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Food in Film

Film has long celebrated food, from the passion and craft of making to the joy of eating. The Showroom Cinema’s Young Audiences Coordinator, Linnea Pettersson, shares her favourites.

Howls Moving Castle breakfast

Breakfast, Howl's Moving Castle style.

With the winter chill hanging in the air and those inky nights creeping in, cosying up with a great film and a nourishing dish is a perfect way to warm the soul.

As one of the largest independent cinemas in Europe, the Showroom brings us an eclectic menu of films from the UK and around the world, spotlighting exciting independent titles that you rarely get to see elsewhere.

As well as the cinema, they have a café bar serving everything from healthy brunches and light bites to delicious coffee and homemade cake, as well as classic cinema snacks.

What would a day of food from film look like? The Showroom’s Young Audiences Coordinator, Linnea Pettersson, shares her favourites.

Breakfast

To start the day, breakfast from the Studio Ghibli classic, Howl’s Moving Castle. When young hat maker Sophie is cursed by a wicked witch to age prematurely, she finds herself on an adventure with an enigmatic wizard called Howl, and offers to be his housekeeper in the hope of finding some way to lift the curse.

Food is massive in Miyazaki’s films – beautifully animated and wickedly tempting – and Howl’s Moving Castle is no exception. We join the wizard as he delicately prepares a delicious pan-full of sizzling thick-cut bacon and eggs for breakfast, served with fresh bread and cheese.

Simple but effective, everything is drawn so perfectly. The sound alone would be enough to entice the heaviest of sleepers out of bed.

Brunch – Grilled Cheese

For a mid-morning snack, cheese with extra cheese is a solid shout, and there are few better examples than the exquisite grilled goodness served up in Chef. Jon Favreau plays Carl Casper, a high-end chef whose culinary career is brought to a crashing halt after a scathing review and an online feud with a critic.

Away from the pressures of his old job, Carl discovers a passion for Cuban cuisine and decides to go on the road with a food truck, allowing him to reconnect with his ex-wife and bond with his son.

The infamous grilled cheese features two thick slices of white bread slathered in butter and fried. Once assembled, housing three types of cheese between them, the outer sides of bread are buttered and the whole thing is fried to get that crisp, browned finish, with the gooey cheese mix bubbling away inside.

Lunch – Ramen

Ramen for lunch? Yes, please! Tampopo is an exquisite film, constructed as beautifully as if it were a bowl of ramen itself—the dish the main character is trying to perfect.

So much ramen is consumed in this film that I recommend you either don’t watch it on an empty stomach or you make plans to place an order with your nearest noodle-serving takeaway afterwards, because you will be craving it. As you lovingly nudge the pork with your chopsticks, you will know the ‘correct’ way to eat ramen after watching the film.

But Tampopo isn’t just about ramen. There’s plenty of love, sex and death along the way, and the beauty of this film elevates a story about noodles to be just as exciting and intriguing as any Hollywood blockbuster.

Dinner – Timpano

I had never heard of this dreamy dish until I saw Big Night, starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as two brothers who move to America to run a restaurant called Paradise.

Paradise is at risk of closure and the brothers have one shot to turn their fate around when a fellow restauranteur arranges for the singer Louis Prima to visit them, to help put them on the map.

On the evening of Prima’s visit, Timpano becomes the real star of the show, drawing delighted gasps from the diners.

Timpano is created by filling a dough-lined deep dish with cooked garganelli pasta, a rich tomato sauce, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, cheeses and salami, layered to the brim and then baked. I could barely get to the end of that sentence without drooling.

The passion the brothers have for the art of cooking is truly wonderful. Their drive to achieve Italian culinary perfection matches beautifully with the quest in Tampopo to create the perfect bowl of ramen.

Dessert – Crème Brûlée

Short but sweet, the shot of a crème brûlée in Amélie was the first time I discovered that delicious vanilla pudding and its wonderful sugary topping.

Wielding a spoon and splintering that caramelised sugar is one of Amelie’s favourite things to do, when she isn’t dipping her hand into a bag of grains and skipping stones down Canal St-Martin.

Amelie discovers her passion in life is to make others happy in fantastical ways, and this film is one of those charming comedies that manages to achieve just that: it’s vibrant, beautiful and as satisfying a watch as cracking the top of a crème brûlée.

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While The Showroom is closed due to national lockdown, there are still ways that you can show your support to the registered charity.

Gift vouchers, memberships and naming your own seat are a few of the ways you can do this, as well as spreading the word on social media.

Any donations are gratefully received to help ensure this cultural institution and local treasure can continue to serve the city.

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Much-loved independent cinema reopens this month to bring cinema-goers a fine selection of films from Sheffield Doc/Fest, Celluloid Screams & the London Film Festival.

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