HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Movies That Changed A Food Forever

Have you ever watched a movie (or TV show) that changed your perception of a food forever?

For me, I used to love Sakuma fruit drops (a Japanese hard candy). After I'd watched Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies), I couldn't touch them again. I actually left an unopened can of them in my apartment when I moved away from Japan.

Haven't had one since watching that movie. Have you ever had a food item (or ingredient, I guess?) changed in your eyes, for better or for worse, like this? Share stories please! :-)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The movie Sideways changed forever the way I think of Merlot.
    Of course, I never really liked Merlot that much to begin with.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tripeler

      I think Sideways is definitely responsible for the duo of Pinot superiority and Merlot bottom feeding. Rightly or wrongly deserved.

    2. What was wrong with the fruit drops?

      For me it was the movie 'FatHead'. I haven't had grain or sugar, if I could help it, since watching it a year ago...and I don't really miss them, either!!

      5 Replies


        In the movie, the main character and his baby sister are orphaned in wartime Japan. The only treat/toy/childhood thing left to them in a world of rationing, poverty, starvation, disease, bombing, death and loss is the little girl's one tin of fruit drop candy, which her brother doles out to her as slowly as possible to make it last. Eventually, there are none left. The little girl is so desperate to have something nice in her life that she puts pebbles in the empty can, and begins "treating" herself to rocks for comfort. Eventually, she dies of malnutrition, and her brother stores what he can of her bones in the tin (the only vessel available to him) in an effort to keep a piece of her for a proper funeral down the road.

        When he also passes away (before being able to bury her), the people who find his body toss away his sister's tin/bones. He and she meet as ghosts on an undead train, and she is her healthy, pre-war self, carrying (and sharing) a tin of her beloved fruit drops.

        Haven't eaten one since. The sound of the candies rattling around in the tin is used in the movie as a device to echo the rattling of first the pebbles, and then the bones... Couldn't get past it.

        1. re: chartreauxx

          Oh. My. God. That is unspeakably sad. I wouldn't eat them anymore, either.

          1. re: PAINTEDPEGGIES

            The movie is actually amazingly powerful, I'd highly recommend watching it. Don't be fooled by the fact that it's animated; it's a very serious adult film about the nature of war. Like many Japanese movies, food features very centrally (as a topic in its own overt right, and also as metaphor).

            But if you want to try Sakuma fruit drops (which are a really delicious hard candy!), I'd do it before you watch...

            1. re: chartreauxx

              Great movie. Great candy. They were my Japanese grandfathers favorite. My Fireflies fruit drop tin is in a place of honor on my mantelpiece.


          2. Before Last Tango in Paris, I always thought butter was just food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Veggo

              That butter got poor Marlon Brando killed.

            2. Every time I see profiteroles on a menu, I immediately think of " The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover"

              1. My first thought was actually Popeye and spinach, although that's a lot more than just one movie. I guess I'd say the Cornish game hens in Eraserhead put me off game hens for quite a while. And whenever anyone offers me a potato I think of The Old Dark House. I'd also say Soylent Green, because out of the many hundreds of movies about cannibalism, it actually established a new catchphrase to describe it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                  Popeye=canned spinach, which I have never eaten, would never eat. Can we say, UGH? But fresh or frozen? Thumbs up.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    No!!!!!!! I read the book, I saw the movie multiple times, (worked at a drive-inn, snack bar, great job.) I now can't watch this movie, way too scary.

                  2. Not for me, personally... but many folks somehow can't stomach eels anymore after having seen Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum).

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: linguafood

                      I can stomach an eel, but I can't find them, especially angulas.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        HA! for me the movie Tin Drum didn't put me off eel (although I understand the problem) but rather Sorrel flavored fizzes.

                      2. Fava beans and Chianti...Silence of the Lambs.

                        1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 'Nuff said.

                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                              similarly, French toast in a diner (after seeing Road Trip), and eclairs (after watching Van Wilder)...

                              1. re: chartreauxx

                                ...as soon as I saw this thread I thought of Van Wilder.


                                1. re: uhockey

                                  me too. I haven't been able to eat an eclair since!!

                            2. Ratatouille?

                              Well, at least the movie connected the rat with the vegetable dish...

                              1. E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and Reese's Pieces. One of the most successful product placements - financially and artistically - ever.


                                  1. "Leave the gun take the cannoli"

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      Just before Michael whacks the Turk and Captain McCluskey.

                                      "How's the Italian food in this restaurant?" "Good. Try the veal. It's the best in the city." "I'll have it."

                                    2. Like water for chocolate, especially the watermelon sequence.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: chilihead

                                        Oh yes, I saw that and was determined to learn how to perform that trick to break the watermelon into long symmetrical chunks with one big smash. I researched how to do it to death, practiced and now I've got it down! Great party trick!!

                                      2. "It Happened One Night" forever changed (for the country at the time) dunking doughnuts.

                                        Also, Clark Gable didn't wear an undershirt under his dress shirt in that movie, and after the movie came out, undershirt sales plummeted.

                                        1. Bend it Like Beckham ... Aloo Gobi!

                                          Before watching that movie I never paid much attention to that dish, but I'm a huge fan now. I esp love the extra feature on the DVD where they make the dish.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: tamagoji

                                            I was so intrigued by this that I ordered the DVD for Bend It Like Beckham. Can't wait to see it and then make Aloo Gobi! Thanks

                                            1. re: MarietteB

                                              Nice! It's a great segment. The director herself does the cooking, with her mom and auntie observing and commenting in the background (they're a hoot).

                                              She gives a great trick about chopping the cilantro stalks and sauteeing them with the onions and cumin seeds. The onion-y curry base is so tasty and fragrant, I could just stop there and eat! Of course the rest of the recipe is delicious ;)

                                              1. re: tamagoji

                                                After watching, I agree! I will make it. At first I wondered why mom and auntie were there. But I loved them and their tips and demands.

                                                I had never seen this movie and really enjoyed it. Takes food to get me interested, I guess.

                                            2. re: tamagoji

                                              Also check out What's Cooking? by the same director: it's about 4 families of different ethnic backgrounds celebrating Thanksgiving in the same Los Angeles neighborhood. IIRC the DVD extras have some recipes.

                                              After Bend it Like Beckham I always sautee my cilantro stems with the onions.

                                            3. Lost Boys. lo mein morphs into maggots. 'nuff said.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                I thought the lo mein turned into worms and the rice turned into maggots? Not 100% sure though, its been YEARS since i saw it...

                                                1. re: LongIslandChef

                                                  didn't turn me off any food, just prejudiced me towards Santa Cruz. (still love that beach though!)

                                                  1. re: LongIslandChef

                                                    whatever - it was all stomach-churning. the mere sight of a Chinese takeout container nauseated me for years after that.

                                                2. Supersize Me
                                                  Haven't had a Big Mac for years.

                                                  1. I found the whole idea of dog burgers at the end of How to Marry a Millionaire both liberating and challenging.

                                                    1. The movie Big Night changed the way I think of omelets/frittatas. The final scene where Stanley Tucci makes a simple frittata for his brother is shot in one take and the simplicity and brilliance made me love it.

                                                      You don't need to speak Italian to enjoy this:

                                                      Also in the same movie, the scene where the chef refuses to allow a customer to order risotto with a side of spaghetti because you don't serve a starch with a starch.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                        I need to rent this again. Or buy it. Forgot how much I love this movie.

                                                        With a *very* young Marc Anthony in that final scene.

                                                        1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                          I just rewatched it this weekend, before even reading this thread. That omelet scene is subtle and lovely. I won't lie, I was impressed when he flipped it perfectly...

                                                        2. Cherries after Witches of Eastwick.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                            Shrinkrap - yeah I still think about the aftermath and have to remind myself I'm often not sanctimonious about things.

                                                            so I still eat them.

                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                              I don't remember much else about the movie. I'm not remembering the sanctimonious part*. But when I've had about a pound in one sitting, I remember to slow down.

                                                              * Going to look it up!

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                the character "Prudence" that had the cherry pit problem was the Mrs. Lovejoy/Maude Flanders of the town. very self-righteous.

                                                            2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                              I still eat cherries, but think of this scene every single time.

                                                            3. I have forever wanted to make the big huge timbale (the macaroni "pie") from Big Night ever since seeing that movie.
                                                              Still on the to-do list.

                                                              However, just the other night, I saw Alton Brown make a lasagne "drum" in the crock pot. It was similar to the timbale, and it reminded me that I still need to attempt that. Alton Brown's version is easier, but not as impressive.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                You might want to preorder Stanley Tucci's new cookbook. It includes the recipe for the famous Timpano! I am so making it. Can't wait.


                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                  I couldn't remember the word "timpano" (I should have, it's like timpani, in music), but had also seen timbale. Thanks for the correction, though timbale is also used to describe this drum-shaped party dish.

                                                                  Here is another Chowhound thread, with links and recipes for the timpano:

                                                                  Love Stanley Tucci. Will have to flip through his cookbook.

                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                    Don't bother. It's nothing more than a glorified pasta bake. Not worth the effort. At all.

                                                                  2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                    In today's New York Times, a profile of Stanley Tucci, his and his family's cooking, and news of the new cookbook:


                                                                2. Slightly off-topic, such a fantastic film.

                                                                  1. Not "forever" for me.

                                                                    But Peter Greenaway's "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" created quite an impression. After watching the finale, where the heroine served her dead lover - roasted whole to a golden-brown lacquered finish - to her husband, and forcing him to eat it, I had to cancel a dinner at a Cantonese roast-meat restaurant afterwards. No kidding.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                                      haunting movie, yes. off-putting, ehh not here.

                                                                      except I will not eat printed word. not by choice anyway.

                                                                    2. Well, the most unforgettable food scene for me I guess was the dish Bette Davis served Joan Crawford in Whatver Happened to Baby Jane... Nah...I'll still stick with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

                                                                        1. Another memorable scene that did not change food forever, but had me craving the item was the ending dinner scene to "A Christmas Story" where the family went out for Thanksgiving to have Chinese Turkey - Peking Duck.

                                                                          1. I cut down on onion in my tomato sauce after Goodfellas.

                                                                            It's better too.

                                                                            1. Well, it hasn't changed the food for me personally, but I am surprised no one has mentioned American Pie yet.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Justpaula

                                                                                It's the Citizen Kane of pie sex movies.

                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                  But in Citizen Kane, a rosebud by any other name was still a rosebud.

                                                                              2. Frederick Wiseman's 1976 documentary "Meat" was enough to make me a vegetarian.. It follows the farm-to-table process of calves being fattened up, slaughtered, butchered and packaged through an automated slaughterhouse in Colorado. No narration. No music. Just the sights and sounds.

                                                                                I saw it in 1977 and have been "off the hoof " ever since. Highly recommended for those who can stomach it.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                  I would not be able to. But after reading Robin Cook's novel "Toxin" - I had a similar reaction.

                                                                                2. Blazing Saddles. Beans.

                                                                                  Also schnitzengruben.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                    oh yeah! or in another of Mel's "yes, you just made a 'nummy' sound"

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      The movie, Spanglish...THE sandwich!

                                                                                    2. In the movie "MoonStruck" when the mother puts a piece of bread with a hole in the center in a skillet and fries it. When it is brown on one side she flips it and cracks an egg in the center. She then she puts roasted red pepper on top on the egg and serves it.

                                                                                      My favorite scene and that still makes me laugh when I am serving pasta is when the family is sitting at dinner and Cher's character isn't there. The grandfather already gave the dogs one plate of food and is going to give them another when the mother tells him if he gives those dogs another plate of her food she will kick until he is dead.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: MarianneB88

                                                                                        I remember being impressed by the guy making an omelet with chopsticks in Tampopo. The whole movie was great, but this stands out in my mind for its mastery.

                                                                                        1. re: MarkC

                                                                                          For the closeup of that omuraisu being made, that was the director, Jûzô Itami. The actor playing the hobo who was supposed to be making the omelette couldn't get the technique just right, so the director did it himself.

                                                                                        2. re: MarianneB88

                                                                                          We make that and call it eggs a la Moonstruck.

                                                                                        3. Speaking of Sakuma drops, I had the opposite reaction when seeing Grave of the Fireflies. I used to love them as a kid, but then couldn't find them anywhere. Then when I saw the movie, I was like, "I loved those candies!" I even bought the commemorative tin. I think part of my fascination with the stuff is that my grandfather, who I never met, also loved Sakuma drops. I even tried to get my kids to like them, but they've never been big on hard candy. But I'll show them: when I get cremated, I'm going to have my bones put in a Sakuma drop tin!

                                                                                          1. In addition to the Big Night references already made on this thread, since the opening scene where the male diner asks for seconds and thirds of parmesan on his pasta, I never accept extra cheese at the table.

                                                                                            And any time I make a sauce, I always hope for an Alison Janey "oh my God...oh my God!" reaction from my wife. :)

                                                                                            Also, for a number of years, there was a restaurant in Boston - Grotto in Beacon Hill - that periodically held "Big Night" dinners, with the whole menu from the movie, including the timpano AND the suckling pig!

                                                                                            1. From Five Easy Pieces--

                                                                                              [Bobby wants plain toast, which isn't on the menu]
                                                                                              Bobby: I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
                                                                                              Waitress: A #2, chicken salad sand. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?
                                                                                              Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
                                                                                              Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
                                                                                              Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Tonality666

                                                                                                I think of that often when I go to a restaurant that won't accomadate a simple request. I have been tempted to quote this to them!

                                                                                                1. The movie Waitress. Every time i see it i want pie. I make good pie but I want the pies she creates.