Chiffolo and Hesse selected 14 movies, including such food-lover classics as Babette’s Feast, Goodfellas, Like Water for Chocolate, Chocolat, Titanic, and Dinner Rush, for original recipe development because of their heavy focus on either food preparation or on eating in general. “Although several cookbooks have been written that tie-in either with television shows or movies, what they don’t offer are recipes for food that is actually featured in the artistic production. That’s what makes this book unique,” notes Hesse who, along with his co-author, developed recipes and wrote Cooking with the Bible (Greenwood Press, 2006) which re-creates 18 meals mentioned in the Bible. It has sold thousands of copies and been translated into German, Chinese, Russian, and Korean. “Cooking with the Movies has all the right ‘ingredients’
Cooking with the Movies has already garnered high praise from “foodies” in the know, such as Kristi Zea, production designer for Goodfellas, and New York restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, owner of Le Cirque and Osteria del Circo restaurants, who comments, “As we read of these legendary repasts and savor the classic meals which are part of the lexicon of our silver screen … how sweet it is to revisit these memorable meals and sit at the table once more with the screen immortals of our past.”
Cooking with the Movies includes 230 recipes, nearly all of which were developed by the authors. “It will appeal to both the ultimate movie buff and the ultimate ‘foodie,’” comments Chiffolo. “It’s also a great reference book for librarians who get questions about movies or finding recipes for a dish that a patron saw in a movie that they want to try recreating at home.”
The authors developed and tested all of the recipes featured in Cooking with the Movies in their own small two-oven kitchen in Westchester County, NY. One of its simplest recipes – Coca-Cola® Basted Ham laced with Southern Comfort – proved to be one of the most popular among the authors’ friends. “The entire movie from which this recipe was developed, Once Upon a Time … When We Were Colored (1995), is a tribute to the pleasure of down-home southern cooking,” noted Hesse.
Conversely, some of the recipes call for hard-to-find ingredients, such as pâté de foie gras for the first-class dinner served in Titanic and squash blossoms to make sopa de flor de calabaza (squash blossom soup) for Tortilla Soup (2001). “Also, trying to fit an entire pig into our oven for our re-creation of the meal from Big Night was the stuff of a Marx Brothers’ movie,” laughs Chiffolo. “Always measure your oven before buying a whole pig—or an entire salmon at the fish market!” Hesse describes making the savarin au rhum (rum cake) from Babette’s Feast as “beyond the pale. It’s a two-day process. And the recipe for Il Timpáno (pasta and pastry casserole) took three days to create on account of the many steps involved. Some of the recipes are indeed ‘ambitious,’
The authors’ personal food and movie favorites are Babette’s Feast (1987), because the banquet was so elegant; Goodfellas (1990), because food is a cultural centerpiece in the daily lives of nearly everyone in the film, and Big Night (1996) for both its impressive menu and its star-studded cast, including Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Marc Anthony, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, Campbell Scott, Liev Schreiber, and Ian Holm.
Cooking with the Movies also has its share of recipes that the authors describe as “quirky.” In particular are the off-beat pie recipes from the equally off-beat indie film Waitress (2007). The film’s protagonist is an inveterate pastry chef who gets her recipe inspirations from the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life. When she learns that she’s pregnant, for example, she’s inspired to create “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie,” a ham, onion, Brie, and Parmesan quiche; thoughts of a colicky baby lead her to “Baby Screamin’ Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruinin’ My Life Pie,” which includes Amaretto liqueur along with two pounds of cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and a cup of pecans.
Because the book devotes a chapter to each movie and is easily indexed by food types and dining categories, ranging from appetizers to vegetables and caviar to pizza, readers are able to easily find recipes that will appeal to either their taste in movies or taste buds. The book can be purchased online for $55 from the publisher’s Web site (www.abc-clio.com ) or other Internet retailers, or directly from the authors at www.cookingwiththemovies.com .
# # #
Anthony Chiffolo and Rusty Hesse have collaborated on several books, as well as having written books on their own. Their "Cooking with the Bible," released in 2006, has since been translated into three other languages. What makes their cookbook unique is the original recipes that they devloped to reflect the actual food being served in each movie covered.