Twenty years after a boy meets a young mermaid off the waters of Cape Cod, the two are reunited.
A beloved romantic comedy released in 1984, Splash contains several notable food moments in addition to a pretty iconic food sequence, making it an ideal choice for the latest food & a film pairing.
The first appearance of food in the film occurs about five minutes in when we join Allen (Tom Hanks) at his place of work, which happens to be a wholesale produce market in NYC. Here at the produce market we see various crates of produce being moved around and packed onto trucks. A customer, Mr. McCullough, inquires about the whereabouts of his cherries, and when Allen goes to track the cherries down, upon seeing them he says to his supplier, “Aug, where the hell did you grow these things? Under your arms? Jesus, snails with stems. Forget it. Get them out of here!” Augie, the supplier, follows Allen and explains to him, “Look, you know we get a lot of rain and cherries get a little slime.” Allen’s brother, Freddie (John Candy), then arrives to work, crashing into crates of fruit as he parks his car in the loading area, and asks, “Who put this goddam fruit here?” Allen then offers Mr. McCullough bananas at cost to make up for the slimy cherries and he agrees.
The next notable appearance of food or drink occurs when Freddie and Allen are at a bar. Freddie picks up a brandy from the bar, which has a bowl of pretzels on it, and we then see that Allen has drunkenly passed out in a separate bowl of bar pretzels. Freddie orders more drinks from the bartender and Allen protests saying, “No, no. Freddie, I don’t want to get drunk.” As Allen lifts his head from the bowl, we see that there are several pretzels stuck to his face. Freddie then tells Allen, “But you are drunk. You see a sober person would have reached for the pretzels.”
Following the bar scene, the next scene to feature food is back at the produce market where we see braids of garlic and spices in the background.
After the produce market scene, we then see food onscreen again when Allen brings Madison (Daryl Hannah) a tray with an array of breakfast foods on it. Allen upon entering the room announces, “Room service.,” and after he sets the tray down, explains to Madison, “I didn’t know what you liked so I got you a choice. Fruity Pebbles, pancakes, omelets…“ Before Allen heads back to the produce market, he tells Madison, “When I come back from work in a couple of hours, we’ll go out and get some dinner and pick you up some clothes.”
We then arrive back at the produce market to see a conveyor belt filled with onions and Freddie telling the women working the conveyor belt, “Now let’s not be so choosy with these onions, alright? Some of these are perfectly good onions.” Allen then arrives back to the produce market in an excellent mood singing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah,” during which he picks up a mango from one of the produce crates, puts it on his shoulder and sings, “Mr. Mango’s on my shoulder.” A few seconds later, Allen begins juggling potatoes.
Following this produce market scene, we see food onscreen again when Madison is staring through the window of a pizza place. As she watches the pizza guy repeatedly throw the dough up in the air, she says to Allen, “Did you see this? It’s wonderfully delicious and so good for you.” Allen and Madison then continue walking along the city streets for a bit before Madison goes to touch a hot pretzel on a street cart and Allen warns her, “Careful, honey. Those are hot.” Later that night Madison tries to distract Allen from opening the door to the bathroom by asking him, “Allen, can you make me some pancakes?”
Additionally, another notable beverage moment occurs when Freddie has a beer while he and Allen are playing squash.
The next food moment in the film is its most notable one, as well as is one of the most iconic onscreen food moments in the history cinema. The moment takes place while Madison and Allen are out to dinner at a restaurant. There is a breadbasket and butter on the table and they each have glasses of white wine and water. Madison and Allen both have lobster for dinner and upon being served their meal, Madison picks her lobster up with her hands and proceeds to take a giant bite of it, shell and all! Madison continues to chow down on her lobster as if it is a burger, and while everyone around her is staring, Allen explains to his fellow alarmed diners, “She’s really hungry.” (Fun fact: Since she was a vegetarian, Daryl Hannah did not want to eat real lobster for this scene so they filled shells with hearts of palm and mashed potatoes instead. However, since they still had to use real shells for the scene, Daryl Hannah cried after each take over the deaths of the lobsters who were killed for their shells. A true cruelty-free queen!)
Lastly, the film’s final food appearances include the bread rolls and shrimp cocktail seen at the gala that Allen and Madison attend, as well as Freddie’s can of beer while he is “fishing” in the tank.
For my Splash-inspired menu, inspired by the infamous lobster scene, I decided to prepare a vegan lobster roll complete with sides of seaweed salad and Cape Cod Potato Chips.
I also chose to include a Cape Cod cocktail for my beverage, and a bag of red candy fish for dessert.
And finally, for the table setting, I found a seashell-printed fabric to use as a tablecloth.
And that does it for August’s installment of food & a film! Thank you so much for tuning in, and be sure to check back next month for another new entry!