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Academy Awards party: Recipes inspired by Oscars’ Best Picture nominees

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What to fix for your Oscars party whether a large soiree to an intimate dinner. If you are anything like me, you want to make the menu cohesive with the nominated movies –it is a great way to be creative, try new recipes and show off your culinary savvy.

The nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards are diverse as they come from New Jersey in the early 80’s to Somalia’s Gulf of Aden and up, up and away into space. Whether you are fixing a whole meal or noshes for your Oscar party, I have pulled together a collection of recipes that reflect the Oscars’ Best Picture nominees.

Amercian Hustle takes place in New Jersey circa late 70’s early 80’s. One would and could think mama’s gravy and meatballs as iconic but there is a dish more iconic to Jersey and the Jersey shore -Taylor Pork Roll. In my day one could find the Taylor Pork Roll shop on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. It is still available today at Taylor Pork Roll. Real Jersey folks order the “Triple Bypass Sandwich – Taylor Pork Roll, egg and cheese on a hard roll. Feeling inspired, try the Italian version

Captain Phillips based on a true story of a cargo ship being taken over by Somalia pirates in 2009. This is a great opportunity to bring in African based cuisine; coconut-sabaayad, qahwe or even a beef stew with peas and potatoes. Some okra would be good as well.

Dallas Buyers Club, another look back in time now to Dallas Texas in 1985. The main character, Ron Woodroff is a hard living, life loving – everything to excess kind of guy. I would imagine in those days or now, he would be eating a local dish called the Taste of South Texas casserole.

Gravity focuses in on a space shuttle mission that goes awry and the two personalities each coping with the situation. Not much humor here but other than Tang my suggestion for a corresponding recipe is the Lighter Than Air Angel Food Cake.

HER set in Southern California 2025 where one’s smart phone becomes the romantic interest of a man. One scene has him and a blind date eating in an Asian fusion restaurant. So keeping that in mind here are two recipes from the Asian fusion food truck king in Los Angeles, Roy Choi - Perfect Instant Ramen and Ketchup Fried Rice.

Nebraska is more an intimate story of an elderly father thinking he really won a magazine sweepstakes million dollars and the journey with his son to claim it. There is much more discover as they interact with family, friends and acquaintances along the way. It is said that the origins of the Reuben sandwich reputedly comes from Omaha where a store owner created this sandwich for his weekly poker games. It gained fame when put on Omaha’s Blackstone lunch menu.

Nebraska is the corn husker state so think popcorn or popcorn balls. Yet, another choice would be the Runza, a meat-filled pastry common in the homes of Nebraskans.

Philomena is an Irish woman’s 50 year search for a son that was given up for adoption. Based on a true story, Philomena seeks out the son taken away from her in an Irish convent and eventually her journey leads to the United States. With St. Patrick’s Day not far away, we should honor the Irish side of the movie, how about a nice Shepard’s Pie.

12 Years a Slave focuses in on a Northern free black man in the 1865 who was kidnapped and sold off in Louisiana and suffered the atrocities of slavery. Their daily fare wasn’t much so consider Red Beans and Rice. Now with Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) a couple days away there are more upscale Louisiana dishes to enjoy: King Cake or Barbecue Shrimp.

The Wolf of Wall Street is about the young brazen tree shakers, money makers of the early 80’s when money seemed to be everywhere. It was a time of decadence for these scoundrels of Wall Street; cocaine, sex – every indulgence. One of the top New York City restaurants of the day (and still exist) is Le Cirque with the then Chef Daniel Boulud. Chef Boulud’s Truffle Infused Black Tie Scallops was an ultimate culinary indulgence and meant to impress.

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