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the family meal
Big Night (1996)—Louis Prima doesn't come to dinner in Stanley Tucci's tale of immigrant dreams and siblings
Mostly Martha (2002)—uptight German chef gets unwound by her niece who will only eat the cooking of her Italian rival
Soul Food (1997)—disruption and celebration at this African-American family dinner table
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)—Ang Lee's film about unity and conflict during the ritual Sunday dinner as the chef father of three daughters loses his ability to taste and smell
Tortilla Soup (2001)—an Hispanic take on Eat Drink, set in Los Angeles, with Hector Elizondo heading the family
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant—Anne Tyler's novel about a messed-up family and one son's vision of a restaurant that serves people what they need, not what they order

kids twelve and under
In The Corrections, Enid's Dinner of Revenge leaves her six-year old son Chip at the dinner table for hours, unable to bring himself to finish his plate of cold, mashed rutabaga, boiled beet greens, and fried liver
Scout's exclamation, "But he's gone and drowned his dinner in syrup," when little Walter Cunningham comes to dinner in To Kill a Mockingbird
Tom Hanks reacts to his first taste of caviar in Big (1988)
The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
Stone Soup, by Heather Forest
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
MODELL (to Eddie): What's that, roast beef?
EDDIE: Don't ask me this anymore, Modell. Yes.
MODELL: Gonna finish that?
EDDIE: Yeah, I'm gonna finish it. I paid for it; I'm not going to give it to you.
MODELL: Because if you're not gonna finish it, I would eat it...but if you're gonna eat it—
EDDIE: What do you want?! Say the words.
MODELL: No,...if you're gonna eat it, you eat; that's all right.
EDDIE: Say the words: "I want the roast-beef sandwich." Say the words, and I'll give you a piece.

when adults eat
"Gonna finish that?" Modell's mooching in Diner
Clemenza teaches Michael Corleone how to cook spaghetti before Michael leaves to avenge the attack on his father in The Godfather (1972)
The deli scene in When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Dinner at Eight—one day leading up to a NYC society dinner—1933 film classic starring John and Lionel Barrymore, Jean Harlow, and the Good Witch, Billie Burke, based on a play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman (which is currently enjoying a revival at Lincoln Center)
Jack Nicholson makes a special request of the waitress in Five Easy Pieces (1970)—"Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, charge me for the sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules."
Babette's Feast (1987)—French maid blows her inheritance on one last beautiful meal for two Danish sisters
Tampopo (1985)—elevates slurping into an art

love and death
Tom Jones (1963)—Albert Finney gnaws on a turkey leg in an intriguing seduction scene
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)—don't taste the gazpacho
Heartburn—Nora Ephron's semi-autobiographical novel about a food writer's marriage breakup
Like Water for Chocolate—Laura Esquivel's novel explores the magic of food and love
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)—never kill your wife's lover unless you expect to eat him, too
Little Shop of Horrors—Audrey gets hungry

BOBBY: Okay, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. Give me an omelette, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast—no butter, no mayonnaise, no lettuce—and a cup of coffee.
She begins writing down his order, repeating it sarcastically:
WAITRESS: One Number Two, and a chicken sal san—hold the butter, the mayo, the lettuce—and a cup of coffee....Anything else?
BOBBY: Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, charge me for the sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
WAITRESS (challenging him): You want me to hold the chicken.
BOBBY: Yeah. I want you to hold it between your knees.

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