Sometimes we need a Saturday-night date night indoors, as the weather chills and the bustle of fall winds down to a cozy winter.
And what goes better with movie night than food? Answer: Maybe a puppy?
As an ode to those nights when you put on those shamefully large sweats and get comfy on your couch in lieu of the highest of high heels and a bar full of guys named Derek mouth-breathing into your ear at a bar, let’s look at those wonderful films that inspire us to eat.
Sidenote: For brevity’s sake, and because food documentaries are the eye-opening nightmares that are responsible for why I stay away from McDonalds, I’m leaving “Super Size Me” and other nonfictional films off of the list. Let’s forget about reality for the night and take a look at some popular movies that feature food.
Your date: Your mum, or my mum, because all mum’s love Meryl Streep, and there was that one time when she purchased “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and you ate like a sultan for a month.
Why foodies love it: Julia Child is a beloved cooking icon, and this movie is a delightful way that one woman empowered herself after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Also, food porn. Yum.
What to eat while watching: Lobster, of course, but only if you make it yourself, just like Julie Powell had to “murder and dismember a crustacean.”
Your date: Your book club, because you obviously read the book and want to see how the movie compares.
Why a foodie loves it: Hello? International cuisine! Travel! Finding one’s self!
What to eat while watching: I like when author — and main character in the film, played by Julia Roberts — describes her pasta, pizza and gelato binge as “no carb left behind.”
Your date: Your chocoholic significant other, because all three films are classic, funny and ultimately warm your heart — just like your date mate.
Why a foodie loves them: So much sugar! I dare anyone to watch Gene Wilder sing “Pure Imagination” in “Willy Wonka,” the montage of Juliette Binoche whipping up here treats in “Chocolat” or the lost boys’ secret feast/food fight in “Hook” without desiring some sweets.
What to eat while watching: Store-bought or homemade, it’s doesn’t matter — as long as it’s chocolate.
Your date: The wino in your life (maybe that’s you).
Why a foodie loves it: This dark comedy makes you want to go to Napa and become a sommelier, tomorrow’s hangover be damned.
What to eat while watching: Your favorite wine, obviously, and a taste of France via bread and cheese. For me, it’s a good chardonnay paired with a whole-grain bread, goat cheese and honey.
Your date: Your one friend who loves foreign films.
Why a foodie loves it: The plot revolves around a chef, his three daughters and elaborate weekly Sunday night dinners. Also, director Ang Lee chose such vivid shots of the food that it leaves your mouth watering.
What to eat while watching: Don’t get takeout from your neighborhood Chinese restaurant — make a chicken stir-fry yourself at home.
Your date: Your niece and nephew, children or the kids you’re babysitting.
Why a foodie loves them: Watching the various characters literally eat their way through the juicy fruit in “James and the Giant Peach” — and hearing Remy describe to his rat clan how to pair foods in “Ratatouille” — are irresistible.
What to eat while watching: Hot peach pie with fresh whipped cream, or crème brûlée.
Your date: Your one southern friend, who turned you onto the finer things in life, like Carolina barbecue, buttered grits and corn bread.
Why a foodie loves it: Everybody in the film loves Mama Joe’s soul food so much that they continue the Sunday dinner tradition even after money issues, adultery and the death of the matriarch of the family. She imparts her soul-food cooking knowledge onto her family members as a way to keep them united.
What to eat while watching: Breaded and fried southern-style chicken breast, buttered grits, salad and corn bread.
Writer’s note: A big shoutout to my friends and family members on Facebook, who helped me compile this list! Runners up include: The Godfather (1972), solely for “Leave the gun. Take the canoli”; Mystic Pizza (1988); It’s Complicated (2009); Spanglish (2004); My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002); Do the Right Thing (1989); Woman on Top (2000); and for the more disturbed movie-goers, Sweeny Todd (2007).