I remember the first time I saw Dinner & a Movie on TBS. I was delighted with the humor, the recipes, and the feeling of cooking along with fun friends. Most movies on TV simply start rolling at the beginning and run all the way through to the closing credits with no interruption except commercial breaks. Dinner & a Movie was different, because it was a program with a live cast that prepared recipes with tongue-in-cheek names that related to the movie. The cast also provided humorous commentary on the film, so the breaks in the movie included cooking and comedy.
The show is no longer on, unfortunately, but I still have one recorded years ago—the show featuring Jumpin’ Jack Flash—that continues to amuse me all these years later. The movie has a fabulous cast of comedians, including Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Carol Kane, Jim Belushi, and more. The hilarious Annabelle Gurwitch left Dinner & a Movie somewhat early on, but she was in that film’s episode, so I can continue to enjoy her antics even now. Here’s a clip from a different episode where Annabelle and Paul smash cream pies into each other’s faces. The recipes designed for the movies are still available as of this writing, on the show’s web site . There is also a Dinner & a Movie cookbook available on Amazon.com.
In the spirit of Dinner & a Movie, I would like to offer some of my (mostly 1980s) favorite movies and the dishes they inspired.
Knight and Day
This is a 2010 film with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz that I consider one of the most entertaining films either of them has done. It’s essentially a hilarious spoof on spy films, yet it has the suspense and thrills of a real spy film too. One of my favorite lines is the one where Tom is dragging Cameron handcuffed out of a diner where she was having pie with her former boyfriend Rodney, warning the patrons, “Nobody follow us or else I kill myself and then her.”
Diner Apple Pie
2 C. sliced organic apples
1 tsp. apple pie spice
1 apple, liquefied in Vitamix
Stevia to taste
1 T. coconut palm sugar, optional
Toss all ingredients and serve. No crust needed. For extra crunch and sweetness, you can sprinkle the top with coconut palm sugar.
Coming to America (Edited for TV version)
This is my all-time favorite Eddie Murphy film, and I’ve watched it probably at least 30 times since it came out in the 1980s. I prefer the edited for TV version, because the filmmakers unaccountably included vulgar language in the unedited version. In this film, Eddie is the wealthy prince of an imaginary African kingdom, Zamunda, whose marriage to an African princess has been arranged by his parents. He does not love the girl, however, and travels to America to find his queen, the woman that he truly loves, played by Shari Headley. The film is peopled by comedians, including Arsenio Hall, who accompanies Eddie as his servant. Between the sweet love story and the humor, this is a film to enjoy over and over.
McDowell’s Strawberry Shake
2 C. frozen organic strawberries
1 bottle water
1 T. protein powder
½ tsp. vanilla
Stevia to taste
Whir in Vitamix and serve with a straw.
This 1980s film is one of Diane Keaton’s funniest, and she plays her role to the hilt. She is a corporate ad executive interested only in her career when a relative dies and leaves her her baby daughter. Thinking that she will only take care of the child until she finds her a better home, Diane takes in the baby and finds that this responsibility turns her world upside down—in a good way. By the end of the film, Diane is living out in the country and selling her homemade baby food nationwide, and she has at last found real love in her adopted daughter and the local veterinarian.
Raw, peeled organic apples
Stevia to taste
Put peeled apples in Vitamix and add a small amount of water, about 1 tsp. per 4 apples. Sprinkle in a little bit of stevia to taste and process in the Vitamix. Serve immediately with cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Crossing Delancey is another 1980s film, this time the story of a Jewish bookstore employee played by Amy Irving whose grandmother (the adorable late Reizl Bozyk) wants to find her a husband and pairs her up with a humble pickle vendor played by Peter Riegert. Amy resists her Bubby’s matchmaking efforts, however, which creates a challenge later on when she discovers that she really does like the pickle guy after she has already foisted him on a friend.
Mock Gefilte Fish
This recipe I took from another web site, and although I haven’t tried it yet, it looks delicious. You can get the recipe here.
Dinner & a Movie—the original version with Annabelle Gurwitch—still has a home in my heart, and these movies have never lost their charm. Coupling delicious foods with favorite movies was a breakthrough idea at the time, and it’s still appealing today. If you want, you can think about some of your favorite movies and match them up with some dishes that you like. Double the fun!