Foodstuff: Film Food
Let’s all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat
I recently attended a special event at the Isis Theatre, a film screening thrown by the local non-profit Aspen Film (full disclosure: Aspen Film is a client of mine for my day job running my marketing firm). The film, by an Aspen-based creative team, also featured a live musical performance, and it was all very top-secret and very exciting to attend. One of those classic Aspen nights where you get lucky enough to be on the guest list — and even luckier when you get to bring a plus one.
I am a lifelong, passionate consumer of film and genuinely love seeing things in the theater. Part of my movie-going ritual also always involves food, of course. In an age where high-end film chains are all the rage and you can order everything from supreme pizzas to a Negroni, I am something of a traditionalist when I snack at the cinema.
I always, always order two things: a box of Milk Duds and a small Cherry Coke, unless it’s after 5 p.m., in which case I have a Sprite — I like to live on the edge by having caffeine approximately once every three years.
But the ritual doesn’t simply involve the items on order. There is a whole process to the candy and soda indulgence. I have to buy the food and drink, select my seat (middle row, middle of the aisle, please!), then I don’t allow myself to open the candy while I watch the previews. Instead, I place the box of Milk Duds on my lap and let them come to body temperature, so the caramel is soft and chewy by the time the opening credits roll. Yep, I’m a real piece of work.
I’ve never been much of a movie popcorn fan until I stumbled upon a Giada De Laurentiis/Food Network recipe years and years ago. It’s the perfect snack for curling up on your couch to watch your favorite flick, as it’s best served hot. But I do recommend heading out to the actual theater every now and again. There’s truly nothing like it.
2T extra-virgin olive oil
2T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2T vegetable oil
1/2C popcorn kernels
1/2C freshly grated Parmigianino Reggiano
1/2C freshly grated Pecorino cheese
1/2t coarsely ground black pepper
1/4t kosher salt
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the olive oil with the butter and garlic until the butter is melted. Set aside, and allow the mixture to steep for five minutes, then discard the garlic clove.
Heat the vegetable oil in a three-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until the oil dances in the pan. Add the popcorn kernels, cover with a lid and cook, shaking the pan every few minutes to prevent burning. When you begin to hear popping, lower the heat to medium and shake the pan every 30 seconds until there are very few pops happening in the pan. Empty the popcorn into a large bowl; you should have 6-8 cups of popcorn. Toss with the garlic-butter mixture, the Parmesan and Pecorino, and the pepper and salt.
I know you’ll be tempted to just throw some cheese on top of a microwave bag of this stuff. Resist the urge! The heat of the pan popcorn is much more effective at melting the ingredients and is worth the extra effort. Enjoy the show!
Katherine Roberts is a midvalley-based writer and marketing professional who would love to hear about your bizarre snacking rituals. She can be reached via her marketing and communications firm, Carington Creative, at firstname.lastname@example.org.