The Best Meals on the Big Screen: A Roundup of Memorable Food Scenes
After a few years of favoring casual simplicity fuelled by the pandemic, many are finding a fresh love for extravagance. And food is not immune. Bright colors are back on our plates with a return to the retro and kitsch. When it comes to inspiration, movies are a great starting point. And that's because food is a useful tool used by movie producers to introduce us to new worlds both real and imaginary, to shape our understanding of the on-screen characters, or as a symbol for underlying narratives running through the plot. So today we'll be diving in to explore some of the most memorable food scenes from movies new and old.
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Directed by Sofia Coppola, the food in Marie Antoinette is purposely overly stylized and shows off the level of consumption in Marie Antoinette's court - tables overflowing with sumptuous cakes, pastries, and sweet treats. (Fun Fact: according to Kirsten Dunst, the actress who played Marie Antoinette, the producers of the film opted to refresh each scene with fresh pastries over prop cakes - my kind of film!) These delicious scenes have inspired a wave of tiered cakes made in pastel colors, ruffles made from piped icing, and buttercream flowers - the more flamboyant the better. Oh, and to top it all off - all of the pastries made for this film were created by the famous pastry house Maison Ladurée.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Regardless of whether it's the original Alice in Wonderland (1951), the Tim Burton remake of Alice in Wonderland (2010), or the 2016 sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass, food plays a big role in the Alice in Wonderland realm, thanks to Lewis Carroll and his books filled with delectable food descriptions of treacle wells and jam that you can have tomorrow but never today. The first mention of food/drink is just 8 minutes into the film when Alice takes a sip from a glass bottle with the label 'drink me'. As she shrinks in size, she mentions all the flavors she's tasting, from custard to roast turkey. As the film progresses Alice joins the Mad Hatter for his tea party, along with March Hare and his friends. And of course, we later see the Queen of Hearts as she tastes her Unbirthday cake, with jam being flicked accidentally at her face. These whimsical, magical, and sometimes dark scenes play a significant role in helping Lewis Carroll tell a story that explains the dangers of childhood through his eyes.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The houses, the shrubbery, and the people in Edward Scissorhands all have a generic conformity contrasting to the outsider protagonist, dressed in all-black with blades for hands. The pastel suburbs come across as surreal and the same goes for the movie's colorful food. Set in a time period known for its backyard barbecues and Jell-O parties, the ambrosia salad makes a very fitting on-screen appearance. This creamy fruit salad is made from a mix of coconut, marshmallows, and a medley of fruit (typically canned fruit), all mixed together with sour cream or whipped cream. The once hard-to-find ingredients like pineapple and coconut were considered luxurious and exotic at the time - perfect for a neighborhood of busybodies constantly in competition with each other.