'I'll have what she's having'

The foodie films of Nora Ephron

I'll have what she's having

The scene and the setting are world famous: Sally (Meg Ryan) fakes an orgasm in Katz's Delicatessen, and a woman at the next table is making one of the best film quotes ever, the one stated in this title. The writer of the scene was Nora Ephron, a woman Cinema Culinair is very grateful to.

the screenwriter: nora ephron

Nora Ephron (1941-2012) was a terrific screenwriter for romantic comedies and she was a serious foodie. Her films can be enjoyed both by the stories as the food she  interweaves in the film. The food resonates with the feelings and the quirks of the main characters in the films. 


Her novel Heartburn has loads of great recipes that unfortunately didn't make it to the films Heartburn (1986): brisket with sauerkraut and brown sugar, lima beans with pears or bouillabaise with Swiss chard. However, this delicious Key Lime pie makes a great finale in the film, ending up on Marks (Jack Nicholson) face.
key lime pie heartburn
If I had it to do over again, I would have made a different kind of pie. The pie I threw at Mark made a terrific mess, but a blueberry pie would have been even better, since it would have permanently ruined his new blazer, the one he bought with Thelma.

The Key lime pie is very simple to make. First you line a 9 inch pie plate with a graham cracker crust (one role of digestive biscuits mixed with 100 gram of melted butter). Then beat six egg yolks. Add 1 cup of lime juice, 1 can of condensed milk and 1 tablespoon of lime zest. Pour into the pie shell and freeze. Remove from the freezer and spread with whipped cream. 
(From: Heaertburn, the novel)

the meaning of food 

Nora Ephron knew the emotional subtext of food. What's the best comfort food? Mashed potatoes (Heartburn). Chopping onions (Julie&Julia) serves well to hides your sadness and anger. And ordering something 'on the side' or that's not exactly on the menu (When Harry met Sally) says a lot about someone's need to stand out as an individual. Food always serves to underline the emotional state of a character.
- Julia Child in Julie & Julia

food trends in film

'Pesto is the quiche of the eighties' is one of the food  quotes in When Harry met Sally. The film is made in 1989, and introduced grilled radicchio to a larger audience. Three years later, Ephron wrote a line about Tiramisu in Sleepless in Seattle, making it a standard desert in American diners. Ephrons last film was Julie&Julia, returning to the classic French cuisine, as it was brought to the American audience by TV chef Julia Child. And since then, Julia Childs 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' has had translations over reprints. 
julie and julia
Julia bones a duck, proving that she can confront her own fear
Oh, by the way, what Sally is really having in When Harry met Sally is a turkey sandwich, but somehow this culinary fact has fallen into oblivion.
Wies Sanders, 27. March 2018
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