Oscar-nominated movies inspire food to set the party mood

Sure, an Oscar party is an annual excuse to gather with friends, get catty about what celebrities are wearing and splurge on decadent foods. But it's always worth it, especially when you tailor the menu to reflect the Academy Awards best-picture nominees.
"Treat the dishes for each movie like a little vignette," says Virginia Willis, author of Bon Appétit Y'all and Basic to Brilliant, Y'all (both Ten Speed). "Create some signage to explain it, and tailor the decor to the movie, too." For instance, the Moneyball "scene" could be a baseball diamond in miniature: a side table covered in sod from a garden-supply store (keep it contained on rimmed baking sheets).

Then a Midnight in Paris formal dining table, set with your best china and crystal. Or if space is tight, the main dining table could serve both vignettes — simply divide the table down the center, like a split-screen, and do one movie on each side.

This year, there's plenty from which to choose, with nine movies up for best picture. To keep it simple, we've zeroed in on five that can be easily reinterpreted in the kitchen.

The Help

Set in the South in the 1960s, this film lends itself to a fun, retro menu. "There are so many hors d'oeuvres that would've been at the height of fashion at this time — and in fact, they're still timeless," says Willis, a Georgia native. "The Junior League ladies of that era would've done something fancy like curried chicken salad, rumaki or angels on horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon)." Other Southern fare might include pimento cheese (aka "the pâté of the South," a mix of cream cheese, pimentos and shredded cheddar), served with crackers, celery sticks or stuffed inside cherry tomatoes.  Read More

Posted on February 21, 2012 and filed under Current Food Events.