The best ever film food moments to recreate at home
November is the month American Disney fans have been waiting for – the remake of Lady and the Tramp is released stateside. The original (which remarkably came out way back in 1955) is famous for its iconic spaghetti and meatball scene, where Lady and Tramp cement their love by sharing a plate of the Italian favourite.
If you don’t remember it, one strand of spaghetti brings them together physically and emotionally. The good news is the scene features in the remake, with the official trailer showing the build-up to the moment. How could it not? It even gave birth to a specific type of smooch – behold the ‘spaghetti kiss’.
Lady and the Tramp isn’t the only film to leave us hungry, though. In no particular order, here are nine iconic movie food moments.
It received three Oscars and was nominated for a further eight. While it’s heralded as one of the best films ever made, not enough people talk about how The Godfather gave great cooking advice. In one scene we see Michael Corleone learning how to make perfect tomato sauce courtesy of Peter Clemenza. Why? “You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys some day”, says Clemenza. We learn you shouldn’t let the tomato paste and tomatoes stick to the bottom of the pan and a glug of wine and sprinkling of sugar can make it special.
Now make spaghetti and meatballs.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971
OK, so this bends the rules a bit, as food is a main theme of the film rather than just a scene or two. But we challenge you to find someone who watched the flick as a child and didn’t dream of having lickable wallpaper. Another firm favourite was the teacups that grew on trees and were actually made of sweets and filled with sugary nectar. Plus, who didn’t long to follow – or should that be fall – in Augustus Gloop’s footsteps and down handfuls of liquid chocolate straight from the river? After watching this film, pretty much every child wanted to visit a chocolate factory.
Now make chocolate truffles.
The clue’s in the name – and while the film’s focus is on friendship (with a murder thrown in), there’s a celebration of fried green tomatoes, which are served in the Whistlestop Café. Set in Alabama, the fictional café is actually based on a real-life one. The author of the book on which the film is based is Fannie Flagg, the niece of Bess Fortenberry, who became the owner of the Irondale Café in 1932.
Unsurprisingly, once the film came out, the Irondale Café became a tourist hotspot, and there’s one dish diners request. “Everyone who comes to the café for the first time orders our fried green tomatoes”, say the current owners.
The movie was filmed in Georgia and a café was created for it. The venue was later bought and became a real eaterie called, you guessed it, The Whistlestop Café!
Now make green tomato chutney.
Pulp Fiction, 1994
You’re socialising with someone new and offer to buy them a drink. They choose the most expensive one on the menu. Do you (a) buy it but promise yourself you won’t offer again or (b) ask them for a sip, agree it’s good, then enter a twist-dancing contest? In the gory Tarantino film Pulp Ficton, Vincent Vega opts for the latter when he takes Mia Wallace to Jack Rabbit Slim’s. “That’s a good milkshake”, Vincent says (actually he says something far more sweary, but the message is the same).
For further food inspiration, there’s a good condiment joke at the end of the twosome’s night out. Later, there’s a celebration of fast food when Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules takes someone’s Big Kahuna burger – “This is a tasty burger”, he says, before revealing he doesn’t get to eat burgers often because his girlfriend is vegetarian, “which pretty much makes me a vegetarian”.
Now make strawberry milkshake funnel cake.
Let’s talk about perhaps the most well-known food scene quote of them all. In When Harry Met Sally, the two lead characters go for lunch in a New York diner (filmed in New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen). Harry opts for pastrami on rye, while Sally has turkey sandwiches. A discussion between the two soon descends into Sally, erm, demonstrating that when it comes to ‘relationships’ things aren’t always quite what they seem… Her energetic performance, where she screams ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ over and over, prompts a fellow diner to mutter “I’ll have what she’s having”. As an aside, the extra who said the line was played by Estelle Reiner – the mother of the film’s director, Rob Reiner.
Visitors to Katz’s now find a sign hanging above a table, which reads ‘Where Harry Met Sally... hope you have what she had! Enjoy’.
Now make a Reuben sandwich.
When Napoleon is brought into the future by Bill and Ted, the two time-travellers leave him with Ted’s younger brother, Deacon. Where does the sibling take the historical French Emperor? To the ‘Ziggy Pig Restaurant’, where he feasts on a gigantic ice cream sundae of the same (restaurant) name. While there’s little information about what’s in the sundae, it looks like at least 30 scoops, including chocolate and purple ice creams, cherries, lots of cream and marshmallows. Napoleon wolfs it down and is awarded a badge for his efforts.
There are rumours the pud was based on the ‘Pig trough’ ice cream that was popular in the USA in the 1970s at ice cream parlour chain Farrell’s. That was ‘just’ a double-sized banana split, but people who finished it were awarded a ribbon.
Now make a knickerbocker glory.
Home Alone, 1990
“Did anyone order me a plain cheese?”, asks 7-year-old Kevin. At this moment, a chain of events kicks off that sees the disruptive youngster left on his own while his family travels to France.
Fact of the matter is, Kevin is right to be angry with his big brother, who’s eaten his cheese and tomato pizza. Despite the film referring to it as ‘plain’, the dish’s simplicity is what makes it so desirable. Sometimes, no matter how fancy toppings are, it’s impossible to beat the classic. With his family out of the picture, Kevin orders and eats a ‘plain cheese’ by himself. When it’s delivered, we hear the now-famous line, “Keep the change ya’ filthy animal”.
Now make a San Marzano tomato pizza.
Rats and restaurant kitchens aren’t normally a winning combination, but in this Disney/Pixar animation that’s exactly what everyone’s rooting for. Remy the rat embarks on a career as a chef. The name of the film isn’t just a pun – the veg dish features, and to make it as realistic as possible renown chef Thomas Keller worked as a consultant on the film.
The version of ratatouille served up is Confit byaldi. You see Remy carefully spreading tomato sauce on the base of a pan, then layering up thin slices of veg. In real life, we might not want vermin cooking our dinner, but the dish looks pretty amazing!
Now make pan-fried ratatouille.
Beauty and the Beast, 1991
What this feature is missing is a food scene with an accompanying song that will be stuck in your head until the end of time. So be our guest and remind yourself why this scene makes you immediately crave a French feast. Lumière (the candle) begins by offering up soup du jour to Belle, quickly followed by hot hors d’oeuvres, the apparently delicious ‘grey stuff’ beef ragout, cheese soufflé and then pie and pudding served en flambé. The final course? The ultimate leveller: a cup of tea.
What’s important about this seven-course meal is how little Belle has to do for herself. The chair ties her napkin, the serving dishes and food jauntily make their way down the table, and entertainment is laid on – spoons becoming synchronised swimmers and the Beer Stein mugs performing a dance routine.
A great food scene to end this article on, and we’re not even sorry you now have the song stuck in your head!
Now make double-baked cheese souffle.