Food and drink make the world go round. Our social lives often revolve around them, but we can also enjoy them on our own, treating ourselves to a hearty meal with a glass of wine in front of our favorite Netflix drama. However, when you watch said film or TV show, you might encounter food or drink that are so iconic to the characters that they’ve become almost synonymous. To make your experience complete, we gathered some of our favorite emblematic delicacies you may have heard of. Bon appétit!
“Fava beans and a nice Chianti” — Silence of the Lambs
We know that starting an article about food and film with a combination of a movie about a cannibal is punchy, to say the least. But this list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most quoted lines in cinema’s history regarding nourishment. In the scene, Hannibal Lecter, played by the marvelous Anthony Hopkins, intimidates FBI cadet Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) by telling her, with wild and unnerving eyes: “a census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Unless you’re a seasoned psychiatrist like Dr. Lecter, you may have missed the hidden joke in this highly disturbing quote — the prisoner is likely treated with antidepressants that come with a specific warning against consuming liver, wine, and beans in conjunction with them. However, assuming you’re not on monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), this can make quite a lovely meal — just make sure you’re replacing human liver with beef or chicken liver.
While a Chianti is a favorite among many for numerous occasions, according to Italian cuisine connoisseurs at Pasta Evangelists, it’s actually less common to pair it with the liver. “As Chianti Classico has medium-high acidity and high tannins, it requires bold and flavourful foods to pair with it. Boar and pork dishes are ideal,” they explain. If you’re a wine lover, maybe try this boar chops and fava beans dish.
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli” — The Godfather.
Another Italian delicacy, the cannoli, is a loved dessert among many. With a hard pastry shell enveloping delicious, creamy ricotta filling and dark chocolate, it’s no wonder cannoli made it into the script of the film with one of the highest ever scores on IMDb — 9.2/10. Dethroned from being the top-rated in 2021 only to return to a joint top spot soon after.
In fact, saying that it’s made the script is actually a bit of a lie: Capo Peter Clemenza’s “leave the gun, take the cannoli,” despite being one of the more memorable lines from the movie, was actually an improvisation by actor Richard Castellano. However, it immediately entered the final cut — cannoli are part of the quintessential Italian-American experience, and The Godfather couldn’t skip the influence this pastry has.
According to the above article from The Godfather: Anatomy of a Film, “leave the gun, take the cannoli” holds a lot more meaning than a simple nudge to the dessert: “the line itself stands out because, in tandem with the scenes around it, it condenses so much about the values on display in The Godfather: in the world of the Corleones, family comes before all else, protecting children is imperative, and business is business.”
Considering the film is just shy of three hours long, some snacks are required, and what’s better than a homemade cannolo to help you relate to this cinematic masterpiece?
“Shaken, not stirred” — James Bond
There is truly nothing more synonymous with everybody’s favorite British spy than a martini, whether it’s the traditional Vodka Martini or the more archetypal Bond Vesper Martini. But did you know that the latter is fictional, created by writer Ian Fleming? Luckily for us, it’s also one of the easiest cocktails to make at home to enjoy alongside your most beloved Bond film — with slight adaptation, of course, as one of the main ingredients hasn’t been around since the 1960s.
The original recipe’s ingredients include gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet. The latter is a French aperitif from the end of the 19th century, extracted from cinchona bark. Part of the class of quinquina, these drinks are white-based spirits flavored with quinine. If you’re not sure what that tastes like, one common drink today that includes quinine is tonic water. The recipe of Kina Lillet has changed, and the Lillet Blanc we know today was stripped of quinine, making it much sweeter. However, you can imitate the original flavor easily.
To recreate the classic Vesper Martini, simply add three measures of gin, one measure of vodka, and half a measure of your favorite Kina Lillet substitute, and shake until ice cold. Serve in a deep champagne goblet with a twist — a large thin slice of lemon peel.
Double R Cherry Pie (with a “damn fine cup of coffee”) — Twin Peaks
Perhaps slightly less mainstream than the other items on this list, Twin Peaks is still a cult classic, crowned by The Guardian as “the weird and wonderful show that changed television.” The show, created by renowned filmmaker David Lynch (Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet), premiered in April 1990 and followed the tales of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in his attempt to investigate a murder in the bizarre town of Twin Peaks, Washington.
However, the eerie town is not only known for its criminal activities in the program but also for the much frequented Double R Diner. Often renowned by Cooper, the cherry pie is a staple throughout the show, representing the fact that Twin Peaks is merely an ordinary American town like any other.
Plot twist: while Double R is not its name, the diner is based around a real eatery in Washington State called Mar-T Cafe. Any strong cup of diner coffee would work, but as for the cherry pie, we believe this is the closest recipe to the OG Twin Peaks version.
“Careful, man, there’s a beverage here!” — The Big Lebowski
To close off our list, we couldn’t ignore this Coen Brothers classic, which gained a cult following spanning generations. The Big Lebowski is so well-known, in fact, that it’s possible you might recognize references to it even if you’ve never seen the film before.
In the film, the main character — Jeff’ The Dude’ Lebowski, portrayed by Jeff Bridges — has a clear favorite drink, weaved through the scenes. Referred to as ‘Caucasians’ by Lebowski, White Russians are a constant reminder of the easygoing nature of the character.
Trust us. There’s no better way to enjoy this movie than with a White Russian drink at hand, for which you’d need two measures of vodka, one measure of coffee liquor, and one measure of heavy cream. Grab a low-ball glass, pour in the vodka and Kahlua, then add ice and top with cream before stirring gently to get the swirl effect. However, if you want to try something else, you can give one of these White Russian variations inspired by The Dude a go.
Featured Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash