It’s Friday night, and you have several options; you can go to a house party and turn up with your crew, go to a bar and get hammered, go clubbing and dance the night away — or Netflix in bed. The choice is obvious.
Now that you’re in bed in your P.J.’s, what better movie to snuggle under the blankets with and stuff your face to than a movie with a good food scene in it? Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of the best food scenes from famous movies.
“Eat Drink Man Woman” (1994)
This opening scene, which follows the main character preparing different parts of a meal for his daughters, is a gorgeous testament to how important cuisine is in containing the identity of a culture. As we watch Mr. Chu prepare various meats and dishes in the beginning of the day, we get a visual lesson of the different parts that make up Taiwanese cuisine. He chops up several chicken carcasses, slices up vegetables, steams a bowl of ingredients, fries frog legs and rolls up dough for bao zi. The sounds are key to making us feel the experience, as we hear the freshness and crispness of the ingredients. (Bonus: this scene contains live frogs!) The shot of him slowly ladling sauce over glistening chicken pieces garnished with a ring of freshly cooked bok choy is enough to stop your heart. Above all, we feel how universally love can be conveyed through food, as we feel Chu’s love for his daughters through all the hard work he puts into this meal.
One of the movie’s best scenes is where we watch Remy, the main character, prepare a dish for the famous critic, Anton Ego; specifically, Remy is preparing the titular dish, ratatouille. He starts off by slicing some squash-we get a glimpse of piles of bright yellow and orange vegetables in the background. He throws some diced onions into a pot, and spreads vibrant tomato sauce all over the bottom of a pan. With breezy expertise, he throws slices of zucchini into a beautiful arrangement around the pan so they fan out beautifully. The pots glimmer. The pans shine. Everything is shiny and bursting with colors. We see the wondrous thrills and excitements that go on in a kitchen, and it is absolutely dazzling. When the ratatouille finally comes out-a tiny beautifully arranged tower of brilliant slices of green, red, and yellow, we can practically taste the dish. Cut the part where we finally see Ego take a bite of the food, and we are swept along with him as he lives a universal experience, the feeling of being filled up with love as one takes a bite of a well-prepared dish. In this two minute scene, Disney captures perfectly the power and magic of food.
This.Movie.Is.All.About.Chocolate. What more could you ask for from a film? Here, we see a party prepping scene where Vianne prepares various chocolates and savory dishes for a party. We first see a shot of her sprinkling spices into a pot of orange shrimp, followed by her furiously grinding spices into a simmering pot of red soup. Each busy shot of food being cooked in a pot is bursting with activity and flavor-you can practically smell the paprika. There’s a shot of her popping out a hefty fish-shaped chocolate out of its mold; we see the intricate scales carefully carved into its side, each scale catching the light.The following shot is of her frantically stirring a bowl of fluffy chocolate-we can feel how thick the chocolate is as her spoon creates swirls and patterns that fold and disappear into themselves. Cut to shot of Vianne painting a shimmering coat of gold onto a flawless chocolate cake; swoon. Following this is a shot of her taking out a ladle of dripping, flowing, melted chocolate and smoothing it onto a piece of parchment paper-be warned; at this point, you are probably dripping drool all over your shirt. Food is sexy.
Do you think you take your food seriously? Here, in the Dinner in Prison scene, we are given a lesson on how wiseguys dine in prison by one of the movie’s main wiseguys himself, Henry. It starts with a super up close shot of Paulie slicing the garlic with a razor-you can almost smell each translucent garlic slice. The intense concentration on Paulie’s face will make you ashamed of all the times you ever carelessly chopped garlic without a second thought. The sounds of sizzling meat in pans and Beyond the Sea in the background emphasize a sense of coziness in the scene. Prisoners casually cook steaks in pans, and take out lobsters to pack into ice. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and with all the cooking going on in the room, it seems less like a prison and more like a home. As Henry takes out prosciutto, cheese, bread, and scotch from his giant bag of goodies, it feels like Christmas. This scene is a lesson in how food can make even the most dismal of places into a space of warmth and comfort.
So this Friday night, don’t bother with some silly rager or frat party. Grab a bag of popcorn, fluff up your blankets, and get ready to turn down the lights but turn up with your main chick, food.