Celebrating Cinema’s Tastiest On-Screen Food Moments

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Tampopo 1985
Tampopo, 1985(Film still)

The new book Cooking with Scorsese: The Collection is an “homage to both food, and to films that celebrate eating”, with film stills that capture everything from Bridget Jones’s blue soup to the bath-time spaghetti in Harmony Korine’s Gummo

A new book from Hato Press collates three instalments of a long-running series exploring the sumptuous foods seen in films. Cooking with Scorsese: The Collection is described as an “homage to both food, and to films that celebrate eating” in a foreword written by The Gourmand editor Ananda Pellerin. And in a 567-page tome of screenshot sequences from over 50 films, delicacies from classic European, Asian and American cinema are assembled to provide a unique sensory experience.

The book opens – and is interspersed – with noodle-making philosophies outlined in Tampopo: Jûzô Itami’s hit 1985 comedy about a pair of truck drivers who get caught up with the aspirations of a small-time ramen shop owner. Marketed as a “ramen western” (a riff on the gunslinging ‘Spaghetti Western’ genre typified by films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), the film’s cult popularity inspired the rise of countless ramen restaurants named ‘Tampopo’ (Japanese for dandelion) thereafter.

It’s not the only Japanese film included on the menu – with onigiri preparation from Naoko Ogigami’s Kamome Diner, and the precious sweet red bean paste made by a lone dorayaki street vendor in Naomi Kawase’s Sweet Bean also on display. There’s also breakfast and bento from Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli classics Castle in the Sky and My Neighbour Totoro (look out for the poison sushi from Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, though).

Italian food from a film by Martin Scorsese – whose surname is included in the book’s title – is a must. Included from Goodfellas is the scene where Paulie (Paul Sorvino) uses the expertise he acquired in prison to razor-slice garlic “so thin that it would liquefy in the pan with just a little oil”. Italian filmmaker Marco Ferreri, meanwhile, is represented with two foodie moments from 1973’s The Grande Bouffe and Blow-Out – involving toast, caviar, and goose steeped in champagne.

Elsewhere, a Mexican feast is served via Maria Ripoll’s 2001 comedy Tortilla Soup, while a shopping trip for preparing Indian dosa is included through David Kaplan’s Today’s Special. In Korean cuisine, the larder essential would surely be kimchi – captured here in a scene from Jeon Yun-su’s 2007 culinary drama Le Grand Chef. The director’s fellow countryman Bong Joon-ho, of course, makes an appearance via his Academy Award-winning smash Parasite. There, the famous “ram-don with steak” meal encapsulates the film’s themes of rich-versus-poor through its merging of instant Chapagetti and Neoguri noodles with slices of sirloin steak.

Dispersed in between the delectable, there is also some more questionable fare – Harkonnen juice from David Lynch’s Dune, bath-time spaghetti from Harmony Korine’s Gummo, and a TV dinner from Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise among them. Bridget Jones’s Diary’s “blue soup” is no less appetising than it was 20 years ago. But there is a great choice of dessert: watermelons from Taiwan (Tsai Ming-liang’s The Wayward Cloud), peaches from New York (Henry Selick’s James and the Giant Peach), and orange marmalade from Shepton Mallet prison (Paul King’s Paddington 2).

The book is the latest addition to the ongoing Cooking with Scorsese series, which began in 2014, and now also includes clothing accessories, events, and a cookbook. The latter, released in 2021, features recipes created by world-renowned institutions such as Brat, Bob Bob Ricard, Koya and Top Cuvée – and culinary talents like sketch’s Pierre Gagnaire, and Matt Abergel of Hong Kong’s Yardbird.

Cooking with Scorsese: The Collection is published by Hato Press and is out now.