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Unless you’re a foodie, you might not even notice how often filmmakers use food to help tell a story. From comic relief to sadness, food in film can stir up a range of emotions.
Food can also serve as a physical prop to enhance a scene, or help viewers better understand a character or the location (an example: New York City pizza tends to finds its way into films about the Big Apple). Food has delivered memorable moments in movies such as the cake-face scene in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” or the adorable spaghetti supper in “Lady and the Tramp.” Another cool thing about food in film? It’s a subtle way to share more about a character’s circumstances (like the scene in “Goodfellas” where the mobsters whip up an Italian feast from prison — that garlic sliced so thin with razors!).
Keeping that in mind, we collected a list of some of the best cookbooks inspired by beloved movies, characters, and TV shows. Below, find a short roundup of mouthwatering cookbooks with an eclectic selection of recipes to follow, regardless of whether you’re a novice or a pro in the kitchen. For more food and drink options, read our list of film-inspired cocktail books, and great gifts for movie lovers, film buffs, and TV junkies.
“Binging With Babish: 100 Recipes Recreated from Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows” by Andrew Rea
This companion to the popular cooking show of the same name features the recipes that YouTuber Andrew Rea makes, all based on a popular TV show or film. Recipes that Rea teaches in this book include the babka from the classic “Seinfeld” episode, the beef bourguignon from “Julie & Julia,” and Bubba’s shrimp from “Forrest Gump.” If you want to really impress someone, try the chocolate lava cake from Jon Favreau’s “Chef” — after you read the foreword from Favreau himself. The book also includes behind-the-scenes stories, never-seen-before photos, and answers to frequently asked fan questions.
“Movie Night Menus: Dinner and Drink Recipes Inspired by the Films We Love” by Andre and Tenaya Darlington
Turner Classic Movies is here to help you plan the perfect date night (or dinner party, when the public health situation finally allows). Cue up “Casablanca” with some French 75s and a Moroccan-themed spread — or choose from the rest of the 30 movie-themed dinners and cocktail pairings, inspired by films from the 1930s through the 1980s. You’ll also get behind the scenes intel on each film, dish, and cocktail, plus cooking tips and other entertaining ideas in a culinary tour of movie history with menus based on “The Thin Man,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Some Like It Hot,” “American Graffiti,” “Moonstruck,” and many more.
“Eat What You Watch” by Andrew Rea
Another offering from the Babish Culinary Universe, “Eat What You Watch” recreates iconic food scenes from 40 classic and cult films. Rhea takes readers on a food journey of delectable eats from “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and a bunch of other films.
“Fictional Eats Cookbook: Inspired Recipes from Movies and Shows” by SSC
If you’ve ever wanted to make the Pumpkin Pasties from “Harry Potter,” Remy’s Soup from Ratatouille, Lembas Bread from “Lord of the Rings,” Pretty Patties from “SpongeBob,” you’ll find them all in “Fictional Eats.” The books contains 84 recipes inspired by famous scenes from movies, shows, and cartoons, which includes Stranger Things Waffles, Wreck it Ralph Pancakes, Napoleon Tater Tots, Rick & Morty Nuggets, and Princess Tiana Gumbo from “Princess and the Frog.” In the mood from something sweet? Try a Willy Wonka Chocolate Bar, a Pink Donut from “The Simpsons,” or the Matilda Chocolate Fudge Cake. And that’s not all, “Fictional Eats” also features movie and TV-inspired milkshakes.
“The Nightmare Before Dinner: Recipes to Die For” by Zach Neil
“The Nightmare Before Dinner: Recipes to Die For” has more than 60 recipes from chef Zach Neil’s Beetle House restaurants (where “everyday is Halloween”). Inspired by the works of Tim Burton, and all things dark and lovely, the menu includes deadly delicious dishes such as Edward Burger Hands, Silence of the Lamb Chops, Beatle Bacon Bread, Hallowpeño Honey Cheddar Cornbread, and an array of spooky cocktails such as Coco Skellington, and Beetle’s Juice.
“The Cozy Christmas Movie Cookbook: Mouthwatering Food to Enjoy During Your Favorite Holiday Films” by Holly Carpenter
Delicious dishes are a great way slip into the holiday spirit. “The Cozy Christmas Movie Cookbooks” serves up 100 recipes, including snacks and small bites, inspired by Christmas movies. If Hallmark and Lifetime are on your holiday watchlist, “The Cozy Christmas Movie Cookbook” will make a perfect addition to movie night. The cookbook is broken into different sections: Movie Night In, Christmas Gatherings, Sweet Treats, and recipes for your furry family members.
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