A24 Launches A Cookbook Inspired By Famous Fictional Meals

Food in film can work as something much more than a prop piece. A meal can become a representation of a character's struggle or triumph, a glimpse into their mind's inner workings without a single word of dialogue. This is the premise behind A24's newly released cookbook, "Scrounging." 

As the title suggests, this cookbook has a very specific recipe theme and may not necessarily offer the meals that movie buffs are jonesing to try. Unlike a traditional cookbook, these recipes aren't governed by good taste. Comprised of meals from 54 films, these recipes represent meals of quiet desperation, manic creativity, and perhaps a touch of plain insanity that you can often only find in films. Examples of this niche recipe category include the Vicodin-coated potato from "The Martian,"  the sad single-dad French toast from "Kramer vs. Kramer," and fugitive roasted gopher dinner from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" 

Of course, some recipes are more born from a character's unhinged cravings rather than from depressing necessity. Take Buddy the Elf's syrup- and marshmallow-laden spaghetti, Kevin of "Home Alone's" 12-scoop ice cream sundae, and even the cover recipe, the Cap'n Crunch and Pixy Stix-packed sandwich that Ally Sheedy's character made in "The Breakfast Club." All the recipes are tied together by a kind of absurdity that you can only find in films.

A weird and wonderful world of cinema cuisine

With a foreword by Matty Matheson, a comedic character on the FX series "The Bear" and a real-life chef, and recipes styled and written by New York Times Cooking contributor Sue Li, the tome is styled like a retro 1970s community cookbook, with color-saturated photography by Wade and Leta. Matheson taps into the theme of the book in the foreword, writing, "Whether it's the focal point of a scene, the butt of a joke, a symbol, or clues for a character's backstory, food in film is about more than just caloric intake." 

Of course, some of these recipes that serve as popular plot points are also borderline poisonous. Readers should definitely skip the moonshine distilled from paint thinner made in "The Master," and probably shouldn't plant potatoes in their own excrement before adding Vicodin à la "The Martian." Although other recipes, like Kip's cheese nachos from "Napoleon Dynamite," and the eggy BLT from "Spanglish," could prove to be pretty tasty. Still, readers should treat this cookbook like a nostalgic blend of an arthouse coffee table book and a superfan recipe collection rather than a go-to guide for home cooking.