Friday, March 4, 2011

5 Dinner & (Foodie) Movie Ideas

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It's the weekend and I especially love when there's nothing planned. For these rare moments (at least, in our house), one thing we enjoy are movie nights in. Since we're quite the foodie family, my movie preferences tend to lean towards story lines involving food. This makes it even easier when figuring out what dinner to prepare for the movie! Here are 5 Dinner & (Foodie) Movie Ideas to have for those nights you want to stay in...


Some movies can only be described as delicious. In Babette's Feast, a woman flees the French civil war and lands in a small seacoast village in Denmark, where she comes to work for two spinsters, devout daughters of a puritan minister. After many years, Babette unexpectedly wins a lottery, and decides to create a real French dinner--which leads the sisters to fear for their souls. Joining them for the meal will be a Danish general who, as a young soldier, courted one of the sisters, but she turned him away because of her religion. The village elders all resolve not to enjoy the meal, but can their moral fiber resist the sensual pleasure of Babette's cooking? Babette's Feast deservedly won the 1987 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. This lovely movie is impeccably simple, yet its slender narrative contains a wealth of humor, melancholy, and hope. --Bret Fetzer / Amazon.com

The movie won an academy award for Best Foreign Film and we recommend watching it with subtitles! To pair with this movie, have a French inspired dinner including:







Big Night is an intimate look at the immigrant struggle to attain the American Dream, set in New Jersey in the 1950s. Its disproportionate success gave co-directors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, who also star in the picture, the green light to follow up with a smug, unsuccessful second venture called The Imposters. Tucci wrote Big Night with his cousin Joseph Tropiano, and they based the story on the experience of growing up in a large, proud Italian family. The brothers in Big Night--chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Tucci)--have come to New Jersey to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine. Their every move is foiled by rival restaurant Pascal's, which serves mile-high servings of spaghetti and meatballs and flasks of bad Chianti at exorbitant prices. Primo is disgusted by the fact that Americans want cheap pasta instead of risotto, so Secondo hatches a plan to boost business: rumor has it bandleader Louis Prima is travelling through and will dine at The Paradise that very night. Secondo gambles to bring the finest dinner ever cooked--at the risk of losing his shirt and being reduced to exile to the old country with his tail between his legs. --Paula Nechak / Amazon.com
A favorite movie of many foodies, this is a great one to watch over Italian fare!
To pair with this movie, have an Italian inspired dinner including:





The 1993 film adaptation of Amy Tan's bestselling novel is both a delight and a moving experience, an anthology of stories wrapped in one Chinese-American woman's journey to understand her roots. Wayne Wang (Eat a Bowl of Tea) directs a large, outstanding cast spread over eight different tales of the lives of Chinese women, most of them set in the past. The script by Tan and Ronald Bass (Rain Man) is a delicate balance of emotions that swell but don't gush, and Wang brings impressive texture and a personal feel to Tan's descriptions of daily life in the Chinese-American community. This sprawling, good-looking movie makes for a cathartic tearjerker one can feel good about. --Tom Keogh / Amazon.com
I loved this moving growing up and it touches on so many things aside from food.
To pair with this movie, have a Chinese inspired dinner including:







Director Alfonso Arau (A Walk in the Clouds), adapting a novel by his former wife, Laura Esquivel, tells the story of a young woman (Lumi Cavazos) who learns to suppress her passions under the eye of a stern mother, but channels them into her cooking. The result is a steady stream of cuisine so delicious as to be an almost erotic experience for those lucky enough to have a bite. The film's quotient of magic realism feels a little stock, but the story line is good and Arau's affinity for the sensuality of food (and of nature) is sublime. You might want to rush off to a good Mexican restaurant afterward, but that's a good thing. --Tom Keogh / Amazon.com
This movie encouraged me to channel my love of cooking into the food I prepare.
To pair with this movie, have a Mexican inspired dinner including:
It's hard to find fault with the fascinating story, which traces a young girl's determination to free herself from the imprisonment of scullery maid to geisha, then from the imprisonment of geisha to a woman allowed to love. Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo), a young girl with curious blue eyes, is sold to a geisha house and doomed to pay off her debt as a cleaning girl until a stranger named The Chairman (Ken Watanabe) shows her kindness. She is inspired to work hard and become a geisha in order to be near the Chairman, with whom she has fallen in love. An experienced geisha (Michelle Yeoh) chooses to adopt her as an apprentice and to use as a pawn against her rival, the wicked, legendary Hatsumomo (Gong Li). Chiyo (played as an older woman by Ziyi Zhang), now renamed Sayuri, becomes the talk of the town, but as her path crosses again and again with the Chairman's, she finds the closer she gets to him the further away he seems. Her newfound "freedom" turns out to be trapping, as men are allowed to bid on everything from her time to her virginity. --Ellen A Kim / Amazon.com
Not quite as food filled as other movies but some highlights of food are included.
To pair with this movie, have a Japanese inspired dinner including:

California Maki


With these ideas, I hope you plan a dinner& movie night with loved ones soon!

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