The sign hanging from the ceiling at Katz's Delicatessen in New York City hardly needs explaining. But 'When Harry Met Sally' has another unforgettable food scene. (Photo: Meagan Fisher [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)
Ask your friends about great food scenes in movies and one of them is going to mention the iconic scene in “When Harry Met Sally” where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the middle of Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City. But, that’s not really about food, is it? The really great food scene in that movie is much earlier on when Sally orders a chef salad and apple pie a la mode with everything “on the side.” We all know someone like that, and that’s what makes it such a great food scene.
When it comes to memorable food scenes in movies, there are dozens to choose from. Trying to come up with a “top 10” or a “best of” list would be subjective at best, and there would be plenty of arguments about what belonged on that list, but here are a few movie food scenes that stick out in our minds here at MNN.
The lunch scene in “The Breakfast Club” comes to mind as a truly unforgettable one. The rich popular girl brings sushi to eat during detention. The jock brings a grocery bag full of carb-loaded foods. The geek brings PB&J (with the crusts cut off) and milk, and the misfit girl creates a Cap’n Crunch and Pixy Stix sandwich. Meanwhile, the tough bully doesn’t have a lunch. Not only does the scene define the characters, it says something about the off-screen parents who have provided (or not) the lunches. It goes a long way in explaining how these teens sharing detention became who they are.
Christmas dinner in a Chinese Restaurant in “A Christmas Story” is so classic that TBS shows it several times each year on Christmas Day. When the neighbor's dogs eat the Christmas turkey, Ralphie and the family go out for Chinese. The staff at the restaurant serenades them with a rendition of “Deck the Halls” that makes them giggle, and when the duck is served with its head still on, they go into full-on crack up. It’s hard not to laugh along with them. (Check out the 1:45 mark on this clip.)
Moving on to a scene that is a little more adult in nature, the refrigerator scene in "9 1/2 Weeks" has got to be one of the sexiest food scenes of all times (click on the link to see the scene). Mickey Rourke tells Kim Basinger to close her eyes, and in front of the open refrigerator, he feeds her everything from jalapeños to honey. The entire scene is set to the 1960s song “Bread and Butter,” which is one of the last songs you’d expect to be used in an erotic setting, but somehow, it works.
Going from sexy to silly, Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” Mr. Creosote scene is unforgettable and possibly one of the most stomach-turning movie food scenes of all times — stomach-turning for the main character, the patrons in the restaurant with him, and the audience watching the film. Mr. Creosote is an incredibly obese man who eats course after course in a fine restaurant, throwing up as he goes along. He continues to eat until he declares himself “absolutely stuffed.” The waiter, played by John Cleese, convinces Mr. Creosote to eat just one “wafer thin mint,” causing him to literally blow up all over the restaurant. If you ever hear someone say they’re so stuffed they couldn’t eat a wafer thin mint, you’ll know they’re familiar with this gross scene.
More recently, the Pixar movie “Ratatouille” contains several memorable food scenes, including the one where Remy, a rat, cooks soup in the kitchen of a famous French restaurant. He has a natural ability to know just what spice to put in or just how much salt is needed, and his joy at being able to do so in such a well-stocked kitchen shines through. The theme of the movie is “anyone can cook,” and by the end of “Ratatouille,” viewers believe it. Perhaps many headed to their own kitchens to throw together ingredients to see what they could create after watching the film.
We could go on and on with food scenes in movies that entertain, entice and inspire, but we’d like to know what you have to add. So go ahead — tell us what scenes we left out. We know you’re dying to let us know.
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