cinephile in training

In the middle of a record-breaking, gorgeous summer in Vancouver, I’ve spent a surprising amount of time in the past week thinking about movies – an activity I would normally associate with rainy evenings, hot chocolate, popcorn and cuddling.

It started with aimless internet reading, where at some point I came across a reference to the creatively-named “Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having an Affair Pie,” (I think I was looking for the unrelated lyrics to “Goodbye Earl”) from the movie Waitress (which I hadn’t heard of, and haven’t seen). Further investigation led to the understanding that this is a pie where “you smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.” It also led to a list of the eighteen pies featured in Waitress, including the “Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie,” “I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong and I Don’t Want Earl to Kill Me Pie” and “Baby Screaming Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruining My Life Pie.” Clearly I need to see this movie – and start re-evaluating what I name my own kitchen creations.

Then came an invite to watch a movie (Clueless) in Stanley Park after sundown with the girls and gin lemonades and cupcakes, which unfortunately fell through. There are still a few movies left this summer, however, and if anyone would like to brave Poltergeist in a forest in the dark with me, please let me know (I will bring popcorn, but I can’t promise that I won’t bury my face behind a blanket for most of the movie).

Next was a love affair with Gather Journal, which I came across on goop (how could you not patronizingly adore someone who says “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin” and “When you go to Paris and your concierge sends you to some restaurant because they get a kickback, it’s like, ‘No. Where should I really be? Where is the great bar with organic wine? Where do I get a bikini wax in Paris?'”). Gather Journal, unlike goop, is incredibly classy, and the magazine form of what I imagine film noir to be. It has stunning photography and poetic descriptions and unconventional ingredients. And it’s printed on this luscious, thick, matte paper. There’s nothing more romantic than high-quality stationery. (I too have my out-of-touch Gwyneth Paltrow-esque idiosyncrasies). Anyway, Gather Journal’s current issue, Spring/Summer 2013, has a movie theme, where they’ve selected movies across all decades and genres and created dishes that represent each film. I’m waiting for an excuse to try the first recipe: a champagne onion dip for potato chips, inspired by The Seven Year Itch (another movie I hadn’t heard of, and haven’t seen – yet). But I don’t think I could resist Marilyn Monroe (in that infamous dress!) declaring “A married man, air conditioning, champagne and potato chips – it’s a wonderful party!” It seems I have a soft spot for well-intentioned and endearingly foolish blonde actresses.

After my first perusal through Gather Journal, I tried to come up with my favorite movie so I could create a recipe around it. I couldn’t think of an all-time favorite, although A Beautiful Mind (awkward nerds! math! game theory!), Million Dollar Baby (the first movie to make me cry other than Air Bud), Crash and Love Actually (I love interwoven plot lines) come to mind. Then last week in the lunch room I ended up eating with the two biggest movie buffs in the company, who went on for a while about their all-time favorite movies, most of which I’d never heard of and were from before I was born. I now have a reasonably-sized list of classics (including Lawrence of Arabia, The Great Escape, and The Man Who Would be King) to watch.

Since I incidentally ended up with a list of movies to watch, rather than a list of movies I’ve already seen that inspire me, the recipe that accompanies this post is meant to be eaten while working your way through your own to-watch list. And if that list includes Poltergeist, my invitation – and my promise to bring popcorn (caramel!) – still stands.

Caramel Popcorn


Quarter cup butter (use Earth Balance or vegan margarine to keep it vegan)
One cup dark brown sugar
One and a half tablespoons molasses
One and a half tablespoons maple syrup
One tablespoon whiskey (or use more syrup)
Half teaspoon salt
Quarter teaspoon baking soda
Half teaspoon vanilla
Ten cups popped plain popcorn (two microwave bags)


Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in sugar, molasses, syrup, whiskey and salt. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil, then stop stirring and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.
Slowly pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a giant bowl or two, and toss to coat. Spread across two large baking sheets, and bake for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
Let cool completely and break into pieces.

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