I, like many of my generation, have spent vast swathes of my time consuming popular culture and movies. Some may say this is a waste of time, but others (like myself) would rebut and say that I’m simply becoming a well-rounded individual. I certainly use that excuse to trick myself that I’m being productive when I’m watching a Harry Potter movie yet again.
However, I’ve noticed that movies and television tend to forget that human beings need to eat. It just seems strange to me that something so integral to our continued existence goes unremarked in so many movies. As a result, I tried to think of some movies that not only had food scenes, but had food scenes that were arguably more memorable than the film itself – scenes that have transcended their own narratives and have become recognizable in a vacuum.
The Return of the King
There are a lot of moments from the Lord of the Rings that have to do with food – we all remember Lembas bread, PO-TAY-TOES, nice crispy bacon, and the salted pork being “particularly good”. However, one scene from the third film would torment me worse than any horror movie monster ever could. Watching Denethor chow down on a feast all to himself while demanding Pippin sing for him. Let me be clear: I have as healthy a love for cherry tomatoes as anyone else, but my goodness… I had to rethink our relationship after that.
I remember this particular scene from Hook more than anything else (except perhaps when they played basketball on skateboards – that was cool as hell) – a steaming, scrumptious feast for the Lost Boys conjured up entirely from their imaginations. While this was cool to see visually, it presented a host of logistical problems immediately, effectively proving I’ve been overanalysing things since I was eight years old. And for the record, imagining that you’re eating is not a substitute. Trust me, I have tried.
Lady and the Tramp
Did you know that Walt Disney almost canned this entire scene? Because he thought eating spaghetti wasn’t romantic? Generally, I agree with him – slurping down a big portion of spaghetti and meatballs may be the least sensual culinary experience I can imagine, but somehow, they got the ambiance just right. Looking back at this scene as an adult, however, I wonder what was going on in these two chefs’ heads when they decided to give two dogs some food and sing music for them. Were they completely unhinged? Or was this just the beginning of ‘doggo’?
When Harry Met Sally
Weirdly, I only watched When Harry Met Sally like two months ago when I went on a romantic comedy binge (see above re: well-rounded person). That is only testament to how well-known that scene was, as I knew the moment it began the zinger that was about to come at the end. Easily one of the most iconic food scenes in film history, the cherry on top is the little bite of coleslaw she takes once she’s finished. Hey, at least it’s healthier than smoking a cigarette in bed.
Throughout childhood I’ve consumed hundreds of hours of Looney Tunes and Warner Bros. cartoons and in all of those hazy memories of technicolour hijinks, I cannot remember any specific tomfoolery that Bugs Bunny got up to (except maybe when he dressed as a Valkyrie). The only thing I clearly remember was his oft-repeated action pulling out a carrot, munching on it, and his catchphrase “What’s up doc?” What transcendence! What aplomb! To have so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions from decades of entertainment tied up into a single vegetable! And not only that, he made that carrot look like the most delicious snack on the whole damn planet too.