We made it through winter and as I look out my dining room window, my tulip are blooming, the iris stalks stand high, the peony stems stand straight and tall like soldiers – buds will soon follow! The rose bushes are awake, full with brand new green-red stalks and buds; the hydrangeas have been pruned and a few chartreuse-green leaves have sprouted, the lilies have broken through the dirt – in other words, Spring has finally, finally arrived! Can we all just say a collective ‘Hallelujah!’
There is no scene in movie history more replete with Halloween theming and atmosphere than the Great Hall Halloween celebration from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Illuminated jack-o-lanterns hover in the Enchanted Ceiling. But most importantly the tables are heaping with magical treats and that’s not just hyperbole, because as a big Harry Potter nerd I know for a fact the food is magically transported from the kitchens to the tables.
Some recipes are foolproof. Especially the ones composed of wonderful things that are delightful alone and are therefore even better together. This is one of those recipes. And I needed the kick off to Halloween season to be a good one. To me, Halloween is a season of atmosphere and flavor. But to most people, and pardon me while I make myself sound like an old codger, but to most people it’s all about the gore. And I hate the gore. When did Halloween get to be so gross? Was it the eighties? It was the eighties wasn’t it…I blame the rise of the slasher movie. Of course, I’m also a little weary of the gory side of Halloween because I’ve been to several terrifying Halloween events already. (Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, Halloween Horror Nights, the Spooky Empire Zombie Walk, etc.) So you know what I need? I need a Norman Rockwellian holiday Halloween this year. I need leafy garlands and soft white, purple and orange twinkle lights. I need, as usual, a good stiff drink . . .
Musical pairing – Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas
I have one very important piece of advice to share with you before we even start talking about food. When you are shopping for your ingredients, if you happen to be with a friend or a husband in the grocery store while you are talking about this delightful and simple soup you are about to make, you must remember one thing. DO NOT say out loud that you are making “Kung Fu Panda Soup”. It causes misunderstandings that may upset people. It makes you sound like an eater of endangered species. Though the moments of confusion it will inspire would seem hilarious in a Marx Bros. movie, in real life, it may give some poor elderly conservationist a heart palpitation. And nobody needs a heart palpitation when they’re shopping for their produce. Learn from me, for I share the fruit from my tree of “I learned this the hard way,” knowledge freely. You’re welcome.
You may remember from some of my former posts that I have recently relocated to Florida. Roughly .002 seconds after crossing the state line, my husband and I procured annual passes to Walt Disney World. While most people enjoy a night out at the movies or spend the weekend relaxing at home, my husband and I cross the turnstiles into the four parks of Walt Disney World like its our job. Like we’re trying to set a Guinness World Record. Like those gates are the shiny red ribbon at the end of an Olympic relay.
You know, Romulan Ale is illegal. It’s against Starfleet Regulations to serve or carry it on any ships. Of course, you might not know that if you’ve never watched any Star Trek shows or movies. You might not even know what Romulan Ale is. I’ll tell you, it is the blue-tinged Everclear of the science fiction universe. A drink so potent and powerful that the fictional United Federation of Planets banned it altogether. You see, in the future we will all drink synthehol. An alcohol substitute that offers Starfleet members all the benefits of a cocktail without any of the pesky side effects of our lesser evolved fermented Earth beverages.
Musical pairing – The Quidditch Match by John Williams
I am completely in love with the world of Harry Potter. I wear my Gryffindor scarf with pride. I pick up sticks when I’m on walks with my husband just to wave them in the air at him and say “Expelliarmus!” When we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter last October, I literally went running through the park like some sort of crazed madwoman just to get to the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” If there was an Olympic record for sprinting toward a theme park ride, I would be polishing the gold right now. And I may or may not have tripped a few kids along the way . . . do you think that would get me disqualified?
Musical pairing – You’re Gonna Get It by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
“Waitress” is a beautiful movie. I can’t say enough good things about it. Without ruining it for you, I’ll just say it’s about a lost woman finding her way back to herself in the face of unforeseen circumstances. The very talented (and tragically deceased) Adrienne Shelly wrote and directed the film. She believed that it needed an element of visual interest that would keep an audience focused during an otherwise cerebral story. So she decided that the main character should make a lot of pies. A pie for every turn in the plot. Ultimately, Keri Russell’s waitress character bakes to cope.
I am over-the-moon excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Audrey who will now be a regular contributor here at Smith Bites! Audrey is a die-hard theme park junkie and is also a movie buff who also has her own movie blog – and will be writing about all things food relating to movies – doesn’t that sound like fun?!! When we first chatted about her being a contributor, we tossed around several ideas but when she finally said, ‘you know, I’ve been obsessed with making the infamous sandwich from Spanglish . . .’ and I have to tell you, the little hairs on my neck and arms stood on end . . . and the rest, as they say, is history. Take it away Audrey!
Hi. My name is Audrey and I confess to being an aspiring foodie who barely knows her way around a kitchen. You may remember me as the girl who didn’t understand the concept of a scone. And yet, almost exactly one year ago I was able to make some exquisite versions of the pastries with the help from Debra of Smith Bites. As I get older, and as I assume my husband’s tolerance for food poisoning can only last so long, I’m ready to learn how to cook well.
In an effort to blend this new world of culinary arts with my love of pop culture, I’ll be recreating food from some of my favorite movies. I’ll be making desserts from Harry Potter, bread from Lord of the Rings, and I just may give my own recipe of Trek-inspired Romulan Ale an intergalactic whirl. If anything can keep me motivated when I’m intimidated, when I want to lurk away and lick my knife and spatula wounds, it will be the interaction with the movies I know so well.