The lights dim, the projector whirs and the audience hushes and cuddles up to their cartons of popcorn. It’s a scene that happens every night in every cinema in the country, and there’s something wrong with it: the popcorn. Traditional it may be, but cinema popcorn is bland and overpriced — and the wrinkled-lip feeling you get from the salty kind is revolting.
Of course, cinemagoers can’t always control their food options. Sort of sneaking a burrito into the theatre under your coat — which can get messy — you’re stuck with the choices available. But people watching films at home don’t have to settle for second best. Here are a few alternatives to make your movie nights a little tastier.
From the groundbreaking crime thrillers of Johnnie To to the thoughtful emotional studies of Wong Kar-Wai, Chinese cinema is a rich and exciting world. But you don’t have to be popping some Shaw Brothers classics in the DVD player to be ordering Chinese. Dim sum is the perfect film food: it tends to come in multiple small dishes and there are lots of great snacks and appetisers. Even Chinese restaurants that don’t specialize in dim sum usually provide lots of finger food options. Ambitious cooks might try to create their own spring rolls and pork buns; for the rest of us, there’s JUST EAT.
Pitta and hummous
If Chinese restaurants aren’t your favourite, there are a lot of other options for tastier — and healthier! — alternatives to popcorn. Like popcorn, the ideal movie snack has to be something you can easily keep in your lap and eat without taking your eyes from the screen. Toasted pitta and hummous is a good example. Toast the pitta bread, then slice it into strips or triangles (you may want to let it cool a little first). Enjoy it with small bowls of different flavours of hummous.
Wait, wait, let me explain! I’m not talking about the warm, nitrate-laden processed meat products you get in a cinema. Think of this as an adult take on that concept. Grill up some spicy sausage — if the weather is good, this is a great outdoor grilling project — and serve on a warm, crusty roll. Alternatively, some American-style all-beef hot dogs make a great snack for a red-blooded Hollywood action movie. Make sure to add condiments before the movie starts.
It sounds awful, but baked cauliflower “popcorn” is actually delicious. Rub a head of cauliflower with oil, then sprinkle it with salt or whatever other spices you want on your popcorn. You could also try adding some grated cheese on top here. Once you’ve done this, bake it for about 20 minutes. Once it’s done and cooled, you can pull the florets off the head and crunch them up like popcorn.
You might say that pizza is the lazy man’s movie dinner, and it is. But it’s also delicious and easy. After all, a movie evening is meant to be relaxing, and unless you’re one of those people who finds cooking a delicious, healthy meal relaxing you might find it easier to just go online and order yourself a couple of piping hot discs of movie marathon goodness.
And if you’re after tasty discounts on some of these fine foods, follow @JUSTEAT on Twitter for all the latest discounts and competitions.
All food photos courtesy of Shutterstock.