If there’s one thing that auto-playing videos on Facebook have taught me, it’s that watching someone prepare a meal can be mesmerising. Step by step, each ingredient is dropped into a bowl or pan and you daren’t scroll down for fear of missing how delicious the end product looks. Especially if it involves cheese.
The world of film has plenty of culinary delights to offer, and the below is hardly an exhaustive list, but if you can watch the scenes in these movies without your stomach grumbling then you’re a stronger man than I, Gunga Din.
Tuck in your bibs and bang your cutlery on the table, it’s time to dig in…
Indy’s Snake Surprise – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Stay with me on this. This one may not be for everybody, but for lovers of esoteric meats it’s certainly an interesting proposition. When Indiana Jones visits Pankot Palace, he’s treated to an exotic meal in a scene that’s actually rather more racist than you think as a child. A large snake is cut open to reveal several live ones stuffed within – while eating those is a step too far, snakes have been considered a delicacy in China & other places around the world and apparently taste like chicken. Also served up are large black beetles and, er, chilled monkey brains. Pass the eyeball soup, please.
Sam’s Lembas bread – The Lord of the Rings
Not so much a meal as a snack, but when you’re on to the tough trail to Mordor you’ll quickly find there’s not much else to have for second breakfast. Sam’s Hobbit stomach may not be impressed but it’s nutritious and hardy, capable of lasting for months on end. Wrapped in leaves and looking satisfyingly crunchy, who wouldn’t want to give it a try? Just maybe get some different types of jam to spread on it.
Remy’s Ratatouille – Ratatouille
OK, one quick thing to get out of the way – this meal was cooked by a rat. You may think there are obvious hygiene implications there, but let’s not be speciesist; as long as Remy has washed his hands I’m sure there will be minimal calls from the health inspector and no deaths from bubonic plague. The simple ‘peasant dish’ that the rat cooks for notoriously picky food critic Anton Ego is capable of transporting you right back to your childhood with one flavourful mouthful, capable of melting even the iciest of hearts. Comfort food indeed.
Carl’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Chef
Never has a simple grilled cheese sandwich looked so appetising. Carl lovingly prepares this sandwich for his son, fried in olive oil and using two types of cheese. The camera lingers on every shot of the preparation and the cheese oozes out gorgeously when the sandwich is sliced in the best cheese money shot in film. Nate’s $8 Jarlsberg sandwich from The Devil Wears Prada pales in comparison to this, the king of movie grilled cheese.
Bruce Bogtrotter’s Cake – Matilda
For lovers of chocolate cake, this one’s a must. It’s the biggest, thickest, moistest, chocolatiest cake you’ve ever laid eyes on. One slice alone looks enough to satisfy the sweetest tooth – a shame, then, that poor Bruce is forced to eat every single crumb of the massive rich treat. By the end of his meal he’s bloated, smeared with chocolate and almost defeated by his task. Pssh, amateur!
Clemenza’s Meatballs – The Godfather
The Corleone family has hit the mattresses, so it’s time to hole up and lay low. What better way to feed a huge group of hungry gangsters than with a heaping pile of spaghetti and meatballs? Clemenza teaches us the secrets of his recipe (its all in the sugar) as he adds a generous portion of sausage and meatballs. It’s a shame Sonny interrupts him, we were busy taking notes! Next time you’re embroiled in a city-wide gang war, remember to eat well and cook for your fellow soldiers, capisce?
Pan’s Imaginary Feast – Hook
It’s been a long day of training and Peter Banning just wants to sit down to a nice meal. Unfortunately there’s just one problem – all the plates and dishes are empty. This doesn’t stop the Lost Boys from tucking in with great relish. Turns out the secret ingredient in this meal is imagination – once Banning has engaged his, the table is revealed to be laid out with a massive spread. It’s mostly brightly-coloured cakes and ice cream (they are children, after all) but there’s also meats and cheeses and, randomly, some coconuts. Watch out for Rufio, he’s only hungry for vengeance.
Jules’ Tasty Burger – Pulp Fiction
Collecting mysterious briefcases from hapless fools who are in your boss’s debt can be hungry work. Lucky for Jules then that he interrupts his victims mid-dinner. They’re sitting down to a nice meal of burgers and fries from Big Kahuna Burger. Jules starts out all nicey-nicey, but things take a turn for the intimidating when he commandeers a big juicy burger and bites into it. It looks mouth-wateringly good, and when he washes it down with a tasty beverage you just want to ditch cooking and get burgers in instead. Hopefully with fewer bullets.
Paulie’s Prison Dinners – Goodfellas
Crime doesn’t pay, and prison is no walk in the park – but if you’re a man of means then apparently it’s not quite so bad. When Henry Hill was in jail, he and his Mafia friends allegedly dined like kings. Pasta meals with garlic sliced literally razor thin, plenty of tomato sauce (though your mileage may vary on the amount of onions) – sounds delicious to me. They’re even seen getting their hands on lobsters, fat juicy steaks and fancy dried sausages. Rather than mingle with the riff-raff, they dined like a family. It’s good to be connected.
Harry Potter’s Banquet – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Imagine coming from a background of child abuse and neglect, being forced to sleep in a cupboard for 11 years and being underfed by your family. Now imagine being whisked away to a magical school/castle and your first meal being a sumptuous banquet. I don’t know about you, but I’d go crazy and stuff my face with everything all at once. Huge turkeys, drumsticks aplenty, corn on the cob, fresh fruit, heaping plates of mashed potatoes and sausages – even some strange marshmallow-on-sticks-hedgehog thing. Even Malfoy can’t help but be impressed. Let the feast begin!