Food and movies together must excite some primitive oral/visual stimulation center hidden in our brain. Why else would eating be the perfect pastime while viewing? In the theater it is popcorn and cheese nachos. At home it is a wildly appetizing variety of food (better than sex which obscures the view of the screen).
Becky Thorn’s Movie Dinners: reel recipes from your favorite films, sophisticates our grazing urges by offering actual recipes paired with well-loved movies. We should watch All About Eve while drinking a Gibson, chomp a chili cheese dog during Dragnet, slurp poutine and slide into the booth of Diner, or crunch the BLT Adam Sandler makes in Spanglish. Some of her choices come from the films, others are just inspired pairings.
Becky Thorn is a Brit. Her taste may be a bit weird to American eaters. Who eats poutine except overweight Quebecois hockey fans? Her recipe for chilidogs includes mustard and ketchup. On a chilidog? Any late nighter at Tommy’s knows putting either of these on your dog means you’ll be permanently banished to the losers line at the auxiliary shack near Beverly Boulevard.
But the book shows its American cupboard by including a section called TV Diners, and ends with Ms. Thorn’s own Oscar speech, “Thank you, thank you, I can hardly believe this. I feel so blessed.” She then goes on to thank her agent and editor. Cute.
She’s on to something bigger than she knows. I’ve noticed dining room tables are rarely used anymore because coffee tables, in front of the couch, are the proper eating distance from the giant flat screen across the room. This is an improvement over the TV trays, at sitting height, that were once manufactured to hold our Swanson frozen TV diners (now available at garage sales across America).
The great thing about eating while watching movies at home is you can hit pause to pour another glass of wine. Most available surveys of TV eating focus on childhood obesity and the lack of full family dining. No one has done a study of the joys of TV eating, or the fact that we all secretly love it. A 2001 one survey found that over 50% of the population admitted to TV eating. And that was before big flat screen TVs!
If American truly wants to cure obesity, put ads on TV showing great looking, sexy people having a great time giggling and copping some foreplay while eating carrots sticks. If it look good in the watching, it will taste good in the eating.
Meanwhile Becky Thorn’s book is worth some serious mastication. I wish she’d do a follow up matching take-out food available for delivery with favorite movies to watch on your flat screen LED 3-D Hi-Def 128hz 55 incher.
And a further note to fans of movie watching on TV: watch your favorite films with Comcast TV