Thematic food for your 2014 Oscar party

The below are suggestions for thematic food to serve while watching the Academy Awards on Sunday, March 2. All are inspired by the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, and I’ve linked to recipes where possibly needed. Why? Because brainstorming party food based on pop culture themes is one of my favourite things to do.

When possible, I’ve taken food right out of the movies (in 12 Years, Solomon uses a twig and blackberry juice to write a letter to his family; in Her, Samantha leads Theodore to a slice of cheese pizza at the fair, etc.). Other times, I’ve chosen things that encapsulate the spirit of the movie (floating fruit for Gravity; gold coins for The Wolf of Wall Street). And when neither of those are possible, I’ve suggested cuisine inspired by the setting of the movie (samosas/sambusa from Somalia for Captain Phillips; fondue from the seventies for American Hustle, etc.)

Enjoy! And check out the rest of the nominees here.

(If you use any of my suggestions, please let me know! It would make me so happy.)

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE

Hug a pen today.

Starters/snacks
Crisps with goat cheese, blackberries and honey* — 12 Years a Slave
Sambusas (also known as “samosas”) — Captain Phillips

Mains
Cheese pizza — Her
Tex-Mex (e.g. nachos, fajitas, quesadillas) — Dallas Buyers Club
Fondue — American Hustle

70show-fondue

Just wait until it cools a bit.

Desserts
Jello mould with floating fruitGravity
Chocolate gold coins** — The Wolf of Wall Street

The strawberries are Sandra Bullock. The kiwis are George Clooney.

The strawberries are Sandra Bullock. The kiwis are George Clooney.

Drinks
Guinness — Philomena
More/any alcohol — Nebraska

*When I make this, I’ll probably replace the crisps with much simpler baguette slices.
**I realize this is a Canadian thing. I don’t know if people in other countries have anything similar. Jelly bean dollar bills? I just don’t know.

An Oscar-worthy Menu: 2012

Oscar parties without thematic food are lame. But thinking up a whole menu can be difficult (especially if you haven’t seen the movies), so here are a few suggestions for inspiration. [If you actually make any of these, please send me photos. Thank you.] I also did this last year, for the sake of reference.

Hors d’oeuvres

Spam musubi (it’s really popular in Hawaii, I swear) [The Descendants]
(Mini) hot dogs (sorry for all the animal flesh so far) [Moneyball]
Baguettes and cheese (preferably cut into whimsical shapes) [Hugo]

Cocktails

Mint Juleps (or one of these other drinks popular in the 1920s, just don’t actually make it in a bathtub) [Midnight in Paris]

Main Attractions

Brazilian BBQ (cooked WELL) [Bridesmaids]
HDLT sandwiches (horse, (komodo) dragon, lettuce and tomato… no? okay, yeah, no.) [War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo]
Broccoli (maybe this recipe, whatever; no one will get it anyway) [The Tree of Life]

Dessert

Black-and-white cookies (hand them out silently and while tap dancing) [The Artist]
Fortune cookies (make your own, with your own fortunes!) [Kung Fu Panda 2]
Chocolate pie (for the love of god, don’t put shit in it; it’s on the record that I said ‘don’t’) [The Help]
Serve with tea and cigarettes [Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy]

Then say you prepared everything while crying and being melodramatic. [Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close]

Two steps forward, two steps back

Let’s do some feminist math, in honor of (the last hour of) International Women’s Day:

Book is published that shows it’s possible to turn female oppression into opportunity – now in its 20th printing: +1

It’s called Half the Sky, and it’s written by New York Times superheroes Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof. Read it.

Gold medalist with a penis drinks beer and is awesome. Gold medalists with vaginas drink beer and have to apologize: -1

And that’s in addition to the fact that hardly anyone even cared about women’s hockey at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics (although that would include me; see Hockey! post). Also, while official pucks that were used in the men’s gold medal game were going for $3,000-$5,000 on eBay (with one day left in the auction, I didn’t see what they ended up being sold for), similar pucks from the women’s gold medal game went for less than $500. Even taking into consideration the Sidney Crosby Factor, that’s still pretty sad.

Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director: +1

And it only took 82 years. In any case, I’m also enjoying the fact that she directed the gritty war drama, and her ex-husband directed the movie with all the pretty blue colours.

No one wants to dress Gabby Sidibe for the Oscars: -1

At the same awards show, controversy surrounds what designer is going to dress full-sized best actress nominee Gabby Sidibe (for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire). I think this issue has more to do with the inhuman standards of fashion and the superficiality of Hollywood culture than feminism, per se, but, again, both those things affect women more than they do men, so fair enough.

I guess I’d call it even.

An Oscar-worthy Menu

Planning an Oscar party? Need some best picture-themed food? Now that there are 10 best picture nominees, instead of 5, trying to devise an entire menu of themed foods is going to be twice as difficult this year. So let me help, and try a few of these ideas on Sunday, March 7. Warning: Lots of meat and alcohol.

Flaming German drinks, some serious Jewish appetizers and a cocktail that won’t alienate any guest:

Start with a German winter drink (meaning it’s served hot) traditionally served at New Year’s called Feuerzangenbowle (Flaming Fire Tongs Punch). [Inglourious Basterds] As a non-alcoholic option, offer glasses of milk.

For food, serve some matzah balls [A Serious Man], of which there are several varieties, and shrimp cocktail [District 9]- you can’t go wrong with shrimp cocktail.

Lighten things up with a high-flying drink and an exotic first course:

To go with the first course, serve this drink to your guests: the Paper Airplane Cocktail. [Up in the Air] For added excitement, use tiny plastic cups, serve it from a trolley, and charge $9 a glass.

Then, depending on what kind of bird meat you can procure, try either the Ostrich Chili-Corn Tamale or Partridges with Orange and Vermouth Sauce. [Up] Mmmm… Pair with any one of many salads from South America, like the Red Quinoa and Cranberry Salad or the Jicama and Orange Salad. [also Up]

Bring on the hurt with more drinks and a precious main course:

Make sure guests go home full and satisfied with this pigs feet recipe and some collard greens. Can’t find any pigs feet? Try this fried chicken recipe instead. [Precious]

To wash the meal down, serve this charming cocktail: the Chili Bomb (Crown Royal and Red Bull). Do not offer an alternative. [The Hurt Locker]

Colourful desserts and British tea:

Offer these two dessert options to end the night on a colourful note as they announce which one of our culinary inspirations will be taking home the grand prize: Blue Tidal Wave Sorbet [Avatar] and/or these harmonious black-and-white cookies [The Blind Side]. Serve with English breakfast tea, or another British variety of tea [An Education].

Enjoy!