When Amanda (Cameron Diaz) from Los Angeles, and Iris (Kate Winslet) from Surrey, swap houses for the holidays, they find that their respective awful luck in love is seemingly changing for the better.
Released in 2006, The Holiday, in addition to being a delightfully charming romantic comedy, is a holiday film filled with some fantastic food and drink moments, making it the ideal subject for a December post here on food & a film.
The first major food scene in the film comes when Amanda, shortly after landing in England and unpacking at the coziest of cottages, embarks on a rather harrowing journey via Mini Cooper to the local village in Surrey. After narrowly avoiding multiple collisions, Amanda, upon arrival to the village, parks the car and says, “I need a drink.” We then cut to a gourmet food shop where Amanda is drinking straight from a bottle of wine as she loads various food items into her cart. There is then a shot of the checkout conveyor belt filled with Amanda’s provisions including fine cheeses, olives, nuts, chocolate, bread, wine, snowmen sugar cookies, and a bottle opener with a cork attached, which we can assume was from when she uncorked her bottle of shopping wine offscreen. As the cashier begins to ring up the various items, she remarks, “Someone’s having a party tonight.,” to which Amanda replies, “Oh yeah.,” before taking another swig from her shopping wine. The following scene then shows Amanda in bed watching television with a large tray on her lap containing an assortment of her gourmet groceries including a loaf of bread and some fine cheese, as well as a glass of red wine.
The next appearance of food occurs when Iris is having a little snack while out driving, and although we cannot make out exactly what she is enjoying, there is clearly some type of baked good in her right hand. Then upon discovering Arthur (Eli Wallach) out walking and looking lost, Iris gives him a ride home. As Iris sees Arthur inside, she takes a brief look around his home and it is then that we see a shot of a tray table topped with Arthur’s lunch, consisting of a sandwich, soup & salad, and a glass of iced tea. Upon seeing that Arthur is all alone, Iris invites Arthur out to dinner. The subsequent scene is then the duo out for dinner at a restaurant; however, there is no appearance of food during their dinner conversation. Despite Iris and Arthur not eating during their restaurant scene, there is a restaurant scene shortly thereafter between Amanda and Graham (Jude Law), where Amanda gives Graham a forkful of her food to taste.
Following this restaurant scene, the next appearance of food comes when Miles (Jack Black) stops by Amanda’s house while Iris is hosting a little Hanukkah party. Iris invites Miles in and the ensuing scene is during dessert, as the night is coming to a close. We can see a bowl of what looks like strawberries and blueberries, as well as a plate of macaroons on the table. As everyone is laughing at the table, Miles throws his hand up and says, “I’ve had too much of the Manischewitz. I’m gonna have to be cut off.” Then later, when the rest of the guests have gone and Miles is saying goodbye to Iris at the door, he says, “The brisket was great. And those chocolate-covered macaroons— delectable.”
The next notable appearance of food is after Iris tries to cheer Miles up by asking, “So how about some food? Shall I make us a little Christmas fettuccine?” Following this scene, we cut to a beautiful bowl of creamy fettuccine; however, it is not a bowl belonging to Iris or Miles, but instead, Amanda, who is, coincidentally, having a little Christmas fettuccine as well. Then directly following this fettuccine appearance, is a brief scene of Iris snacking on popcorn while watching His Girl Friday.
One of the final food scenes in the film takes place when Iris and Miles are having lunch while sitting at the sushi counter at a Japanese restaurant. When Miles gets a call, Iris says, “We should get the bill.,” to which Miles responds, “No! No, no, no, take your time. I can wait till you’re finished.” When Iris then replies, “I’m finished.,” Miles says, “No. You didn’t get to your spicy tuna yet.”
The very final appearance of food in the film comes just moments before the end credits during the New Year’s Eve party sequence when Amanda brings in a tray of hors d’oeuvres and places it down on an ottoman for everyone to enjoy.
Lastly, other notable food and drink moments in The Holiday worth mentioning include the two brief pub appearences, the cocktails and canapés at Iris’ office Christmas party, Amanda and Graham drinking brandy upon meeting, Graham’s morning coffee, Graham making mugs of hot chocolate with five baby marshmallows each, Amanda’s whipped cream hot chocolate mustache, Iris and Miles enjoying frozen coffee drinks complete with dollops of whipped cream while perusing the shelves at Blockbuster (RIP), Iris drinking orange juice with Arthur, Iris offering Miles a cup of tea in one hand and then a glass of vodka in the other, and finally, Iris and Miles drinking tea while Miles plays the piano.
When it came time to create my vegan pairing menu for The Holiday, I ultimately turned to the Hanukkah party scene for my main source of inspiration. Instead of brisket, I opted for a festive roast, and of course, no Hanukkah party is complete without some latkes. I also included sides of shredded Brussels sprout salad and cooked multi-colored carrots.
For dessert, instead of chocolate-covered macaroons, I went with raspberry rugelach, and for drinks, a glass of Manischewitz, as well as a mug of hot chocolate with five mini peppermint marshmallows.
And finally, for the table setting, I found a beige fabric with a faint wintertime holly print to use as a tablecloth, as well as included a small floral arrangement to add a bit of festive flare.
Thank you so much for reading! Make sure to check back next week for another festive food & a film pairing as part of the December holiday series here on the blog. Until then!