Thursday, December 20, 2012

Foods Inspired by the Movie "White Christmas"

I've had a lot of dumb ideas. One idea I particularly like is having a meal themed after a particular event, especially with friends. I guess you could say I'm kind of like Heston Blumenthal's much dumber and less-skilled younger brother.

We made plans last week with our good friends, Paul and Caolan, to watch White Christmas togeter like a family. All four of us became increasingly excited about this event as it approached given that we are all fans of the movie and of each other's company. We would make great eighty-year-olds.

This is apparently not a new phenomenon. Two years ago we had a similarly idiotic meal with our friends when we celebrated a movie that none of us had actually seen by making Croque Monsiuers and watching 'It's Complicated.' So there is some precedent.

So it was that I found myself tasked with trying to find the foods in the movie White Christmas and plan a meal around them. Any fool would have stopped here after realizing that there is precious little mention of food or actual food in the movie at all. Reading the script reveals there were actually a few references to food that were removed from the final movie such as mentions of lamb chops and tuna sandwiches that were cut from the movie. They were probably left out because Bing Crosby was just winging the scenes in between rounds of golf.

Bundles of Joy (and Poop)

Before starting the dinner we played with the boys for a while, got them off to day care, and then went about our daily chores.

After picking them up we got to eating dinner and watching White Christmas with Paul and Caolan, but not before getting some presents for the Wombats and getting them to bed.

Paul Mocking Martin

Elliott with Ball

The boys got a sweet ball from Caolan and Paul which they immediately got to work playing with.

Then it was on to our bizarre dinner. So I present to you the foods of White Christmas. Since they are so scattered, and mostly involve sandwiches, they didn't make for much of a meal. Jen hates sandwiches for dinner, Caolan is a vegetarian, and Paul is mostly fond of pasta and Ethiopian food. So it was that I felt the need to present these foods in a mostly symbolic manner so that they may serve as a sort of Seder plate during our regular meal.

The items are listed as they appear in the movie, chronologically. We did not eat them in this order because I felt it would be odd to begin a meal with eclairs and coffee.

In the beginning of the movie the sheriff is delayed by Wallace and Davis's manager with eclairs and coffee. I only know they are eclairs from reading the script. In fact, for years, I thought he was eating dinner. I guess this makes sense given police proclivity toward morning pastries.


For dessert I served eclairs from the bakery down the street along with piping-hot coffee.

In the "drafty old club car" Davis gets Wallace to lose the hard feelings he has toward the ladies and they bark out orders at the poor club car attendant who has to to fix them club sandwiches, lemonade, and a malted.

White Christmas Club Car


Given the nature of recurring sandwiches I felt it would be redundant to make sandwiches twice so I stuck to the lemonade and malted. Lemonade is easy, you just pour it out of a container marked "lemonade" but I had never made a malted milk shake before so I had to look up a recipe. Apparently this is also very easy and merely consists of combining milk, malted milk powder, and ice cream in a blender. I topped them with crushed malted milk balls.

Malted Milk Shake

The malted turned out quite well. It may have been one of the only parts of the meal that was not openly revolting. In fact, I'd even consider making it again!

Hot Buttered Rum

In this scene Wallace also mentions, "Hot buttered rum, easy on the butter." So as an after dinner drink I made some hot buttered rum bu whisking some brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt, placing a dollop in each mug, topping with a little rum and boiling water. I made hot buttered rum once before in 1997. I remember thinking it sounded delicious but ultimately being extremely disappointed in the rather nasty results.

This version of the drink was better than I remember but I don't think I'll be rushing to make it again. I think I can wait another fifteen years.

In probably the most famous food-related scene in the movie Wallace explains to Betty how different foods make him dream of different things. Ham and rye makes him dream of a tall, cool blonde. Turkey makes him dream about a brunette. A little on the scat-back side, but oh, sexy. Liverwurst makes him dream about liverwurst.

White Christmas Sandwich Sequence

Apparently the only foods he eats are sandwiches and the only thing he dreams about is women.

And liverwurst.

White Christmas Sandwiches

I was pretty sure I was the only one who'd eat these sandwiches (and probably for lunch the following day) so I presented them and had a few bites of each. I made the turkey simply on white bread with butter, lettuce, and avocado. I doubt there was avocado on the sandwich in the movie as I don't think avocados were invented until the 1980s.

I also made ham and Swiss on rye bread with mustard and, of course, liverwurst with mustard and lettuce on fresh Italian bread.

White Christmas "Bring the Cow"

Liverwurst and Buttermilk

The part I was dreading was drinking the buttermilk. In the movie Bing tells Betty to "bring the cow" referring to what I thought was milk but Betty distinctively calls it buttermilk in a later scene. I have cooked with buttermilk many times in the past but I've never had it as a beverage. It just seemed that one should leave buttermilk as an ingredient, not a beverage.

You may be saying, "Keep buttermilk in your way and let me keep it in mine." If you are, however, you are wrong. It is no good as a drink.

As it turns out it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, it was mildly enjoyable.

In the scene where things go sour between Wallace and Betty, Davis is sitting over a fire roasting hot dogs while Judy holds what appears to be an inappropriately large basket of hot dog buns for two hot dogs.

White Christmas Hot Dog Roast

This was one I struggled with as we do not have an open fire in our home -- thankfully.

Fire Roasted Hot Dogs

I also have never associated hot dogs with the holidays but, for completion's sake, I roasted a couple over the open flame on my stove and served them with a much smaller "basket" of hot dog buns.

Fire Roasted Hot Dogs

Nothing says Christmas like poorly roasted and even more poorly presented hot dogs.

Sam Adams White Christmas Ale

There is no beer mentioned in White Christmas but I couldn't have that. Luckily there was a release this year of White Christmas Ale from Sam Adams. This was a pretty standard spiced wheat beer and it was very tasty. Jen, in particular, really enjoyed it. It's a shame it's pretty much sold out for the season.

Shabbiest Paperback Book Ever

After dinner we exchanged present. We got Paul a really crappy paperback book purporting to be a "high quality paperback."

Chocolate D&D Dice

We also got them some chocolate D&D dice.

They got us a certificate for free babysitting so that we could go out for dinner some night in January or February.

We totally got the best gift of all.


Anonymous said...

I am in awe of this whole event. Foods inspired by White Christmas! And what a revolting collection they are, too! I had forgotten, or not noticed, most of the food references, but I do remember the liverwurst and buttermilk. Nasty!
I think of myself as having a special relationship with this movie because it came out in time for Christmas 1954, just like I did. That's probably why Paul watched it so many times as a child. Sorry, Paul.
As many times as I have watched the movie -- and it is a lot -- I have never really understood the difference between the horrible thing Betty etc. think W&D are doing to the general, and the wonderful thing they are actually doing.

Unknown said...

The liverwurst and buttermilk was actually far better than I thought it would be. I actually like liverwurst so that's a good start but I thought the buttermilk would be much worse.

You shouldn't apologize to Paul, what a great thing to watch!

I think you have hit upon one of the major plot holes in the film but who cares about that when you have the quick quips of Bing Crosby and Danny Kay mixed with those amazing dance numbers?

Lynn said...

Peter thought of a food reference (of sorts) that you didn't mention: when the chorus girl says, "Without so much as a kiss my foot or ha-a-ave an apple!"

Unknown said...

Paul actually brought up that exact line. I actually had an apple and thought about adding it to the menu but I figured it was shabby enough as is.

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