- Gary Sheahan
Here at Mera Food Service, we LOVE cheese. We also LOVE movies. So, you’ve guessed it; we had to reminisce over Cheese IN movies!
Now movies do have the unfortunate habit of being referred to as ‘cheesy’. Which is completely different to the use of cheese in movies. Interestingly the term ‘cheesy’ does not actually have anything to do with this food we all love. The mildly derogatory term of ‘cheesy’ is thought to have derived from the Urdu term ‘chiz’ meaning a thing – which then went on to mean the ‘big thing’ when picked up by the brits in India during the early 1800’s. This then evolved into a term for ‘showy’ and finally onto the ironic sense it enjoys today in the modern language. So, no connection between cheesy and cheese. That said, we could have a cheesy movie that famously features a cheese – any ideas?
Some movies should have been heavily involved with cheese – Close Encounters of the Curd Kind for example – were not to be. Others however have some fantastic cheesy moments…
Benny and Joon – this 1993 release gave us the iconic scene of a young Johnny Depp ironing a grill cheesed sandwich. Or more correctly – using an iron to make a grilled cheese sandwich! While watching him do this Joon, played by the wonderful Mary Stuart Masterson, delivers the iconic line “some cultures are defined by their relationship with cheese”. They later discuss whether he should have used the Wool setting on the iron for a crispier finish. A great scene from an albeit average movie.
Ratatouille – our famous friend – the gourmet rat believes he has discovered strawberry cheese cake by finding cheddar and some strawberries in the garbage and feeding it to the largely indifferent Émile in a wonderful sewer scene. Probably not the best image for our Food Service customers, and not a hit with our HACCAP inspectors – but a wonderful movie moment none the less!
Pulp Fiction – who can forget that car full of coolness as Jules and Vincent (John Travolta and Sam Jackson) discuss the difference between a US Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a European one
Vincent: you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris? Jules: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? Vincent: No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn't know what a Quarter Pounder is. Jules: Then what do they call it?
Vincent: They call it Royale with Cheese. Jules: Royale with Cheese. What do they call a Big Mac? Vincent: Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
Diary of a wimpy kid – those of a certain age will remember the dreaded ‘Cheese Touch’. This famous scene kicked of a real-life trend. The unfortunate Darren touched a piece of discarded swiss sliced cheese in a playground and set off the dreaded ‘cheese touch’ epidemic. For fans of the movie, it proved to be one of the most memorable scenes. The ‘touch’, for those of you unfamiliar with the story, finally leaves the US and lands in Dusseldorf Germany. This scene proved so popular they created a board game from it – called Cheese Touch!
Burn After Reading – a wonderful moment as George Clooney’s character is offered a cheese snack at a party being hosted by the obnoxious and wonderfully rude character played by the brilliant John Malkovich. Clooney asks if it is Goat Cheese to which Malkovich nods but with a corrective “yes – it is Chevre”. Brilliant moment. And the cheese looks good in this one!
Friends (OK – I know its TV and not a movie!) – most of one single episode was dominated by a cheesecake being regularly mis-sent to Chandlers apartment. Rachel gets in on the secret and they both get hooked on this great looking cake. We found the idea of getting Cheesecake through the post brilliant – but the Friends stealing it from their elderly neighbour? Not so much. But that cake did look good…..
The Merry Wives of Windsor – of course Cheese references go back way further than the silver screen or the goggle box. From the 1597 Shakespeare classic we have the Bardolph character addressing Abraham Slender as a “Banbury cheese”. This comedic slur referred to the thinness of the cheese, especially with the rind removed, as a pointed reference to his Slender surname. Banbury cheese was once Oxfords most famous export but has long since died out. Let’s hope appearing in entertainment media is not a cause for cheese demise!
Monty Pythons Flying Circus – Finally of course, from episode 33, there is the seminal work of cheese in popular culture – the unbeatable Cheese Shop sketch. This is were our hungry shopper, played by John Cleese, enters a cheese shop and addresses the owner, played by Michael Palin, by stating he is “peckish” and fancied “a little fermented curd”. “You have come to the right place” he is informed, “best cheese shop in the area”. Then despite fluently requesting 43 different cheeses, he receives a “not in stock” or “Not today sir” or some other rejection until he finally loses patience. For the few remaining people on the planet who have not seen it – we wont spoil the ending. Suffice to say – a must for cheese and comedy show lovers alike, and fun to see if you recognise all the cheeses referenced!
What’s your favourite cheesy movie moment? Did we miss any iconic ones? Keep en eye out, maybe one day you'll spy Mera packaging in the background of Ratatouille 2!