Described by Jules as, “the corner stone of any nutritious breakfast” this burger plays a central role, providing the veneer of normality as tension builds to a violent peak.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Andalusian Stew
The epitome of Spaghetti Westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is a film which follows three solitary figures: Blondie (Clint Eastwood), Tuco (Eli Wallach), and Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) in their race to dig up the buried fortune of a dead solider. Acclaimed for its score, stylized violence, and cinematographic innovations, the film also features the best-looking stew in film history. Though never clarified in the movie, with some research this stew has been found to be a Spanish style Andalusian stew: a mix of aromatic vegetables and rabbit. Perfect for the long winter nights spent working on papers or studying for tests.
Hook – Imaginary Food
Hook’s (1991) feast, drummed up in the imaginations of the Lost Boys and Peter Pan (Robin Williams), is the most colourful meal to be included on this list. Functioning in the film as the moment in which the amnesic Peter recalls his childhood creativity, this feast is not only delicious but central to the plot of the film. If only for the nostalgia, imagine yourself with some popcorn and re-watch this childhood favourite.
The Hundred-Foot Journey – French and Indian Cuisine
A heart-warming film, The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) follows a Capulet-Montague rivalry between the Indian and French restaurants located across the street from one another in a small town in France. Though not the best movie on this list, it is by far the most food-based. A simple and enjoyable watch, this movie has so many dishes in it that it’s impossible to choose the best. Rather, it offers an appetizing survey of the best foods from both cultures while also providing a worthwhile narrative of multicultural appreciation.