Feature

Best of the Oscars Cocktail Buffet

Two foodies who like movies, Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine of Big Girls, Small Kitchen share recipes from their food blog that relate to some of the best films of all time. Check out their recipes, and watch some of our favorite food moments in film, as well.

Last year, our Oscar menu used the best picture nominees as jumping-off points for deliciously themed food–whether puns off movie titles or directly related to the movie’s scenes.

This year, we’re skipping the uncertainty of cooking for mere nominees and creating a “best of” buffet that features finger food from movies that have taken home the golden statuette in the past. In the interest of fun, this buffet is more over-the-top than our usual, manageable offerings. Feel free to simplify the menu, highlighting only your favorite dishes (or movies).

Arrange your Oscar-buffet with little flags so guests know what movie they relate to (we like these gumdrop flags for identification purposes). Or, make ‘em guess.

Fill up your plates with vintage movie-inspired food, then turn on the TV, get settled, and toast this year’s winners.

Best of the Oscars Cocktail Buffet

Chocolate Bark

Cara and Pheobe share a chocolate bark recipe reminisicent of Forrest Gump's classic "box of chocolates" line.


Forrest Gump (1990)
“You-Never-Know-What-You’re-Gonna-Get Chocolate Bark”
Life is like a box of chocolates (duh). Will the bark you bite into contain pineapple and papaya? Toffee and pretzels? Walnuts and dried cherries? I don’t know! Ask Forrest.

Casablanca (1942)
Eggplant Caponata Crostini
Just like this old-fashioned love story, Moroccan food is distinguished by the judicious mix of sweet and savory. That’s assuming that Bogart and Bergman’s Morocco featured the same winning combination a full 70 years ago. Bring everyone back to the age when a romance could take home the Oscar with these tasty one-bite treats.

Oliver! (1968)
Mushy Pea Crostini
Food glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard! Cold jelly and custard! While you could opt to illustrate Oliver! with skewers of sausage, we’ve decided to skip the cold jelly and make mushy peas, which Oliver and his cohorts must have eaten. It’s just so British.

Annie Hall (1977)
One-in-the-Pot-One-on-the-Floor Lobster Rolls
You all know that scene in Annie Hall, right–the one where Diane Keaton and Woody Allen are trying to cook lobsters and they’re just too neurotic to do so? Skip past that part and make lobster salad by buying cooked, shelled lobster meat and stuffing it into slider rolls.

Chicken Fingers

You may not be a kid anymore, but you can put an adult spin on this chicken finger snack.


Toy Story 3 (2010)
To-Infinity-and-Beyond! Chicken Finger Rockets
Chicken fingers are kid food. But the whole point of Toy Story 3 is that Andy is too grown up for Buzz Lightyear and Woody. To herald his passage into teenage-dom, these chicken fingers got a chipotle kick that’s clearly much too mature for any kiddo to enjoy.

Chariots of Fire (1981)
Pesto-Potato Focaccia
How would two British runners hope to do well in the 1924 Olympics if they hadn’t carbo-loaded beforehand? Whether you rooted for Eric or Harold, eating this potato-bread combination will give you the stamina to make it to the Oscar finish line.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Atlanta Oven-Baked Ribs
During all that driving Miss Daisy must have noshed on something! Our choice: these slow-cooked ribs with lots of spices and a good southern mop for extra flavor. Cut them into one-rib servings to make the ribs fit in with your cocktail spread.

Asaparagus

Here is an asparagus hors d'oeuvres you won't want to throw out the window.


American Beauty (1999)
And-Then-I-Blackmailed-Him-for-Almost-$60,000 Pass the [Puff Pastry-Wrapped] Asparagus
Ah, the dark side of American suburbia! Before Mad Men arrived on the scene and made us think of the suburbs with nostalgia, there was American Beauty and the famous freak-out dinner table scene. Try not to throw your plate of delicate hors d’oeuvres at the window in imitation of Spacey.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Baked Potato Samosas
If it seems wrong to you to serve a dish inspired by a movie where children live in abject poverty, well, you just may be right. Still, we’d rather pay homage to this one with homemade samosa than with an empty plate. If echoes of “chai, chai,” still clamor in your head, add Chai Tea Lattes to your menu. If assembling samosas is too labor-intensive, you can also just serve our Potato-Pea Masala.


Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine are the pair behind the popular food blog known as Big Girls, Small Kitchen and Small Kitchen College. They released their first cookbook, In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World, in 2011, and the book is available on Amazon. PBS Food chose the cookbook as one of the “11 Cookbooks We Liked in 2011.”